Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry, ahem.... Christmas

It's Christmas morning, and although calls have been placed to loved ones back home, it's just not the same. I think this is only the second time I will have spent both Christmas Eve and Day out of New York. Sometimes you need to do something like that just to remind yourself of what you've got. And while the time spent elsewhere is with people that are well meaning, caring, and loving in general... Dorothy was right... there's no place like home.
So the traditional seven fishes were scaled back to three, and with the exception of a single hiccup by having the audacity to include "Christ" in the pre-dinner blessing, everything came off without a hitch. I suppose one could have easily left Christ out of the offering of thanks, but on Christmas? Really?
Like I said, sometimes breaking from tradition for even a single occurrence just helps reinforce your values and the very fiber of who you are. So I hope you all are spending this day with someone you love, that you get to enjoy a hearty meal, a few laughs, some fond
rememberances of those no longer with us, and remember well what today is all about.
Merry Christmas, all.
Steven DeRosa
Sent from iPhone

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Archived Rants 2004-2008

May 10, 2008 - Nyack, NY

Where does the time go… it's already the second week of May 2008. The eve before the second Hallmark Holiday of the American calendar year-Mother's Day.

Not that I have anything against mothers in general, they possess no more virtues or flaws than anybody else really. My objection is about how far removed from its origins this so-called "mother's day" has become. But that's typical of most every feast day or celebration that at one time held religious or some reverential significance. It's now one massive commercial enterprise and in droves we seem to have a need for gobbling that shit up.

So the florists will make a mint this weekend, the department stores will sell a ton of crap jewelry, the greeting card companies will earn about a quarter of their annual business, and restaurants will enjoy their busiest day of the year .. Sure, I suppose most moms have earned some kind of appreciation day. I'm just blessed to have a mother who just wants to spend a little time with my sister and me … and who loathes brunch almost as much as I do.

Oh and on a side note… if you're going to brunch or dinner tomorrow… don't feel so sorry for those waiters and waitresses that have to work on Mother's Day. They should be raking it in fine… I worked a couple of mother's days when I waited tables as an undergrad. It was the best day to pull a little waiter's trick to garner a double-tip…. When a large table paid by credit card, we would add the gratuity to the check, but not fill in the tip amount on the credit card slip…. Worked every time.

So look over your bill carefully tomorrow and happy mother's day, moms…

January 13, 2008 - Piermont, NY

Another New Year. 2007 was a tremendous year. Much out with the old, in with the new and improved. Lots of upgrading and dropping of dead weight, bad associations and well, you get the picture. Along with a renewed appreciation for baseball—having taken my dad to a half dozen games this year—came my first pilgrimage to Fenway Park and another World Series ring for the Red Sox.

On a recent visit to Santa Barbara with Frank Hughes and his lovely wife, Jelena, we couldn't decide on a restaurant so Frank turned to sculpture of a window washer to ask his opinion. Looking at the sculpture I spied an interesting detail, a book in the window washer's back pocket. Much to my surprise, the book turned out to be REAR WINDOW. We had to get a photo of that.

Steven DeRosa & Frank John Hughes, Santa Barbara 2007Rear Window in sculpture's pocket

The holidays came and went with some valuable lessons learned. A) in spite of good company, and in spite of it being New Year's Eve, I really don't care for the dance club scene, especially ones with "bottle service" where you can't get a beer that doesn't come in a fucking metallic blue or red bottle; and B) when inviting certain guests to a dinner party, it would be wise hide the good Scotch.

December 21, 2007 - Nanuet, NY

Back from a second trip to Mexico this year, just in time for the holidays, the shopping, the parties, the out-of-town guests and all that goes with it. This time did the Pacific coast—Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Cabo San Lucas. The ziplines were incredible.

Steven DeRosa, Puerto Vallarta

April 1, 2007 - Greystone, NY

Even with the Imus foolishness—I mean, after all, whatever Imus said about the Rutgers team, it was the best thing that could ever have happened to them. I don't follow basketball, so I wouldn't know, but in all that hoopla, I still cannot tell you what team defeated Rutgers. Rutgers lost, people. They came in second. They are NOT the champions. Yet, who does Oprah invite to her show? Let's not get started.—the VA Tech shooting, Kim Bassinger's provocation of Alec Baldwin and whatever else is going on… April's been a good month. Birthday celebrations were great—thanks especially to Liz, Mom, Dad, Donna, Mike & Sharon and our new friends at a charming B&B in Connecticut. And looking so forward to another much needed getaway.

March 22, 2007 - Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

So, I sold my old SUV the other day. It's been out of commission a few months since the engine died and it's taken me this long to get hold of a clear title for it since the finance company never got around to removing their name from the title, even though the car was paid off more than four years ago.

Anyway, the buyer, who happens to be the mechanic I brought the car to in the first place, suddenly cries poor and offers me a couple of hundred bucks less than we initially agreed upon. He says it's going to cost him more to fix than he first estimated, and this past month he had to fill his tanks, which cost him sixty grand, and that the boiler in the apartment building he owns had to be repaired, and that his ninety-three year old grandmother died… You get the idea. It wasn't worth arguing over, but to have this guy who owns a busy gas station and is collecting rents
complain over a couple of hundred dollars was ridiculous.

To console myself … or rather, to console my girlfriend, we went shopping. So I see this t-shirt that I've eyed before. It's got the Black Night from Monty Python and the Holy Grail on it, after he loses his battle to King Arthur. He's on the ground with both arms and legs cut off and the shirt reads, "It's only a flesh wound." A classic to anyone that knows the movie, of course, which I'm embarrassed to say, she has never seen. So I'm explaining to her what happens in the movie—how the Black Knight keeps on challenging Arthur, provoking him after each limb gets cut off.

Now one of those typical busybodies that I always seem to attract feels compelled to insert herself into the conversation and says, "You know, if a quadriplegic saw you wearing that shirt, they'd be very offended."

And my girlfriend lowers her head, knowing that I'm not going to let this go.

I say, "I think you mean a quadruple amputee. Not a quadriplegic."

The woman, indignant as ever, challenged, "Either way, how would you feel if you offended a quadriplegic because of that shirt?"

"Tell you what," I replied. "If a quadriplegic was offended, I'd let him take the first swing."

I don't think she got it, but this time I just had to buy the shirt.

March 17, 2007 - Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

Hard to believe spring is a few days away, especially with streets and ground covered with snow and ice. The second snowy St. Patrick's Day in four years actually. Global warming, my ass.

The holidays went by surprisingly without incident. No cake knives were weilded until well into January. As a result, we opted to stay in for the most part, and friends and family have been dropping by regularly for dinner & drinks at our new place.

February was spent helping to put together a case for a Catholic Annulment tribunal. Interesting process and it's been sometimes sad, but mostly fun comparing family notes on my sister's marriage. How my former brother-in-law can claim he wasn't mature enough for marriage at the time he made his vows is really irrelevant, all the more since it's not likely that he's matured much since.

The Oscars went well this year, in spite of an incredibly boring show. It's about fucking time Marty was recognized.

