The Unbearable Banishment: January 2010

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Is confession good for the soul? Let's find out!

I have to confess something. Not to you guys. To Mrs. Wife.

On Friday night, Mrs. Wife and 8-Year Old Daughter went on a Girl Scout-sponsored overnight trip. [It was a camping/cabin thing in 10 degree weather. Most unpleasant!] Normally, I would have taken care of 3-Year Old Daughter when I got home from work but I have been battling a sinus infection all week, so 3-Year Old stayed at my mother-in-law's house.

My instructions were to go home and rest. It seemed reasonable. I got home, made some lovely soup and opened a book. Suddenly, I was overpowered by a strange force. Let's call it...I don't know...let's call it tedium. When I regained my equilibrium, I found myself driving south on the Garden State Parkway, down to Asbury Park to—you guessed it—back to the Silver Ball Museum and Pinball Hall of Fame

Lock and load

I still wasn't feeling great but being sick and playing pinball is a hell of a lot more entertaining than being sick and sitting in my blue reading chair in the living room.

My favorite machine ever

And then I had an epiphany: I came home to an empty house on a Friday night, ate dinner alone, went to a pinball arcade by myself, stood in front of a pinball machine for an hour, went home alone, watched the news, abused myself and went to sleep. That is exactly how I spent my teens! It's decades later and I've made no progress whatsoever in this life! Damn.

Saturday, January 30, 2010


Pope John Paul II is actively being considered for sainthood by the Catholic Church. His main postulator is a Monsignor from Poland. In a new book just published to burnish the case for sainthood, the good Monsignor claims that in order to bring himself closer to Christian perfection, John Paul use to beat himself with a belt “even while on vacation” and slept on the floor as acts of penitence.

My, oh, my. I fail to see why this is considered to be admirable behavior. If there is a God in heaven (and after Haiti, I’m having my doubts) do you suppose it pleases Him when we beat ourselves with belts? Spend a moment and consider the psychology of that. And why is it important for us to know that John Paul beat himself constantly; not even giving it a rest while on vacation? Apparently, the man never allowed himself a moment of joy. ("Must remember to pack my strop.")

I continue to struggle to understand the attraction to organized religion. And not just the Christians. All of them.

Friday, January 29, 2010

"So, Romeo wanted to, like, bang Juliet"

Instead of just another tired-ass production of Romeo and Juliet, the Nature Theater of Oklahoma put a wicked spin on it. They randomly phoned people and asked them to recall the plot. The play is a series of verbatim monologues based on those phone calls. The results are hysterical.

Two masterful actors deliver the monologues in Elizabethan English and period costumes. Some of the respondents were surprisingly knowledgeable about the play but most delivered the same vague, uninformed story that I, myself, would have given if they had phoned me.

The last quarter of the play is given over to a dialogue examining the annoying neediness of young lovers and, worse, the unquenchable hunger for attention by actors who embrace Shakespearean roles. At the very end of the play, after heaping all that onto a funeral pyre, the lights go down and the two actors stand center stage and deliver a bit of Romeo and Juliet just as Shakespeare intended it. The beauty of the language and difficulty of the delivery is suddenly revealed.


Thursday, January 28, 2010


Family, friends and long-time readers know that I am a low-level rare book dealer. I collect, buy and sell rare 20th century literature. It's just a hobby.

[Actually, what ends up happening is that I’ll buy a book if I think it’s under priced with the intention of flipping it to a legitimate rare book dealer but once I get the book in my hands, I can rarely part with it. I could never make a living this way.]

On Monday, February 8th at Pacific Book Auctions in San Francisco, you can pick up a second folio edition of William Shakespeare’s Works.

This truly is a landmark of literature. The first folio of these plays was published back in 1623 and tonight, in New York City, there is one major and two minor Shakespeare productions being performed. That’s what I call real staying power. You also have to take into consideration all the works that have been influenced by The Bard. Disney’s The Lion King? Hamlet. West Side Story? Romeo and Juliet. Etc., etc.

