Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Like King Midas in Reverse

Just look at this post and if you don't get upset, then you are clearly too comfortable. I got it from a new blog I've been perusing. Reminded me of those Harpers's lists.

Wages that an average CEO earns before lunchtime: more than a full-time minimum wage worker makes in a year. The ratio of the average U.S. CEO’s annual pay to a minimum wage worker’s is now 821:1. [Nobody beats the U.S. when it comes to the difference in pay between CEOs and the average worker. In 2000, on average, CEOs at 365 of the largest publicly traded U.S. companies earned $13.1 million, or 531 times what the typical hourly employee took home. The corresponding ratio in 1980 was only 42, and in 1990 it was 85. As one source has put it, "in 2000 a CEO earned more in one workday (there
are 260 in a year) than what the average worker earned in 52 weeks. In 1965, by contrast, it took a CEO two weeks to earn a worker's annual pay". US CEOs' pay rose 313 percent from 1990 to 2003, an advocacy group UFE said. By contrast, the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index rose 242 percent and corporate profits gained 128 percent.]

The total compensation in 2005 of Barry Diller of IAC/Interactive, the highest paid CEO in the US today: $469 million. Additional amount that Mr. Diller received in new stock options “to motivate Mr. Diller for future performance”: $7.6 million. [The bright side of that coin is that at least there doesn't appear to me any anti-gay discrimination way at the top of the corporate food chain.]

Percentage of Americans who feel chronically overworked: 30

Years of unused vacation time that American workers collectively give back to their employers each year: 1.6 million. [Ken, are you paying attention?]

Percentage of women earning less than $40,000 per year who receive no paid vacation time at all: 37

Payment per episode that Donald Trump receives to host The Apprentice: $3,000,000

Average amount that companies spend to recruit a new CEO from outside the company: $2,000,000

Probability that the newly hired CEO will either quit or be fired within the first eighteen months: 1 in 2

Estimated number of people lined up outside the new M&M store set to open in Times Square responding to ads for “on-the-spot” hiring for 200 jobs, 65 of which were fulltime: between 5,000 and 6,000

Starting salary that drew them there: $10.75 per hour

Fee Paris Hilton is seeking to host a New Year’s Eve party in NYC, Miami, or L.A.: $100,000 plus a private jet. [DWT one-time art director, Adam Fox, once begged me for tickets to see Paris host a promotional party in Miami. I warned him that she messes up worse than Bush but he was trying to seduce and impress someone and felt a Paris Hilton party was just what the doctor ordered. Of course he was furious after the fact, when she was rude, drunk and disorderly, arrived late and left early, cursing out the attendees and calling them losers. What did she expect? I mean, really, who but a terminal loser would actually voluntarily go to a Paris Hilton party? Even for free.]

Amount that Ms. Hilton is set to inherit from the Hilton Hotel fortune: $350 million.

Number of times that Congress has reduced the estate tax since it last raised the federal minimum wage: 9.

Longest period in which the federal minimum wage has not been increased: 1997–2006. [Do you know anyone who has ever voted for a Republican member of Congress?]

Number of workers who would directly benefit from an increase in the minimum wage: 5.6 million.

Number of very large estates that would directly benefit from a reduction in the estate tax: 8,200.

Highest price per custom-fitted, handmade power suit in Armani’s new line, which hopes to respond to what ex-Gucci head designer Tom Ford calls “a lot of pent-up demand for true luxury [from men who] are getting rich first, and they want to deck themselves out before they deck out their wives”: $20,000.

Number of households using credit to cover basic living expenses: 7 in 10.

Amount in tax breaks and subsidies that last year’s energy bill paid out to the gas and oil industry during a period of record profits and higher prices at the pump: $6 billion.

Campaign donations that Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, who voted for the energy bill, received from the oil and gas industry: $500,000, making her the top recipient of oil contributions in the 2006 election cycle.

Percentage of U.S. workers who are confident they will be able to live comfortably after retirement: 68.

Percentage who have saved less than $25,000 toward their retirement: 53. [Yes, you are meant to try to correlate this percentage with the percenatge preceding it. Let us know if you get anywhere.]

Percent of African-American and Latino families that have zero or negative net worth, respectively: 31 and 38.

Date on which USA Today reported that Dr. Anthony Griffin of the Beverly HillsCosmetic Surgery Institute, who appears on the ABC program Extreme Makeover, predicted that CEOs will lead a surge in male cosmetic surgery because, he says, "for instance,executives on trial for corporate scandals would improve their chances for acquittal with a makeover just before trial": November 4, 2006.

Date on which the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its all-time high: October 26, 2006. (Umm... until today when it closed over 12,500 for the first time ever.)

