Scents of the Past

Toni Perms
Alkaline and ammonia.

Revlon Touch & Glow foundation
Takes me back to 1965.

Hai Karate
Might as well have been the air freshener in every boy's car.

Hawaiian Tropics Dark Tanning Oil
I still take a surreptitious whiff whenever I see it in a store.

Clean and green, no sting!
Memories of summer sunburns and scraped knees.

Heaven Scent
The innocent side of the Sixties.
Open a can and you're instantly taken back to your childhood.

Mimeographed Papers
A total visceral experience. The smell of the ink, the smoothness of the paper,the feel of your pencil gliding over it, and the sound of the "crank-crank-crank"
as the teacher or school secretary ran off all those assignments and class projects.

Friday Feast

I found this great little meme at Miss Meliss. Although I can't figure out how to get the code, I want to take part anyway.
Who is the easiest person for you to talk to?
Nettl. She knows me so well that there's no problem with being misunderstood when I'm not particularly articulate. In a word, she GETS me.

If you could live in any ancient city during the height of the quality of its society and culture, which one would you choose?
While I believe I had a life in Rome, it scares it. Next up would be Greece or Venice, or maybe even pre-columbian America.

What is the most exciting event you’ve ever witnessed?
Making Mozartballs. Hanging out backstage with Jimi Hendrix would have been exciting if I hadn't been so stoned.

If you were a celebrity, what would you do for a publicity stunt?
Ha! I'd be nice, not stuck on myself, generous, dedicated to family and friends and living a decent life, and unconcerned with things like publicity and pimping myself. Now THAT'S a stunt nowadays!

What do you consider the ideal age to have a first child?
It varies from person to person. I'd say, generally speaking, no earlier than 30.


Scenes of Americana

After dinner tonight, Nettl and I went down to Shake's, where we got a frozen custard sundae each. We then drove out to Couch Park. Sitting on a bench beneath the tall trees that buzzed with cicadas, we ate our sundaes and talked about Vienna, the kids and life while all around us people barbecued, picnicked and played volley ball and horseshoes. We sat there, surrounded by Americana. A balmy summer evening in an Oklahoma town. It was pretty heartwarming, even for future ex-pat like me.

It was nice getting out and doing that.

Designing a Routine

I've carved out a nice little rut routine for myself in the past week or so. Staying up all night (meaning until dawn) is no longer an option for me on a daily basis due to my age desire for a somewhat healthier lifestyle, such as it is. Lately, I've been going to bed around 2:30 and getting up around 8:00. It's kind of like working a swing shift: I get both my days and my nights, and I'm not sleeping the morning away. Truth be told, I like mornings as much as I like nights, but for different reasons.

This new routine is good for me. I feel better and have more energy. Sure, there's still that little post-dinner siesta every evening, but that's usually less than 30 minutes long and it gives Nettl and me the opportunity to play "house cats" together during the week.

Part of my morning routine has always been to make my rounds through Blogsville while I watch HGTV from over the top of my glasses, drinking coffee and waking up gently. Well, as gently as I can now that all of my "calm" morning shows ("Designing For the Sexes", "Dream Drives", etc.) have been replaced by those "1, 2, 3, surprise!" shows with the under 25's mugging for the cameras like a bunch of rowdy 5th graders who think they're too cute... At least they left one show for us old farts, "Homes Across America".

Does anyone remember the "Designer Guys"? I think they were on a different channel. I liked their patter, and they had nice deign ideas as well. How about "The Christopher Lowell Show"? My god, he was a challenge to sit through, but I liked him all the same. Sometimes. It depended on my mood. He moved on to HBO and I never saw him again.

This reminds me of the early days of the Travel Channel. I'm talking late 80's, early 90's. Do you remember when they actually played travelogues, and a whole lot of that guy who talked about air fares? There was even a show that consisted of nothing more than the view from a camera that was attached to an anonymous bicycler's head as he or she peddled their ass through different scenic locations. The show was for people who used their exercise bikes in the morning. What's up with the poker tournaments that they show now? How is that related to travel?

