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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

That Face, That Laugh, That Hair!


In a recent interview the incomparable Phyllis Diller was asked to tell her favorite gay joke. This is what she said:

I went to a gay wedding recently, and instead of the garter I caught the jockstrap. I was uneasy with it at first, but then I decided to have it bronzed. Now I serve dip in it.


I laughed and laughed and laughed.

She's a legend.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

12 Gems

It's been decades since I've purchased a Neil Diamond recording. He lost me somewhere in the early 80s when he sang a song about that over-rated creature from outer space, ET. What was he thinking? "Turn on your heartlight. Let it shine wherever you go…" I wanted that damn ET to burn out and die. From there it was downhill all the way for Neil and me. I yearned for the Neil of yore, the Brill Building writer who gave us "Solitary Man," "Sweet Caroline," "Holly Holy," "Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show," and "I Am I Said."

Just when I had written him off as someone that I used to like, he comes out with "12 Songs," produced by the incredible Rick Rubin (who brought the Dixie Chicks back from the Bush backlash). It's the CD he was destined to make. The songs are deep and emotional with none of the schmaltz that's plagued his past recordings. This is stripped down music that reinvents Neil Diamond the artist.

Treat yourself for Christmas and purchase this wonderful CD.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I Fell In Love With An Ape


He stood in the setting sun
crashing waves made him seem gigantic
One look in his eyes I came undone
so romantic
On the dunes of the cape
I fell in love with an ape

He moaned and I felt no fear
every touch was a touch so tender
I sighed and he entered me right there
I surrendered
In my heart there's no escape
I fell in love with an ape


Monkey skin as tough as leather
and a heart as soft as a feather
My burly baby and me
make perfect love together



Some say he's a different species
He's got arms that extend too long
One look and it's clear to see he's
my own King Kong
I'll take him any size or shape
I fell in love with an ape

© MC528. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sex, Sex, Sex, and More Sex

As everyone flocked to the nearest Cineplex this weekend to see Borat, Happy Feet or Santa Claus 3, I ventured out and saw Shortbus, John Cameron Mitchell's deliciously delightful sexual romp through the streets and alleys of post 9/11 Manhattan. It's fresh, thought provoking, carnal, and one of my favorite films this year.

This film has real sex, not the simulated kind you usually see in movies. And there's plenty of it too. It might be offensive to some (prudes!), but beneath the parade of sexual activity there's a heartfelt story, exploring the lives of emotionally and sexually challenged people as they venture through their daily lives.

There's a gay couple grappling with their monogamous relationship, a dominatrix with relationship issues, a voyeur, and a sex therapist who's never achieved orgasm. They all make their weekly visits to Shortbus, a modern-day sex salon, where they come face to face with their sexuality.

Shortbus has got great dialogue, humor, and a kickass soundtrack.

By the end of the film you'll be wondering which character you most resemble.

Who's mine? I'll never tell…

Well, maybe for a price. Any offers?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Big Paperclip, Stupid

Yesterday I was at work and I gave my boss a stack of papers neatly grouped and held together by a paperclip. She looked at the paperclip, yanked it from the papers, and threw across the desk sneering that she only liked big paperclips. At first I thought she was kidding and I laughed. Then I saw her icy stare and realized she was serious. This woman wanted a big paperclip and she wanted it now. Penis envy? I think so.

The other day she called me over to her desk and handed me a piece of paper saying it needed to be three-hole punched. She then handed me the three-hole puncher she had on her desk. I stood in front of her and calmly punched the holes in the paper, all the while wanting to punch a hole in her.

Her behavior is so unnecessary. Unfortunately there are others like her.

A friend of mine recently worked as an assistant for a woman who loved the color purple. Actually she didn't love it as much as she was possessed by it. Everything she wore was purple. Everything she wrote was in purple ink. Her car was upholstered in purple fabric. I can only imagine what her home must've been like. Purple? For sure!

My friend, who hated the color purple, was forced to write only with purple pens, use purple post-its, and have all emails in purple text. If it wasn't purple his boss wasn't going acknowledge it.

The purple lady's personality was as strange as her purple obsession. She went through assistants faster than it took for her purple ink to dry. How scary is that?

I often wonder what makes people act this way? I assume it's low self-esteem combined with a desperate need to feel important and be the center of attention. Will these bullies ever wake up and see the error of their ways? We can only hope.