This second folio is a page-for-page reprint of the first folio, which is considered the only reliable text for many of Shakespeare’s plays. It’s one of the most valuable books ever printed. If you think a second folio will set you back (see post title for auction estimate), consider that a first folio sold at Sotheby’s in July of 2006 for £2.5 million. Ouch.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A fine man, a fine poem

I haven't posted a Bukowski poem for a long time and it's time for a dosage. This is widely considered to be Bukowski's masterpiece. It's pretty angry stuff and it's not for everyone, but hang in there. Take your medicine. It's good for you. It was written in 1966 and I think it speaks volumes about the state of contemporary American culture and politics.

The Genius of the Crowd

There is enough treachery, hatred,
Absurdity in the average human
To supply any given army on any given
AND The Best At Murder Are Those
  Who Preach LOVE

Those Who Preach GOD
  NEED God
Those Who Preach PEACE
  Do Not Have PEACE
Beware The Knowers

     Those Who
     Are ALWAYS

Beware Those Who Either Detest
  Poverty Or Are Proud Of It

BEWARE Those Quick to Praise
For they Need PRAISE In Return

BEWARE Those Quick To Censure
They Are Afraid Of What They Do
Not Know

Beware Those Who Seek Constant
Crowds; They are Nothing

     The Average Man
     The Average Woman
     BEWARE Their Love

Thier Love Is Average, Seeks
But There Is Genius In Their Hatred
There Is Enough Genius In Their
Hatred To Kill You, To Kill

Not Wanting Solitude
Not Understanding Solitude
The Will Attempt To Destroy
That Differs
From Their Own

     Not Being Able
     To Create Art
     They Will Not
     Understand Art

They Will Consider Their Failure
As Creators
Only As A Failure
Of The World

Not Being Able To Love Fully
They Will BELIEVE Your Love

And Their Hatred Will Be Perfect
Like A Shining Diamond
Like A Knife
LIke A Mountain
LIKE Hemlock

     Their Finest

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What not to do when admiring a priceless work of art

I try not to write posts that just regurgitate current events because I think it’s lazy, but simply I can’t resist this one.

While visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art with an adult education class, a woman stumbled and fell onto Picasso's The Actor causing a tear in the canvas. The painting was done in 1904 when Picasso was just 23 years old and is considered one of the most important works in the museum. It’s from Picasso’s rose period. Few paintings from that era survived and its size—4 feet by 6 feet—make it one of the biggest.

Dealers estimate its value at $100 million.

If I was visiting the Met and saw a woman fall onto a $100 million painting and rip it, I think I might wet myself laughing.

In 2006, Las Vegas casino impresario Steve Wynn was showing off his Picasso and accidentally poked a hole in it with his elbow. It was expertly repaired and it is said that if you didn’t know where to look, you’d never know it was damaged. Ironically Wynn’s Picasso has actually increased in value because of the story now attached to it.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ever since I was a young boy

I played the silver ball.

When I was young I spent an inordinate—nay—an unhealthy amount of time playing pinball. I became an expert. I honed this useless skill in arcades, bowling alleys and, when I got old enough, bars. I was a bit of a delinquent, but not the dangerous kind. More like the loser kind.

You can get laid if you're good with a pool cue. Billiards has a dark, poetic panache. They make movies and write books about pool players. But nobody gives a shit about pinball. Or bowling, for that matter. Anyway, technology marched on and my skill with the flippers became irrelevant.

Try to imagine my raw joy when I got news that Silver Ball Museum and Pinball Hall of Fame opened on the boardwalk in Asbury Park. They use to be located in a dank basement in downtown Asbury Park but now they're right on the boardwalk. $10 bucks gets you an hour of play. Heaven!

Imagine a big room filled with working pinballs, all segregated by era. There are a few historical models from the '40s and '50s and a healthy representation of machines from the '60s and '70s. That cool cat in the bowling shirt is one of the owners and the other guy is a mechanic. My heros. [This is a partial view. It's more than twice as big as what you see here.]

Click on this pic and check out the artwork on the glass. Fantastic. It's from the 60's and suppose to be The Beatles. It's very beatnik and hipster. Actually, if you care about this stuff at all, click on all the pics.

This was one of my top three favorite pinballs to play. Fireball. When I saw it, I got a lump in my throat and longed for a big bong hit. It has a spinning disk in the center that sends your ball off into odd angles. Release Odin! My other two favorites are Satin Doll (which they don't have yet) and Evil Knievel (which they do).