My favorite Travel Channel show back then was "Hello Austria - Hello Vienna". In fact, I once wrote a letter to them (this was in the days before email), which they read on-air. A week or so later I received a colorplate coffee table book of Austria from them. Nice! That kind of thing doesn't happen anymore! I can still see the show online, though.

That's it, really. Time to get off my butt and finish yesterday's laundry.


Finding Our Way Home

I feel like I'm in an episode of House Hunters International. After a year of combing through apartment listings for Vienna, I've finally narrowed the list down to three.

The first apartment is situated in the Innere Stadt, right in one of our favorite neighborhoods. This place is all about location. It's central to the Opera, the Kärntnerstrasse, the Graben, Café Frauenhuber, Das Kleines Café, and is only a short 2 or 3-minute walk to Café Diglas, Kaffee Alt Wien, some our favorite shops on the Wollzeile, and a minute or two from the Stadtpark. It is exactly where we want to be: in the thick of Viennese city life. The only time we would need a car is, well, never. And if we did, our friend Niklaus is a professional driver (when he's not teaching history or traveling).

  • Location, Location, Location
  • Fireplace
  • The master bedroom has its own full bath and a walk-in closet
  • Did I mention location?
  • Kitchen has no windows
  • 1 bath and 1 guest WC
  • No musical staging area for our soirées
  • 1 less room than I'd like to have
  • When the kids come home for holidays we'll have to put them up in a hotel

Apartment number two is the one that I've been slavering over for months now. It is in the Taubstummensgasse in the 4th district (Wieden) just southwest of the Innere Stadt. Going to our favorite places within the city would mean a short hop on the U-Bahn, but it could also be walked if I were in the right mood. It's a nice walk to the Naschmarkt and around the corner from the Belvedere, which would be nice for house guests. It also has a loggia that's large enough for al fresco dining, plants, a fountain -- all that good stuff. That's a plus. I've lived in a city building with no private outside space and, being an American who's used to having a yard and garden, I had a difficult time just sitting in an open window when I was to lazy to dress for encountering people in the street.

  • Size. This place is huge
  • More than enough rooms
  • Baroque stove
  • Architectural details throughout
  • Loggia
  • 2 full baths
  • Musical staging area
  • Less city noise
  • A little further out than I'd like
  • Cost. The monthly rent is at the top of our budget
  • Less city interaction
  • Going anywhere would mean using public transit

And now for apartment number three. I love this apartment. Why can't it be closer in? Why?? It's located in or near the Schottentor in the 9th district (Alsergrund). It's a literal stone's throw from the Donaukanal (Danube canal), has a beautiful view of the city from the balcony and lots of room for those times when the kids come home for holidays. It's the perfect place for our soirées and in-house concerts and the kitchen is to die for, with wing doors opening out to a small courtyard balcony. I love the kitchen. I can imagine the cabinets topped with copper pots, plants, and my cobalt canisters.

  • Size
  • Incredible music salon with perfect staging area
  • Balconies
  • Park and city view
  • The kitchen is a dream
  • Beautiful old building
  • Near the Danube - great place to walk one's dog
  • Location
  • Needs a lot of work (that's why the rent is as low as it is). It would probably take a year to restore the ceilings, change the lighting fixtures, etc., which result in...
  • Restoration costs
Click to enlarge

I'm not counting on any of these being vacant when it's time for us to move (although two of them, numbers 1 and 2, have been vacant for a year), I'm using them as guidelines to help us to establish what we need and want, and exactly where we're willing to compromise.

So, as Suzanne Whang would say,
"Which Viennese apartment will Steph and Lynette choose? Will it be the in-town with a great location but small on space, the roomy classical building with the sun loggia and Baroque features, or will they take the fixer-upper that has everything they need except an easy walk into the city?"
If it was your choice, which would you choose to live in, and why?