Maybe the paperclip lady should get together with the purple lady… now that would make a great episode of "The Office."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Native North American Child

There are a handful of musical artists as relevant today as they were when they first came onto the music scene. Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen certainly come to mind. There's also Native American singer/songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie.

She began her career in the sixties singing in coffeehouses but was soon blacklisted by the Johnson administration for her outspoken views on the Vietnam War and the plight of the Native Americans. She went on to earn worldwide acclaim but was sadly overlooked in the United States.

Her classic songs include: "Universal Soldier" (a hit for Donovan), "Until It's Time For You To Go" (recorded by Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, Cher, and numerous others) and "Up Where We Belong," the theme from "An Officer And A Gentleman" which earned her an Oscar for Best Original Song.

I've been a huge Buffy fan for many years. Her unique voice and passion hits you with an incredible power. If you don't know her you need to discover her now. I recommend her beautiful CD "Up Where We Belong," a collection of new recordings of some of her most loved songs.

It's difficult for me to name just a few but here are some of my all-time favorite Buffy songs:

"Native North American Child"
"Cod'ine"
"Little Wheel Spin and Spin"
"Starwalker"
"Now That The Buffalo's Gone"
"My Country 'Tis of They People You're Dying"
"Soldier Blue"
"The Big Ones Get Away"
"Fallen Angels"
"He's An Indian Cowboy In The Rodeo"
"Moonshot"
"Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee"

What's really exciting is that a live CD of her Carnegie Hall concert is finally being released in December. Fans have been waiting a long time for this treasure.

And that's not all! Buffy recently announced a new CD of new songs coming "in the spring of 2007."

Wow. 'Tis the season of Buffy…

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Kite Runner


I'm a voracious reader and am constantly searching the bookshelves of my local library. Last week I stumbled across THE KITE RUNNER by Khaled Hosseini. It is one of the best novels I've read this year (and I've read quite a few).

Hosseini takes us into the world of Amir and his father Baba, their life in Afghanistan, and their journey to the United States. This incredible novel (and New York Times bestseller) is about relationships, love of country, and the fragile bonds of friendship.

Read it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Naked Truth

I was driving south on Western Avenue in Hollywood recently when the strangest thing happened. I had just crossed Sunset Boulevard when I saw a rather large woman walking north. She strutted her stuff with confidence and had a huge smile on her face.

She also had no top on. That's right, her boobies hung like lanterns against her ample belly. At first it looked like she was wearing a shirt with two big buttons, but as they bounced up and down it was clear they were naked boobies.

Looking lower I saw what I thought was a very skimpy black bikini bottom. It wasn't. Her kitty cat was on full display.

I swerved and almost hit the oncoming traffic.

She saw me and laughed so hard she almost fell off her high heels. Yes, she was wearing black shoes.

She waved.

I waved back.

She continued walking.

I continued driving.

Ah Los Angeles!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I Remember Tracy

Red hair.

Beautiful smile.

Incredible personality.

Her name was Tracy Hadinger. We went to grammar school together.

When we were in fourth grade she fell in gym class. No one thought anything of it but it turned out to be the beginning of a nightmare. She had bone cancer.

She was sick for a very short while and died the week of Halloween. Her funeral was the day before our Halloween costume party.

One of my favorite memories I have of Tracy is at a school pageant. I cannot remember what we were celebrating but I remember Tracy in a bright green dress singing like an angel. Her smile was as bright as her hair.

It's been over thirty years since then yet every October I think of Tracy.

I'll never forget her.

Monday, October 16, 2006

MacArthur's Park Is Melting…













"MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
'Cause it took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again"

Richard Harris first sang those often-misunderstood words in the 1960s and Donna Summer lit up the dance floors with her disco version in 1978.

When I first moved to Los Angeles I was curious to see this magical place immortalized in song… and what a dump it was! Just driving by the park made me yearn for a shower and disinfectant. There was no way in hell I'd get out of the car and walk through the place. I was certain I'd never get out alive. The MacArthur Park of song was nothing like the actual MacArthur Park.

But surprisingly over the past few years something wonderful has happened. MacArthur Park is no longer the drug and rat infested eyesore with lake water that could burn holes in your skin. Now it's a beautiful urban oasis with green grass, lake, lights, and a wonderful sense of community.

So what brought me back to MacArthur Park?

Tamales.

I love tamales and will travel far and wide for the best tamales possible. A Latino friend of mine took it upon himself to introduce me to the best kept secret in Los Angeles: MAMA'S HOT TAMALES CAFÉ located at 2124 West Seventh Street overlooking MacArthur Park.

