Blackberries, iPhones and other means of electronic torture

A few years ago, we were always on our blackberries because we were always juggling deals and family, etc.

Sometimes, we would look at our blackberries to be passive-aggressive if we were angry with our spouses.  Not with my spouse, however.  I tried that for one week and, thereafter, when I came home there was the ceremonial handing over of the blackberry to her and she would throw it somewhere, at least until dinner was over.

Now we are always on our blackberries, fiddling with the battery, checking whether the wifi is on, because we can’t imagine that no one needs to reach us immediately.  In fact, I have three different electronic gizmos just in case one doesn’t work.

Blackberries won’t give us business and restart the economy, but looking at it all the time will anger friends and family.  Sooooooo, I am starting a 12-step program.

It’s The Great Pumpkin

Ok, so my son’s babysitter and he carved a pumpkin LAST Friday because she is away this Friday.  So, we have a candle-less jack o’lantern in the house.  To me, it looked like a fruit that was poised to rot if left out.  (Maybe you are getting the idea that I hate Halloween.)  What am I to do with a carved-up piece of fruit that will attract every manner of vermin and insect into my kitchen?  Throw it out?  An excellent idea, except that would not be a good thing in my son’s eyes.  So, I put it in the refrigerator, where one puts stuff that would rot if left out.

My partner comes home and sees the pumpkin in the refrigerator and thinks I am an alien who came fully sprung from a pod and never experienced Halloween or any other quaint Americanism that our society holds dear.  She thinks it is even a little charming.  Then she realizes that I grew up in NYC and I am (allegedly) a non-pod person, so now she thinks I am crazy and a little ooky.

People dressing up in scary clothes, eating candy that rots out teeth, carving rotting fruit.  What kind of holiday is this anyway?

A very Merry Chanukah To You

You have got to check out this site because there is a Chanukah hat that is out of a Santa Claus catalogue.  Ok, let’s just give up all pretense about Chanukah being anything other than the well-to-do Jews’ answer to Christmas.  My Bubbe and Zeide would just say, “oy, vhat a strange country, America”.

As a second generation American, this is NUTS!!!  Celebrate Christmas but don’t turn a minor holiday into a commercial extravaganza.  Ok, at least not a Christmas-lite extravaganza.  Let’s not dilute Christmas and let’s not spoil our kids.IMG00067

No-Where-istan Swears In Minister of Peace, Love and Happiness

Here she is, the Minister of Peace, Love and Happiness, plucked from the subways of NYC and into the ministry of Peace, Love and Happiness.  She is wearing the official dress and head gear of the country in keeping with its cultural roots.  There will be traditional dancing at the inaugural balls later on in the season.  But for now, I give you, ladies and gentlemen, Her Excellency the Minister:


“Networking” is a drag

So, last night, I go with a colleague to a networking party in our professional field.  I realized after scanning the faces in the crows how many of my friends and clients lost jobs.  I knew a few people there but not many.  After I spoke to them, I decided that I would just introduce myself and start talking to whomever and even work my way toward introductions with potential business sources. 

I was, in essence, speed-dating.  Some conversation starters worked, some didn’t.  Some situations were uncomfortable (as in former clients) and some were comical. 

I was trying to meet this important guy who was clearly not interested in talking to me.  But I planted myself next to him — why not? he doesn’t give us business now so what do I have to lose? — but unfortunately I also planted myself in the path of the waiter staff trying to pass hors d’oeuvres.   Someone in the conversation asked me what I do (as in for a living), and “I said I try not to get in the way and I am not always successful” as another waiter nearly beheaded me (AND I had moved out of the way) with a tray of almond crusts chicken on skewers.  Then we start talking about facilitating transactions and someone spills wine on my blazer.  “Don’t worry,” I say, “the color is midnight blue so no one will notice”.  Needless to say, I felt like the comic entertainment.  And my blazer needs to be dry-cleaned.

GMAC is different than CIT

CIT is a huge lender to small and middle-market businesses. 

If we want to keep the main engine of our economy from falling off a cliff, we ought to be more worried about the survival of lenders to small and middle-market companies than whether someone at Goldman gets $10million or whether seniors get a $250 check. 

Were all lenders taking outrageously stupid risk?  Yes.  Should they all have a time out?  Yes.  Should they make a lot of money? No.  But, first we need to shore up cash and credit availability to the backbone of our economy.  Then we can point fingers. 