UPDATE 1:53 a.m. Thursday: Through much web research I have discovered the exact location of apartment #3. It is on Roßauer Lande, facing the Donaukanal and just south of the Roßauer Steg (that's a footbridge that crosses the canal). I have also discovered that there are a number of identical apartments in that building, except that they don't need any work done.

(!!!) Just now, "An der schönen blau Donau"
(The Blue Danube Waltz) by Johann Strauss came on the radio. A sign! A sign!


Tuesday's Mini Saga

The Ice Cream Man Goeth

For twenty years Jim drove an ice cream truck through the worst neighborhood of Cleveland. Children with sunken eyes and grubby faces stared slack-jawed at him every day as he made his rounds. On a sweltering Monday afternoon, feeling oddly jubilant, Jim turned his truck north and headed for Canada.


A New Week

And I know that it is Monday, the beginning of a new and better week!

The Perfect Getaway

Nettl and I finally got a weekend to ourselves. On Friday evening we went to a new video store and got three movies, Anna & the King, Memoirs of a Giesha and A Lion in Winter (with Patrick Stewart and Glenn Close—excellent!). Then we drove through the KFC and got enough chicken and extras for four people. We came home, put the red sign on the door and disappeared. We talked, watched the movies, talked, snuggled, talked, laughed, talked, napped, laughed. Not one knock on the door, not one phone call, nothing. Now, here it is nearly 1 am on Monday and still, not one drama or issue has arisen to bug our bliss.

And now, something to start your Monday. Fill in the blank:

When I dance, I look like __________


Sieben Sachen (Seven Things)

Kelly, at Byzantium's Shores, tagged me for a meme in which I am to tell you seven things about myself. When one has kept a blog for five years, it's hard to reveal anything about oneself that hasn't come through somewhere else along the line, so if I tell you something you already know, sorry. Please note too that I'm supposed to tag seven of you to make your own lists. I apologize for that as well...


Friday Hodge-Podge

Every now and then I wake up feeling refreshed. Today was one of those. With everything we've been through lately, a good night's sleep, uninterrupted, has been a precious commodity. I can at least get up pretty much when I damn well feel like it, but poor Nettl always has something to do, somewhere to go, some fire to put out. I don't remember the last time she woke up of her own volition. Maybe it was that over-nighter we snagged in Tulsa last March. I don't want to sound like I have it so bad, because I don't, but sleep disturbed by phone calls, road construction, blaring car woofers, and bathroom fans have become an unwelcome way of life since 2004. This morning was different...


10 Things That I Look Forward To

Here is a list of things that I look forward to, or at least hope for, now that Lauren is getting settled in her new home in Bretagne (Brittany) and school is back in session:
  1. Nettl and I will be able to have a conversation without being interrupted.
  2. Less drama.
  3. The red sign on our bedroom door will actually mean something.
  4. The phone will ring considerably less.
  5. Quieter weekends and evenings.
  6. Less taxi-cabbing.
  7. Fewer "I, me, mine" monologues.
  8. On the weekends I'll be able to wake up and pee without waiting for 3 or 4 other people to get in and out of the shower.
  9. More time alone with Nettl.
  10. Next summer when Lauren comes home and the kids are home again.
Yeah, I know.


Roots & Wings

I can't believe that she'll be on her way to France in only a few hours. Lauren, the little girl who decked out her Mozart bust to look like a pirate, then took a picture of it to send to me in the mail. The little girl who used to like to brush my hair, laughing as she braided it into tiny plaits held together with multi-colored paper clips. The little girl who stood as Nettl's Maid of Honor at our Holy Union ceremony, crying from happiness as our eyes met. The little girl whom I have had the joy and honor to watch grow into a lovely, cultured, and delightful young woman. Gone from us now. A year in France then off to eight years of college on the east coast.

My most tender love goes with you, Lauren. May angels guard and guide you and may you never doubt how much your Wolfi adores you.