What makes Mama's so unique is that it's a non-profit apprentice operated business-training restaurant for street vendors. The apprentices prepare, cook, and serve tamales from various Latin American countries.

This past week I feasted on two tamales: the Acapulco pork tamale and the Valley of Oaxaca chicken tamale made with black mole.

Next week I'm going back and will try the Michoacan beef tamale made with pasilla chile sauce and the Honduras chicken tamale made with potatoes, olives, raisins and rice.

Besides tamales Mama's also offers salads, burritos, quesadillas, fajitas, and tostadas.

But for me it's all about the tamale. Mmm, mmm, good!

Be sure to check out more on Mama's and the "Rediscover MacArthur Park" project at www.iurd.org/mamasHotTamales.

© 2006 MC528. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, October 13, 2006

My Lesson In Unconditional Love

Raising a child is a daunting, sometimes terrifying task that not everyone is capable of doing successfully. I admit I would not make a great parent. Mediocre at best, and that's on a good day. You would never find me coaching Little League, participating in community activities, creating arts and crafts, or running for president of the PTA or the Suburban Historical Society.

I guess you could say my household, if I had children, would be a cross between The Addams Family and The Osbournes. There'd be lots of love and creative expression, but little conformity.

A parent I'm not but an incredible uncle I am. I have a niece and a nephew I adore more than life itself. Because we live 3,300 miles apart our relationship is based on telephone conversations (sometimes many a week) and visits whenever possible. I'm west coast, they're east coast. I work very hard at being part of their lives and my reward is their love. Sometimes it overwhelms me.

What I've noticed is that as they're getting older (heading into those teen years) our conversations have become more grownup, sometimes touching on pertinent issues where the lines between right and wrong are blurred. To my surprise I've found we share differences of opinion. It's like we're from two totally different families, two totally different worlds.

I am liberal, outspoken, with a somewhat skewed sense of humor. I couldn't care less what people think of me. My niece and nephew are being raised in a more conservative environment. Our different ways of thinking have made me stop and wonder how to react to some of their comments without causing undue commotion.

As an example, I made an anti-war comment to my niece during one of our Saturday night conversations. Her reaction took me totally by surprise. She was appalled I felt the way I did. I didn't know what to say. I honored her opinion and I hoped that she would honor mine, but that wasn't the case. She refused to think my thoughts were valid.

I was torn. Should I insist she acknowledge my opinion and possibly create a rift with her and my brother or should I respect my brother's wishes and not interfere with his parenting and not interject my alternative views? With anyone else I would have turned it into a larger conversation, maybe even a healthy argument, but I refrained from saying anything more.

It’s not always about politics either. It’s other issues like watching too much television, eating unhealthy fast foods, and accepting people no matter who they are. How far can I go before I am crossing the line? My brother and his wife trust me completely with their children. I don't want to break that trust though I want to stay truthful to myself.

My niece and nephew are my family and as with all families having different opinions can cause major strife. I know people who no longer speak with family members over the most trivial issues. I do not want that to happen to us. They’re my brother's children and I certainly do not want to interfere with how he's raising them. The fact is he's doing an incredible job. They're well behaved, fun-loving, intelligent, kind hearted children. Am I being selfish for wanting them to understand my beliefs?

Friends give me lots of advice from "speak up" to "keep your mouth shut" to everything in between. I don't think there is a right answer here. All I can do is accept my niece and nephew's opinions. I might not understand why they believe what they do, but I need to honor it. Yes it can be frustrating but my love for them is too strong to let these differences put a wedge between us.

I have to remind myself that I am the uncle, not the parent. If they were my children would I want relatives undermining what I was teaching them? Probably not.

So I've decided to hold my tongue and not incite arguments, though I do look forward to the day when they enter their rebellious phase (maybe I'm still in mine). Until then with each conversation I am learning lessons of acceptance and love, unconditional love.

© 2006 MC528. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Wine, Kids, and Nightmares

Not long ago a friend and I took a day trip and visited the wineries in Temecula, California. It's beautiful country. We stopped at numerous wineries to taste the various Merlots, Cabernets, and a spectacular dry Grenache Rose. We listened to the histories of the wineries and learned all about the wine making process.

At the last winery we visited I was beginning to feel the effects of wine on an empty stomach. I decided to take a break and sit on the patio and people watch.

