Thanks for your on- and off-line messages, everyone. It was a long night. One for the ages. I’ve never seen or heard anything like it. Yes, it sounded like a freight train. That old metaphor. There are trees down all around us leaning up against houses and puncturing roofs and walls but, thankfully, nothing smashed into Casa de Unbearable. I hear the city is a real mess but I won’t get back there until tomorrow or Thursday.

I’d love to watch storm coverage on TV— I hear the photos and videos are spectacular—but we won’t have power for quite some time. I’m so bored. How many games of Crazy 8’s can you play and how many times can you sing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight?” I’ll never bad mouth TV again.

A Hard Rain is Gonna Fall

We’re going to get a little rain.

RED DOT = your intrepid correspondent

mapThere have been fights. People were cutting in line for gasoline. A woman shot past a queue in her white Lexus SUV and pulled up to a pump. It almost caused a riot. The local hardware store only had four generators in stock for about 200 customers who had been waiting for them to open since it was dark outside. You can imagine how that went over.

As hurricane Sandy approaches off the Atlantic from the east, it will collide with a severe winter storm that’s moving across the country from the west. The local media have christened it “Frankenstorm,” which I love. New York will shut down the entire transit system at 7:00 p.m., so you’d better be where you want to be for the next three or so days.

I have a ticket tomorrow night to see The Daily Show correspondent Assif Mandvi in a well-received off-Broadway drama. Not many people are aware of it, but he’s a hell of an actor. The entire run is sold out so even though I’ll be refunded, I’ll not get to see his performance. What rotten luck!


“If you marry that shiksa and have children, they’ll only be half Jewish. If they marry out of the faith, those children will only be a quarter Jewish. What’s the logical conclusion? We Jews have been set upon for centuries but we’re still standing. We’ve flourished despite the waves of hatred and violence that have washed over us. And now, when it’s easier to be Jewish than at any other time in human history, you’d throw it all away? You have an obligation to something greater than the self. Where is your sense of belonging?”

“I won’t turn my back on the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with to one day maybe, maybe, find someone who meets with rabbinical approval. You’re a staunch traditionalist but when was the last time you read the Bible? Many of the ancient laws have been dismissed as barbaric. The faith is already being watered down without my help. And your demand for racial purity sounds frighteningly familiar. It’s the same philosophy that Nazism was rooted in.”

An argument for the ages. For all nationalities. Those paraphrased words aren’t mine, but I sure wish I could write like that. It’s two days later and Joshua Harmon’s new play Bad Jews is still rattling around inside my head. Two people screaming at each other in a confined space (the theater only has 62 seats) for 1:40 without an intermission about what it means to be Jewish. It doesn’t necessarily make for a pleasant evening, but it makes for a great one.

It ended on a somewhat contrived note that took me out of the story, but that’s a minor quibble. What preceded it was really powerful stuff. Not for the faint. I don’t know if I’d recommend it to everyone because it’s exhausting, but if you’re in the mood to dig down deep, it’ll challenge you.

They’re both right, you know? There’s no winner in that argument.

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The girlies disappear into a corn maze (a maize maze!) at the annual autumn festival in suburban New Jersey.

maze1 I follow behind to insure they don’t get “lost.” Don’t tell them but it freaks me out a little bit. I have a touch of claustrophobia and am relieved when we come out the other side.

mazephoto 3
Gratuitous autumn greeting card/calendar shot:


Git’cher Motor Running

I ran a 5K this past weekend. It was, for me, an unprecedented first-time act of madness. When I meditated on the reason why I would do such a thing, it became clear to me that I was trying to emulate my father. Growing up, the arc of my feelings towards Dear Auld Dad went from abject fear, to resentment (although, inexplicably, never hatred) to complete and utter indifference. That I would mirror him in any way is not a small revelation to me.

I’ve never been athletic. I never played a sport in school or entered a race. I didn’t like the idea of putting myself in a position where I could be defeated. I was already experiencing quite enough of that with academics and trying to lure the opposite sex.

When I was a little kid my dad played softball. The team was sponsored by Hildebrant, an old and storied meatpacking company in Cleveland. Dad was a butcher and he cut meat for them. My mom would take my brother and I to the games and I remember those summer evenings with tremendous fondness. She’d buy us a slab of Bonomo Turkish Taffy at the concession stand. We’d smack it against the bleacher seats and divvy up the pieces.

I remember being thrilled when my father came up to bat. He was a big guy and could really smash the ball. It’s one of the few fond memories of my childhood connected directly to him. I felt it was important for my daughters to see me do something athletic. If I could implant that same cheap thrill that I enjoyed into their tiny minds and then nurture it, they might be more inclined to be participants in life and not just fearful spectators sitting on the sidelines, like their pater.

I’ve been doing short runs on a treadmill for many years but I’m no runner, that’s for damn sure. Waiting at the finish line were my two daughters and my mother- and father-in-law. I thought a time of 30:00 would be a respectable showing. I finished in 27:08 and came in 11th in my age category. Not bad for this old geezer. The look on their faces is worth the continued burning in my legs. Isn’t it amazing what you can accomplish with the proper motivation?

*     *     *

Speaking of old geezers, if you were to visit the Barnes & Nobel on 5th Avenue tomorrow at 12:30, you could get a book signed by KISS drummer Peter Criss. Come back at 5:30 the same day and get a book signed by Rod Stewart!

bnOn November 1st you can get a book signed by Ric Ocasek of the Cars. If you had been there on October 9th, you could have gotten a book signed by Pete Townshend. Is this the new trajectory for aging rock stars? I blame Keef Richards for this.

*     *     *

A very good evening for someone walking down 8th Avenue, don’t you think?

crutch*     *     *


Lvng rm w/ vu of park

This is Columbus Circle. It’s located at the southwest corner of Central Park. That’s a statue of Christopher Columbus atop the pedestal.


In his temporary installation, Discovering Columbus, artist Tatzu Nishi constructed a living room around the statue. Viewing is free but you have to have a timed ticket. You access it by climbing up four flights of scaffolding.

cc1Once atop the scaffolding, you walk down a short corridor that looks like any other city apartment hallway and turn right into the living room.

cc2The clever conceit is that a coffee table was constructed around the statue so that Columbus looks like a ornamental sculpture sitting atop.

cc3The living room has comfortable furniture and a flatscreen TV playing an all-news channel. There are newspapers, magazines and books haphazardly scattered around the coffee table.

cc4The exhibit is an unintended real estate wet dream.

cc6It’s the view from my living room window that I’ve always fantasized about but will never actually enjoy.
cc7*     *     *

The guy who sits next to me in this beehive is a die-hard New York Yankee fan. Recently, he turned to me and said, earnestly and with a profound deep belief, that the reason the Baltimore Orioles made it into the playoffs this season (a rare occurrence) is because “they were inspired by the winning tradition of the Yankees.” In his befuddled mind, the Yankees were indirectly responsible for the Orioles’ success. All Yankee fans are delusional idiots. They’re the reason I soured on baseball when I moved out here.

I read in the paper that the Detroit Tigers have been handing the Yankees their asses in the playoffs.

*     *     *

Self portrait #6. That’s me on the left.