Here's a couple oldies. I remember playing Big Star (mumble-mumble) years ago.

Many of the machines have placards that explain the history of that model; the designer, the artist, who manufactured it and how many were made. This is important stuff! I was a big fan of OXO and also played Space Mission. Space Mission came out when Skylab was orbiting the earth. How timely.

When I told 8-Year Old Daughter I played pinball last night, she said, "What's pinball?" My skills, by the way, have greatly diminished.

Friday, January 22, 2010

I lost my fucking job

I wasn’t going to write about this because it’s personal but I feel inexplicably compelled to do so. Only my family and some friends know this happened. Well…until now.

In December I lost my job. Benevolent Dictators, Inc. was J.P. Morgan. I lost my job at J.P. Morgan a year to the day from when I lost my job at Morgan Stanley. The reason I steered my career into investment banking wasn’t because I found the work to be so fascinating. (Unfortunately for me, most of those things are not money-making ventures.) My rational was, what could possibly go wrong? It’s New York City finance, for cryin’ out loud!

Losing my job a year ago at Morgan Stanley was heartbreaking. During the course of 2008, I watched many good friends get canned, but I survived several rounds of layoffs. I began to think I was immune. If they hadn’t laid me off by now, I surmised, then I must be safe. But at the end of the year my department was gutted. I loved the work and despite what you’ve read about the industry, Morgan Stanley wasn’t such a bad place to be. It retained its humanity, even in it’s darkest hours.

Four wretched months of unemployment followed. Unless you’ve been through it yourself, you can’t imagine what it’s like. Each morning, my two little girls would get out of bed, walk downstairs and see their father humped over a laptop trying to find any kind of job while all the other dads went off to work. I was damn lucky my unemployment only lasted four months. I have friends who were laid off the same time I was who are just now finding work.

I was hired by J.P. Morgan last April. That's when the real fun started.

J.P. Morgan is a great place to work if you’re obsessed with money and career and don’t give a shit about your children or your marriage. 10-12 hour days were mandatory. By the time I got home at night, The Daughters were fast asleep. I went a solid eight months without ever seeing them. I became a ghostly specter who floated through their lives on the weekends. Tucking them in over the phone became the norm. I had the same, sad conversation every night with 3-Year Old:

3-Year Old Daughter: Daddy, are you almost home now?

Me: No, sweetheart, I can’t come home yet.

I became detached and isolated. When I was single and lived in the city all those years, I use to thrive on isolation. I loved it. This was different.

I wasn’t the only one at J.P. Morgan who missed their kids. The air was thick with sadness. Nobody spoke to one another. It’s as if Kafka and Dickens collaborated on a nightmare. I would have quit except I had nowhere to go and if you resign, you’re ineligible to collect unemployment and COBRA healthcare coverage. [Don't get me started on COBRA.]

I was let go just three weeks before Christmas which I initially thought was a callous thing to do. But instead of having a miserable holiday and not seeing my family, I was liberated. I reconnected with my girls. I was torn between the wretchedness of being unemployed for the second time in 14 months and the cathartic joy of being home again and no longer working in a pit of greed and despair like J.P. Morgan.

* * *

This time around, my period of unemployment only lasted five weeks. I have a job. Sort of. I found a consulting gig at Retirement Conglomerate, Corp. I’m not making as much money as I use to, don’t have any benefits or job security and my tenure could end at the conclusion of my project. But getting a paycheck and having a place to go in the morning again is delightful.

Behind every silver lining, there’s a dark cloud. My job is in New Jersey. That means that for the first time in almost 25 years, New York City is no longer a part of my daily existence. Even when I moved to New Jersey eight years ago, I still worked in the city and saw it every day. For the time being, that singular joy is over for me. When I step out of the office, my feet no longer alight onto brightly lit Manhattan streets. It feels like someone took a metal scoop and dug out an important part of what defines me and dumped it in the gutter. What am I without New York? Anything? I can occasionally grab a train into the city in the evening, but it‘s not the same.

My heart’s desire is to find a job in the city. This morning, The Times reported that unemployment in New York is at 10.6%, which is well above the national average.