Suddenly I thought I was seeing double. I blinked. I squinted. I blinked again. I felt dizzy, dazed. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

Sitting across from me was this little girl with her grandmother. She was maybe four years old. A cute little thing with a page boy haircut and rosy cheeks. Clutched in the girl's arms was another little girl that looked just like her - identical - and in a matching outfit.

I assumed it was her baby sister until she got up and walked around the picnic table dragging the identical twin by the arm. My heart sped up. She was gonna injure that child!

The grandmother was sitting there watching this brutality without saying a word. I yelled out for her to rescue the child.

The grandmother looked at me and smiled. "It's her identical twin doll."

The little girl sauntered over to me and showed me this porcelain creature.

"Isn’t she beautiful?" she asked.

All I could do was muster a faint smile and say "adorable." The truth is I found it weird, freaky. I felt I was trapped in an episode of "The Twilight Zone."

Ever since then I've been having this recurring nightmare where I'm being chased through the streets of a pristine suburban neighborhood by something I cannot see. It's the most terrifying feeling. I run and I run and I run and the terror is hot on my heels.

Suddenly I turn down a side street; a dead end street called Purgatory Way. Beautiful houses are everywhere. I try opening the doors but they're all locked. At the end of the street is a huge red brick wall. I try crawling up the wall but cannot scale it. I let out a primal scream that echoes in the silence that surrounds me.

I slowly turn around and see hundreds and hundreds of dolls that look exactly like me. Their eyes are crazed. Their tongues are wagging like they haven't eaten in weeks. I fall to my knees and beg for my life. Their tiny little arms reach out for me…

And then I wake up in a cold sweat all tangled up in the sheets.

I now hate dolls.

(c) 2006 MC528. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Joke

What do you get when you cross a donkey with an onion?

99.9% of the time you get an onion with very long ears. But 0.1% of the time - if you're lucky - you get a piece of ass so good it makes you wanna cry!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Enough Is Enough

I had a friend.

It took a while to learn I couldn't trust her.

She's no longer my friend.

Good riddance.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Too Loud For Comfort

What do you do when you have an inconsiderate neighbor who refuses to respect others? It's a dilemma that unfortunately disrupts the harmony of living in close quarters. If not handled carefully it can lead to physical confrontations and emotional turmoil.

There are times we all crank up our favorite songs a little bit too loudly. We sing along, we dance, and when it's over we lower the volume to a respectable level. Not everyone loves the same music and your neighbors probably don't welcome your moment of self-indulgence. Being considerate you keep the self-indulgences to a minimum, and know there are times your neighbors will indulge too. If you're asked to lower the volume you do. It's neighborly. It keeps the peace.

In my neighborhood the inconsiderate neighbor is forty-something Roger. Short. Bald. Mean. He lives in the apartment building next to mine. He loves listening to the Carpenters, disco, and National Public Radio. I have nothing against any of these but I want to listen to them when I want to listen to them not when Roger's pretending he's a chanteuse, a disco diva, or intelligent. Truth be told he sings flat, he's certainly not a genuine diva, and I question if his IQ is more than double digits.

I, along with other neighbors, have spoken to Roger on numerous occasions about the volume. He responds by being nasty, cruel, and vulgar. He was so horrible to one elderly neighbor she moved to another part of the building, afraid of what he might do. Another neighbor he tormented so badly by spitting at her and calling her names that she filed a restraining order. He had the audacity to file one against her. She too moved and he celebrated with blaring disco.

It's been suggested he purchase earphones with a very long chord so he could move about doing whatever he does in his apartment and still listen to whatever he wishes. He refuses to entertain such a thought.

The numerous complaints to the landlord fall on deaf ears. The landlord says there's nothing he can do about it. We think the landlord's afraid of him. Should we grin and bear it? Should we let his unacceptable behavior continue? If Roger doesn't want to abide by neighborly considerations what is everybody supposed to do?

My good friend has a neighbor who refuses to close and lock the door to their complex. This woman also refuses to put her trash in the proper receptacle. She puts her household trash in the compost trash barrel whereupon the trash collectors refuse to empty it. What happens is someone in the building, usually my friend, has to go through the trash barrels and fix it. This twenty-something woman has no regard for anyone, and feels she's entitled to do whatever she pleases. She's too young to be so mean. I guess she feels immune to robbery, rapists, and rats. Though something tells me she'd change her behavior if something terrible happened. Hopefully it won't, but is that what it will take for her to change her behavior?