Decrease in percentage of Americans who own stocks from 2004 to 2006, the first such decline on record: 51.9% to 48.6%.

Total Wal-Mart received in government subsidies, sometimes called “corporate welfare” by activists, in 2005: $3.75 billion.

Percent of the decline in welfare caseloads that is due to TANF programs failing to serve families that are poor enough to qualify, rather than due to a reduction in the number of families poor enough to qualify for aid, in the ten years since "welfare reform": 57 [Bill Clinton, there was a lot worse about him than Monica whateverhernamewas.]

Projected total in Christmas bonuses that investment banks in New York City will pay out in 2006: $23.9 billion.

Estimated additional amount U.S. workers would receive annually if all employers obeyed workplace laws: $19 billion.

Ratio of compensation of CEOs of publicly traded defense companies to privates before September 11th, 2001: 190 to 1.

Ratio in 2006: 308 to 1. (So this is what Bush was talking about when he said the economy was growning!]

Percentage increase in out-of-pocket medical expenses for the average American in the past 5 years: 93

Estimated amount the U.S. would save each year on paperwork if it adopted single-payer health care: $161,000,000,000. [What what about Doctorbill Frists' family? Don'y you want them to be billionaires?]

Date on which incoming Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson announced “Amid this country’s strong economic expansion, many Americans simply aren’t feeling the benefits. Many aren’t seeing significant increases in their take-home pay. Their increases in wages are being eaten up by high energy prices and rising health care costs, among others”: August 2, 2006.

According to exit polls in the midterm elections, percentage of Americans who think life for the next generation will be about the same or worse respectively: 28, 40.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Pfizer shareholders have been screwed!!

Read this is you want to get angry about the state of Executive compensation. Sounds boring I know, but the article, from Christmas's Eve NY Times, really got me going.

December 24, 2006
"Fair Game"

A Lump of Coal Might Suffice

HERE'S hoping that Hank McKinnell [right], the former chief executive of Pfizer, chose a giant Sequoia for his Christmas tree this year, because there is no way he could fit the $200 million gift that his old board gave him a few days ago under a mere Fraser fir.

Since Pfizer dumped Mr. McKinnell last July, we have been awaiting the details of his severance arrangement. We guessed it would be dizzying--his pension alone had been estimated at $83 million.

But after the company said late last Thursday that the terms of the package would soon emerge--on a day when shareholders, distracted by holiday shopping, might not notice--we knew the amount would be odious.

Here's how Mr. McKinnell's $200 million package adds up. First is his pension of about $6.65 million a year for as long as he lives. The company estimates its value at $82.3 million. Sweet.

Next comes $78 million in deferred compensation, which includes $67 million in pay that Mr. McKinnell has set aside over the years. Then there is an estimated $18.3 million in performance-based shares. Given Pfizer's recent results, perhaps it would be more accurate if these were identified as failure-based shares.

Tack on $12 million in severance, vested stock grants worth $5.8 million and a $2.15 million bonus and Mr. McKinnell has all the makings of a very, merry Christmas. But that's not all.

Mr. McKinnell, 63, also received $576,573 worth of medical, dental and life insurance as well as the unspecified value of continued medical and dental coverage under Pfizer's retiree plans for him and his partner, Joanna Slonecka. Included in this pot is the cost of financial counseling programs. (Maybe he can dip into that amount to help line up some therapy for Pfizer's board.)

The most curious figure of all, though, is $305,644--rounded up to the nearest dollar, presumably--that represents the value of Mr. McKinnell's unused vacation days.

"The Pfizer board of directors has been inept," said Frederick E. Rowe Jr., a money manager in Dallas and president of Investors for Director Accountability, a grass-roots organization that organized a vote against directors at Pfizer's shareholder meeting last April. "Over a long period of time, it has obligated Pfizer shareholders to pay Mr. McKinnell staggering sums for continuous, unmitigated failure. This is nothing other than a betrayal of Pfizer employees and shareholders."

Paul Fitzhenry, a Pfizer spokesman, said Friday that the payouts to Mr. McKinnell were the company's obligation under an employment contract struck in 2001 when Pfizer shares were at $46, far above the $25.97 at which they closed on Friday.

"The stock had risen more than tenfold over the preceding 10 years and Hank McKinnell played a large role in increasing Pfizer share value during that period," Mr. Fitzhenry said. None of Pfizer's directors, including Mr. McKinnell, were available to discuss the exit package, Mr. Fitzhenry added.