Here’s hoping. Keep a light on for me, NYC.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


This is post #500. But who's counting? And my stats? I never, every pay attention to those, either. Do you pay attention to your stats? I mean, only a complete megalomaniac would obsess over his page hits and spend time weighing the number of comments he gets vs. the number of comments other bloggers are getting. It doesn't mean that much to me. No, sir.

But just for the record, this is post #500.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Georgia O'Keefe on my mind

Artisté Florenza and I took in the Georgia O'Keefe exhibit at the Whitney. Fantastic. I love walking into an exhibit wondering if it's going to be worth my time and end up being blown off my feet. I wanted to take 8-Year Old Daughter but this was an exhibit of O'Keefe's abstract paintings and I thought they'd be inaccessible to her. I want to be careful how I dole this stuff out. For instance, I'd never take her to a Francis Bacon exhibit. She'd have nightmares for months.

I didn't find O'Keefe's abstracts to be all that abstract, which is a good thing. Abstract expressionism is pretty hard core stuff that I sometimes have a problem digesting. Like some forms of jazz, it's art that's best appreciated by other artists, not mainstream schmoes like me.

There was a healthy representation of her beautiful floral works.

Her paintings of flowers have been said to have a somewhat feminine bent to them. Do you agree or is that just people being sensational?

Note to Nursemyra: Do you know who Roni Horn is? They allocated *two floors* of space for her current exhibit! I know she's a pretty big deal and I tried to keep an open mind but I wasn't very impressed.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What's eating you, pal?

I was waiting for the crosstown bus on 23rd Street at Lexington Avenue. A young man, about 18, baggy pants, ballcap askew, comes out of Beach Bum Tanning on the opposite side of the street, crosses 23rd Street against the light, gets mad and curses a car that almost hit him, walks into a pizza parlor, buys a slice, crosses the street against the light again, and before going back into Beach Bum Tanning, dumps a huge handful of napkins onto the sidewalk. A gust of wind blows them all over 23rd Street. I wanted to walk into Beach Bum Tanning and mash him in his stupid face in.

In Congressional testimony this week, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase said that a financial crisis is something that “happens every five to seven years. We shouldn’t be surprised.” In other words, he had nothing to do with it. Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs said the financial crisis is like a hurricane that nobody could have predicted. See? It’s an act of nature and has nothing whatsoever to do with how these stupid greedy fucks conduct their business. Earlier, Blankfein said that at Goldman Sachs was doing “God’s work.” I wanted to reach into my monitor and bang their two heads together.

My phone had a glitch and the Verizon customer service techs over the phone couldn’t figure out how to fix it so I had to make a special trip into the store to get it fixed. It was such an obscure problem that it took three techs two hours to solve it.

Someone cut me off. He was driving a Toyota Sequoia; a massive, unnecessary pig of a car.

If you’ve ever done any heavy lifting in therapy, you learn that the things making you angry aren’t really the things you’re mad at. It’s not litter or investment bankers or bad drivers or phone glitches. It’s always something else. I wonder what’s eating at me?

Although, I have pretty good idea.

* * *

Saturday night. Mrs. Wife is out with the girls. Kids are in bed. Let’s see. On Ovation TV I’ve got:

Byron: British poet Lord Byron spends the last 13 years of his life longing for the affections of his half-sister and searching for a meaningful existence.


The Indianapolis Colts vs. the Baltimore Ravens.

Sorry, your Lordship. Let me know how that half-sister thing works out.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What to avoid in NYC. Tip #2a: dining options

A few months ago, I pleaded with NYC visitors to stay away from the chain restaurants in Times Square. There’s nothing inherently wrong with them and they have their place, but if you’re coming to New York, eat locally, not nationally.

I also think it’s a mistake to come to town and spend hundreds of dollars on a single meal just because a bunch of food snobs say it’s the thing to do.

I’ve never understood fine dining. For me, food “goodness” has a threshold. It’s not like buying a house whereby the more money you spend the more house you get. You can spend increasingly greater amounts of money on a meal, but there’s a tipping point whereby a great meal cannot become any greater. It’ll just cost a hell of a lot more.

