Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Other "N" Word

I don't use the "N" word.  I know people who do though.

They range from faux-rappers to construction workers to business types.  You know the first kind, the white Jewish kids from the burbs who "wanna be" and refer to one another as "N", while "cruisin'" with their "homies" in Daddy's SUV.

The second sort are the ignorami who fix the clogged drain, the faulty outlet and the dead battery. 

The third type are the rich Republican country clubbers who only encounter people of color as busboys, gardeners and maybe caddies but only the latter because of Tiger Woods.

Not because of Vijay Singh or Lee Trevino, talented minorities who helped pave the way for Tiger.  No, only because of Tiger because he is black.  Not because of Obama because, as we all know, he was born, a Muslim, in Kenya.

So, yeah I know some folks who use the "N" word, and rather liberally at that, which is oxymoronic given the fact that racism is hardly liberal, even if it's perpetrated conservatively.

So when I read about Paula Deen I was dismayed but not shocked.  I had hardly heard of her before all of this fuss about her use of the "N" word but that is because I am not a foodie and hate to watch cooks on TV.

I like to cook, although I am not that good at it and I certainly like to eat, as one view of my profile will attest, but I am bored to within an inch of my life by people pontificating about white wine reduction and imported truffles.

My one exception is Anthony Bourdain and that is because I read his excellent "Kitchen Confidential" and because I have immense respect for his "screw you" attitude.

But I must say that I think it is the epitome of hypocrisy to hold Ms. Deen accountable for behavior that is shared, and in some cases, celebrated by millions of Americans.

We delude ourselves into thinking that we have overcome racism in this country because we have twice elected a black man as president and revere black entertainers and sportsmen.

I contend that we would have elected Mickey Mouse as president when Obama ran because of the complete failure of the Bush administration.  We re-elected Obama because Willard was too out of touch with main stream voters to give us a sense of confidence in his ability to lead all Americans back to the Promised Land.  That doesn't even take into account the absurdity of Paul Ryan and the abject failure of the Republicans in Congress to compromise on anything.

We are a racist society regardless of the laws that have been passed and the occasional high profile success story, and I don't include Justice Thomas in that list.

So, excoriating Ms. Deen for being a racist is like excoriating Martha Stewart for being an inside trader.

We rewarded Ms. Stewart for her behavior (and prison term...) so why not Ms. Deen?

Oh, I know why.

Because inside trading is PC and using the "N" word is not.

I guess we are rather niggardly with our forgiveness then.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


It was never wrong.  It was always right.

Gay Rights.

It's about friggin' time!!

There's Hope


I'm rushing through the supermarket to get home with dog food, juice, milk and ice cream.

I'm afraid that the ice cream will melt in the 90 degree heat. 

I look for the check out line with the least amount of people.  I go to the express, 12 items or less line (I have less than 12...) and queue up.

Just then a little old lady approaches.  I really mean little and old.  Four feet tall, at least late eighties with three or four items and her cane in the carriage.

I look at her and then I look at my ice cream.  I look back at the old woman.

Hmmm...what's a Cub Scout to do.

I then offer her my place in line in the spirit of "what goes around comes around."  She protests but allows me to give her my spot.

Here's where the real magic happened.  The guy in front of me, around my age, with gray hair and dressed as I was in shorts and a tee shirt, sees what's going on and offers the woman his place. 

She protests again but he starts emptying her carriage.

She can't get over it and is complimenting us both on being such "fine gentlemen."

The cashier starts to tally her up.  She could use a special coin that the market gives out to save money on a selected item but doesn't have one.  I give the cashier one of mine and the transaction continues.

The bagger puts the groceries in plastic and the woman says she'd prefer paper so I take the stuff out of the plastic and put it into some paper bags.

When the total appears on the screen and the woman is short, literally and figuratively  She mumbles something about going to the car to get money from her husband but no one is paying attention. I look how much the shortfall is and if it is a buck or two I'll kick in.

It's over $15.00, a bit steep for my Samaritan impulses and, believe me, at that moment, I feel really bad and bemoan the fact that I hadn't done my homework in high school so I would have a better paying job and could afford to treat the old woman to her groceries.