According to the regulatory filing that outlined Mr. McKinnell's take, the package was priced as of Dec. 13 and his resignation letter was signed Dec. 18. But the company waited until late on Dec. 21 to file the terms of the deal with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The $200 million that Mr. McKinnell walked away with is also indicative of how much executive compensation can remain hidden from shareholders' ken. Recall that Pfizer has prided itself on being an enlightened corporate champion of full disclosure and transparency; its proxy statement last year provided significantly more details on pay than is typical.

Still, that proxy was silent on the $78 million in deferred compensation owed to Mr. McKinnell. This means shareholders can assume that the amount and nature of what was under wraps at Pfizer is not an exception but rather the rule across corporate America.

Mr. McKinnell's $200 million is even more disturbing when put next to the roughly $137 billion in market value that vaporized on his watch. That Mr. McKinnell forced his shareholders to pay $305,644 for his unused days off after draining them of $137 billion is downright stupefying.

But this is how too many leaders behave in 2006. They give large numbers of pink slips to employees. They create really big losses for their shareholders. But they make sure they chisel the company's owners for every nickel and dime, including dental coverage, unused vacation days and financial counseling programs.

Contrast Mr. McKinnell with James E. Burke [left], the former chief executive of Johnson & Johnson, who led that company through the Tylenol crisis of 1982, when every bottle of the medicine had to be recalled after seven users were poisoned in Chicago. The brand not only survived, it thrived. And Johnson & Johnson went on to become the dominant health care company in the United States.

Back in 2003, Mr. Burke was honored by Harvard Business School, his alma mater, with an Alumni Achievement Award. "Remember that being a business leader is about giving--not taking," Mr. Burke said in an interview at the time, which is archived on the school's Web site. "We've corrupted the system by hiring boards of directors that feel beholden to the C.E.O.," Mr. Burke said, adding that business executives need to "recreate a trust agenda."

Mr. Burke's views resonate even now, three years later, but the lessons were clearly lost on Mr. McKinnell. And Mr. Burke's thoughts are especially meaningful given that many executives are lobbying hard in Washington and elsewhere to recreate the pre-Enron "trust me" agenda.

At least there is this: while Mr. Burke is recognized as one of the greatest business leaders of all time, Mr. McKinnell will go down in history as something else: the quintessential me-first executive, mismanaging the company and then wringing from his shareholders every penny possible on his way out.

Lest Mr. McKinnell's accomplishments be forgot, Mr. Rowe said Investors for Director Accountability has decided to create an annual prize, beginning in 2007, to recognize the public company board that has enabled the most self-serving performance by a chief executive in America. It will be called the McKinnell Award. Stay tuned to see who the recipient is.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas, Hank. From the shareholders who lost $137 billion on your watch and the workers who will lose their jobs because of your stewardship. We hope you enjoy the money piled under your tree.

Every last nickel.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

If you're nice...

A free copy could be yours this holiday season. If you're naughty, you get two copies.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Big Mouth

Grace & I spent a lovely morning/early afternoon together today: quality time in the park on the swings and slides, and also at Grace's "shop," an ad hoc invisible store with no actual merchandise, usually on a swing set behind bars, but where every item costs the same price.
Grace, what are you selling?
How much is it?
"100 pounds."
what else?
How much is that?
"100 pounds"
And also?
It costs...
"100 pounds"

I believe this shop has been bankrolled by mum.

Then we went and had a lovely lunch followed by some shopping for Sarah for Christmas and several diaper changes in Barnes and Noble. She pulled the classic poop 5 minutes after the diaper change. Tights, shoes, etc. Lather, rinse repeat.

She fell asleep in the stroller on the way home, and Sarah traded with me and took over, prolonging the nap as long as possible on the move.

As soon as she woke up she exclaimed, "Daddy bought mommy a shirt in the running shop."

Thanks, blabbermouth. She also copped to me giving her the fizzy apple juice at lunch. Didn't think to mention the lovely salmon & wild rice with wheatberries. Typical.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I bet you didn't know this

Who was the best man at the now late Peter Boyle's wedding in 1977?

John Lennon.

Friday, December 08, 2006

2 Posts in One Night? Holy SHIT!!!

Can I just say that as a cultural snob, I am tired of PBS Pledge Week! What I don't understand is that during the "regular season" Channel 13 (my local PBS station in NY) shows generally great stuff, but during Pledge Week (fortnight) we are subjected to Johnny Mathis, bad folk music a la A Mighty Wind, and more Victor Borge (who I like but is absent 98% of the year) than I can bear.

The worst part is that no 2 PBS stations coordinate their Pledge Drives, so that you are sort of subjected to a nonstop barrage of lame exhortations to give money for endless "Celtic Woman" reruns.

