Anger! Insults! Expulsion! And then…CRAPS!

Out of a sense of self-preservation and duty to family, I’ve decided to leave my current consulting gig at an unstable company who might (or might NOT) have eventually offered me a staff position for a consulting job at a healthier firm. This can’t go on forever.

Can it?

A prerequisite for the new gig was that I start on Monday. When you leave a job, it’s customary to give two weeks’ notice. If you’re a consultant, however, the rules are a little looser. If they had to terminate my contract, I wouldn’t have been given two minutes notice much less two weeks. So I was shocked (shocked!) at the anger and vitriol spewed by my boss because I was only giving them one week notice. She stood up from her chair, her eyes flaring, and told me I was the most unprofessional person she ever met. She disappeared into the department head’s office for about :45 minutes and when she came back she walked up to my desk and said that everyone (meaning, her) felt it best if I left right now. They confiscated my ID and threw me out of the building! I don’t recall anyone being that angry at me. Ever!

The headhunter who placed me at my new gig said he could rustle up a short project to finish out the week but since the next day was The Daughter’s birthday (5-years old with a vengeance), I decided to take the rest of the week off. When I related this tale of rejection to Mrs. Wife, she suggested that I take a day and blow off some steam in Atlantic City. What a wife!

* * *

Here’s an interesting photo. This is the Revel Casino which is under construction and due to open in the spring. It’s designed as an “invisible” building, i.e., its reflective surface causes the building to vanish against the sky. This photo was taken with my iPhone and is NOT retouched in any way.


See that little house in front of it? The owner has lived there for 80 years—since he was 5 years old!—and refused to sell his property, so the building is being constructed in his back yard. Personally, I think that would be wonderfully convenient. Morgan Stanley initially helped finance the project with a pre-recession cash infusion of $1.2 billion. Their investment value today is estimated at $30 million—a loss of -98%! Pretty typical return when you bring money to Atlantic City.

* * *

I had a quick cup of coffee and headed straight for the craps tables. It’s my thing! I love the game, the people, the language, the culture. Favorite bit of overheard banter:

70-ish year-old woman: “Give me the six and the nine.”

Stickman: “The six and nine! My favorite numbers!”

70-ish year-old woman: “Mine, too, when I was younger.”

Pit boss: “This is supposed to be a family destination.”

A Losing Game

I was deeply saddened/angered to hear of the passing of poor, broken Amy Winehouse. Sad because that girl was the real deal. Her Back to Black album is a masterpiece. I won’t queue it up unless I have time to hear the whole thing from start to finish uninterrupted. There’s not one losing track. Do you know what a rare thing that is?

But I’m angry because here I am trying to find stable employment and she was given talent and success at a very early age and pissed it all away. I read an interview whereby she complained that she was “bored.” Fuck you, Amy. We’re all bored. Part of life is finding a way to rise above your boredom. Did you see that photo of her house in North London? Spectacular.

Give a listen to this gut-wrenching (to me) rendition of Love is a Losing Game and try to imagine what an astonishing career she could have had.

Cyanide would be quicker

Here’s what I ate last Sunday:

Breakfast: Dunkin’ Donuts + coffee

Lunch: Kentucky Fried Chicken
(Four piece meal. Finger lickin’ good, my friends.)

Dinner: Domino’s Pizza
(Sausage and mushroom action.)

Many, many Oreo cookies
(In the shape of little footballs).

I was on the road for breakfast and lunch but that’s no excuse. I shouldn’t treat my body like it’s an open sewer.

* * *

Do you know what I’ve had for lunch over the past two weeks?


I gave up my lofty professional aspirations and have settled into a groove of searching for an ordinary, full-time job with benefits for my family. (One man’s groove is another man’s rut but that’s what it’s come to, I’m afraid.) While I’m grateful that I’ve been gainfully employed during this horrifying recession, the fact is that I’ve been doing nothing but consulting work these past two years. It’s dispiriting, to say the least.

SO. Here’s my dilemma. Should I stay with a job I enjoy at a troubled company that might (or might not) offer a full-time position in September or go with an open-ended consulting gig at a healthy firm where there’s no hope of a hire? Ever. Tell me what you think. I am EXHAUSTED from meditating on this. Do you know how if you work on something for a long time — a painting or a piece of music or a blog post — you become so saturated with it that you don’t know what you’re looking at anymore? I can’t think straight with this decision.