But just then my compatriot jumps in!  He asks the cashier how much the difference is and forks over a twenty!

The woman is embarrassed and says so but is also taken by the guy's generosity.  She tries to get his address so she can send him money but he won't hear of it.  She then starts to push her carriage away all the while extolling our virtues.

The guy and I shake hands and talk about the fact that what we did, he really more than I, is a lost art, a forgotten social norm.

Caring for others.  Thinking of your fellow man.  Helping an old lady cross the street.

We are a society of special interests whether in Washington or on Main Street.  My parking space, my flowers, my kids, "my back yard."  Mine, mine, mine...

When I finally checked out the girl behind the counter thanked me and said "God Bless You."

I'm not formally religious and have my questions about God but in that moment her remark felt great.

I had done a selfless thing which, in turn, prompted another to do a selfless thing which, in turn, made an old woman, in the twilight of her existence, feel like there were still people out there willing to see the good and to help and to give love.

And it is true about the Kharma thing.

The ice cream, Rocky Road by the way, made it home still, more or less, frozen and all was right with the world on a hot summer evening in Connecticut.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

False Staff

Let me start by saying that I was, and continue to be, a devoted fan of "The Sopranos" and James Gandolfini.

We own the entire show and have watched it, in it's entirety, jumping around a bit, several times.

We use some of the dialogue in our everyday conversations and have had the thrill of meeting several of the cast members.

I was very sad to hear of the death, last week, of James Gandolfini.  I had enjoyed his work in other roles but especially as Tony Soprano.  Not as Kevin Finnerty though.  Hated Kevin Finnerty.

I feel very sorry for his family, especially his children and for the many friends that he seems to have had.  Death is a very harsh reality to confront, made even more so when it is as sudden as his was.

But he was on holiday with his family in Rome on his way to a film festival.  It probably was a joyous time, apparently celebrating his son's successes at school and in sports.  He had eaten a delicious meal and, hopefully, died a happy man.

I wanted to say all of the above as a preface to this post lest someone think that I am cold-hearted and have no empathy.

I don't think James Gandolfini's passing warrants the flags in New Jersey be flown at half staff.

When I was a kid flags flew that way when someone of national importance or heroic stature died.

Dwight Eisenhower, The Challenger Astronauts, Thurgood Marshall.

Not an actor.

James Gandolfini delighted us for many years with is on-the-money portrayals of hitmen and gangsters and Mafiosi.  He brought life to roles that would have been flat in another actor's hands.

And Tony Soprano will forever be an icon of modern television with his violent quirks, incredible humor and human frailties.

But remember that the character, Tony Soprano, was created by someone else and his words were written for him.

James Gandolfini memorized the lines and took direction better than most.  We awarded him for his acting, his hard work and loved his character.

But that's what it was.  A character.  Tony Soprano was a figment of the creative imagination of a team of individuals, Gandolfini, among them, that didn't exist in real life or in real time. 

Thanks to modern technology, we will be able to enjoy Gandolfini's work in perpetuity and revisit the experiences that his characters had over and over and over again.

Few of us knew James Gandolfini.  By all accounts he was a very private man.  A nice guy with a generous heart and a good sense of humor.

He did some good things like bringing the stories of Afghanistan War veterans to our attention.

Thank you.

But he did not stop war or discover the cure for cancer or save drowning babies from a flood.

He was a very good, if not great, actor who entertained millions during his professional career.

Governor Christie dishonors the many great Americans who gave their lives and/or brilliance to this country.

He issued the order to fly the flags in New Jersey at half staff as a political move in order to capitalize on Gandolfini's, or rather, if we are truthful here, Tony Soprano's death.

The death of a character known for murder, extortion, philandering, dishonesty and betrayal.

James Gandolfini was none of the above.

He may have been from New Jersey but so are hundreds and thousands of other people who die in the Garden State every year.

We should no more lower the flags for them then for Gandolfini.

Soldiers, Presidents...Heroes. 