Pledge Week offers really tired Roy Orbison discs, but what I really want is a Frontline box set. Sorry, call me a snob, but when I think of PBS, I don't think of a 15 year old tape of Roy Orbison's Black & White Night (with both Bruce & Elvis Costello!!) . I want Frontline!!! And Charlie Rose.

Followup to previous story

Sitting on my lap today, Grace (in this case clearly her father's daughter) emitted an odor that would have gotten her forcibly removed from any American Airlines Flight in the world. Staggering.

On a related note, potting training is moving ahead in fits and starts. Every time she sits on the loo there is success, followed by much cheering (Yeeeeeeea!) but there is currently no great interest in self starting. Perhaps that will all change sometime before puberty.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Best. Article. Ever.

America's War on Farting!!

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (Reuters) - It may be one problem airline security officials never envisioned -- a passenger lighting matches in flight to mask odours from her flatulence.

The woman's actions resulted in an emergency landing on Monday in Nashville of an American Airlines flight bound for Dallas from Washington, D.C., said Lynne Lowrance, a spokeswoman for Nashville's airport.

Other passengers reported the odour of burnt matches, but the woman was not forthcoming when asked about it, Lowrance said on Wednesday.

"Of course, she was scared and embarrassed but all the passengers had to disembark, all the luggage had to be searched, a canine team was brought in, and about three hours were consumed in sorting out the situation," she said.

The woman was not allowed back on the flight and barred from flying on American Airlines, Lowrance said.

"Since there was no malice involved and the incident was accidental, she was not charged with anything," she said.

Passengers are permitted four books of paper safety matches on a plane but cannot light them during flight, Lowrance said.

"I've had calls from people all over the country about this," she said. "And I don't have the answer to this problem."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Shitting the bed (in NY & elsewhere)

Change is in the air. How do I know?

Two of the last three nap days (not an actual nap, mind you) she has literally shit the bed, obviously in protest of being put in the crib in the first place, all the while tellign us she didn't want to go to bed. The clothes come off first, then the diaper (a pull up these days) followed by a Chuck Berry exhibition (no camera however). Luckily, she is well aware that "poop has germs" so we have been spared all of that horror.

It would seem that nap time might be on the wane.

In an unrelated matter, other places that seem to be in a bed shitting phase are Tallahassee & Miami.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

It Never Gets Old. Ever.

Grace was in an especially daddy mode this weekend. Plenty of running up to me and hugging my legs & exclaiming proudly "I yove daddy" (still has trouble with L. And the potty).

There was that time out at the farm store yesterday when she simply refused to listen to reason, but that was quickly forgotten, replaced by knee-high embraces & exclamations of undying devotion to both parents - "How much do you love mummy?" "Big."

The feeling is mutual. Bigger.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Today Dick Cheney blamed Connecticut voters for Iraq mess

You think I am making this up?

"When they (the insurgents) see something happen, such as what happened in Connecticut, when the Democratic Party in effect purged Joe Lieberman, primarily over his support for the President, that says to them that their stategy is working."

Saturday, November 04, 2006

That Whole Gay Preacher Thing...

Call me lily livered, but I feel sorry for the guy. He is trying to deny his existence. Say what you want, but in the end, you cannot deny who you are. Ted Haggard is a man struggling with his sexuality. That is something that cannot be simply switched off. He has spent his adult life fighting this. It must me an epic battle of his soul.

Be who you are.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Father's daughter - Exhibit 103

This is an actual conversation from dinnertime tonight.

Me: "Grace, I heard you sat on the potty today."
Grace (speaking in the third person): "Grace did not did a poo, just a fart."

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The Terrorists Have Truly Won

At Heathrow today, Sarah's carryon bag was searched and when they found her newly purchased jar of Marmite to bring back to the States, it was confiscated.

Marmite - The Choice yeast based spread of Muslim Extremists.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Airport Hell

I'm sitting in a lounge at JFK waiting for my flight to London and all the tvs are tuned to Channel 9, which has become the red headed stepchild of tv stations. When UPN & the WB merged, 9 was left out in the cold.

Tonight's offering: an old rerun of the Bernie Mac Show.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What Dreams May Come

Me: Grace, did you have a good nap?
Grace: Yeahhh.
Me: did you have any dreams?
Grace: yes
Me: what did you dream about?
Grace: (slight pause) Frogs!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Please, please please...

Vote in this election. The date is November 7th.

Really, if you don't vote, you should seriously shut the F up about anything involving politics forever. There is still time to get an absentee ballot if you want.

I disagree with my father on politics, but I will always agree with him that voting is important. There really is no excuse for not voting.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

If a picture is worth 1000 words...

Here are 2000 of my favorite.