If the recession has left you relatively unscathed, please realize how fortunate you are. Take a moment and feel good about that.

* * *

I found these two winter pics buried in my blog and I’m posting them in honor of our insane heat wave. This is Bryant Park in the wintertime. The trees are lit from underneath by the ice skating rink that goes up from November to February. The branches look metallic! If you look closely, you can see the Chrysler Building through the branches.


Mr. Mom + :15 second reviews

Here’s another gaggle of shows that should be seen or avoided.

* * *

Mrs. Wife had to attend a wedding shower (which sounds like torture to me) so I had The Daughters for the day. I took them into the city to see Rain, the fake Beatles show on Broadway.I saw it last February and was pleasantly surprised to see that even though it was a lightly attended 2:00 Saturday matinee, the four actors/musicians put on a pretty decent show. They only look a little bit like The Beatles, but the music is right on the money. I brought pediatric ear plugs for the girls and it’s a damn good thing I did. It was loud, particularly the ear-splitting orchestral crescendo at the end of A Day in the Life. I question some of their song choices, though. Why play a throw-away ditty like Hello Goodbye, but not a masterpiece like Help? They should’ve asked me first.


Prior to the show I took them for a row out on Central Park Lake. It’s only $12 bucks for an hour! An incredible bargain, especially in an overpriced town like this. The views from the center of the lake of the skyline, Bethesda Fountain and The Dakota knock the wind out of me every time. The next day we all spent the afternoon sitting on the beach. I had my Sunday New York Times and The Daughters and Mrs. Wife bumped into some friends. There was plenty of sun, a cool northwest breeze and no humidity. Toes in the soft sand. Manhattan + Broadway with The Daughters on Saturday and the beach on Sunday. I’m pretty sure this is as good as it gets. I hope I don’t fuck it up.


*     *     *

Do you guys know who John Leguizamo is? He’s a B-list actor who has been in more movies than you probably realize. What you might not know is that he is also a master of one-man shows. I remember seeing his first show, Mambo Mouth, many years ago down in a dingy theater in the East Village when I was still young and pretty. All these years later and now his shows open on Broadway and cost 10x as much to see. I was lucky enough to catch Ghetto Klown before it closed. (I think this might be the last week.)


In the spectrum of entertainers, I think I have the most respect for, believe it or not, stand-up comedians and actors who do one-man shows. Imagine walking out on a stage all by yourself and all you have is your words and talent! No other actors around to support you or prop your ass up if you get into a jam. It’s a crazy notion but when it works it’s magic. Señor Leguizamo was a tad overindulgent and could have trimmed :15 minutes from Ghetto Klown but it was still a great evening.

* * *

Some of Our Parts is, as advertised, seven 10-minute plays about disability. The sincere, if somewhat clunkily named TBTB (Theater Breaking Through Barriers), is an earnest troop of actors, some of whom are disabled. I love an evening of one-acts. If the play stinks, just hang in there for a few minutes longer and an entirely new story will replace it. You can’t go wrong! It’s not like Spider-man whereby I was trapped in my seat with the same abysmal material for almost three hours.


In case it’s too small to read, the cartoon headline is “Autumn in the Leper Colony.” The caption is “Now get out there and rake up those fallen limbs!” Oooh.

I’m going to admit right up front that I’m not very comfortable around disabled people. Yeah, I know it’s my hang-up and I’m working on it, so spare me the sermons. The theme that seemed to string these stories together is that the disabled want to be treated like everyone else so here goes. Overall it was an enjoyable evening but some of the acting and writing was sub-par. Of the seven play (playlets?) five were serviceable but the last two achieved greatness. Neil LaBute’s Cripples, about three guys sitting on a park bench discussing sex with a legless woman, was black and funny. The last piece, Samuel D. Hunter’s Welcome to Wal-Mart, where two disabled Wal-Mart greeters dish on customers and each other, was pure genius.