Not the men who play them on television.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Trust Me

It's not that I don't trust President Obama.  I don't trust any of our political leaders.

Modern politics has it set up so that politicians are more concerned with their donors than they are with the concerns of the voters.

They have to be.  The donors fund the ever increasingly expensive campaigns that these people must run in order to be competitive.

Millions and millions of dollars are spent every cycle for television and transportation and staff.  The politicians are constantly hustling the next fat cat to extract some scratch.

The fat cat, in turn, expects his due once the politician is elected.  He expects his interests to be served by the politician he helped elect.

Gone seem to be the days when men (and women...) went into public office to serve the people and the greater interests of the country as a whole.

In the old days, it seems, politicians saw public service as a duty, one whose rewards were in the passage of meaningful legislation that benefited the citizens or casting a deciding vote to stay out of, or participate in, a just war.

Politicians of old were orators and statesmen and men (and women...) of honor and ethics.

I challenge you to find any Senator or Congressman today who possesses the qualities of the legislative heroes of our past.

Do we have a contemporary Washington or Jefferson or Lincoln or Roosevelt?  Do we have an Aaron Burr or Everett Dirksen or Claire Boothe Luce?

Are any of the stewards of our government called to service because they see it as the highest calling and an honor unto itself?

Hell no!  They see public office as a retirement plan designed to create a lifestyle unknown to most Americans. 

Free health insurance, individualized police protection, transportation, retirement packages.  The list goes on...

The revolving door of Washington politics not only ensures boatloads of money during but also decidedly after one's term(s) in office.

They all tell us what we what to hear just to get elected and then they either do whatever they want or the bidding of their patrons, or should I say "puppetmasters."

They have the same honor that thieves supposedly have.  To themselves and their "families."

Trust me...

Monday, June 17, 2013

Revisitation Rights

I'm sorry but I'm going to have to revisit a topic about which I previously posted a while back.

I was listening to the radio this morning  and I was informed that Prince Philip had been released from hospital in England (the British don't say "the" hospital, they just say "hospital".)  I was also informed that Nelson Mandela remains in hospital in South Africa.

Let's pause for a moment to ponder those two facts.

Two old men in and out of sick bay.

One is a world hero responsible for a cultural shift that liberated an entire country from the shackles of institutionalized racist discrimination and terror and will be remembered throughout history for his struggle and achievement.

The other has done nothing but follow his wife around wearing too many medals and will be forgotten soon after his death.

I understand the British need to celebrate their monarchs.  They are saluting their "noble" past and the wonderful things they have done.

Colonialism, occupation, death, destruction, terror, torture and oppression.  Oh and the Mini Cooper and Spotted Dick, whatever that is...

I know, they survived the Second World War and Churchill was their hero.  As is David Beckham, The Beatles, The Spice Girls and James Bond.

But the fact that these people do nothing while the rest of the "real" world and most of the English, I might add (I did add, actually...), work their asses off for a fraction of the Royal allowance, to me, is a sin.  A SIN I tell ya!

The very week that the inspiring Mother Theresa died, the vacuous Princess Diana died.

We read a line, or maybe two, about the probable saint and we are STILL talking about "Di..."

"Never say Di" is not in our lexicon, apparently.

But now we talk about her in the context of discussions about her sons and, soon to be, grandchild.

Granted, the younger son, what's-his-name, seems like a regular guy, a selfless soldier and a party animal...but all of the rest of them seem to be lazy freeloaders.

And Charles. 

Poor Charles.  With his requited love and the elusive throne.

His mother will probably never die.  She is probably taking pills, paid for by the Exchequer, that will give her eternal life.

Charles will wait until hell freezes over, or until the Colonies revert to the rule of the Crown, whichever comes first, before he assumes the "big seat..."

The Royal Family irritates the crap out of me.

But I am fully aware of the fact that I am merely jealous of their wealth and lifestyle.  I admit that.  Who isn't...really...if you tell the truth.

And I, personally, think I'd look great wearing a tiara.  My mother always said that I had a "hat face."