Eager for the new season of The Sopranos to begin… not that I'm looking forward to the show wrapping up, but because Frank Hughes is joining the cast as a member of Tony Soprano's crew. Frank wouldn't give up any secrets, even after plying him with a Thai lunch that made him sick.

And remember, more Americans are killed every year by illegal aliens than have been killed since 2003 in Iraq.

August 3, 2006 - Bronxville, NY

Thank God July is over. It truly was a month dominated by what has come to be known as The Saga of the Girl with the Silver Celica. That it ended happily and without a body count is a testament to the endurance of the human spirit (I knew you'd make it through, hon.) and to the seemingly endless supply of saintly patience I inherited from my father (Thanks, Dad.).

The summer began with a trip to Las Vegas in June. I know, never say never. I always said I had no desire to go there, but it turned out to be a blast. Kept the gambling to a minimum, perfected the art of pool-crashing,
and adopted the Mojito as the official drink of Summer 2006.

Then July came along with a horrible grinding, screeching noise. Each time the car seemed fixed, it died again within a day. Each time the car went back to the shop, there was a new excuse, reason, cause for the
problem. A pattern seemed to emerge. On Mondays, it would die on the Cross Westchester Parkway. On Thursdays, the Hutch. On Saturdays, the Henry Hudson. Three weeks, three mechanics, three tow trucks, three
police officers, three harrowing drives—in only a single gear—on three different highways in three rain storms .. and somehow we managed to unburden ourselves of the Toyota Albatross, um, I mean Celica, thanks to a buyer who saw the For Sale sign, followed the car into a mechanic's shop, and never questioned why it was in the shop in the first place. (Don't ask, don't tell.) Was it the transmission? The clutch? The slave cylinder? We may never know the truth.

So now it's August. The Saga of the Girl with the Silver Celica has ended. Back to the books, back to writing, to bicycling, to chasing down clients delinquent in their payments, back to the beach, to riding with the top down, to the Red Sox staying on top of the Yankees, and yes, back to those Mojitos... Happy Summer, all!

May 22, 2006 - Yonkers, NY

You can't make this shit up. Last week the Senate voted 83-16 in favor of building 370 miles of fence along the US-Mexico border. John Kerry—remember him? the guy who voted for the war in Iraq before he voted against it—was
among the 86 in favor of erecting the fence. Apparently he is now positioning himself to say he voted for the fence before being against it stating, "If I were making the long-term decision, I’d announce, you know, hopefully it’s a temporary measure, and we can take it down as soon as we have enough people" to patrol the border.

May 11, 2006 - Bronx, NY

Took my dad to see the Red Sox beat the Yankees tonight. What ever happened the simplicity of the organ at the ballgame? It was never obtrusive either, the organist would play a little ditty between innings, and maybe to heat up the crowd during a rally late in the game. And at Shea Stadium I remember the Mets would have a Dixieland band play in the stands during the seventh inning stretch. But nowadays every three seconds there's some electronic shit played over the speakers at the game. During every pitch. Fucking annoying.

May 6, 2006 - Yonkers, NY

Okay, okay. So I've been slacking on updating the site. Not that there's nothing new to rant about, but damn where does the time go?

Over the last couple of months I noticed that a number of topic covered here long ago have raised ire elsewhere (see we're trying to stay ahead of the curve here). Back in January-February 2005 I wrote about a change in DVD turnover by Netflix. It evolved into this whole brouhaha over a hidden policy they enacted that has been dubbed "throttling", a euphemism for fucking loyal customers out of so-called "unlimited" rentals. They've improved in their service since then, at least in my case since I have a distribution center close by, but still, it was bad public relations.

In July 2005, I wrote about a certain famous Scientologist and mentioned a story I'd been told about someone being seen (read: "caught" or "walked in on") with the male lead singer of a pop band. Not that there's anything
wrong with that, to borrow from Seinfeld. Anyway, it was very amusing with the geniuses Matt Stone and Trey Parker ran with their "Trapped in the Closet" episode of South Park (which is available for download on various sites).

Now they've been having a blast in their new season. Each episode gets better. I thought the "Return of Chef" was brilliantly handled, but when they had Oprah's asshole (no, not Dr. Phil) and vagina taking hostages, I was laughing uncontrollably. (See my Oprah's cock entry below).

On the personal side, had a birthday recently, with an amazing Asian themed party. The food was incredible, the drinks equally so, and the chance to get a bunch of good friends together was great. Thanks, babe.

February 27, 2006 - Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

Coming up for air briefly. Shifting gears on various works in progress. Seems the busier I am, the more I accomplish. In that respect, among others, my other half and I are perfectly matched. Yet at times, it seems she takes on a tad more than necessary… which can lead to interesting events.

For instance, what do you do when you're dog sitting for someone who has the major league balls to ask you to also sit for their neighbor's guinea pig—only they didn't really ask you so much as told you they had committed to do it themselves but since they're going out of town they went ahead and volunteered you? You'd tell them to kindly go fuck themselves and their dog. Right? Okay, maybe I'd do that, in the hope it would be one less Christmas card to mail this year.

It goes without saying that one should consider very carefully all that could possibly go wrong when someone has volunteered you to go into another person's residence to care for another living thing. The potential for personal injury, property damage, things to mysteriously go missing, and any number of misunderstandings, misadventures and mishaps is staggering. Quite simply, you should put your foot down and say no.

Fortunately, in this instance it appeared the bullet had been dodged. The major league balls character in this scenario made no further mention of Squeaky, the guinea pig in question, when leaving her detailed instructions about the care and spoiling expected for her own animals. It appeared she (or the neighbors) had the temporary sanity to see they had overstepped, therefore other arrangements had been made for little Squeaky.

So a week goes by, and the dogs, although annoying, are doing just fine. On the way out a week after all this began, the next door neighbors pull into their driveway, and wave hello, etc.

CUT TO: Later that night…

And the major league balls dog owner is screaming at the other end of the telephone. "Squeaky passed away! Squeaky passed away!" The inquisition, investigation, and interrogation begins. "What happened? Didn't you
check in on Squeaky? Didn't you feed him? Why didn't you call to say something went wrong?"

Of course, this was completely insane. The major league balls dog owner was trying to pin the responsibility for the guinea pig on everyone but herself. No agreement had been reached between the parties concerning the guinea pig, nor had there been any official handing over of responsibility. Any negligence was clearly on the part of the major league balls dog owner. But the facts, as we now know them, are that the guinea pig did not die from a lack of food or water, as it still had food and water in its cage. Could it have been too cold in the next door neighbor's
basement that week? Was it old age? Boredom? Had Squeaky been depressed and suicidal? Was it simply its time? Or did Squeaky know something and now sleeps with the fishes?

January 3, 2006 - Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

Time has become a most valuable commodity. 2006 promises to be a year of celebrating.

New Year's Eve, 2005.

December 30, 2005 - Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

2005 turned out to be a very good year, ending on a series of high notes.