Living in close quarters there are bound to be things I do, you do, we all do that irritates our neighbors. Most times we are not doing it deliberately and if we know it bothers someone we do our best to remedy the situation. Compromise is key. There's nothing worse than warring neighbors especially when a simple act of consideration will bring resolve. Life's too short to live with constant tension and anger, and volumes at overbearing decibels.

Roger doesn't seem to understand his bad behavior is unnecessary. Like a defiant child he stomps his feet and rants and raves. After someone complains he likes to crank the volume louder just long enough to incite everyone to the breaking point. Maybe he never got enough attention as a child? That's something he and a therapist need to discuss. Hopefully he'll get into therapy soon.

Right now I can hear Roger and Karen Carpenter cooing "Close To You." Oh Karen, it’s nice to hear you singing, but not now. Maybe later I'll brush off my own Carpenters LPs and give you a spin. And Roger, please lower the volume and grow up. You’re too old to be acting like a child.

(c) 2006 MC528. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Favorites On My CD Shuffle

A good song is like a glass of good wine. It's priceless.

I love all kinds of music. When people ask what I'm listening to and I tell them they often distort their face like they've just sucked on a bad lemon. I just stare at them long and hard until they feel uncomfortable and begin blubbering about their own musical tastes (or lack thereof).

I used to have a friend who always sneered at pop music or anything she considered "mainstream." She was one of those transparent self-proclaimed "alternative" music lovers. She declared it was beneath her to listen to such trivial pop songs. Then one day I was at her rather dumpy apartment when I sneaked a peak at her CD collection. She was a closet Tiffany fan. I soon dumped the bitch from my roster of friends not because she loved Tiffany but because she laughed at people who did. I'm sure if I looked at the rest of her collection I would have found some Barry Manilow CDs stuffed in the Red Hot Chile Peppers CD box.

Here are a few songs (in no particular order) I cannot seem to get enough of. They take me out of the mundane and bring me to places I've never been.

Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart" and "Me and Bobby McGee:
Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Co'deine" and "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee"
Holly Cole's version of "I Can See Clearly Now" (slow and torchy and simply beautiful)
Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe" (a true classic)
Dusty Springfield's "Son of a Preacher Man"
Madonna's "Ray of Light"
Paul Young's "Love of the Common People"
Tom Waits' "Martha"
Jennifer Warnes' "I'm Restless"
Marianne Faithfull's "The Ballad of Lucy Jordan"
Bob Dylan's "Tangled Up In Blue" (actually, almost everything from Bob Dylan)
Bette Midler's version of Tom Waits' "Shiver Me Timbers"
Kim Carnes' "Brass and Batons"
Dolly Parton's "Down From Dover"

So what are you waiting for? Go grab a glass of wine (preferably a nice Malbec), curl up on the couch, and check out these songs. Let them take you away. You might be surprised at where you go.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Taste This...


Earlier today I took a break from pondering the evolution of mankind and plopped myself down on the couch to watch some television. I channel surfed up and down the dial looking for something to grab my attention. Nothing did yet I couldn't stop myself. Click, click, click. I was having more fun clicking than watching anything for more than a split second.

Suddenly my stomach growled rather loudly reminding me I hadn't eaten in hours. It was then that I landed on a cooking show. Ciao Italia to be exact. The hostess is the delightfully delicious Mary Ann Esposito. She was cooking Hunter-Style Chicken (Chicken Cacciatore).

By the time she finished my mouth was watering, my hunger pangs were louder than a ringing bell, and I almost leaped across the room and licked the television screen. I refrained myself but the urge was overwhelming. I jotted down the ingredients and ran to the market.

For dinner tonight I had a glass of white wine (okay, two glasses) and scrumptious Chicken Cacciatore.

Mary Ann's website is www.ciaoitalia.com

I think I love her.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Chocolate Truffle Cake

I love the hot weather and yesterday It was over 100 degrees in Los Angeles.

So what did I do?

I turned on the oven and baked a chocolate truffle cake. It's a guaranteed party in your mouth!

Here's the recipe:

INGREDIENTS:
1 pound unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons strong coffee
10 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 ounces milk chocolate
8 large eggs
Cocoa or Confectioner' sugar

GARNISH:
Whipped cream
Raspberry or strawberry puree

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom of a 10-inch spring form pan with parchment paper.

Coarsely chop chocolate and set aside.

In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter, sugar, and coffee together, stirring to blend. Remove from stove and add chocolate, stirring to melt. Let cool, then whisk in eggs until thoroughly incorporated. Pour into pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes until cake is done. Cake is done when top has a slight crust and seems set.