I'm sorry. I just can't get excited about a subway series, no matter what. The Yankees are about as cohesive as a 20 year old roll of tape.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Three Musketeers

That's a heckuva email Foley!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Advice for Being Part of The Human race

If you love someone, tell them. Lather, rinse, REPEAT.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Another Bubble Burst

I just read that the fattest living person in the world is some guy in Italy and he is 1204 pounds.

My whole life I have been I have been laboring under the impression that the fattest man ever was Robert Earl "Bob" Hughes, at 1069 pounds. I remember this from buying my copy of the Guinness Book of World Records at the school bookmobile every year (along with Great Quartebacks of the NFL - w/ YA Tittle & Bart Starr). Each volume was the same: Mr. Hughes was the undisputed heaviest person ever.

After a little research today, I come to find that there have been more than a few folks who have outdone Bob, including someone here in NY. Clearly I have been picking up the wrong Guinness all these intervening years. The heaviest person ever, you will be surprised to learn, was a woman called Carol Yager of Flint Michigan (that she is American is not surprising), who was over 1600 lbs.

I'm not trying to make sport of morbid obesity, merely to point out my sadness in Bob's demise. Some kid is staring at the latest Guinness World Book of Records, oblivious.

Robert Earl Hughes at his fighting weight of 700 pounds.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Oh Where has the time gone?

Just realzied my last post was more than 2 weeks ago. Well, let's see. Last week I worked over 73 hours and so far this week it's been 43. I know. It's my own fault. I chose this line of work.

I will repeat my challenge: anyone who can help me come up with a business idea for upstate I will reward handsomely. I didn't have an angioplasty & stent put in just to repeat the stress all over again.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


I am by no means an astute student of politics, but it seems to me that the only way for Joe Lieberman to distance himself from Ned Lamont is to become more and more like a Republican, hence the recent equating the London story with the war in Iraq. He's starting to sound like Dick Cheney, which cannot sound too sexy to the voters of Connecticut. As the democrats continue to pile on and beg him to get out of the race, he will get crankier & crankier.

Should be an interesting few months, especially as Lamont does a little tacking to the center.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The insight of a 2 year old

As we try to cook healthy in this house, we (I say we but Sarah does all the cooking) eat a lot of kale, spinach & chard, almost always cooked.

Grace refers to these dishes at "hot salad."

Monday, August 07, 2006

Gracilocks and the Three Bears

Grace has decided to name her stuffed bears.

First, there is Brother Bill. He is largely untouched. Also occasionally known as Fluffy.

2nd Bear,who tends to stay downstairs is called "Mike."

But her most coveted bear, the one who she can sometimes be heard screaming his name throughout the house is... "Medium bear." He is not her smallest bear, and not her largest.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: We have been informed that Fluffy & Brother Bill are not the same bear. Apparently Fluffy is indeed a fluffier bear given to Grace by her Aunt Jennifer. We regret the error.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Caribbean Wet TShirt Contest

As you may know, we are having a heat wave here in NYC. Yesterday after Grace got up from her nap, I took her to the park, where there is a playground that has a splashy, sprinkler type area. I expected that the playground would be mobbed, but alas, most folks must have been hiding indoors with the AC on. Basically it was me & a bunch of nannies and their charges who were wisely enjoying the sprinklers. I can't say it was exactly like a trip to Scores.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Total Suckage!

Wow, I have had a life altering heart attack-esque experience, plus 34 hours in an emergency room, plus a transfer to another hospital, plus over $30,000 in hospital charges plus an expense of "prostheses" for over $7000. The health care system in this country is TOTALLY F*&#$ED UP BEYOND ALL BELIEF!

I had great medical care, but over $33,000 for less than3 days is simply sick sick sick. Is anything worth $11,00 PER DAY??? Ahh, No.

Our health system is broken beyond repair. Time to fix it.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

should we be worried?

We are on a plane getting ready to fly to Chicago and the pilot just came on and said his name was:
Usually guys with that name are your server at TGI fridays.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Stay Tuned to This Space

I will have more to say when the incision in my leg heals and I can sit at the computer for more than a couple of minutes.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I love my country...

Quick observation.

I do not watch American Idol. Not because I am an East Coast effete, drinking Chardonnay & reading the New Yorker (okay I do read the New Yorker, but I am woefully behind, having missed most issues in the past 3 months. And most effetes drink only red.). My TV watching usually consists of AL baseball and currently the World Cup.

Which leads me to my observation. I have noticed that 2 American Idol winners, including the new guy, Taylor (he of the androgynous name) Hicks, are currently selling vehicles for Ford, in song format.

Could they at least wait more than a MONTH to have these people start hawking cars & trucks? Give the poor schmuck a moment of excitement before you show him the fine print.