It's been a year that has demonstrated that how quickly and dramatically circumstances can change. Gas prices can jump forty cents overnight and tumble back down nearly as fast. One can be praised as 'man of the hour' one minute, 'savior of the evening' another, and a week later be persona non grata.

Lesson learned. So-called friends and acquaintances come and go. That's normal. You can ultimately count on family coming around—and anyone who knows me knows that by family I don't necessarily mean relatives.

Even with some pretty fucked up shit going on lately, it's been difficult to sit down, and write, and rant about it as the last few weeks I have been too damned busy being happy, enjoying myself, and becoming fascinated, smitten and carried away by some special someone. I know. Shut up and count your blessings.

So I'd been planning on writing this whole lengthy piece on why I'm making damn sure to say "Merry Christmas" to everyone, and not "Happy Holidays." But with Christmas coming about a month early for me this year—and
seemingly lasting well beyond Christmas—there is little to do except savor the joy of the season wish you all a Happy 2006!

November 13, 2005 - SF Valley, CA

A busy, fun, interesting couple of weeks it's been. I did lots of research for a book project, visited friends, made some contacts, interviewed some key players from Hollywood's heyday, and even found myself attending
one of those pitch session events when I found out the Screenwriting Expo was in town for the weekend.

I'd never attended one of those pitching events, or circuses. I was comped, so all I had to lose was an evening's time and figured at best I might meet some interesting people, make a contact or two, and at worst I'd have something funny to write about. Basically the evening was a cattle call for writers, or more accurately for aspiring writers, wannabes, and the no-it's-never-gonna-happen-so-pucker-up-and-kiss-bossy's-ass-for-that-increase kind of people. Who was nervous, who was flop sweating, who was scrambling to get sessions with companies that somebody actually heard of, only to be disappointed to find out the only sessions available were with fly-by-night operations that didn't seem to have any legitimate credits to their name. Then to top it off, most of the representatives - some
agents or managers, others execs or lackeys - seemed bored to tears at the whole affair. I did manage to meet two or three interesting people, one shady scammer, and one completely naïve guy who had such horrible breath that I almost felt badly for the reps he'd be pitching to. Just imagine, sitting across that tiny table, as they smiled through
his sophomoric story idea, pretending to be interested, while really wondering what in the hell this guy had for lunch!

Capped off the trip last night with a great dinner at Off Vine. I love this quaint, warm, homey oasis hidden among the cold taller buildings of the business district in Hollywood. The smoked mozzarella and chicken ravioli appetizer was incredible, and if you can't decide between their chocolate or pumpkin soufflé, ask them to make it half each. Our waitress did that for us, it was tremendous!

November 4, 2005 - SF Valley, CA

Okay, okay... I know this is long overdue. Been a busy few weeks and I am just getting the chance now to catch up. Here in Los Angeles for a while now both visiting family and friends, and working. Now some might call being a guest in someone's home and cooking being put to work, or perhaps a fair exchange - to me it's a double-pleasure because I seldom look forward to eating other peoples' cooking and because I truly enjoy cooking for others.

My general complaint about eating other peoples' cooking is their tendency to under-season and under-brown, and overcook their food. I'm of the school that a salt shaker or pepper mill needn't be on the table because the meal has been properly seasoned during its preparation. Carmelization, texture, flavor -- these things are not that difficult to achieve. Yet, time after time I see people I know settling for things at home that they would send back to the kitchen if they were served the same slop in a restaurant (at least I hope they would!).

A couple of weeks ago I was at a gathering following a wake. There was a lot of food naturally. A mix of both Italian and Irish sides of this family. A few Italians were gathered in the dining room and someone had just put out an enormous tray of meatballs in tomato sauce that someone's aunt had made. The Italians were commenting—who was sick of meatballs, whose grandmother makes them a certain way, who never eats meatballs when dining out, etc. (The same applies to eggplant, but that's another story!) We were all sharing this bond as the tray of meatballs sat there untouched. Then the Irish contingent noticed the meatballs. And before long, the little spheres of meat and bread and cheese, glistening in red sauce were being devoured. The Italians watched as the Irish gobbled them up like candy, and we smiled to each other as though sharing some great secret. Of course, I'm sure those meatballs were perfectly fine .. it's just, well, I didn't have any because I don't eat meatballs out.

Another thing I hate is when people insist on pushing their current food fads on you. Like someone who's recently decided that salt, dairy, and anything with flavor is now forbidden. I had that happen with someone not long ago where they were boasting how the meal they were serving had absolutely no salt, and contained soy "cheese". I didn't have the heart to tell them that it also had no flavor.

Anyway, I was happy to fill my host's freezer with meatballs and tomato sauce, knowing she and her daughter will enjoy them for weeks to come.

September 11, 2005 - New York City

Back from a few weeks respite to take care of some business and enjoy the last weeks of summer.

Where to begin? So much has gone on in the weeks since my last entry. The Camp Caseys (yes, we even had one here in Union Square) have packed up and gone home, thank goodness. Now of course the latest media blitz is on Katrina, the aftermath, and the surrounding hyped up controversy.

What pains me about occurrences such as these is seeing people that I admire and respect getting swept into the politicization that goes on. Just the other day I received an email from a dear friend about a "911 New Orleans Jazz Funeral Procession" taking place today. The event is being organized by What they apparently can't wait for, according to their website, is to "drive out the Bush regime." Their press release for the protest/march states that mass murder is being committed in New Orleans, that "Black men have to be off the street by 5 or risk arrest or worse," and that the Bush administration is to blame.

Let's pause a moment to see just how an organization such as this gets otherwise intelligent people who are normally kind-hearted and clear-headed to spread their propaganda. This organization exists for one purpose. To spread fear and hate and to give voice to a disgruntled sect of society that absolutely must find something to protest. They are happiest when in their misery, and they have every right to exist and to protest to their hearts' content.

But how do they get average people who are not activists to help spread their word? By sitting back and waiting to see where the zeitgeist takes them. This week they just couldn't decide whether they were going to exploit the anniversary of September 11, 2001 or Hurricane Katrina. So why choose, when you can exploit both?

Wake up, people! Can you not see that this march and other protests like them are just someone's idea to exploit a disaster (in the case of Katrina) and a mass murder (in the case of 9/11/2001) to push their own political agenda? These groups sit back and wait for these things to happen. Groups like them appear at every human tragedy the fickle public is aware of at the moment.

Starving a brain dead woman in Florida, there they are. Some anti-American, anti-war nutjob chooses to exploit her son's death (a son who honorably signed up to extend his tour of duty, mind you), there they are. A hurricane
strikes, ample warning to evacuate is given, a local politician is completely ineffective, and there they are, the machine ready to push an agenda that existed long before the first storm cloud had formed.

I'm all for pitching in to help victims and the less fortunate. But dubious of organizations appropriating a tragedy for their own purposes.