If cake rises too fast, reduce heat to 325 degrees and let cook slower.

Chill several hours. Serve cold or room temperature with whipped cream or raspberry or strawberry puree.

Dust top with cocoa or confectioner's sugar.

Enjoy!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tick, Tick, Tick...

Time is certainly a clock in the heart. It begins ticking the moment our hearts start beating in the womb and stops the moment we gasp our last breath. That special time between the first and last tick is most affectionately referred to as "life."

As we slide down the love canal the slap from the doctor is a fair warning that the warmth of the womb is a thing of the past. In the real world things are going to be a lot different, but luckily childhood allows us the luxury of being totally free, for a short time at least, to live in the here and now. At the age of five we laugh when we hear someone is forty years old. We cannot imagine being "that old." At the age of five time is one our side.

It’s not until we reach puberty and adulthood that we are confronted with warnings that flash like neon signs telling us that the hourglass is running out.

Make plans. Work hard. Save for a rainy day. Plan some more. Work even harder. Hurry, hurry, hurry! The race against time doesn’t allow us to stop and smell the roses. When was the last time you smelled a rose? Have you ever known someone who actually had that rainy day?

In this MTV style world of fast paced living and fast paced images racing before us we get caught up in chasing dreams, trying desperately to become someone, to get some place we think is going to be nirvana. Sadly we never realize it once we get there, so we keep racing on and on and on. But the fact is it’s right in front of us, here and now. It’s called living.

It's our fear of growing old (hence, dying) and our fear of looking at ourselves and enjoying who we are that makes us so obsessed with time. Because of fear we're escaping from ourselves. And because so many of us are doing it nobody notices the damaging effects it’s having on us.

Think of time as a marathon that everyone feels compelled to participate in and win. In order to do so our minds become addicted to fighting the fear of not winning. God forbid if we should ever take a breather. That would suggest the most dreaded "L" word - loser.

Too often we hear stories of fathers spending so many hours working to provide for their families that they wake up one morning and realize their children are all grown. They wonder how they missed out on their children’s formative years. Isn’t spending a night around the dinner table talking with your children more important than working endlessly so you can have that expensive big screen TV?

With the constant media barrages of youth being thrown at us it’s understandable why we wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat fearing the ravages of time. Birthday cakes take on the face of a clock and each year as we add another candle we see time passing by and with it comes more fear and anxiety. The more candles burning, the louder the ticking, and the less room on the cake for more.

Tick, tick, tick…

What birthdays should be is a celebration of being who you are and being satisfied with yourself. Instead people dread waking up on yet another birthday having to look in the mirror and see that Mother Nature has given them a few wrinkles, a few worry lines, and a few more gray hairs.

Biological clocks have caused many women a nervous breakdown as they stand face to face with menopause. And many men go over the deep end as they reach middle-aged. They adopt foolish behaviors like chasing woman half their age, buying expensive sports cars (and we all know what that symbolizes), and popping Viagra like it’s candy.

In order to escape Father Time pounding at our door we run to the gym and pump iron and sweat on the treadmill. But the fact remains that the body cannot defy gravity.

Fashion is designed for the slim fit twenty something, and that’s why gyms are on every corner. There is nothing sadder than seeing someone well beyond middle-aged trying desperately to keep themselves looking like they did twenty (maybe thirty) years ago, and wearing clothes they shouldn’t have in their closet. (Where are the fashion police when you need them?) It’s our obsession with time that makes us act this way. Bodies sag with age. Accept it and move on. Gravity is going to win. All the Botox in the world cannot turn back time.

But what are we waiting for? Are we hoping that a fountain of youth actually exists?

Middle-aged has become the dreaded years. The last chance before it’s too late. Potential employers discriminate when middle-aged professionals seek a career change. A person’s qualifications are passed over in favor of youth. It’s a sad day in the evolution of mankind when smooth skin and a hip attitude trumps wisdom and experience.

Which brings me to the retirees, our parents and grandparents.

Old people are looked upon as relics, sometimes even as nuisances, and not as individuals with a wealth of experience to share with us. We build nursing homes and retirement communities and quietly forget about them. We fear becoming them.

The hourglass cannot be slowed down so why not embrace it and live in the moment and enjoy the now rather than pushing happiness to later when "I have more money. I have a new house. I have a new car. I have blah, blah, blah."

Let’s step out of our material world and dive into an ocean of love and affection. You might actually discover someone you truly love… yourself.