I think the fine dining industry knows they’re preying on people’s vanity and have perpetuated this scam for generations. I often picture the chef and Maître d' back in the kitchen laughing their asses off at the suckers in the dining room. Particularly here in New York.

For instance, Frank Bruni, the restaurant critic for the New York Times was asked where the best sushi restaurant is. Are you ready?

The absolute best [sushi] I encountered in New York over the last five years is Masa, but that’s a recommendation of limited usefulness. A meal there is upward of $400 a person. I haven’t been in a long time.

So I’d like to single out Sushi Yasuda as well. There you can have a wonderfully intimate, pampering omakase experience for under $100 a person, not counting drinks. Still a major treat, but much, much more manageable.

So if you order a nice hot Saki, the bill would be over $100 per person? For friggin’ sushi?! Is a $200 bill for a sushi dinner “much, much more manageable?” Or worth it? Not to me! Believe me, there are PLENTY of sushi joints (and other restaurants as well) in Manhattan that will deliver a satisfying meal for a fraction of that cost.

Don’t believe the hype.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This might sound just a tad cynical for so early in the morning

According to a Reuters report this morning, the CEOs of the major U.S. investment firms will testify in Washington today about the global financial crisis. The story states that the CEOs and their companies are “swimming in bonuses but sinking fast in public esteem…” and that “…public fury is growing over the crisis.”

I’ve worked for these guys and their ilk for the better part of my career—not as an “earner” but as someone who works in the trenches—and I can assure you that they couldn’t care less what public sentiment is. New York City is awash with people like this. They only speak one language and that’s the language of currency. They have what’s referred to in the industry as “F.U.” money. That means they have amassed such a copious amount of cash that they can’t be touched by the law or anyone else. It’s what they aspire to. Public fury? It's irrelevant.

Sobering, but true.

Money, it's a gas
Grab that cash with both hands

And make a stash

Money, it's a crime

Share it fairly

But don't take a slice of my pie

Pink Floyd

Money don't get everything it's true.
What it don't get I can't use.

Now gimme money (that's what I want)

Berry Gordy and Janie Bradford

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Second helping

CB and I saw Theresa Rebeck's very funny The Understudy at the Roundabout Theater. It's a three-hander starring Julie White, a comedic actor who's a pretty big deal in the theater community, and Justin Kirk, who stars with my pretend girlfriend, Mary-Louise Parker, in Showtime's Weeds.

It's the final week for this play, which opened in early November. I actually saw it back in October when it was still in previews but it was so good, and I had such a nice time, that I felt it was worth a second look.

Their performances were just as fresh as the first time. It amazes me how actors are able to do the same material night after night, month after month, and can still make the dialog seem spontaneous instead of scripted. The audience laughed just as hard the second time I saw it as they did the first. That can't be accomplished with the script alone. It's all in the delivery. The final fade-out was surprisingly touching.

* * *

This is my first play of 2010. I managed to see 29 plays in 2009 (yes, I keep a list) which is about 29 plays too many for most people. I get that. The theater has limited appeal but it got under my skin years ago when I moved to New York and I still find it to be an interesting night out.

We recently bought the soundtrack to the Broadway musical Wicked for 8-Year Old Daughter. It's one of the most shrill, ear-piercing, annoying soundtracks I've ever had to suffer through. Each song comes to a deafening crescendo by one of the two leads. Mrs. Wife and I saw Wicked when it first opened and enjoyed it, but the soundtrack is proof positive that, unlike The Understudy, not everything on stage needs to be, or should be, revisited.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Cannot—will not—pass up a bargain

But remember one thing don't lose your head
To a woman that'll spend your bread

Rod Stewart

Mrs. Wife has many admirable traits but one of my favorites is her ability to make a dollar scream. Many a man has been put under the bridge trying to placate the insatiable material appetites of his wife. That will never happen to me.

Mrs. Wife's Sensei is her mother. That woman can sense a bargain at a garage sale from two blocks away. And when there's a good sale at the market, she'll pounce, even if it requires buying in bulk.

Mother-in-Law and Father-in-Law live alone. Just them. Two people. Two retirees who live comfortably, don't need much and certainly don't eat much. But if she can get a good price on 18 cans of tuna...

