Oh, so pretty

I feel pretty,
Oh, so pretty,
I feel pretty and witty and bright!
And I pity
Any girl who isn’t me tonight.

* * *

I got got an extraordinarily short haircut on Saturday. Much shorter than what I’m used to. On the way home, I was looking at it in the rear view mirror and thought I looked a bit like a convict. I dismissed my critique and thought, who’s going to pay any mind? Who’s going to care?

I walked in the house and 10-Year Old Daughter, literally, stopped dead in her tracks and said, “OH, MY GOD! You look so WEIRD!” Knowing how vain I am, Mrs. Wife immediately sprung into damage control mode but it’s no use. Kids speak the truth.

I now spend my time tugging on my hair, trying to get it to grow quicker by pulling it out of its follicles. It’s a losing game.

* * *

I meditated on this latest deformity and realized that although I am fit and healthy in the broad sense of the term, I have a host of annoyances that are indicative of growing older. To wit:

  • The day after I go for a run, the bottom of my right heel hurts. I’m hoping it’s because I run in old shoes and that it’s not something more serious, like a bone spur. Whatever the hell that is.
  • When I walk up a flight of stairs, my knees crackle like a bowl of Rice Krispies right after you pour milk on them. No pain to report.
  • I pulled my left groin muscle last summer. It still hurts during my pre-workout stretching routing. Otherwise, I don’t notice it so much.
  • I used to be able to drink coffee by the potful. Before we were old enough to get into bars, we’d sit in coffee shops and consume inhumane quantities. Today, my digestive system cannot cope with more than a cup or two per day.
  • My left shoulder has slight pain. I think it’s because of the ergonomics (or lack thereof) of my desk space at work.
  • I don’t know if it’s the lighting or the monitor but if I work on our PC desktop at home for more than, say, :20 minutes, I’ll get a massive throbbing headache and my eyeballs will pound for days afterwards. Each beat of my heart is a punch in the head. This is a serious problem.
  • My right hand used to cramp up into a claw because of carpal tunnel but I taught myself to manipulate a mouse with my left hand, so this is no longer an issue. I’m not sure what I’ll do if my left hand decides to shut down.

I may have a murderously short haircut but at least it’ll all eventually grow back (albeit, with a little more grey than I would like). So I’ve got that going for me.

Jesus takes a mulligan

mul·li·gan. Noun. Golf. A shot not counted against the score, permitted in unofficial play to a player whose previous shot was poor.

* * *

Whitney Houston was a daughter of New Jersey, so her passing was big news out here. Her funeral became a cause célèbre. Who got to go? Did you hear who performed? Jessie Jackson made sure he got some face time in front of a camera. The governor got into hot water for ordering the state flag to be flown at half mast. Traditionally, that’s an honor reserved for men and women in uniform who gave their lives for God and country, not drug addled celebrities who were blessed with angelic voices. People are heaping damnation on Bobby Brown but I’ve read that he and Whitney were two of a kind and that she is not blameless.

Speaking of God, angelic voices and damnation.

Whitney was a woman of the church and to me, it looks like Jesus bailed out on the poor thing when she needed Him most. I’m sure she prayed for strength but her prayers fell on deaf ears. Of course, nobody in their right mind would say such a thing in public. Whitney exercised her free will and was taken by satanic forces. God had nothing to do with that part of her life. But I’ve read over and over that her beautiful singing voice was a gift from God. He gave that to her. As is usually the case, God gets all of the credit, but none of the blame. You’ll never get as sweet a deal.

During Houston’s service at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, it was reported in the paper that choir sang, “God is working a miracle!“ A women in the rear of the church shouted, “Jesus!” What miracle?! The only miracle I see is that people are still giving money to the church.

I occasionally walk past the Seventh Day Adventist Church on 45th Street.


That’s their primary message for me? Fear God? Is that what He wants? You could write this off as hyperbolic Seventh Day Adventist rhetoric but, to me, the message is universal. All organized religions of all sects, all beliefs, preach fear and obedience. The Catholics just added this pleasantry to the Confiteor portion of the mass:

…through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault (striking your chest three times)…

Its intention is to convey a more humble, sorrowful attitude toward God. This is the oldest trick in the book. In the military they do it in boot camp. In fraternities it’s called hazing. It’s at the core of most theologies. You are torn down and made to feel lowly and unworthy, and then rebuilt. You feel gratitude towards your tormentors—the very people who damned you—for making you feel whole again.

* * *

The Italian government is going after the Vatican. The church is going to have to start paying taxes on its properties that are used for commercial purposes. Spain and Greece are also looking at this proposal in order to collect badly needed revenue. It’s about time. Godspeed to them.

New York City “bottled” water

I was on my midday stroll and came across this dude just off of 5th Avenue on 55th Street:


He used a garden hose to fill four water cooler jugs. Something tells me the other end of that hose wasn’t connected to a mountain spring. What a scam! What do you suppose he did with them? Fooled some poor office drones, no doubt. Seriously though, New York City has a long reputation of having some of the cleanest, best tasting tap water in the country.
* * *

I love performance art. Even bad performance art. What they often get away with is classifying the aspects of a piece that don’t work as part of the performance and are de facto “intentionally” bad. It’s not honest, but it’s entertaining.