July 31, 2005 - Bronxville, NY

A midsummer night's rant. July is quietly coming to an end. It's been a month of almost daily bike rides, which meant confronting bike path etiquette (or the lack thereof) head on, literally. The signs are posted. In plain sight. Clearly stating riders should stay to the right in order to allow others to pass. Yet every day I've had to weave through an obstacle course of other cyclists who insist on riding alongside their companions, or riders who snake along the narrowest sections of the path unpredictably. Even more annoying is the fascination people have
with loitering on the footbridges that span the Bronx River on sections of path between Bronxville and Scarsdale, making it so that one has to slow down or dismount a bike in order to cross. I won't even bother getting into the oblivious joggers sporting iPods, the dog owners with their dogs running unleashed, or the moms cackling away on their cell phones while pushing baby strollers… Do I really have to begin wearing a helmet because people do not display the slightest bit of concern for their own safety, let alone anyone else's? And yes, I do see the hypocrisy in my question, but let's face it, bike helmets aren't cool. And yes, I know a head injury is even less cool, but shit, it's not like I'm trying to navigate my way through midtown Manhattan like some extreme-sport-bike-messenger with a death wish. It's just a fucking bike path in the suburbs. My time to workout and relax and clear my head of other bullshit. Speaking of which…

Just this week I noticed for the first time a decal on my bike-frame from the shop where it was purchased. The decal has the name of the bike shop, their phone number and a reminder that I should bring it to them for servicing. I know I was never asked if I wanted any such decal put on my bike when I first picked it up. I patronize businesses that provide good products and services. If they do their job well, I'll give them repeat business. Not because they vandalized my property with their information. A similar thing happened to me a year ago with my SUV. I purchased it from a dealership in one town and when I had another dealer service the vehicle, they'd switched the license plate frames which had the original dealer's name and put on their own. I'm sorry, but if you expect me to advertise your dealership, ask next time, and maybe offer a discount on services in exchange. Otherwise, leave my shit alone. I feel violated when things like that happen, which brings me back to a discussion from earlier this summer about what I have come to call "celebrity rapists."

No, I don't mean in the legal sense. That would more than likely fall within the realm of professional sports. Here I mean celebrities who thrust their way onto an issue, a platform, or some other aspect of life for usually less than noble motives. In other words, forcing themselves and their opinions on an unwilling public. For instance, let's rewind to June … Who needed to hear what Tom Cruise thought about Brook Shields's experience with Paxil to treat postpartum depression? Okay, he made a stupid, unnecessary comment, and should have left it alone, but then
made things worse by being an arrogant prick to Matt Lauer. He should have stuck to plugging his damn movie, which apparently needed all the help it could get. Add the Scientology ravings to his immature antics over Katie Holmes, and you have to wonder what's going on with this guy?

Story I heard earlier this month is that a certain someone has been behaving a certain way for the cameras not because he's trying to prove something as much as he's attempting to disprove what a certain recording artist's
wife reportedly walked in on. This is what's known as a smokescreen.

Our other favorite celebrity rapist, or attempted rapist in this case, was at it again last month in France. Her friends cried "Discrimination!" when she was treated like an ordinary person and not given the red-carpet treatment she expects, when she was refused entry into Hermès after they had closed for the day. Bravo to the Hermès clerk who refused to bend over and to the store manager who refused to suck Oprah's cock. See, it's a myth that all Parisians are appeasers. Now Oprah's people have been threatening that she will devote an episode of her show to discuss the incident when it resumes this fall. The word "boycott" is being bandied about. Isn't a boycott superfluous in this case? What percentage of Oprah's audience shops for $6,500 handbags? I love the word comeuppance.

At long last my soon-to-be-but-not-soon-enough ex-brother-in-law is getting his comeuppance. My sister's been carrying this jackass for far too long. Perpetually immature, late-forties going on eighteen, (you know the type). Put it this way, Joey Buttafuoco would have been a good role model for him. How old was that bimbette Laura? Fifteen, was she? - Why my sister didn't dump this guy's sorry ass sooner is beyond me. Better late than never, but who's going to pay for his two BMWs now?

June 13, 2005 - Yonkers, NY

They let the pedophile go. Unbelievable. Then you listen to these twelve morons being interviewed, and not a single one can say that they just didn't believe the accuser's story. They say how the didn't like the way the mother looked at them, they didn't like the way the mother spoke, they didn't like the way the mother snapped her fingers. And one juror turned it all around and blamed the mother outright - "What mother in her right mind would let her child sleep with Michael Jackson?" Shit, lady, it's not like Michael Jackson is blameless in that scenario. Mind you, this is the juror that already has a book in the works.

If you know your Uncle Bob is an alcoholic and likes to get behind the wheel after a few too many and you let him drive your kids to the ice cream parlor, you're an idiot and an irresponsible parent, but that doesn't make Uncle Bob not guilty of DWI.

So this jury should celebrate the verdict with Jackson this weekend, invite all their children, their nieces, nephews, and grandchildren over to Neverland and let them spend some alone time with that lowlife. Do you think any one of them would? Would you?

June 11, 2005 - Yonkers, NY

Well it's a week on from the unmasking of Mark Felt as Deep Throat, and I'm happy to see this story didn't have the legs that one might have predicted. Principally because the motives of his family were quickly exposed, and his motives behind leaking the information in the first place have also been turned on their head. The story turned out to be a great big yawn, overshadowed by that pedophile's trial coming to an end.

After thirty years of speculation over the identity of Deep Throat, it turns out he's just a hypocrite coming forward in the hope of securing a payout for his family. The left media glorified him as a hero, completely setting aside the fact that he shirked the responsibilities of his office, being duty bound to report any illegal activity not to the Washington Post in secret, but to the proper authorities. If his immediate superiors were corrupt, there was a special prosecutor investigating Watergate to whom Mark Felt should have gone. By choosing to go underground, anonymously, and offering knowledge that would have assisted a federal investigation, Mark Felt is guilty of malfeasance in office.

The cover up by the Nixon administration needed to be exposed. But the manner in which Mark Felt did it was neither heroic nor right. It is clear now that his motives were not out of some moral outrage over the cover up of the Watergate break-in. It was about sour grapes at having been stepped over for a promotion. He wanted to get even. The irony is that when Mark Felt himself was on trial for orchestrating covert break-ins - the very thing the Watergate burglars did - a charge for which Felt was convicted, mind you - who did his lawyers call as a witness in his defense? Richard Nixon.

But the liberal media will parade him as a hero. The same media who crucified Linda Tripp who did have the courage to come forward, to face her critics, to testify openly. Mark Felt had thirty years to come forward. Why do it now? As Deep Throat purportedly said "Follow the money." And who is going to actually prosecute a 91 year old man? If you want to see courage in going openly to the press, look at Jeffrey Wigand, who risked his life and career and a contempt of court charge by going to CBS and standing up against the tobacco industry. That's courage.

May 10, 2005 - New York, NY

Who would think a side-splitting evening of theater could be culled from the pages of such celebrity autobiographies as Mr. T, Suzanne Somers, Marilu Henner, Elizabeth Ashley, George Takei, and Joan Crawford? Under the leadership of Nancy Balbirer, the CAUSE CELEB! troupe did just that last night at The Cutting Room in Chelsea. As interpreted by the likes of Charles Busch, Michael Musto, Cintra Wilson, Nicky Paraiso, and our very own Edward Hibbert, literary trash was elevated into arty camp. The screamer of the evening had to be Elizabeth Ashley being told by her agent "You're smelly fish in this town!"