...or eight bricks of sharp cheddar cheese...

...or five boxes of Special K...

...or, most inexplicably of all, 12 cans of tomato puree

...she'll strike and worry later about how two elderly people can possibly eat all that.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I call bullshit on Emily Blunt and other sundry items

Emily Blunt was recently out promoting her new film The Young Victoria and she went on one of those "I am a most serious ac-tor" rambles that you occasionally hear from entertainers for whom success came way too early and way too easy.

It's just never been important to me to make a big splash and I don't care for it.

You studied acting but the size of your audience is irrelevant? Okay, whatever. You're an idiot. I can't stand it when entertainers turn their success into a burden.

Singer Nora Jones (All of her songs sound exactly alike. Boring.) said of the meteoric success of her first album:

On the first record I was everywhere, and it was, like, the worst time in my life.

Nora is also an idiot. Then that little punk Michale Cera (Plays the same character in every film. Boring.) said:

I don’t really want to be famous, and I’m kind of scared that might be happening.

Then why did you get into acting?! Another idiot. I think Emily and Michael and Nora should all be loaded aboard a rocket ship pointed towards obscurity and failure. I volunteer to press the ignition button.

Last month I posted this quote from Brad Pitt:

It's so tough being an actor. Sometimes they bring you coffee and sometimes it's cold. And sometimes you don't have a chair to sit on.

See the difference?
* * *

My most recent fortune from a fortune cookie:

Hard times are behind you. Impossible ones lie just ahead

That's what I'm afraid of.

* * *

Sunday is the 20th anniversary and 450th episode of The Simpsons. I have never watched an episode of The Simpsons. It's not something I avoided and I'm not trying to sound like I'm above that sort program. I just never got around to watching it.

I have also never seen Gone With the Wind, The Sound of Music or an episode of The Wire. But I did see Laurence of Arabia at the Zigfield in Manhattan, which has a monster screen. That was pretty cool.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Reflection on a Catholic Church in Times Square

This is St. Mary the Virgin. It's located on 46th Street in Times Square. It's always been a bit discombobulating for me to stumble across a church in an unlikely place like Times Square. Neighborhoods in Manhattan are routinely torn apart and reinvented, but you don't mess with church property, so you occasionally get these islands of Olde World New York amongst the skyscrapers.

St. Mary's was founded in 1868 when the neighborhood was still called Longacre Square. The neighborhood changed its name to Times Square when the New York Times moved it's offices uptown to its present location.

I was walking by one evening and was surprised to see a well-attended mass being celebrated. It could have been a holy day of obligation but that's a world I left behind long ago, so I wasn't sure.

I saw a flash of color and light that looked oddly out of place. Initially, I thought it was inside the church but it turned out to be a reflection the doors of this 150-year old church.

Upon closer examination, I could see that it was a reflection of the business located directly across the street on the south side of 46th.

Is having an authentic Irish bar across the street from a Catholic church unusual? Not in New York City. In fact, it seems oddly appropriate.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Aren't men pigs?

I accidentally alighted onto the Lite Rock radio station here in New Jersey and was serenaded with this horrendous melody by '70's cowboy dullard Mac Davis:

Girl, you're a hot-blooded woman-child

And it's warm where you're touchin' me

But I can tell by your tremblin' smile

You're seein' way too much in me

Girl, don't let your life get tangled up with mine

'cause I'll just leave you, I can't take no clingin' vine

Baby, baby, don't get hooked on me

'cause I'll just use you then I'll set you free

Baby, baby, don't get hooked on me

Baby Don't Get Hooked On Me

Mac Davis

That, my friends, was a #1 hit. Davis also starred with Ted Nugent in the film Beer for my Horses.

Sickened by that, I punched the button for the Classic Rock station and got an ear full of this shit:

If I leave here tomorrow

Would you still remember me?

For I must be travelling on, now,

'Cause there's too many places I've got to see

'Cause I'm as free as a bird now,

And this bird you can not change.

Lynyrd Skynyrd

That was also a huge hit and became an anthem.

How can you women stand being in the same room with men? In a not-so-subtle way, these songs, and hundreds of other hits just like them, are saying, "Hey, baby, first I'm gonna fuck ya and then I'm gonna dust ya off my shoulder like a speck of dandruff. So geeet ready!"