“There are two lasting bequests we can give our children:
One is roots, the other is wings.”

(Hodding Carter)


Honk If You Hate Car Alarms

I want to know the name of the genius who decided that the best security for a car is noise. That deafening, never-ending HONK - HONK - HONK - HONK that you can't turn off because the little piece of crap gizmo that's on your keyring has been pushed too many times and no longer works. I want his name. Give it to me.

Have you ever, on any occasion, in any parking lot where one of these bastards are going off, seen anyone run to nab the suspect, wrestle them to the ground and call the police? Ever??? When was the last time you saw a local hero interviewed on the news about his heroic action of apprehending a car thief when he heard the security alarm blasting away? I don't know about you, but all I've witnessed is a lot of annoyed people shooting dirty looks at the flustered, embarrassed car owner.

Nettl's been having trouble with her car's security system for some time now. In fact, we named the car "Christine" because she definitely has a mind of her own. When we unlock the doors to get in, the horn goes off and if we keep the doors unlocked, they lock themselves while we're gone. In fact, the doors lock and unlock on their own for no apparent reason, whether the car's in motion or sitting in the garage.

I didn't get to bed until 3:30 this morning -- my own fault, I confess. I was sleeping really well, better than I have all week, when I was jolted awake at 7:30 by the HONK - HONK - HONK - HONK of the car alarm. It was poor Nettl just trying to go to work. Usually, after pressing the keyring gizmo for a few seconds, the honking stops, but this time it went on, and on, and on. Then it turned into a rapid HONK-HONK-HONK-HONK. As if that wasn't enough, the guy across the street, who was leaving for class, thought it was funny and honked his horn all the way past our house, around the corner and out to the street.


The honking finally stopped, but only because the battery shut down. A security feature, I suspect.

I told my flustered sweetie to take my car and I'd look into the problem today. I've done some web research that leads me to think it might be as simple as a fuse. That's what I'm hoping for anyway. Every other possibility is really expensive.

Ah, the little shit-things of life. How they enrich us!


Good Morning, Emma

The remnants of Emma delivered an inland hurricane to Oklahoma last night. We got rains and wind, but it didn't stop our party guests from having a great time on the patio. The worst of it hit later, after the party closed down.

Kingfisher, which lies a few miles northwest of Oklahoma City, is currently under water that is tainted with a 2-block long oil slick of undetermined origin. The helicopter shots that are being shown on TV look like Katrina. Some areas received nearly 9 inches of rain in only a few hours.

This is my 4th hurricane since I moved here in 2000. I expected tornadoes, but hurricanes? It reminds me that Oklahoma is not a Midwest state, but one in the Southwest.


Bookmarks That Define You

Take a snoop through anyone's Bookmarks or Favorites and you're sure to learn a lot about them. What do your bookmarks say about you? Here are 15 of mine:
  1. (Mozartballs) - no big surprise here.
  2. BabelFish - I use this so much that I've put it on my tool bar.
  3. Color Schemer - although I don't have the software, I use this site for my web design projects. I also find it aesthetically attractive. All those little squares of color look like so many wedding candies.
  4. DaFont - thousands of free fonts, and you can preview your own text.
  5. Immodirekt - the best Austrian real estate search on the web.
  6. Live365 - owns a piece of my heart.
  7. Merriam-Webster Online - closer than the dictionary that's on my desk.
  8. Oklahoma State Map of Vineyards & Wineries - just in case we can afford to tour them one day.
  9. Oktoberfest Dictionary - always be prepared.
  10. SomeEcards - the funniest, snarkiest cards on the web.
  11. The Spirit of Ventura - beautiful paintings of my home in California.
  12. Tizag - My one-stop HTML and CSS reference guide.
  13. Virtual Vienna - I'm a member of the ex-pat forums.
  14. WidgetBox - this is where I get those little toys in my sidebar.
  15. Writers Dreamtools - Decades of history delineated.