Our table consisted mainly of publishing people - authors, editors and agents - so it was both sad and funny considering the sorry state the publishing world is in. Multi-million dollar advances are thrown at politicians who quibble over the meaning of "is", major talk-show spots are allotted to ghostwritten books just because someone fucked a wife-murderer or a two-hit wonder, has-beens trying to make a comeback are forgiven for their hypocrisies because they're of a certain political bent (sure the controversy over Jane Fonda's Vietnam shenanigans may have sold a few books but nobody cares that during the time she was a fitness guru she stayed slim by purging). Then there's the idiotic self-help nonsense that needy people gobble up because their life's problems can be solved in some catchphrase like your relationship sucks because so and so's "just not into you" or some sophomoric Dr. Philism.

Of course this simpleminded, self-help spoon-feeding began long before Dr. Phil, but he's managed—with Oprah's help—to bring it to a whole other level. Don't get me wrong, Dr. Phil might be a brilliant psychologist for all I know, and why shouldn't he ride it out for as long as it lasts. But do people really need his simplistic clichés to pull themselves out of their own vicious circles? "Get real. Get smart. Get going." Sheesh. The way I see it, it's just one big marketing ploy to get people to substitute one bad behavior for another. "Stop doing what's hurting you. Make sure you tune in tomorrow. And while you're at it, buy my book."

Think about how Dr. Phil managed to get where he is. It was a masterstroke of marketing and unquestionably an ego-stroke for his benefactress. With Dr. Phil's goofy, disarming, completely non-threatening demeanor, his homespun, yokel way of talking, he probably resembles the husbands of 90% of Oprah's audience. And there Dr. Phil was, just like Oprah's audience, clinging to her every word. Something they wish they could get their own husbands to do. All those housewives watched Oprah live out their fantasy, live and on national television. Let's face
it, Dr. Phil became "Dr. Phil" because he was a bald white guy willing to suck Oprah's cock.

May 6 , 2005 - New York, NY

I'm still laughing my ass off after seeing Monty Python's Spamalot last night. The show works incredibly well even if you've never seen the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. But if you're a fan of the film and Python in general, you can truly appreciate what Eric Idle has accomplished. He's reworked the movie into a Python extravaganza that incorporates bits and songs and themes from Flying Circus, their albums and other movies. The song "Finland" and the fish slapping bit are seamlessly interwoven, as are an homage to the Silly Walks Ministry (performed by Hank Azaria as the French Taunter), and strains of "The Lumberjack Song" blended into the "He's Not Yet Dead (Playoff)" number. Also making a cameo as the voice of God is John Cleese.

Of course, it's not all about reworking old material. There's some contemporary satire as well. Trying to spell out C-A-M-E-L-O-T, the dancers get mixed up and spell CAMELTOE. There's a gay wedding scene where Lancelot says
"In a thousand years time this will still be controversial." "The Song that Goes Like This" is staged to mock the gondola scene from Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera and is done to perfection. American Idol, Cher, Liza Minelli, Britney Spears - they're all fair game. "You Won't Succeed on Broadway (If You Don't Have Any Jews)" brought down half the house. The other half remained curiously silent. The only bits from the film I found myself missing were the Witch burning scene and the tale of Sir Galahad where he meets up with Zoot at the
Castle Anthrax.

All in all, Spamalot was enormously entertaining... as was my friend Helena Webb's film Indonesia: Open Door which screened last week at Den of Cin in the East Village. Part travelogue and part political-cultural-religious-documentary, Helena's film is informative, beautiful to look at, and often genuinely funny. Congratulations, Helena!

April 23, 2005 - South Beach, FL

My South Beach diet has consisted of some good seafood, some very good Cuban food, and so far one lousy steak at an overpriced spot on the main strip. I've only tried Key Lime Pie in one place and it was pretty good. Now in Florida wouldn't you expect the oranges to be beautiful, fresh, bright, and without blemishes? Three different groceries in South Beach had the most pitiful looking oranges I've ever seen. Brown, spotted, and dried up looking - like a lot of the people here. Who knows, maybe those oranges were delicious, but from their appearance I wouldn't even use them for juicing. Okay, so I fibbed in a couple of text messages while laying here soaking up the rays. The drinks aren't really "bottomless." You have to pay.

My companion had a little run-in in the ladies' room at the beach today. As every woman knows, and as every man who's had to wait outside a ladies' room knows, the stalls in there are much sought after (someone really ought to come up with the idea of doubling or even tripling the size of ladies' facilities everywhere and reducing the mens'). So with the few stalls that there are in this beach bathroom she ended up in a handicapped stall. Before long an elderly woman starts banging on the door. "You'd better come out of there, I need to get in!" the old woman yelled.
"I'll be out in a minute," was the reply. The old woman snapped back that my companion had better have a wheelchair when she comes out, since this was a handicapped stall. Not missing a beat, my companion exited, looked around the elderly woman standing there and asked "Where's your wheelchair?" She then stepped outside the bathroom, looked at either side of the entrance for the wheelchair that wasn't there, and came back to the old woman, "Oh my goodness, someone stole your wheelchair!" The old woman back-pedaled, confessing she didn't
have a wheelchair, but that she was indeed "handicapped."

"Where's your Disabilities Identification Card? If you are handicapped you would have one." Anyway, you get the idea. It does bring up an interesting point. I know a Disbilities ID card is necessary for parking in designated spaces, but are there laws governing stalls in public restrooms?

[Correction: I'm told now that the woman wasn't that elderly. It's all subjective.]

April 21, 2005 - Somewhere-over-the-Atlantic

Lesson learned today. Never, never, not ever will I fly again on the day before Passover. I've parked in the longterm parking facilities at JFK many times, always easily assured of a spot and a quick ride on the new Air Train right to the terminal in plenty of time to clear security, buy an overpriced turkey sandwich, and make my flight.

Today was entirely another matter. Made it to JFK in half an hour - 6AM for a 7:40 flight - thinking, "Wow, made great time." Turned out the longterm parking was jammed. Not a space to be had. Aisle after aisle full. SUVs were parked on the sidewalks and on the grass. The great time made was ticking away as I searched and searched. Should I park on the sidewalk? I didn't want to just go ahead and do that without asking security, which turned out to be a good thing, since the guard told me those vehicles would be towed and fined. That'll be a nice surprise when the owners return from their trips.

After being sent on a wild goose chase to C-17 where there were supposedly "a whole bunch of empty spaces," we were informed the lot was "closed." We'd have to leave Lot 9 and park in Lot 7. Oh, thanks very fucking much. To make matters worse, I had to pay $3 as I exited Lot 9, and had no time to argue over the stupidity of paying not to park but for the fun of driving around a full parking lot for half an hour. So we get to Lot 7 which is no-man's land at JFK, looking like something out of Planet of the Apes, out of commission since the 1970s. Of course, now we can't take the Air Train right to the terminal since this lot is so far away, in the forbidden zone or something. So one bumpy ass ride later we get to the Jet Blue terminal (not my choice of carrier, but there you are), all time saved in driving is now lost. Security screening was pretty thorough, although the screener spent more time admiring the inner-workings of my pocketwatch than he did checking my carry-on. No time to buy the obligatory overpriced turkey sandwich - for which I am actually grateful, and we're off.