Men don't understand that, for the most part, if you sleep with a girl, she'll assume that you have some feelings for her and that you're open to the idea of being with her for a long, long time.

Women don't understand that men can sleep with someone and afterwards feel absolutely nothing more than the need for a nice, long nap.

This is the Great Misunderstanding between the sexes.

I've mentioned this before but I'll repeat it for the benefit of those who haven't heard it. I am trying to steer The Daughters into a gay lifestyle. Men are pigs and I want to spare them this anguish. I don't want some punk greasehead pulling into my driveway in a beat-up Trans Am that leaks oil, laying on the horn because he doesn't want to come in and meet me and expect Daughter to run out to him.

I am sorry to report that even though one daughter is only 8 and the other 3.5, I am failing miserably, as they both already have boyfriends (Ian and Luke, respectively).

On the other hand, in Saul Bellow's novel Herzog, the protagonist, Moses Herzog, says he "...will never understand what women want. What do they want? They eat green salad and drink human blood."

And I think there might be some truth there. So there's that to consider.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I’ll have a blue post-Christmas

While the rest of the world is glad that the holidays have finally come to an end (and justifiably so), I am in a terrible funk that Christmas/New Years is over. At the end of A Christmas Carol, Dickens says of Scrooge:

…and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.

Well, I came out of the birth canal with that attitude about Christmas. I didn't need to be haunted. I think I drive Mrs. Wife a bit crazy, but The Daughters seem to be an appreciative audience for my holiday mania. I can’t help myself. If you saw New York City all tarted up for Christmas you’d be moved too. 20+ years of the Rockefeller Center tree and the Bryant Park skating rink and Macy’s lights got under my skin so now I look forward to Christmas with the calm maturity of a 7-year old.

There is some bad voodoo in the ether here in Unbearable land. It’s not the kind of thing that's fit for public airing. The holidays were the perfect tonic for it, but now that the celebrating and good cheer is all behind me, I have to figure out how to fix things. It’s upsetting.

You can take it in stride

Or you can take it right between the eyes

Suck up, suck up

And take your medicine

It's a good day, it's a good day

To face the hard things

Take Your Medicine

Cloud Cult

Monday, January 4, 2010

Grand Central Station at 6:30 a.m.

The loneliness of the long-distance commuter.

This passageway leads out to 42nd Street. It's one of those you do what you gotta do photos. Grand Central Station looked a lot more festive around the holidays, but now it's back to the grind. For everyone.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Had a crazy roommate who cut off his earlobe

Whilst in Cleveland I took The Daughters to the Cleveland Museum of Art to see the Paul Gauguin: Paris: 1889 exhibit. It was fortuitous that we were in town for it because Cleveland is the only U.S. stop. After Clevo, it heads to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. What a coup for Cleveland!

The show recreates the exhibition that Gauguin organized on the grounds of the 1889 Exposition Universelle, which is now recognized as the first Symbolist exhibition in Paris. It included In The Waves, one of my favorite not-Polynesian Gauguin's.

Were you aware that the Cleveland Museum of Art has one of the greatest art collections in the country? It's true! It can easily hold it's own against the big houses in New York. They have some spectacular Calder mobiles and sculptures. I love Calder. So did the kids.

One of my proudest moments so far as a parent occurred when we turned a corner and 8-Year Old Daughter casually said, "Look, Dad, there's a Pollock." My work is almost complete.

Here's something to tuck away in case you visit a museum in the near future: 3-years old is WAY, WAY, WAY too young for an art museum. Their attention span just isn't there yet and you'll have to divide your time between worshiping the art and making sure she doesn't climb on the Degas sculpture pedestal. Just so you know.

3-Year Old Daughter did stop long enough to admire the Red Grooms diorama of New York. This scene is the corner of Broadway and Canal Street. Click on this one! Red Grooms and Alexander Calder are the most kid-friendly artists you'll find in any museum, anywhere.

3-Year Old Daughter got her first face-full of Monet's water lilies. She was not impressed. Yet...

The museum also has a pretty impressive collection of medieval armor and weapons. 3-Year Old dared him to climb down off of that horse.