Kooky old Maria Abramovic is transforming a former tennis center in upstate New York into a permanent performance art space. Some of the pieces she plans may last several hours or several DAYS. According to the report I read, because of the length of some of these pieces, the space will feature:

…customized chairs complete with wheels. Those who fall asleep will be rolled into a special sleeping area – considered part of the performance – and rolled back when they awaken.

If your audience falls into such a deep slumber that they can actually be rolled away in a chair without being woken, it’s not part of the piece. Your piece is boring. Can you imagine if someone dies during the performance?! She might consider it the ultimate compliment.

* * *

Richard III coda: nursemyra was correct in that Spacey hammed it up quite a bit. But aside from a few lines that would have been better spoken than shouted, I thought his performance achieved a rare greatness. In the final scene, while the newly crowned king, Henry VII, was giving his exit speech, Richard, dead and bloody, hung by his ankles about 15 feet above the stage. You can’t be more dedicated to your performance than that! The theater critic for The New York Times called it a “gimmick” but I thought the whole thing was a lush spectacle and I’ll never forget it.

The play ran so late that there was no public transport back to New Jersey so I stayed in a hotel. I had forgotten what it’s like to sleep in Manhattan. At 12:47 a.m. (I know because I looked), a garbage truck threw its gears into reverse and I was startled awake by the loud beep-beep-beep-beep back-up signal. I was on the 26th floor but it sounded like they were right outside my window. At that exact moment, the toilet in my bathroom flushed itself! I’m not kidding! I was in a quasi-dream state and imagined one of the garbage truck drivers walking out of my bathroom fastening his pants. And then there was a loud cacophony of gears grinding, a dumpster being hoisted up off the ground, upended, and slammed back down onto the pavement. I had to get out of bed and jiggle the handle to get the damn toilet to stop flushing.

The city that never sleeps.

King Confusion I

I’m seeing Richard III at the Brooklyn Academy of Music tomorrow. Kevin Spacey plays the crippled, humpback King in a leg brace. Clever boy.

richard iii_1

Being a man of modest education and having, at best, a tenuous grasp of Shakespeare, I began my preparatory work last week. If I don’t conduct my due diligence I’ll be lost by the end of Act I, Scene II. Many plot points hinge on events that occurred in previous plays.

I poured over my copy of Cliffs Notes, saw Spacey discuss the production on Charlie Rose, read every available page on Wikipedia and watched Pacino’s Looking for Richard. I find it all a bit hard to grasp, although I felt somewhat vindicated by the Pacino documentary. Early on, while trying to summarize the story, he loses his train of thought and says it’s no wonder people are put off by it.

The cast of characters is a confusing jumble of same-names. There’s Richard of Gloucester, Richard, Duke of York, Richard Ratcliffe, Richmond, who becomes Henry VII and Richard Grey, son to the Queen. But which Queen? There’s Elizabeth, Queen to Edward IV and Elizabeth, Queen to Henry VI. And don’t forget Princess Elizabeth of York. In addition to Edward IV, there’s Edward, Earl of Warwick, Edward, Prince of Wales (who becomes Edward V) and Edmund, the Mayor of London. There’s Henry VI, Henry VII, Henry, the Duke of Buckingham and Henry, Sheriff of Wiltshire. There’s a Thomas who is a Cardinal, a Thomas who is an Archbishop, a Thomas who is Earl of Surrey, a Thomas who is Earl of Derby, a Thomas who is Marquis of Dorset and a Thomas who is a soldier.

Do you know what? Fuck it. I’ve changed my mind. I’m not going.

richard iii_2

Are you receiving me?

Here’s an unhealthy trend. I’m hoping it’s just a New York City thing and not widespread. People are together, but not really.


In bars, restaurants and coffee joints, people arrive in pairs but soon lose themselves in their electronic devices. Apparently, the person they arrived with isn’t as interesting as whoever, or whatever, is on the other end of that tether.


I’ve been watching this closely and it’s not just a matter of checking email and then getting back to the company at hand. People spend extended periods of time on their smartphone, completely disconnected from human contact.

mobile-11I hit a triple with this one. Four European tourists in a Starbucks in Manhattan; three of them pouring over their e-communications. Can you imagine coming to New York City and spending anytime at all sitting in Starbucks texting? That’s not a unique experience. You might as well vacation in Fargo, North Dakota for all it matters.


Although I’m sure the mobile phone manufacturers and network carriers are delighted, I find it alarming. It kind of saddens me. I’m going to try and insure that The Daughters are mindful of this and encourage them to rise above it. Perhaps this is the answer: sharing your obsession.


* * *

After Facebook goes public, it’s estimated that it’ll be worth upwards of $75 billion. That’s billion. Pretty impressive for a company that doesn’t manufacture anything.

They have something far more valuable than anything coming out of Detroit or shipped over from China. More useful than what our friends at Apple gave us. Do you know what they have to sell?

Personal data.

Lots of folks will pay dearly for personal data. Corporations. Governments. When Facebook shareholders start demanding greater profits to justify that $75 billion price tag, they’ll dip into that resource and sell it to the highest bidder. Don’t like that idea? Good luck getting all your personal stuff expunged from Facebook. I keep telling 10-Year Old Daughter, once you put it out there, you’ll never get it back.

Mrs. Wife’s friend recently posted the fact that her husband won $1,000 on a Super Bowl bet. Why would you put something like that out in public? I hope the IRS isn’t trolling for tax cheats. Don’t laugh. They might be.