When Two Centuries Collide

At midnight tonight I watched a PBS broadcast of Mark Morris' "Mozart Dances", which was originally performed a year ago at Lincoln Center in New York.

The idea of 21st century choreography set to 18th century music didn't at first appeal to me, but it grew on me, and when I saw what Mr. Morris had done with the Sonata in D major for two pianos (K.448), I was completely won over.

I'm not a big dance fan, I confess. Ballet looks ridiculous ("Whee! Watch me twiddle!") and interpretive dance just kind of gets on my nerves. But this was different. Besides the fact that Emanuel Ax and his wife, Yoko Nozaki (no web page) played the duet (Ax also played Concertos no. 11 and 27), the dancing was flawless, novel and downright fun. And not a powdered wig in sight.
"Until I was about 20, I didn't really like Mozart. It all sounded the same to me. It sounded too fragile and sophisticated for dancing. Plus, I was also seeing so many smug, shitty dances that other people had made to Mozart. They were all either powdered wigs, or postmodern comments on powdered wigs." (Mark Morris)
At the end of the program the host said that Mozart Dances was slated to play in several cities across the States. I'd really like to see it live, but I doubt they'll be coming to Tulsa...


The Art of Snark

Snark: Combination of "snide" and "remark". Sarcastic comment(s). A witty mannerism, personality, or behavior that is a combination of sarcasm and cynicism. Usually accepted as a complimentary term. Snark is sometimes mistaken for a snotty or arrogant attitude.

As some of you know by now, I harbor a deep and abiding respect for good snark. I'm also incredibly jealous of those who possess this gift because I certainly do not. As much as I would love to be known for witty, biting commentary, I, confess that I'm just not that kind of person. Sure, I have my moments -- we all do. I can also serve up some really great meals, but I certainly wouldn't call myself a chef.

In my constant search for truth on the internet I've gathered up some of the ideas people have about what makes good snark and what one needs to know before setting out to keep a snarky blog:
  1. Know your subject. There's nothing more irritating than someone who's condescending about a topic they know nothing about.

  2. Don't mimic the style of someone who's famous for their snark. It's not your voice and it sticks out like a sore thumb.

  3. Being just plain mean doesn't make your readers think you're snarky, it makes them think you're an asshole. Snark must be delivered with style and intelligence.

  4. Venting is not the same as being snarky.

  5. Don't link buzz words and phrases to Wikipedia. It only serves to make you look insecure.

  6. Don't whine about the flack you receive. Mention a comment if it's an especially good one and even give the commenter credit, but for God's sake, don't play the martyr or get defensive. This is a duel, not a schoolyard brawl.

  7. Write everything with a sense of humor. No, not stand-up and one-liners. Your sense of humor (if you have one) must, I repeat, MUST be the foundation of every post.

  8. Don't even try to be snarky if that's not who you are when you're off line. People aren't stupid. Well, maybe they are, but their instincts aren't. If you aren't naturally cynical or sarcastic, it probably won't come off as genuine.

  9. If you give it, know how to take it. The game of the bon mot is alive and well in truly good snarkdom.

  10. Required Reading:
Know of some good snark? Leave the links in your comment.


Time For Change

After that last thyroid storm I've decided that I have to do something to make sure it doesn't happen again. Or at least not for a long time. One day of stress or mismanagement results in one week of hell. That being said, I've already set out upon a lifestyle change...


Tag Yourself with the "Ahem" Meme

What has surprised you most about your life as an adult?
Nearly everything. I was headed in a specific direction, chasing down a specific goal and "making it happen". I met and had access to so many important and influential people in my field and yet... nothing. Consequently, I've come to believe that no matter how much you believe, no matter how much concentrated work you put into a dream, no matter who you know, if it isn't what you came here to do, it won't happen. The real thing is still waiting for you to find it.

My life would be easier if…
I had health insurance.

My secret vice?
It's no secret. Staying up all night.

What part of your appearance are you most happy with?
My height and weight, I guess, although I could lose another 10 pounds. I like my hair as well.