* * *

I admire the Roundabout Theater for it’s healthy mixture of producing time-tested classics and new material, some of it by young, unknown playwrights, so I am reluctant to criticize anything they do. But I’m sorry, Death Takes a Holiday didn’t work for me on any level. I went with DG, who is seasoned and he enjoyed it a lot so what the hell do I know?


I’m just not good with traditional Broadway musical stylings (The Book of Mormon being the exception). I’ve never seen Oklahoma or Annie Get Your Gun or Carousel or South Pacific or The Music Man or any of that crap-ola. If it’s a staple for high school thespians, I’m not interested. A valiant effort, but Death Takes a Holiday never rose above it’s bland songs, clumsy stage direction or obvious (even to an idiot like me) plot devices.

But that’s an awesome poster, don’t you think?

* * *

I loved, LOVED All New People, the new show at the 2econd Stage Theater. It’s written by Zach Braff, who was on TV for years in Scrubs and also wrote a very good movie called Garden State. Is it fair that one guy gets to be in a successful TV show AND is a talented writer to boot? I’d like to know that he suffers just a bit to balance it all out.


CB is correct that it’s derivative of a lot of other things, specifically, The Breakfast Club, but I don’t care and I don’t think he did, either. It’s well acted and funny. I’ve decided that Anna Camp, who was brilliant as the hot blond minister’s wife in True Blood and here plays the stereotypical hooker with a heart of gold, is my new pretend girlfriend. Sorry Mary-Louise Parker. You had your chance.

I can see clearly now

Go, go, go shawty
It’s your birthday
We gon’ party like it’s yo birthday
We gon’ sip Bacardi like it’s your birthday

As I do every year on my birthday for no good reason whatsoever, here’s a rare frontal shot of The Daughter and I. This is from a few years ago. We’re at our favorite diner.


Which diner is our favorite? That would be whatever diner we happen to be sitting in. They’re ALL good.

* * *

My posts tend to be somewhat city-centric. I don’t dwell in New Jersey too often. I don’t have the same affinity for the Garden State that I do for Gotham City. I don’t mind living there, but I spent so many years in the city that it got under my skin. Unlike any rational human being, I never tired of the inconveniences and downsides.

But over this past holiday weekend, I saw New Jersey in a different light. We went to an authentic, all-American block party for the 4th of July. Two ends of the street were blocked off with orange cones and kitchen chairs. There were dozens of families there and everyone brought something to eat. (One evil super-villain brought a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken, knowing full well that it’s my kryptonite. God bless you, Col. Sanders. God bless you, evil super-villain.)

To be perfectly frank, I don’t have a great chemistry with our lovely neighbors. Mrs. Wife fits right in. Over the years, she has become an integral part of the community. She volunteers at the school and is at the core of a group of people who try to make it a better place to live. But I got nothin’. It’s not from lack of effort, either. I go to these gatherings and can’t seem to insert myself into any conversations. They all peter off into that embarrassing silence. I talk a pretty good game! I don’t get it. It’s as if I was back in high school, sitting at the corner cafeteria table being ignored. I thought I’d seen the last of those days but here I am again.

I was sitting off to the side all alone stuffing my face with fried chicken, cold pasta salad and beer, and I watched the swirl of activity going on all around me. My usual city cynicism was nowhere to be found. What I saw was suddenly very moving to me.

Some manly men were manning three grills and feeding the masses. There were about a half dozen long folding tables overflowing with food. Coolers filled with drinks were everywhere. I have no idea where any of this stuff came from! It just appeared! You simply walked up, filled your plate, opened a cooler, grabbed a beer and enjoyed yourself. I watched my two daughters stand in a long line of kids who were patiently waiting for pink and blue cotton candy. I watched 5-Year Old Daughter wrestle with a wad of cotton candy as big as her head, big smile on her face, a red ribbon tying back her hair, and it moved me to a place I’m too embarrassed to mention.

There were water balloon toss games and Silly String battles for the kids. When darkness fell, thin glow sticks came out and glowing bracelets and necklaces were fashioned. I wore two bracelets; one orange and one yellow. Some guys had their guitars out. A spectacular, city-sponsored, fireworks display was launched from a barge floating on the Shrewsbury River.

I get it.

I get it!