© 2006 MC528. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Princess And The Walnut Festival

Four-year-old Christa has long brown curly hair and beautiful emerald green eyes.

Christa loves to play in the park. She can spend hours on the seesaw, the jungle gym, and the swings. Oh how she laughs when she’s swinging higher than the trees!

Nicky is her pet beagle. He loves to go to the park and chase the other dogs.

Christa and Nicky don't like rainy days. On rainy days they cannot go to the park.

Today it's not sunny outside. Plop, plop, plop goes the rain as it dances on the windowpane.

Christa sits by the window counting the raindrops. One there and one there and oh how silly! The raindrops are everywhere. She laughs at them. They seem to laugh back with every plop, plop, plop.

Mommy brings Christa some freshly baked cookies. Cookies with little brown things sitting on top. Mommy calls the little brown things walnuts.

Curious Christa holds one cookie in front of her, turning it round and round. She takes a bite. She chews slowly. She stops chewing and then chews some more. She smiles. She likes walnuts!

Suddenly there is a great downpour of raindrops plop, plop, plopping really loud. Nicky jumps from the bed and hides under it.

Christa looks out the window and sighs. There's nothing for her to do today.

Mommy tells her to use her imagination; to think of any place she wants to be and anyone she wants to be and make believe she's there and she's that person.

Christa thinks and thinks and thinks. Oh! She has an idea!

She remembers how she dressed up as a princess for Halloween. She especially loved the crown of jewels. It was called a tiara.

Rummaging through her closet she pulls out the princess dress and puts it on. She dances to the rhythm of the plopping raindrops. As she sways from side to side the little beads on her dress sparkle like stars.

Mommy reaches in the closet and from the top shelf she pulls down the most beautiful tiara. She places it on Christa's head.

Christa's eyes open wide. She covers her mouth with her hands. She is a beautiful princess!

Mommy calls her Princess Miyo.

"Princess Meeeooo," repeats Christa.

Mommy explains that Princess Miyo is the princess of a small far away island called Miyo. The people of Miyo bring their princess walnut cookies as a symbol of their love. And today they are celebrating The Walnut Festival.

Christa claps her hands. She wants to hear more!

Princess Miyo loves purple daisies! Lots of pretty purple daisies.

Christa imagines herself surrounded by purple daisies. One by one they appear everywhere.

What about a prince? Nicky! Nicky will be her prince!

Christa leads Nicky from under the bed and brings him to her throne. She wraps a blue blanket around him because all princes wear royal robes.

Mommy kneels in front of the Princess' throne and waves her arms in the air as she sings the Princess Miyo song:

Oomoo lahlay mouki lay
Sumi he lumi nay
Princess Miyo
umi lumi fay

Princess Miyo takes a royal bow. Nicky wags his tail from underneath his royal robe. He howls as Mommy sings.

Princess Miyo picks up daisies and tosses them in the air. Like feathers they float to the ground.

Princess Miyo imagines seeing the people of Miyo. Suddenly they are there!

The Miyo girls wear straw skirts with colorful tops and have purple daisies in their hair. The Miyo boys wear straw pants and carry beautifully painted shields.

The people of Miyo sing in unison. They sound like a choir of baby birds chirping. The plopping of the rain echoes like drums beating in the distance.

Oomoo lahlay mouki lay
Sumi he lumi nay
Princess Miyo
umi lumi fay

Princess Miyo parades around the room waving to the people of Miyo. They reach out their hands to touch her.

Princess Miyo shares the walnut cookies with all her new friends from Miyo.

Prince Nicky reminds her that princes love cookies too! Princess Miyo leans forward and kisses her Prince. She feeds him a walnut cookie.

Princess Miyo announces that every rainy day will be The Walnut Festival Day.

Plop, plop ... plop.

Suddenly the rain has stopped. Streaks of sun shine through the window.

Princess Miyo turns to the people of Miyo but something has happened. The Miyo girls and boys are no longer there.

The purple daisies are all gone.

Mommy hugs Christa. Nicky jumps up and licks her cheek.

The Walnut Festival is over.

Christa looks out the window and feels the warmth of the sun on her face. It's inviting her to come outside and play.

Mommy kisses Christa and tells her to look for the rainbow.

Christa looks and looks but doesn't see it.

Mommy says to use her imagination. It's out there. Just keep looking.

As Christa and Nicky race outside, a beautiful rainbow lights up the sky.

(c) 2006 MC528. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Urinal Thoughts

Do urinal splash guards really work? Splash. Splash. I don't think so.