April 12, 2005 - Dobbs Ferry, NY

Watching the sunset at one of my old favorite haunts. It's been a couple of weeks' worth of parties. Lots of Aries! And some great friends made the past week very special. Midnight calls from the left coast, then some amazing Thai food at my new favorite haunt in Brooklyn—Joya. The owner, Glen, is a great guy, he bought us drinks and stopped by the table a few times even though they were crazy-busy, which they always are. Definitely worth a visit. Try the calimari, the chicken spring rolls, anything with garlic-basil sauce, and the grilled skirt steak. Rinse with a Brooklyn Lager. Repeat.

March 31, 2005 - Yonkers, NY

Terri Schaivo died today. I probably shouldn't even be commenting on any of this since I found the whole media spectacle deplorable and the general public's sudden morbid interest ridiculous. But that in and of itself is worth commenting on.

No matter which side of the debate—if any—you found yourself on, that Mrs. Schaivo had some of hope of recovery or not; that she was conscious of her surroundings to some degree or those reactions of hers seen on the videos were merely normal physiological responses to light, sound and touch because that part of her brain still functioned,
it was a horrible way to end a life.
The right-to-die ideologs (or in this case - right-to-kill) seem to be on a winning streak. A movie like Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ could go completely ignored at the Oscars and Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby garners all kinds of praise. Don't get me wrong. I think Eastwood made a fine film, as he almost always does. And whether or not he intended a pro-euthanasia message, the "choice" crowd glommed onto the film and made it their own (see how they try to make the connections to abortion and stem cells and so on?).

This is the same Hollywood crowd that cherished and adored Christopher Reeve. It would have been fascinating to know his response to Million Dollar Baby since he seemed to make abundantly clear that above all he had hope and wanted to live. Where were all his outspoken friends when it came to commenting on this?

Of course, in Million Dollar Baby the character is able to articulate her wishes. The facts are known. Fiction affords itself the luxury of being neat. The positions of both camps in the Schaivo case on the other hand are based solely on speculation at best, and at worst merely to push an agenda. The camp that said with absolute certainly that Terry Schaivo would not have wanted to live that way cannot know for certain since she did not make her wishes known. And those who claimed with equal certainty that she was conscious of her surroundings also have no basis for their opinion (especially in the face of medical evidence that appears quite the contrary). Both sides simply could not know. Either way, starving and depriving a body of hydration is setting us on a very precarious path.

March 29, 2005 - Bronxville, NY

What a month it's been. Hard to believe how quickly it went by, too.

Netflix is behaving better these days—19 movies in the last 30 days, and they actually shipped both Finding Neverland and Vera Drake on the first day of their releases. They now have a distribution center in this county, so the transition might have been part of the problem back in January. Still, I did smoke out on their site that they do indeed have a two-tiered rental policy.

According to Netflix: "In determining priority for shipping and inventory allocation, we give priority to those members who receive the fewest DVDs through our service. As a result, those members who receive the most movies may experience next-day shipping and receive movies lower in their Queue more often than our other members."

If I was a litigious liberal, which I'm not, I might say this policy is discriminatory. Why should I care if someone only rents 5 discs per month? That's their problem. I'm paying for unlimited movies dammit, or so I was told. Oh well, the weather's getting warmer anyway, so it's for the better.

The world's been paying close vigil this week, waiting and wondering who's going to kick first - Terri Schiavo, Pope John Paul II, or Prince Ranier of Monaco. A pool has been suggested, but the logistics of setting one up, selling boxes, collecting the money, and so forth is more than I care to deal with. It would certainly be more interesting if a verdict in the Michael Jackson case was due any time soon. I'd say let's add the king of pop to the death-watch since he's either a suicide or a fugitive if he's convicted.

I'll be back soon as I wrap up a few loose ends.

February 27, 2005 - New York, NY

I'm still mulling over the unbelievable bias at the Academy Awards which robbed for the third time (he should have won for Raging Bull and Good Fellas as well ) Martin Scorsese of a justly deserved Oscar for Best Director. That is why my thoughts on visiting Central Park to see "The Gates" aren't ready just yet. I set out to once and for all put to sleep the notion that the color of the display is not "saffron", but a shade of plain old, every day orange.

Steven DeRosa at Central Park during The Gates exhibit

February 19, 2005 - Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

Was almost spring-like enough to sit a while in the park taking in the sun. I've been nursing a self-inflicted toothache the last few days. Alternatively leaving it alone and exacerbating it. Basically, it's a lazy tooth which my dentist should have just yanked years ago, but he made the brilliant determination that we'll "wait and see". So I've been waiting, and each time I visit the dentist he sees that it's hardly budged. He goes "Hmm" as though puzzled by its stubbornness.

Anyway, in one of those post-popcorn moments when you feel something caught in an awkward place between your teeth, I got out my instruments (pick, dental mirror, crowbar) and went on an expedition. After mining away for a few minutes, I realized what had been a minor annoyance was now a full-blown "ouch, that fucking hurts" toothache. (Okay, technically, it's not a toothache. A gum-ache really. But you know what I mean.) Quick, find that six-year-old tube of Orajel at the back of the medicine cabinet and deaden the area! When the pain subsides do I have the sense to stop and leave well enough alone? No, I jump right back in with gusto, as if the pain I caused wasn't enough, and I was unsatisfied by the lack of blood. So I toil away some more, probing and scratching and picking at the gum-line of this awkwardly positioned tooth way at the back of my mouth and hit pay dirt. I manage to extrude the foreign body, and now I'm bleeding, and yes, it fucking hurts again. More Orajel please. Not too much since having sensation in your tongue is a good thing.

With that out of the way, it got me thinking how some relationships are like self-inflicted toothaches. Like a lazy tooth that should have been extracted years ago, you find you have acquaintances in your life that really serve no purpose. They're just there, existing in the periphery. You know you should just leave them be. But you can't help yourself sometimes. So you probe and scratch and pick and a dormant relationship suddenly becomes a full-blown toothache. (Okay, technically, it's not a toothache. But you know what I mean.)

February 5, 2005 - Scarsdale, NY

So I come out of the Candlelight Inn after some late night beers and the best wings in New York, and there's something obstructing the passenger side mirror. Some bonehead wrapped the mirror with electrical tape. Nothing was broken. Just what appeared to be the better part of an entire roll of electrical tape had been placed round and round the mirror. Anyway...

Saw Hotel Rwanda last night. What a powerful film. And not surprisingly it's getting very little press, since it's a shining example of a shameful blunder of the Clinton administration. Director Terry George keeps his focus on Paul Rusesabagina, the hotel manager who saved over a thousand lives, so it is an inspiring and moving story. The only direct indictment the film makes toward the Clinton administration is a sound clip where a US official (was that Madeline Halfbright's voice?) is condemning the "acts of genocide." In other words, by inserting "acts of" and refusing to acknowledge that this was a genocide, the Clinton administration absolved itself of any obligation to intercede.

