As Lazarus rose from the dead

I went swimming and my cell phone was in my pocket. It’s currently in a bag of rice on my car dash. I was assured that my phone, like Lazarus, would arise after four days. If any of you have sent me text messages, you won’t get a response until later in the week.

* * *

I’ve been in a terrible funk. I haven’t felt like posting, reading any blogs or commenting. I’ll spare you the boring details. But in the thick of my self-pity, I attended a funeral. Sadness, sadness. God, the loss.

The day after the funeral, I received word that a friend’s 20-year old daughter passed away. She battled neurofibromatosis. Her entire life was spent in pain and wheelchairs. Her condition lead to hydrocephalus, legal blindness, loss of limb function and other sundry miseries. Yet, she managed to graduate from high school and never saw herself as handicapped.

And I still sit in my shallow funk. Who am I?

Anniversary / Teach your children

My mom passed away a year ago today. There’s no sadness. Only happy memories. She drifted away peacefully on a cloud of morphine.

When she was in the hospital and obviously not going to recover, my brother asked her, “Hey, ma, are you going to haunt me?”

“Not if you don’t want me to.”

That’s how we rolled with her. And she with us. That’s how it was done and we loved it.

Actually, now that I consider it, I *am* kind of sad that The Daughters will never know her. She was rock solid, that one.

* * *

On the afternoons when I don’t have work, I try to sneak away to the museums. The crowds are thin, especially early in the morning. Can you look at masterworks too many times? Nay, I say. What is boring for many, never gets old for me.One thing that was new to me—something I never saw on the weekends—were the roving classes. Groups of kids sit, surprisingly patient and well-behaved, are queried by the docents and asked for feedback. I look at their faces and as the talks progress and for some, you can see a fog lifting and a new clarity arise.


Sometimes, they’re given an assignment. For instance, Giacometti originally intended the piece below to include a second figure. His arm is suppose to be draped around someone’s shoulders. But time ran out on the commission and he was forced to deliver it incomplete. The students were asked to draw that second figure. What THEY thought it should look like. The statue is, basically, a stick figure, so it doesn’t take a lot of artistic dexterity to draw it.


I try to get The Daughters into the museums a couple time a year, but it’s tough. I do what I can.

That damn race music

memphisThe Tony nominations came out and I actually saw two of the four nominees for Best Musical. I’m not much for musicals so it’s an unusual coincidence.

My pal CB is a writer in the fashion industry and he did a piece on Chad Kimball, one of the co-stars of Memphis. (That’s him in the poster.) Are you ready to feel like an under-achiever? Not only is Mr. Kimball in a Broadway hit musical and nominated for a Tony (Best Performance by an Actor in a Musical) but he, along with his brother, are successful clothing designers. Bastards! Their line is carried in Bloomingdale’s. I’m not sure if you can do better than that.

Mr. Kimball invited CB to a performance and I tagged along. We had house seats. House seats are the best seats in the theater. They’re held back by management for VIP’s, press and hangers-on. When I go to a play, I usually sit in the last few rows of the balcony. It’s all I can afford! Sitting up front is a completely different experience. It’s easier to get sucked into the performance. I guess that’s why they cost so much. Duh.

[Side comment: Many years ago I was upgraded to a first class seat on a flight to Las Vegas. It was a terrible mistake. It warped my perspective. My days of blissful ignorance in coach are over.]

This isn’t just another jukebox musical with a plot loosely built around an artist’s catalog, as were Movin’ Out (Billy Joel songs), Come Fly Away (Sinatra songs), The Times They Are A-Changin’ (Bob Dylan songs), Mama Mia (ABBA songs) Good Vibrations (Beach Boy songs) Love, Janis (Janis Joplin songs) etc, etc x 100.

The story takes place as rhythm and blues music was just starting to be embraced by a young, white audience. There is much parental angst in the plot. The songs are genre originals written by David Bryan, a member of the girlie band Bon Jovi, and playwright Joe DiPietro. The music kinda worked for me, but what really sucked me into the story was the performance by the two leads. Seeing two actors inhabit their roles so completely was the real treat of the show. And sitting front and center certainly didn’t hurt.

A public thank-you to CB.

My mid-week colleagues in the casinos

Last Thursday I began another consulting project. This one might go a bit long but it’s too soon to tell. Honestly, I don’t know what to expect anymore. The last two years of work have been so tumultuous that my confidence is completely wrecked. Between being laid off and the numerous finite consulting projects, I’ve HAD IT with the uncertainty of not knowing how long I’ll be at any one particular desk. It’s maddening.

One thing is certain; for the time being, my days no longer belong to me. They belong to an investment bank and are paycheck-oriented. And thank God for that.

Mrs. Wife correctly labeled last Wednesday as my “last day of freedom” and didn’t object when I told her I wanted to blow off some steam at a crap table in Atlantic City. I didn’t hang around long enough for her to change her mind. She said go and I got.

The casino glam factor on a Wednesday afternoon is -10 to the 10th power. It’s anti-glamor, but I like it just fine. The crowds that choke the casinos on Friday and Saturday nights are empty-head Jersey Shore-types trolling for something other than a hot craps table. The men are overweight goombahs with unbuttoned shirts, gold chains and pinky rings. The women walk by and an odor trails behind them. They all interfere with my casino buzz.

Take a look at these old Sherman Tanks.


These are my boys. He limps up, hangs his cane on the edge of the table and pulls out a wad of cash. He knew how to bet properly. He didn’t place any of the sucker bets that the stickmen try to draw you into. His drinkin’ pal had carpel tunnel damage to his right hand, but it didn’t prevent him from lifting the dice or riffling his chips.

At least they had each other. The casino can be an empty, lonely place.


The charter buses pull up and spit out their occupants. Most waddle over to the slot machines. Once there, it doesn’t make a bit of difference if they’re alone. They sit mesmerized and watch the screens flicker until the buses scoop them up and take them away.

Many, many fashion faux pas are committed. It’s easy to feel ahead of the curve in this crowd.


I love this shot. It’s perfectly framed. The green blur on the right is the zero. This pic is the current screen saver on my phone.


I was able to take it clandestinely while the wheel was still spinning. They don’t like cameras in the casino. Later, I tried to get another pic of the craps table but the croupier put his hand in front of my phone and yelled, “No pictures!”

This time, the New York Post has gone TOO FAR!

Longtime readers know that I’m a huge fan of our low-rent, Rupert Murdoch-owned, tabloid delight New York Post. To say that their covers often lack, ahem, dignity, is stating the obvious. It’s like accusing water of being wet. Recent favorites have included calling Congress sacks of shit and the Photoshop abuse of Tiger Woods.

Here is the cover of this morning’s Post:


My God! Newsstands all over Manhattan display the daily papers front and center. Little kids walk by and can see this stuff! It’s a new low, which is to say, a new high. The photo and caption are self explanatory.

Bull – 1. Matador – nil.

I’m no fan of the Post’s loony politics, but I really do love these covers. How could you not?!