The show isn't currrently called "American Car Dealer."

When I see these commercials, it makes me sad. I'm trying to find the Roman equivalent, but it's difficult. Drip, drip, drip.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

And now back to the Star of our Show

New quote (as best as I can replicate it here):

"No Touch Bees.

Touch dogs and cats... some...times.

Touch Delia & Frankie-boodle." (they are our cats)

Repeat ad nauseum.

Friday, June 16, 2006

World Cup

After watching only the first half of toay's match, I am making my prediction that the team to beat is now Argentina. Wow!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Wow... Sorry to all of my fans (please note irony) - Eventually we get to Grace

Just noticed that I haven't posted in a while. Unemployment has kept me a little busy. Let's review:

Went to Baltimore to see my kid sister graduate from college. She had a double major and graduated with seriously high grades. Nice. (except for the very wet ceremony. But a plus was commencement speaker Bob Schieffer). Then back to NYC to see more family before their cruise in the Mediterranean. Grace remembered all their names several days later. Nice work!

Then parents came to visit. They did not spoil Grace but showered her with lots of love. No political arguments with my Republican father. I love him dearly but hate his politics (now I know how Carville & Matalin feel).

Back upstate with demoralizing rain and the curse of dial up (not to mention a serious hiccup in my master career plan. It would seem that the good folks in the world of network television have deemed that all new directors are needed on L&O Criminal Intent, so I am officially no longer a "cool kid."Time to rethink everything, career-wise.)

Holy shit, this dial-up is slow.

Also, Grace is doing extremely well. She seems to have a world class memory, with special mention to "Children and their mothers." She can rattle off any duo that she has spent time with in the past 8 months. Perhaps all kids have a memory like this. If so, I don't want to know: MY KID IS SPECIAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So keep it to yourself, if you please.

Also, the first stirrings of recalcitrance (aka will) are here. This usually involves some sort of climbing on a dangerous surface. I anticipate much spilling of blood before we lose her to the world.

Also, any time she naps for more than 2 hours, I get all scared inside that she has somehow suffocated herself in her crib. WHY IS SHE SLEEPING SO SOUNDLY? IS SHE OK??? NOBODY SLEEPS FOR MORE THAN 2 HOURS AT A TIME!!!

Stupid I know, but my fear is this is what will be compounded by school, then dating with boys (or girls - I'm no bigot!). It will never end. Love=Fear in some sense.

Did I mention the dial up sucks here.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Sad Day Part 2

Well, a different kind of sad day here in the country.

A robin recently decided to nest just above our barn door this spring. 2 beautiful blue robin's eggs followed. Mama seemed to always be on the nest or near by, a real good mother to be.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. Babies are born, mother spends even more time on the nest, only leaving to retrieve worms. I even offer her a couple while I was gardening, but she wanted to work for her meals.

Well, this wonderful mother is no match for a large jay or crow, as yesterday morning, there were a couple of very dead baby birds strewn on the driveway with lots of serious pecking marks, a nest on the ground, and no sign of mom. Luckily, Grace is too young to figure out what happened, or we would be in family therapy right now.

And some Fu@%^ing rabbits just ate all of the leaves off my brand new cosmos that weren't even in the ground yet. Last week, they went after the parsley.

I will be seeking permission for a shotgun later today.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Sad Day

Grant McLennan died last week.

It’s okay if you don’t know who he was. Most people didn’t.

He was one of the founders of The Go-Betweens, a revered Australian pop group.

I never actually liked the Go-Betweens, even though I have promised myself to give those records another listen.

I first heard Grant (then known as “G.W. McLennan”) while driving a cargo van in the Hudson Valley with my wife. We were returning a sound mixer’s gear to his country house somewhere in Ulster County that I can’t remember when we stumbled upon this great radio station, WDST, out of Woodstock. (WDST is still on the air, and while it isn’t as great as it used to be it is better than any commercial rock station in New York City.)

“Easy Come Easy Go”, even played through those shitty rental van speakers sounded fantastic. Simple 2 part harmonies, luscious guitar hooks, and clever songwriting. I was an instant fan.

Over the intervening years, I only saw him perform once, but I bought every record and was always pleased. He was one of those performers who no matter what, I always bought his new record when it came out.

This is one of those times I wish I had something big to say. I don’t. I just enjoyed his work and am sad that he was taken before he finished making music.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Somebody call Ripley's

Did you know that Keith Richards had brain surgery today to relieve bleeding on his brain.

The reason for the operation is...

He fell out of a coconut tree while on holiday.

Could you imagine if he dies of this?
"Noted heroin addict and alcoholic dies from Coconuts."

