Monday, October 27, 2008

Way Out East

I was sitting in a theater on Friday night when Phillip Seymour Hoffman walked right by me.

He didn’t see me, but then I don’t think anyone else did either. I was feeling somewhat invisible on this night.

I had been stuck for something to do for the weekend, but I was determined to fight the gravitational pull of Netflix and my living room couch and get out into the alleged real world.

I was tempted to see the opening of Charley Kaufman’s movie, Synecdoche, New York, starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, which opened on Friday, but sitting in a dark movie theater seemed a bit too similar to sitting on my couch.

You don’t meet too many people in the dark, or at least not the kind of people you want to hang around with once the lights come back on.

I decided that if I’m going to live in the five-borough asylum that is New York City, I really should do the New Yorky things that I couldn’t do when I was living in Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

So I went to the Labyrinth Theater Co.’s free play reading at the Public Theater, where, yes, smart-ass, I would sit in the dark by myself, but this is theater.

You can meet people more easily at a play than you can at a movie, especially during the matinee. I’m always chatting with fellow audience members when I go to a play, whereas when a movie ends, everybody heads for the doors.

I sat in the lobby reading the Village Voice waiting for the doors to open and scoping the people around me, keeping an eye out for attractive single women in my approximate age bracket and coming up with nothing.

I took a seat in the front row and hoped I’d have some free space on either side of me during the reading, but a lovey-dovey young couple whom I had seen in the lobby and tried to avoid gravitated to the two seats on my left.

The couple wrapped up in themselves and made little cooing noises at each other—God, I’m a cranky old bastard, aren’t I?—while I prayed for the lights to come down as quickly as possible.

It was then that a heavyset man with a full beard walked by me and I was sure it was Hoffman—no surprise given that he’s a member of the Labyrinth—but just to settle things, he greeted some women in the audience with just one word—“Ladies…” –and I was certain it was him.

Don’t stare, don’t stare, I shouted at myself as he walked to the back of the theater. You’re a New Yorker, not a yahoo from East Bumfuck. You’re supposed to be jaded; you’re supposed to be indifferent to everything around you.

But he’s one of my favorite actors, my inner yahoo whined, and his movie opens today!

Nobody cares what you think, schmuck, and he knows about the goddamn movie opening; he's in it, for Christ's sake. Just shut your piehole and act cool.

I sat there and fantasized about talking with Phil about theater, movies, the state of the world. I could tell him about my projects, give him a rundown of my own (exceedingly brief) stage career, and--the big one--invite him to read my blog.

Then we could all go out to some chi-chi club and talk art until the sun comes and the cows come home.

They Say The Neon Lights Are Bright...

Once again, however, I was blind-sided by reality. The two actors came out and began the reading and there I was, back on earth and sitting next to the clingy couple.

The actors were very good, but I wasn’t particularly impressed with the play itself.

Perhaps if there had been a real set and props, I would have felt more enthusiastic, but I found myself nodding at one point and then worrying that Hoffman might have seen me.

He won't take you to the chi-chi club if he sees you leaning over.

At the end of the show, I stood up, put on my jacket and looked up and locked eyes with Hoffman who was sitting way in the back.

Don’t stare, don’t stare!
I walked around the young couple and out the door. It turns out that Hoffman exited through another exit and once again I found myself locking eyes with the guy.

Get the hell out of here!

I walked quickly out the door and headed down to St. Mark’s Place to get some dinner. As always, this street was packed with people—nearly all of them young couples.

This city and this block in particular are so teeming with life I had to wonder why people feel a need to travel around the globe to “exotic” locations. St. Mark’s looks like a bazaar…and it looks like rather bizarre.

It’s fun being down there, but not so much when you’re alone. You can just slide right off the glittering surface of this city if you’re not careful.

This is the kind of thing I’ve been trying to change for years now and while I’ve made some progress, I still get caught flatfooted every so often and wind up on my own.

When I was living Connecticut, I once called a friend who lived in the Village one Friday night and whined about how I was stranded in, well, East Bumfuck.

But he told me he felt stranded in Manhattan, too, as he walked by these chi-chi clubs were everybody is young, aloof, and clad in black.