And the medals.  Bring 'em on...!  All of 'em.  Especially the OBE. 

I wan an OBE.  OBE wan Kev OBE!! (Star Wars reference...get it?  No?  Lame joke...?'re right...)

If I had one then I'd almost be a Beatle.  John, Paul, George, Ringo, Pete, Billy and Kevin. 

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Je Refuse...

Question:  What do you have if you give a small shore bird to a group of convicts?

Answer:  A tern for the worst.

Sorry folks...I couldn't help myself.

Which brings me to my point of the day.  What is it with growing old?

I am reminded everyday of my age and, therefore, my mortality.  You see, I have a teenaged daughter, sixteen years old to be exact.

She is finishing her sophomore year in high school, has a wonderful boyfriend, a job, a learner's permit and is on the High Honor roll.

She is still my little girl, as you would expect, but she is fast becoming a woman.

I am now the passenger in the car when we go to school in the morning or work in the evening.

I sit and wait while she visits the ATM to deposit her check or to withdraw money.

We're talking about college and we even talk about what it could look like when I'm much older and she is, possibly, forced to care for me.

I say possibly because it is not a fait accompli that I will need her help.  I may be healthy enough to care for myself.

I may be too egocentric to let her help me or I may be dead before the question comes up.

But however it turns out I am becoming more aware of what I have always known to be true.  Whatever it is, it is all in the mind.

When I think of myself, I see, in my mind's eye, a young guy full of energy and the sense of possibility.  One of my favorite expressions when I was coming up was, "I can make that happen for you."

I applied that idea to everything from getting gigs as a musician to getting girls for my friends.

I saw a challenge and instead of running away from it I embraced it.  I just couldn't, or wouldn't, hear the word "no" or entertain the notion that I couldn't achieve the outcome I was after.

And I proved it over and over again.

I have fixed up friends, some of whom have ended up married for a long time.  I have created business opportunities when there weren't any openings.  I have even found, sometimes literally on the side of the road, the things I was looking for, from a bandana for my girlfriend's hair when we were on a motorcycle trip in upper Marin to a working kiln...a working kiln...for my pot-throwing former wife.

Intention and a sense of can-do possibility were the guiding principles that motivated my life for as long as I can remember.

But, not too surprisingly, of late, my energy has dimmed and my ambition has slowed.

I no longer daydream of being the next Grammy winning singer songwriter to be played, endlessly, on the radio.

I don't envision myself as a wealthy man retiring to my summer home in The South of France (although I will live there some day...)

I probably will not ever finish "A Tale of Two Cities" much to the chagrin of my late mother who almost never missed an opportunity to wonder whether I had or would any time in the near future...

So lately, I have been content to putter in my garden and to watch my delightful daughter grow into a smart, funny, sensitive and capable young woman.  It seems as though, now on Social Security, that I am happy to just wait out my days in the growing tedium of The Golden Years.

But that very picture of my life today is what has me agitated.  Screw that I say...!

I'm not ready yet to throw in the towel and call it quits.  I still have dreams and energy and ideas and the sense of what is possible.

I talk about the latter almost everyday when my daughter will suggest that she can't do this or can't do that.  I tell her, repeatedly, that she can.  She can do anything she wants to do just as long as, in the words of my hugely successful winemaker friend Dario Sattui, she really wants to do it.

So if I still think that's true than I must not have lost the juice to get it done.  I must still have what it takes to realize my dreams and accomplish my personal goals.

It is okay if I have trimmed my sights a bit.  I may not win a Grammy but I may not be trying to either.  I may be content to sit on my porch, surrounded by the splendor of my pastoral bird and flower filled (thanks to my beautiful wife...the flowers that is) back yard and perfect the melody from "Ain't Misbehaven'" on my 1967 Martin 00-18 guitar.

Truth is, I ain't misbehaven' at all.

But I'm sure thinkin' 'bout it again...!


Question:  What are you doing when you're driving by a car full of criminals in Prague?

Answer:  You're passing Bad Czechs...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I'm Sorry

I must most sincerely apologize for my absolute lack of any enthusiasm for politics these days.