Why are they called urinal cakes? Nobody ever eats them do they?

I'm fascinated by the new urinals that automatically flush when you're done peeing. Though I must admit I fear they're gonna malfunction and flush wildly, like a waterfall, while I'm still peeing and get me totally wet.

Maybe I should forego the urinal and just use the toilet...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

My Farewell To Coffee

For twenty-four years coffee was my friend, my confidante, through good times and bad. Not one day went by without my morning ritual of grinding the beans, brewing the brew, and relishing that very first sip. The moment my lips made contact was the moment my day began. A coffee-less morning was absolutely inconceivable.

My love of coffee started innocently enough with a mug in the morning. Eventually it became two mugs, then four, and sometimes ten or twelve per day. Many nights I would make a pot of coffee before bed. I always slept like a baby.

I knew I was out of control when one Saturday I made eight cappuccinos. It was like I couldn't stop. I was beyond having a coffee buzz. If blood was drawn I was certain it would come out a nice French Roast. My obsession began to overshadow my joy of coffee. I found myself craving it even when I really didn't want it.

Through the years I developed what can best be described as body migraines where I would become virtually non-functional: physically ill and sleeping for up to two days. At first I attributed it to stress, then to panic attacks, and finally to depression. Deep inside I knew it was something else, but I wasn't ready to face the truth, whatever it was. So I continued being sick and keeping it a deep, dark secret.

These body migraines became more frequent and more powerful as the years went by. I took vitamins. I changed my diet. I exercised and meditated. Nothing seemed to help. In the midst of one bout I went to my doctor who told me there was nothing wrong with me. Foolishly I made myself believe him.

A registered nurse suggested I drink more coffee when I felt a body migraine coming on, assuring me it would help give me energy to fight it off. I did. It didn't help. My last bout lasted three days, and was the most powerful one I ever had. It scared me.

I gathered the courage to confide in a friend. I told her everything: the frequency, the pain, the vomiting, and the crying spells. I left out no detail. It felt incredible to finally get it out in the open. She convinced me to seek help, and steered me in the direction of her acupuncturist.

My first meeting with Rohanna (Acupuncturist, Nutritionist, and Healing Coach) was a pivotal moment in my journey to better health. She immediately sensed it was a food issue causing me so much pain. She had me document everything I ate. I did and the number one constant was coffee. My treasured friend was beginning to look like the enemy.

As Rohanna explained to me, "What made me go so directly into determining that coffee was the cause of your problems was the assessment of the allergy you have for coffee. It was in your Aura and also in your clinical symptoms.

Allergies create peculiar symptoms that sometimes do not fit the parameters of true systemic problems. Your being a healthy person did not correspond with what was happening to you. There is often an allergic reaction to something when symptoms are so pervasive. Unfortunately we become allergic to our dearest security blankets without us knowing it. Even just by repetition of the same food or thought we might become allergic to it. Even more, allergies do not limit themselves to only food. We can develop allergies to drugs, to friends, to foods, to thoughts, to associations, and to thousands of things that we might use in our daily life. This depends in the state of our immune system, our relationship with the world and our belief system.

Human beings are very complex creatures. Getting rid of what causes our problems is as basic as to un-clutter our belief systems. The key to it is to know. That is why sometimes we need help.

In your case, your determination to get well was so direct and the effects of coffee were so detrimental to you that the solution was clear and left no room for options. "

Rohanna put me on an array of supplements and I began to wean myself from coffee. It wasn't easy. I gradually got down to one cup in the morning. Then one morning I stopped the ritual, and I was fine. I think the psychological portion of letting go was more difficult than the physical for me. In my mind I couldn't imagine living without coffee, my security blanket.

My determination for better health prevailed. I am now officially coffee-free. My health has never been better. Sure, there are times I miss coffee, but I know the downside far outweighs that fleeting moment of joy I got from the brewing ritual, the intoxicating aroma, and the very first sip of the day.

Farewell coffee. Hello health.

(c) 2006 MC528. All Rights Reserved.

One Quick Snip

I don't remember my circumcision. Should I?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Welcome... I Just Created This Thing

Sometimes I see things clearly, but that's a rare occasion. Most times I see things through a jaundiced eye. It's just the way it is.

I don't mean to offend. (Well, sometimes I do.)

My mission is to make people think, to step out of their comfort zone and see the world from a different perspective.

Sometimes I'm funny.

Sometimes I'm dead serious.

You'll know it when you read it.