Remember, the ambulances come to a scene of a shooting and take all the injured away and treat them.  After the dust settles, one of them may be in prison (or getting a lethal injection if he is in Texas).

Is it me?

Last night’s commute, straight from my simultaneous note-taking on my blackberry (like Anderson Cooper on CNN blogging through commercials).

Man on the subway is talking about how horrible marriage is.  He is really ranking on his wife.  Says he doesn’t get why she wonders why he is always drunk.  Also, he is a fund manager without a fund. And he is belittling his “friend” who is on the train.  Now, he is pissed that his friend recently moved into a new apartment, asking his friend how come he is doing well if he can’t pull it together.  He keeps asking about people they know in common and whether they are married. I am gathering that they don’t work together any more.  They both get off the train. I guess it is my turn to stand up and ask women if they are wearing matching or clean undergarments.  Maybe a therapist will start talking about his or her crazy clients or maybe a disheveled man who is homeless but no more or less crazy than the fund-less fund manager will walk into the car. Nope. Pretty ok although there is a straight guy reading a pink colored book called Sex and the Single Girl. Ok, he just checked out a guy. So, maybe a not-so-straight guy reading a book with a pink cover about single women’s sex lives. Ok, that’s weirder.

Ok ok ok ok. I am heading out of the subway on one of those exit-only stairs that have the out-only turnstiles with the horizontal bars all the way up to the ceiling. A man in his 70s who sports the bohemian, artiste look is aheading of me and climbs onto one of the lower bars the way my 7 year-old does, intending for me to pushing him through.  So here I am pushing this strange stranger through the turnstile as I would my son.  At least, the (strange) stranger didn’t say weeeeeeeeeee like my son, thank G-d.  But I am standing on the street in the rain typing this on my blackberry, so who is the crazy one?

Minnesotans should move to NYC for safety.

People wore weapons to pick up trash on a stretch of highway in Minnesota. People in New York City aren’t even that crazy.

Love thy neighbor as thyself, but pack some heat just in case your neighbor isn’t as loving or lovely as you are?

Man, between Texas and Minnesota, I feel safer in New York City.  How does THAT make sense?



AP – Mon Oct 26, 9:24 pm ET  

MENDOTA HEIGHTS, Minn. – Motorists in Mendota Heights might have seen a group of residents picking up trash while packing heat this weekend. About a dozen people spent nearly three hours picking up litter Sunday along a 2-mile stretch of highway. All legally carried guns on their hips. It was the inaugural trash cleanup event for the group that calls itself the Minnesota Carry Permit Holders [remainder deleted]

Why I often focus on politics

So, I focus on politics which is sometimes a downer.  But I can’t write about the Seinfeldian experiences in my family life because many of them read the blog.

In talking about a future gathering, the purpose of which is to pick at the emotional scabs over a wobbly relationship, I advised the person to wear a HazMat suit because although the people present vary in intensity, all will want to ask inappropriately invasive questions.  But I can’t go into the background because I don’t want to be excommunicated from my family.

So, you see my predicament.  I find people endlessly fascinating, but I need to keep it out of the family.

That is why I am going back to the gym and try to take public transportation.  Because the Seinfeldian experiences happen to me or to strangers and then it is fair game.

The Flu that led the pigs to slaughter

Ok, I am not a doctor (although sometimes I pretend to be among family and friends who know better).  And I don’t know much about the scientific origins of the N1H1 virus. 

I know this:  everyone is still going to call it Swine Flu.  Also, I know that I don’t want to imagine how humans got it from pigs (if that is even true).  Oops, too late.  Yuuuuuuuuuck.  Pause for composure.  Resume.

As I understand it (but unencumbered by information, knowledge or a medical degree), this strain of Swine Flu started in Mexico.  The contagion is brought about by human mobility. 

Nevertheless, some months back, Cairo decided to slaughter all the pigs in the city to protect against Swine Flu, although I find it hard to imagine airplanes full of pigs schlepping to visit their relatives in Mexico and bringing it back to Cairo.  Also, in a country with a Muslim super-majority, why are there pigs? 

Still, the irony is yet to come in this story.  After the pigs were slaughtered, the residents of Cairo were overwhelmed by garbage and unsanitary conditions.  Why? Because the pigs — among the most unsanitary of animals — ate the garbage and kept the streets clean (or cleaner).  Now, without the pigs, there is a real threat of disease from the mounds of rotting garbage.  Pigs were Cairo’s free sanitation system.  How crazy is that?