Unknown talent?
I have no hidden talents, really. I can do anything I set my mind to.

The most important question in the world right now?
How to depose America's corporate feudal system with its subsequent problem of health care. Globally, how to ensure human rights for all people.

When is a good time to pull a white lie?
When it's your wife's birthday and you don't want her to know what you got her.

What was your first job?
It was only a summer job. I was a dishwasher at Mattei's Tavern in Los Olivos, California.

What is the best thing which can be bought for money?
Basic human necessities like food, shelter and clothing. Without those, nothing else makes much sense.

Which personal ability are you most pleased with?
Not that I like doing it, but I'm very good at helping people to look within themselves and their motivations.

My best buy?
Lynette's engagement ring, not because of its worth, but because of who wears it and her indispensable role in my life.

What do you pull out of the hat if you get surprise visitors?
Well, the local liquor store is only a mile away in case there's no wine in the house. Food-wise, chips and salsa, usually.

What can get you to NOT want to get up in the morning?
Hearing fighting or arguing, or raised voices downstairs.

What are you most proud of in your life?
My marriage and family. In the next breath I'd have to say my music and writings.


Up, Down, All Around

I was good for absolutely nothing all day so I did exactly that. Stress knocks me out these day and I've learned to lay low when I start feeling the symptoms.

It was a good day in one aspect. Around 7:00 in the evening I got a phone call from Deni, who had just gotten home from the hospital. She went in for surgery in May and nearly died. It was a scary time for everyone who knows and loves her, and for me because we've been friends since 1968. Tonight, her voice sounded strong and happy; I haven't heard her sound that good in years...


Tonight, I Am a Misanthrope

Tonight, I am a misanthrope. I, who love life and people to a bloody fault, wearing my rose-colored glasses, am sick to death of so many things that even beginning to name them seems like a monumental task. None of the following rant is aimed at anyone in particular, and certainly not at you.

Well that's a fine how-do-you-do! A misanthrope who posts a disclaimer. I can't even do that well.

Ah, fuck it.

I'm tired of financial struggle. I don't mean $50,000 credit card debt, a mortgage, or $400 car payments. I mean, I'm tired of having a pantry with nothing more in it than a 50-cent can of WIC tuna, a can of plain-wrap Spaghetti-Os and 6 saltines. I'm almost 56 years old. I've worked hard since I was 16, and 36 of those years have been spent not eating so that someone else can. If I'm ever financially solvent, I'll never again buy 35-cent boxes macaroni and cheese, Banquet pot pies, or Top Ramen.

I'm sick of seeing 24 year-old punks --who've never known a day's hard work-- on TV showing off their sex-symbol "cribs". I'm sick of their conspicuous consumption, their Hummers, their football field-sized closets full of 500 pairs of tennis shoes (yeah, I know they call them something else that sounds much cooler, but sod it.) and their attitude of entitlement. And while we're at it, I'm sick of tattoos and piercings too. I'm sick of everything about this current generation of spoiled brats. I'm sick of the Paris Hiltons, the Lindsay Lohans and the Nicole Richeys, and while I'm at it, I'm sick of loud fucking car stereos.

I'm sick of the Blond Bimbo Sex Kitten cult: girls who think that what they have between their legs is somehow new or special, something that no one's ever seen before. I'm really sick of America's media-enabled pedophilia, Bratz dolls, sexy Anime, "Girls Gone Wild" and "tramp stamps". I'm sick of MySpace, teen porn, and grown men who would rather wank off to a 2-dimensional image of a nameless, faceless, under-aged internet hole than have a meaningful relationship with a flesh and blood woman his own age. Oh yeah, let's go there. I'm really sick of porn-addicted fathers who don't stop to consider that the girls that they're wanking off to online are somebody's daughters.

I'm tired of sex in general. When you weigh it, sex has caused more problems in this world than it has otherwise. Sexual abuse, sexual predators, sexual pedophilia, sexual addiction, sexual exploitation, sexual manipulation. Even a fucking spark plug ad has to include a busty bimbo. I'm tired of it.