Here is the link:

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Quiz Show

Click the link for a good geography quiz c/o the National Geographic.

If you email me, I will tell you my score.

Why I love vacation

Becasue I can make things like this:

In case you are wondering, that is 35 bags of sand at 40lbs. each.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Definitely not Neil Young

It would seem that my band Loaded has finally bitten the dust.

Not for any rancor or internal strife. We have simply ossified, faded away.

Perhaps we'll have a last waltz sort of thing that nobody will attend, or not. Hard to say as we can't seem to even get a rehearsal together for the last 6 months.

For those of you who saw us over the years, thanks.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Too Soon?

The feature film "Flight 93" is being released next week. I've had discussions with several people about it and some believe it is too early for a movie like that, seeing that the day was less than 5 years ago. My initial impression is that we as a society should be able to handle this story, especially as it is the first moment in the "War on Terror" (not my slogan, that's for sure).

Is it too early? What say you?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Nuking Iran? Naah, let's cover the story about the missing cat!

If you haven't read the Sy Hersh piece in the New Yorker, do so.

If we really nuke Iran, then we will move from this country. That is simply too insane to think about.

To encapsulate it: Iran is about 9-10 years from getting a nuke (according to OUR State Dept.) so we better nuke them BEFORE the 2006 mid-term elections to help our GOP congressional candidates.

But there is a cat trapped in a store in Manhattan, so we better cover that story instead! See link.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Renters vs. Owners

I have been thinking about the administration's idea of a guest worker program so people could easily come to this country to work.

After thinking long and hard, I am going to pull a Thomas Friedman and explain my thoughts with a silly analogy.

You know those houses each summer at the Hamptons that are filled with various renters sharing the place. Invariably at the end of the summer, the place is somewhat trashed and there is much repair work to do.

A Guest worker program is like saying to these people, "You are welcome to rent here but owning is out of the question. Sorry, but you have to leave at the end of the season." Except that in this case, they make the illegal aliens rent the house all winter and kick them out before Memorial Day.

Is there any stupider idea than allowing people into this country but telling them that they have no stake in living here, that there is no future for them other than they can make some money before we kick them out. I can't think of a better way to create a group of people who feel they can trash the place. Why not, they don't own it!

End of silly analogy.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006



I think you know what I said.

P.S. I am a 42 year old man rooting for a bunch of pituitary cases (hat tip W. Konigsberg) throwing a ball into a hoop (hat tip Annie Hall).

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Question for any Dead Head

We were in Prospect Park today when we came upon a group of 5 people playing hacky-sack. I really have no opinion about it, other than it seems like only deadheads played it, so I imagine it is something to be done while stoned.

That said, I have never in my life seen any group of hackys-sack players who were any good at it. Today was no exception. I watched these people today and they never got more than 2 "hackys" in a row before the "sack" fell back to earth. And no, these folks were not on acid.

Do you have to like the Dead to do this, or will Phish/Dave Matthews work as well? Just curious.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

It could alway get worse

I saw this sign outside a courthouse in Queens where we were filming yesterday. No comment required.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Back to High School

Recently I read that Epic was re-releasing the last 2 good Cheap Trick albums (they released a bunch after these, but this was the end of the line for them), Dream Police & All Shook Up.

I am happy to report that they hold up quite nicely, even though All Shook Up is really only half of a good record, but the re-release contained all of the "lost" EP Found All the Parts. Dream Police is about 2/3 a good record, but all of those wonderful high school memories... (except the one where I took my old girlfriend to see them at the Ft. Pierce Jai Alai Fronton during the One on One tour and we argued the whole show. They sucked by then, and she was simply a horror show).

Scoff all you want about these guys but I will go to the mat to defend everything up to 1981. Sure, everything is one giant Beatles ripoff filtered through 50 Marshall Stacks, but so what. Listening to Dream Police I can distinctly remember playing along on my Strat to the record so I'm happy I picked them up.

I also picked up the new record by Lewis Taylor called Stoned that my friend Carter recommended. This guy is something else! If you think there isn't enough Wah Wah pedal in today's music, rush out & get it.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Words Flying Like The Fists of Bruce Lee

Every day brings a torrent of new words from Grace. She will attempt to say any word you give her these days.
2 syllables - No Problem
3 syllables - She'll give it a whack

New words this week include:
Cereal (very clear)
Brocky (broccoli)
Wankel Rotary Engine

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Quick Thought

Sarah has a big birthday this weekend.
We are spending it quietly.

Feel free to call her and say hello (Sunday is the day).

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Peer Pressure

I have a question.