I mourn the past with a great deal of emotional pain.  Gone are the days of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton and even Willard Romney, although all of the above make occasional forays into the news from time to time.

But the fire is out.  They all brought excitement.  The current crowd is tedious, self-absorbed and boring!

I remember feeling that, as a result of reading "Advise and Consent", the fabulous faux-fiction opus by Allen Drury and The Watergate Scandal, I could never trust the Republicans let alone be one.

I confess that my first legal vote was cast for Richard Nixon in 1972 but that was as much a result of the fact that my father was a Republican as that I was.  I hardly knew how to shave let alone form a cogent political thought.

Then the Clinton Lewinsky mess tempted me a bit but that was all about sex and Ken Starr's obsession so I gave the notion no never mind.

I also will confess that I voted for Barack Obama both times.  First because I was afraid the formerly sane John McCain, with whom I spent New Year's Eve on the campaign in New Hampshire bin '07, and who was a genuinely likeable guy, would die in office and leave us in the hands of the seemingly incompetent and scary Sarah "The Moose" Palin.

The second time was because I couldn't stomach Willard and Mrs. Willard and the thought of them running the country reminded me of the jerks I knew at boarding school (yes, my friends, I am a Preppy...) who got away with everything simply because their fathers were rich and who had everything simply because their rich parents were in absentia and thought that presents and money equalled love.

As to that last point, I'm here to tell you that money does not equal love in the slightest.  My parents didn't have very much of it and I have never been as loved in the way that I was by them.

But now being of one party or another means little or nothing.

Both parties are corrupt and both are only concerned with getting and maintaining power and don't give a good God damn about the country, its' citizenry or its' future.

None of the men or women currently in Washington have ethics or courage or honor.

They vote according to the dictates of their patrons and the rest of us be damned.

They wave the flag, weep crocodile tears and bemoan the fact that the middle class has evaporated all the while voting themselves pay raises, avoiding sensitive votes and investigations and sending our babies off to war.

So I started out as a Republican, became a Democrat, morphed into an Independent and am now just bored to tears.

Which, by the way are just about all I, or most of us, have to give.  We have given our blood.  We have given our sweat.

All that's left are our tears.

Tears for fears...

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Timing is Everything

Chapter One

Timing is everything.  Brinnie knew that if she could wait until the end of the recital she'd be alright.
She also knew damned well that if she gave in and sneezed right then she would create a disturbance and ruin the evening.

Brinnie was not in the habit of playing by the rules.  She had spent her life, so far, doing pretty much what she wanted, whenever she wanted without much regard for the consequences.

She had been raised by her mother and her four older brothers.  Her father had left them shortly after Brinnie was born and they never heard from him again.  Her oldest brother, Mike, said once that he thought their father was in the Navy in San Diego working as a machinist but no one bothered to find out if that was true.

Brinnie could have found out easily if she had wanted to.  She knew where to look and who to call but wasn't that interested.

Mike had been like a father to her and she figured that finding the real thing would have only been confusing.  She didn't need the headache. 

Mike had always been there for her.  Her first period.  Her training bra.  Her Senior Prom when he chased Albert Conswiker all the way to his house after Albert had tried to kiss her.

Actually that pissed her off a lot as she had wanted Albert to kiss her but Albert was painfully shy, much more so than Brinnie.

When Albert put his arm around Brinnie and leaned in to kiss her he accidentally stepped on her toes.

She was, uncharacteristically, wearing open toed shoes as a part of her prom ensemble and when Albert landed she screamed.

Mike had been nearby talking with some friends and when he heard Brinnie cry out he, naturally, thought that Albert was getting cute and came running.

When Albert saw Mike approaching at the same speed he had exhibited as a star end on the football team, Albert took off toward his house which was not that far away on Hillside.

Brinnie lived on the other side of town in an area known as The Marshes.  It was an odd name given that the closest marsh was 100 miles to the south near the ocean.  The developer thought it was a clever name to give to the subdivision and even gave the streets nautical names like Dune Drive and Seagrass Circle.