I'm just tired. I'm tired of taking care of everyone from the cradle to the grave. I'm tired of putting myself last. I want to feel appreciated. I want to take my wife out to dinner. I want to see something for all my hard work except ingratitude and entitlement. And once in a while I want someone to pick up my shoes, wash my dish, or wash my towels.

Tonight, I am a misanthrope. I want life to be what it was last week. I want to know that my dreams are not being eaten up and shat out by the selfishness and thoughtlessness of others who think that I was created to make their life easy. Damn it, I want a little gratitude.

I want simple things, really: enough food, a secure home, and to know that the final stage of my life is going to be relatively peaceful.

In truth, I'm not a misanthrope at all. I am a parent, a spouse, a psychologist, a counselor, a priest, a rubber wall, a friend, a safe haven, a rock and a court jester. And right now, I'm someone who wants to slam two pairs of balls and one set of ovaries against a wall.

Vent over.


A Certain Feeling

In 1990, my parents moved from Camarillo, California to Westminster, Colorado. They both worked for the same company, which relocated to the Denver area, and decided to make the move, although they were in their late 60s and 70s. Not an easy thing at their age, but they were the sort of people who were always open to change and new beginnings...


Mosquito Blogging

Sitting on the lanai at 2:45 in the morning, a glass of pinot grigio on the table beside me, the fountain bubbling, crickets chirping, the turbine for the neighborhood's AC units running... Well, it can't all be perfect, I guess, but since I got a laptop on Saturday morning, I've been in blog heaven. It was so nice not aimlessly channel surfing the weekend away. I could get online any time I wanted to. In fact, the telly was off nearly all weekend.

Lauren got a new laptop for her year of studies in France (she leaves in 2 weeks) because this one (a Dell) is having problems with the AC power port. Piffle. We can get that fixed. Until then, a little duct tape never killed anyone. Okay. A lot of duct tape. But sitting out here, I'm not complaining.


Magic's in the Air!

Today is Joel's birthday! Happy, happy birthday to my incredibly tender, intelligent, caring, sensitive and magical son!


Do Wah Diddy Diddy

Tonight I watched another one of those PBS music specials. This one was called, "The British Beat: Best of the British Invasion". At first, these things are a little uncomfortable to watch. There they are, the heroes of my adolescence, looking like the guys that were in my dad's Dixieland band back in the late 70s and early 80s. I swear Gerry Marsden (Gerry & the Pacemakers) was the same guy that played trumpet in dad's Aristocrats of Dixie. Gerry probably wears a pacemaker these days... which might be why he sounded more like a lounge act than a school mate of the Beatles. All it took though was Procol Harum's performance of "Whiter Shade of Pale" and the discomfort was gone. Flawless, ethereal. One of those songs that makes you close your eyes and let it wash over you...


George Carlin's Views on Aging

Do you realize that the only time in our lives when we like to get old is when we're kids? If you're less than 10 years old, you're so excited about aging that you think in fractions.

"How old are you?"
"I'm four and-a-half!"

You're never 36 and-a-half. You're four an-a-half, going on five! That's the key...


Facing It

Do you ever "try on" other people's faces? I have for as long as I can remember. If I'm watching telly or sometimes when I'm out, I'll see someone and catch myself contorting my face in imitation of theirs. Below are the names of people whose faces take more work than others. (Please note that this exercise has nothing to do with a person's attractiveness, or lack thereof):

Drew Barrymore
Ina Garten
Robin Williams
Quintin Tarantino
Kyra Sedgwick
Helen Hunt

Try it and let me know who you come up with.

Drunken Justice

Have you heard about the woman who tried to dance on the bar of her favorite watering hole? Seems she fell and broke her ankle. Now she's suing the bar for 50 grand.

I wonder if I could sue someone for all the hangovers I've had through the years...