In the socio-economic group (yuppies who have had kids late) and neighborhood (Park Slope) we find ourselves in, there is a trend to send children to a rudimentary form of school at the age of 2. That's right. School at 2.

It is euphemistically referred to as a "Twos program" and it is essentially 2 or 3 days a few for a few hours.

Many (in fact all except one who is now wavering) of the mothers that Sarah is socializing with are putting their children in such a program. I have voiced my opinion that I think it is essentially a load of rubbish but I am sensitive to the fact that she is experiencing massive pressure to send Grace to this rudimentary form of learning.

Is it wrong of me to think that just because these "schools" charge more than $5000 a year for "schooling" 2 year olds that it is for the most part it is simply a way to part affluent, nervous parents from their money? I don't doubt that there is some value in this, but this plays completely into the irrational fear that modern parents have. It is especially pernicious in urban parents who have had children later in life. They (we) tend to be better off academically & financially. We also highly value education. If Pre-K is good for the kid, how about 2 more years of school? That will really give my child super brainpower (and social connections). The fear then becomes that if your child doesn't go into a 2's program, then perhaps they won't get into the "right" preschool, and then they won't get into the right elementary school, and the next thing you know, Harvard is out and Palm Beach County Community College is their only option. I am not exaggerating.

I grew up in Florida where education was not this competitive, so I freely admit I have my biases on this issue. But I also resent the fact that there is all this pressure on a school decision for a child who still shits its pants. It smacks of am elitism I have never been comfortable with.
There is a notion that "nothing is too good for my child" that I am very leery of. It allows one to rationalize all sorts of poor decisions, from $900 strollers, over vaccination, designer clothing, $100,000 bar mitzvahs, to expensive school for 2 year olds.

It's possible my anti-elitist streak is clouding my judgement. If you have an opinion, I would love to hear from you.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Quail Hunter

I only have one observation about the "incident". If you or I shot someone in the face while out hunting, and the police showed up to investigate, do you think you could tell them to just go away? And then they would? And do you think they would simply accept all of your friends' version of the event, no questions asked?

I didn't think so.
It's good to be the king (behind the throne).

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Note to self

Just worked 115 1/4 hours in 8 days (14.4 hours per day for those keeping score, which equals 6.4 hours PER DAY of overtime for most of America, and way more for most of France).

I AM NOT MY JOB. Lather . Rinse. Repeat.

My wife and daughter have essentially seen me half asleep for 2 weeks (weekends excluded). Hearing "DAAAADDY " in a comatose state is no way to go through life.

Time for bed. Work beckons.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Internets, Part Deux

Came home from work at 4AM after one of the longest weeks I've had in quite some time (71 hours) and decided to do a little research for a new printer on line before going to bed.

Went to and the site was down for maintenence.
Went to and it too was down for maintenence.
Someone is telling me to go to bed.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

The Internets

Not sure if you have followed any of this story, but there was a piece in the NY Times a few weeks asgo about how a NASA scientist was being censored by political appointees at the Agency for speaking out on Global Warming.

Then the other day there was another story about how the same appointee was telling NASA Scientists that they had to say that The Big Bang was only a "theory" when they mentioned it because it didn't allow for the mention of a creator.

Here is a story about that political appointee. It is very much worth a read.

What this means is that if you want to gin up any controversy in this day and age, KNOW that there will be somebody checking you out.

Monday, January 23, 2006

I Heart George Clooney

In case you didn't catch it, George Clooney thanked Jack Abramoff, "just because.." on the Golden Globes this week. Then he mentioned a joke about Jack and "off" in his last name.

From the Associated Press

"PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - The father of disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff says George Clooney’s joke about his son’s name during the Golden Globe Awards made the lobbyist’s 12-year-old daughter cry."

“Your words were deeply hurtful to many innocent and decent people,” Abramoff wrote. “One day the truth about my son will come out and there will be a lot of people in your industry and others lined up to apologize for their efforts to destroy him and our family.”

Uh, no.

And why was your granddaughter up past her bedtime? What kind of effing grandparent are you , letting her stay up that late on a school night? But I bet she's in a real nice expensive private school with all of that tribal casino money.

Shut your gob, Ambramoff, Sr.

Friday, January 20, 2006

I apologize

I would write more, but I don't tend to blog about my work, as most of you know my bidness (and noone gives a shit about TV shows).

Suffice it to say that I am swamped, tired, and having a great time. More to report soon.


Thursday, January 05, 2006

Dr. Robertson, your prognosis is?

According to many sources, Pat Robertson has a theory about Ariel Sharon's stroke.
He suggested that Ariel Sharon's stroke occurred because he was "dividing God's land."

Yeah, that and the 11,255 Corned Beef sandwiches he has eaten over the years.