Mike caught up to Albert and was just about to pop him one when Brinnie came limping up, yelling for Mike to stop.  She explained that Albert had done nothing wrong but the damage was already done.  Albert never did kiss Briniie.  In fact he never spoke to her again and she never forgot, even though she, as always, forgave Mike.  She certainly gave Mike a piece of her mind as he drove her home though.  If nothing else, Brinnie was definitely not shy.

She left home shortly after the end of school and has not been back to The Marshes since.  Mike still lives in the family house.  He married Natalie after college and their kids go to the same high school he did.  Mikey has tried to get on the football team but he's not very strong and no where near as fast as Mike was.  Coach made him a trainer for the season but Mike is still disappointed. 

He tries not to show it to Mikey but Mikey knows it anyway.  That may be one of the reasons why Mikey is gay but neither Mike nor Natalie know.

Brinnie knows but she would never tell Mike.  She is really more of a mother to Mikey than Natalie and Mikey confides in her, mostly because he knows he can trust her.

Brinnie grew up taking care of herself, pretty much.  Her mother, Margaret, was a good mother but somewhat aloof when it came to mother-daughter relations.

Margaret found it difficult to understand what Brinnie needed.  Margaret had been the only child, albeit adopted, of a very wealthy couple and her father was rarely home.

Margaret's relationship with her mother, Grollie as the kids called her, was strained at best.  Grollie spent all of her time at "The Club" right up until her death at 92.

As a matter of fact Grollie died at "The Club" right after lunch one day.  She just passed away in her chair at the table.  The waiter found her slumped over shortly after he had brought her coffee.

She had eaten the salmon and decided to have a small piece of Key Lime Pie before her coffee.

That was the last meal Grollie had.  Broiled salmon on rice with asparagus.  Key Lime Pie and coffee.

Brinnie hated Key Lime Pie.  She found it too sour.  She could tolerate it when Grollie served it for dessert but only because of the whipped cream.

It was real whipped cream with a lot of sugar added.  Alba, Grollie's cook, made the best whipped cream around and often gave Brinnie the spoon to lick if Brinnie happened to be in the kitchen when Alba was making dinner.

Brinnie loved Alba but didn't trust her.  Brinnie had seen Alba stealing from Grollie's pocketbook once but didn't say anything to Grollie.  She didn't want to get Alba into trouble.

Brinnie figured that Grollie could spare the $20 and if Alba needed it badly enough to steal it than what the hell.  No harm, no foul.

So Brinnie decided "what the hell" and let go a whopper.  It was a four-parter and went from a huge inhalation to a dramatic earth-shaking finish.  Four separate times.

Once would have been bad enough but four times? 

It actually saved the evening for Brinnie and almost everyone else in the room.  The music had been deadly boring and not well done at that. 

Mozart is often delightful and Brinnie loved almost all classical music but this performance had been tedious from the outset.

The recital had been made even more unbearable because Brinnie had been forced to go with Jackson DiLoretta.

Jackson thought of himself as a man of the world.  He was, after all, her boss but he was an incompetent when it came to personal relationships.

Brinnie had originally found Jackson very attractive but after she had worked for him for a few months she began to see him for what he really was...a poser.

Jackson had been a legacy at Columbia and that was the only reason he had gotten in.  He desperately wanted to be a WASP but his Italian last name made that impossible.

His father had pulled strings to get him an interview at The State Department and after he got his first assignment he quickly started going after what he really wanted which was a position at The CIA.

Brinnie had been recruited right after high school.  She was beautiful, tough as nails and unusually smart. 

When the recruiter approached her in the park across from her house that early July day she had no idea what the future would look like. 

She would find out very soon thereafter...

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

PC Be Damned!

I will take heat for this post but I don't care.  I'm feeling ornery, cantankerous and grumpy today so watch out...!

I think Republican female politicians and pundits are more physically attractive than their Democratic counterparts.

There...I said it.  Let the hostile, angry, foaming comments begin.

What?  Nothing?  Nobody?  The sounds of apathetical silence...