Don't get me wrong, Hotel Rwanda is an excellent movie. But Terry George might have peppered the film with some facts on how the Clinton administration did more than drop the ball on this one.

For instance, the film shows how the Hutu used radio broadcasts to incite and coordinate their attacks. What the film doesn't say is that the Clinton administration refused to fly jamming aircraft over the region that would have blocked the radio transmissions because it was deemed too costly. The film doesn't say that eight African nations requested the use of 50 armored personnel vehicles from the United States. The Clinton administration agreed to loan the vehicles at a cost of $15 million, delaying the possibility of intervention. The film doesn't say that the Clinton administration demanded the withdrawal of the 2,500 UN peacekeepers, virtually sealing the fate of nearly one million people.

Still without any direct criticism of the Clinton administration, the press has all but ignored Hotel Rwanda. Go see it.

January 27, 2005 - Yonkers, NY

Okay, what's up with Netflix? A blizzard hit the northeast this past weekend. Granted. But in the last two weeks I've seen a noticable slow-down in their usual speedy turnaround of DVDs. Typically, when I ship a disc back, Netflix receives it the following day and immediately sends the next title in my queue. I could easily count on getting 5-6
discs a week like this. Yet in the last two weeks, I've been lucky to receive 3-4 discs a week.

Has Netflix caught on to me? Did I set off some kind of red flag over there? I looked over my rental history and in the 30 days prior to these last two weeks, I received 22 discs. Not bad, but this slow-down has me concerned. For instance, three titles shipped yesterday, but only two of them arrived today. And according to Netflix, the third one is scheduled to arrive on the 31st. Why a three day difference when the disc supposedly shipped on the same day?

I'm sure I'm putting far too much thought into this, but I needed to post something new here, and I haven't fully considered the pros and cons of the Oscar nominations announced the other day.

Watching 24 week-to-week hasn't been as bad as I thought it would be. I am disappointed that the show doesn't air in widescreen, having been spoiled by the DVDs. Resisting the temptation to read the spoilers on The 24
site has been tough.

January 5, 2005 - Bronxville, NY

I'm sitting here in the local cafe as I write this, thinking about what's ahead for the New Year, of something funny that happened earlier today, and of the original entry that I wrote on New Year's Day and whether or not I did the right thing by deciding not to post it.

Let's take the third part first. I was rather proud of my 2005 inaugural rant. It was brutally honest, from the heart, dealt with issues that are painful and funny. It was about love, karma and justice. All real life shit. It was a long and cathartic essay. And just as I was about to upload the page, I thought of someone who might be hurt by what I was revealing about them, completely truthful though it was, about their self-destructive nature.

So the question I ask myself, to which do I owe the greater loyalty? Should I be true to my work, true to my words, even at the risk of hurting someone I care for? Or do I hold my piece, conceal the truth, so as not to injure this person? There are no rules to govern this. Everything is choice and struggle.

As for the hilarious thing that happened today. In a strange way, it ties in to the feelings I've been wrestling with concerning my eighty-sixed New Year's Day entry. Poetic justice and how I can be the cause of it. Well, today I proved that one can be an arbiter of poetic justice.

Late this afternoon, on my way to the Post Office and library, some blonde chick driving a blue Jeep Wrangler (a Yankee fan, apparently, as announced by the MLB paraphernalia in her car - you know the type) cut me off in a pretty dangerous way to get into the parking lot. Okay, nothing happened. No big deal. Then instead of obeying the direction of traffic in the parking lot, the woman driving the Jeep goes against traffic so that she could beat everyone to the row of parking spaces nearest to the Post Office. Now it registers in my head, "This one thinks she's special."

I didn't bother trying to get near the close spaces since it was almost 4:45, a pretty busy time at the Post Office. I parked, and as I'm walking toward the entrance, I see the blue Jeep Wrangler parked illegally - not even in a parking space, protruding halfway onto a busy sidewalk. I go inside and see the woman on line. There are two people ahead of her, and already about six or seven people behind her. All I am there to mail is a DVD from Netflix, so I just drop it in the slot and as I turn to go, I say out loud "There's a blue Jeep getting a ticket!" I walked out quickly and saw the woman come off the line, following me outside to run to her Jeep. I didn't turn to see her reaction when she saw there was no cop issuing a summons. I just kept walking to my car.

As I left the Post Office parking lot, I passed the blue Jeep Wrangler, and see that the woman had moved it off the sidewalk and into a parking space that had since opened. But the space she moved her Jeep into was a handicapped space! And I think "Where's a cop when you need one?" I go on about my business to the library down the road and pick up the items that were on hold for me. I was in and out in about five minutes. I start for home, which takes my past the Post Office again. As I'm passing, I look over toward the parking lot and see a
police officer issuing a ticket to the woman for illegally parking in the handicapped space. What were the odds of that happening, I wondered.

Part of me feels badly for being the cause of her getting the ticket, but then I have to realize, was I the cause? Or was it she for parking there? All she had to do was park legally in the first place like everyone else. Even after getting that initial scare, when I made her believe she was getting a ticket, she went ahead and blatantly took a handicapped space.

So, the relation I see between this little incident today and the series of incidents I wrote about on New Year's Day, is that I have to stop bearing the responsibility for people when they come to face the consequences of their own actions. Why should I give a shit that this woman who cuts people off (on an icy day, mind you), drives recklessly through a parking lot, and has no regard for someone who might legitimately need a handicapped space? I shouldn't. So why do I continue protecting someone whose behavior and choices have been hurtful to so many, including myself?

There's no easy answer to that question. Yet moving ahead in this new year, I'll continue to bear that burden, in silence, as it might actually make me a better person. Maybe not, but it's a noble effort.

December 17, 2004 - Bronxville, NY

Coming up for air. I haven't even begun Christmas shopping yet, let alone writing out Christmas cards. It's been a busy couple of weeks with writing, pulling in research materials - tracking down some hard to find films, and doing what I can to get Sofia's story known, since the whole parvo/puppymill issue is very important especially at this time with so many families shopping for pets for Christmas. My sister, Donna, is really becoming an activist about this, which is great - although getting Peta involved, um, I'm not so sure about that. I like leather products, and enjoy veal, and my sheerling jacket is pretty cozy this time of year. Anyway, we've gotten the Dept. of Health investigating the pet store, have submitted a formal complaint to the Attorney General's Office regarding pet store's failure to abide by the NYS Pet Lemon Law, and an on-site protest is in the works. More to come on this as it develops.

Oh sure, in the midst of all this, season three of 24 was released on DVD and the discs have started to come in from Netflix. I only just started watching the series this summer, and got hooked. I don't know if I will be able to watch the upcoming season as it airs week-to-week. I've gotten so accustomed to watching back-to-back-to-back episodes in one sitting.