But really.  Sarah Palin, Michelles Bachmann and Malkin and Ann Coulter are, by traditional western standards of beauty, pretty darned good looking.  "Darned", for the uninitiated, means "damned" in the "non-cursing" crowd.  It is often replaced by "danged" or "goll-durned..."

Anyway.  Who do the Democrats have who can compete?  Hillary, Rachel, Barbara, Dianne?

I don't think so.

Palin is a babe.  Take those glasses off and she's every man's fantasy.

Bachmann is petite and coquettish and Coulter is smokin'...

George W. Bush had the reputation of being the sort of guy you'd want to have a beer with (or a near beer seeing as how he's a recovering alcoholic...) even though you may not like his politics.

The same can be said about Palin, Bachmann and the like.  They are attractive women even though their political positions are contrary to almost everything some folks stand for.

But then that raises an interesting issue.  Attraction is a combination of the physical and the mental.
I've been attracted to many women over the years who, once they opened their mouths became as ugly as the north end of a southbound dog.  As my beautiful wife is wont to say, "Don't speak..."

So maybe Sarah Palin is attractive just standing there but the unfortunate thing is that she and Bachmann and Coulter and Malkin and Matalin and all of the rest of the Republican women on today's political stage can't keep their mouths shut.

Maybe I should have given Bella Abzug a second look when I had the chance, may she rest in peace.

After all, you've got to have something to talk about after the fact aside from, "was that good for you...?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Yes, We Cannes...


This post starts out in a very pompous, name dropping, sort of way, but redeems itself later on.
I just couldn't help myself.  Sorry...

A few years ago my beautiful wife and I were driving through the South of France returning to Paris from the Cannes Film Festival which we had been credentialled to cover for The Associated Press.

While we were there we had made a side trip to Tuscany to stay with a friend at his converted 10th century monastery in Rigomano.

We had rented a small car for our trip because we were carting gear and needed the flexibility.

The morning we were leaving Tuscany I came out to find a flat tire.

It took me about and hour to find the spare and the jack.  It was all hidden in secret compartments in a very clever, space saving, way.

I finally located the stuff and, in no time, changed the tire and we were on our way.

A few days later, as we were passing just north of Avignon, we pulled into a rest stop, an "Aire" as the French call it, to take a short break from the road.

As we were leaving we passed an older woman next to a car similar to mine, with a flat tire.

I pulled over and got out to ask if I could help.  She, with some hesitation, said "Oui" and I proceeded to change her tire just as quickly as I had changed mine a few days earlier helped by the fact that I knew where to look in her car to find the requisite tools.

"Merci, Monsieur."

"Il n'y a pas de quoi, Madame.  Bonne Route."

Fast forward to yesterday.

I was driving on the highway when a full sized pick up truck flew past and then, abruptly, stepped on the brakes.

I saw the passenger window coming down and I thought it was a friend slowing to say hello to me.

I sped up a bit to pull along side.  I had a big smile and was ready for a big "Howdy Do."

It wasn't a friend, after all, but a cigar chomping somebody gesturing to my truck and telling me, unintelligibly, that I needed to know something.

I looked back with puzzlement and he just kept pointing.

I waved and mouthed "thank you" and he drove off.

I had to decide whether to pull over on a stretch of road in the middle of nowhere or continue on to the next exit where there would be services.

I was on a deadline and was afraid to pull over on the shoulder for fear that if I had a big problem it would be more complicated to fix and I would be late.

I drove on, slowly, to the next exit a few miles ahead.  I pulled into a gas station, parked and got out to look.  Sure enough my front, driver's side tire was almost flat!

I pulled up to then air compressor and filled the tire.

The payoff for which you have been patiently waiting and for which you suffered the opening pomposity...?

Kharma my friends...Kharma.

Sometimes generous actions don't return to you in kind but sometimes, as in this case, they do.

"What goes around comes around."

Remember that the next time to treat someone poorly.

Their Kharmic representative may just decide, Cuban in hand, to pass you by...

Happy Motoring!