December 2 , 2004 - Bronxville, NY

What a week. Last Friday my mother and sister bought an eight-week-old Malti-Bichon puppy. Having recently lost my own Sam, I was resistent to the idea of letting another dog into my heart, but dammit if they didn't go ahead and find a pup that had an irresistable charm and personality. After a day of debating over Thanksgiving leftovers on what to name the pup, my choice won out and she was dubbed Sofia. (I've been watching so many Martin & Lewis movies over the past week or so, and Dino's "Sofia" from the Billy Wilder film Kiss Me, Stupid was playing in my head for some reason.)


Sadly, Sofia became ill on Sunday and that evening at the emergency vet center she tested positive for Parvo virus. It was touch and go all week, and although it looked like she might bounce back yesterday, this morning she took a turn for the worse and her little body just had no more fight.

November 19, 2004 - Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

Back from the left coast for almost a week now. Still not used to being in New York without my sidekick Sam. Rather than avoiding the parks and paths we spent a good deal of time enjoying together I've been visiting them the last few days. The park at Hastings-on-Hudson, right along the river, became a favorite spot of ours over the last
couple of years.

Hastings on HudsonSam in the park at Hastings on Hudson

I would park myself on one of the benches and do some work, and Sam would take a nap in the shade. Nice to be back east, but it's just not the same.

November 11, 2004 - SF Valley, CA

Back again. Been busy the last few days. Yesterday morning a tractor trailer overturned on the Ronald Reagan Freeway in Simi Valley. The truck was carrying avacados, and I'm told traffic was backed up for a good six hours. I suppose the clean up crew had to wait for the delivery of tortilla chips and margaritas before they could
get started.

November 6, 2004 - SF Valley, CA

Okay, now with the politics out of the way, we can get back to other important life issues here like food. Why is it impossible to get good Chinese food and good pizza in California? I'm sure there are good places somewhere out here. But tell me where? My main complaint about California Chinese food is the fried rice. It's just not the same
as it is in New York. Last night we went to a local place, and most of the dishes and dumplings were fine, but the fried rice was blah. It had no character. I know, you're wondering, why the hell are you bothering with Chinese food when you're in Los Angeles? Fair question. A
s for the pizza, what can I say? We were in a pinch, Thursday night, and it was a simple thing to order and bring over. I won't bother going into any comparison between NY and LA pizza. There is none.

November 4, 2004 - SF Valley, CA

A sunny but cool day here. I picked up a New York Times today just to see if they've accepted the fact that John Kerry lost. "Bush Celebrates Victory" is the headline.

The pundits are blathering that the economy, terrorism and the war played less of a role in the decision of voters than character and values. If this is going to be viewed as an affirmation of Judeo-Christian values, terrorism, the war in Iraq and the absolute need to continue the fight against the Islama-fascists most certainly did play a major role in
President Bush's victory. Don't be afraid to call this battle a crusade. That's what is is, that's what it needs to be. Political correctness, liberal mindedness, and merely sitting still and doing nothing is what led to the escalation of attacks against us throughout the 1990s, to the point of what occured on September 11, 2001.

Jimmy Carter was a pacifist and utterly ineffective. Bill Clinton was more than willing to lob the occasional cruise missile and air strike, but too cautious for fear of damaging his popularity. The presidency is not a fucking popularity contest. We elect presidents to lead us, to protect us, and to move us forward as a nation. We allow them to hold
that office for a time. We do not always agree with everything they do. But I would rather have them lead, and follow their convictions, than sit back waiting for opinion polls and only take action when it is of no risk to them.

November 3, 2004 - Simi Valley, CA

It's a bit later in the day now and the country ought to be quite relieved that Sentator Kerry was more of a man than Al Gore in 2000. He has conceded the election to President Bush. The concession and victory speeches have been made, and now it's just a matter of a handful of pricincts in a couple of states before the final totals are known. Interestingly, while everyone (I mean Democrats) are making a big deal about Ohio and the provisional ballots, not a word has come from the other side in regard to Pennsylvania, which is in the Kerry column, but has a narrower margin with, as of this writing, 65 pricincts yet to be reported.

A view from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Simi Valley, CA.

This morning I decided to visit a forum of which I am a member. It was the first time in a long while. Truth be told I stayed away when I saw it was becoming an open forum for spewing hatred of the President. These are mostly movie people, so I saw little point in sticking around and entering into an intelligent debate on the issues. Anyway, I dropped in there today out of curiosity, to see who was saying what, who was shouting out the RECOUNT mantra. When I got there, I saw a poll - Kerry vs. Bush. I decided to cast a vote. Turned out that only seven people,
including myself, participated in the poll. Six of seven voted for Kerry. So I wrote, "Sure glad the election didn't come down to the 7 of us who voted here." I was just stating a simple fact, not gloating in any way. When I visited the forum later I saw that someone commented to the effect that maybe I was on wrong forum and that I needed to "check my meds." This just serves as a reminder that so many on the left would rather resort to hatred, personal attacks, and name-calling. Anyone who does not see the world exactly as they do, is to be shunned and must surely be insane, a complete and utter moron, or just plain evil. (Not surprisingly, this same person attacked someone else who mentioned President Bush's victory, saying, "More people voted AGAINST Bush
than any other sitting president. Don't forget that." Um, on the other hand, someone ought to point out to this person that President Bush received more votes in this election than any other candidate for president ever.)

If you listened closely to most of the people who were vocal in their support for Senator Kerry, what you really heard - if you paid attention to the details - was not a base of true support. These people were voting against the President. Same lyrics, same song. The lesson they need to learn is to find a candidate they can all vote for. Oh, and just my own suggestion, that person is not the junior senator "from" New York.

November 1, 2004 - West Hollywood, CA

It's All Saints' Day, Election Eve, and right now all I'm thinking is that for a change I haven't had to battle the damn
405 or 101 to make my way to the San Fernando Valley during the rush hours. I was spared the nightly frustration by the graciousness of my friend and agent Edward. After eight hours of sifting through memos, telegrams, letters and production documents, I am so looking forward to kicking back and enjoying the evening. I'd like to not think about the election for one night, but somehow I think it will come up. When I visited Edward in Sag Harbor last June he was raving about Michael Moore's latest. Well, I just happened to bring a copy of Farenhype 9/11 along. My gift to you, Edward.

October 31, 2004 - SF Valley, CA

Back in the City of Angels. This Halloween I find myself killing some time in a Starbucks, tap tap tapping the keys of my laptop, sipping a venti coffee (just their regular coffee, none of that latte, soy, caramel bullshit), and picking at a lemon zucchini muffin. Tomorrow I'll be digging through the archives at the Center for Motion Picture Study, aka the Academy library, followed by dinner with my agent who happens to be out here at the moment for an acting gig. Not a heck of a lot to rant about today, overall it's been a pretty good weekend, getting to spend some time with a dear friend, having dinner prepared for me (for a change!), and just enjoying a much needed change of scenery.

October 28, 2004 - Bronxville, NY

Wow, who would ever have thought that my very first entry here would be about the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series!