By the time I moved back to New York, my friend had gotten fed up with the whole scene and moved to a lake community in the wilds of New Jersey.

He told me he liked the East Bumfuck life, though he did miss some things about New York.

“You always give up something,” he said.

I wound having dinner at the Chipotle on St. Mark’s, after promising myself I wouldn’t, and got on line behind a young couple who were all wrapped up in each other.

After I got my chicken burrito and sat down with my Village Voice and hoped no one would take the empty table next to me.

But yet another young couple—how many does that make so far?--put their trays down and prepared to sit down. I’m like a young couple magnet. Why can’t I just attract the young women and get rid of the guys? Can't I break up the set?

The woman had to go to the bathroom, but before she could do that, the two of them just had to hug and kiss each other because they were going to be separated for such a terribly long time. I scarfed down my burrito and got the hell out of there.

The subway was catering only to young couples, as well, and wondered if maybe they should have their own train.

I think there should be some kind of warning sign for us aging types to stay home or go out on a different night. I’m tired of being part of the background.

Saturday night wasn’t much better. I went to one bar in Sunset Park, but bailed almost immediately because it was too loud, too crowded and too young. I ended up at a saloon at the end of the R line that was too quite, too empty, and too old.

Balance—that’s what I need, or else you start to slide.

This happened to me last week, while I was eating a sandwich at my desk. I had a flashback to when I was a kid eating lunch with my mother.

It wasn’t any particular memory; I just went back to a time when I could swing my legs off the seat and not come anywhere near the floor.

I was actually getting teary-eyed as the image became more real and I wondered what the hell was wrong me, why I had to take a perfectly lovely memory and use it as an excuse to start weeping.

My shrink had to point out that this was a beautiful memory and maybe I was crying because I don’t have anything new to replace it.

East Bumfuck isn’t a place on the map; it’s a state of mind. And you can spend your whole life there if you’re not careful.

I heard Charlie Kaufman, the writer and director of Synecdoche, New York, on the radio today talking about his flick and I'm really excited to see it now. But I don't want to go by myself.

Maybe I’ll ask Phil to come with me...and then we can start hitting the clubs.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Refresh My Memory

I ran into an acquaintance of mine on the subway Thursday night.

Now if only I could remember his name.

Actually, it’s not just this man’s name that has escaped me. It’s his entire existence. I have no memory whatsoever of having met the gentleman prior to Thursday, yet he clearly knew me.

It was around 8:30 pm and I was minding my business on the Brooklyn-bound R train when a man on crutches got on at 34th Street with a young woman. He looked around the car and then his eyes fixed on me.

“Hey, how’s it going?”

I was the only person in this section of the car, so I assumed he was speaking to me. But I didn't recognize him at all, so he must have mistaken me for someone else.

“Rob, right?”

Oh, God—he knows me, but I don’t know him. What do I do now?

He told me his name, which I realize now I have since forgotten, and introduced me to his wife, whose name I couldn’t recall if you water-boarded me for three days straight in a bucket of rancid sauerkraut.

They sat across from me and we began talking about his injury, which at least gave me a chance to avoid any direct questions about his life and times. I can only thank God he mangled his leg or else I would have looked like a total idiot.

We had a rather pleasant conversation, though, especially considering I couldn’t begin to remember who this man was or how I knew him.

We talked about living in Bay Ridge, the scary job market, and the encroaching winter. Imagine if I actually knew who this guy was. We would have gotten along famously.

I felt the conversation slowing down after a short while, so I smiled weakly, held up my paper, and indicated I would read for the duration of what now seemed like an excruciatingly long ride. Can I change my mind of the water-boarding thing?

Forgetting someone’s name, while embarrassing, is not so terrible, given the sensory assault we are subjected to on a daily basis. But forgetting an entire person is terrifying. It’s like someone threw me a surprise lobotomy.

I was wondering if this was an elaborate practical joke. Or maybe I walked into a Hitchcock movie where a stranger approaches me and then all a sudden he’s dead on the ground and the cops are setting me up as a patsy to be the fall guy.

Or is it setting me up as a fall guy to be the patsy? Either way it sucks.

But this was no film noir episode. This felt more like a senior moment. My father suffered from dementia and every time I forget or misplace something, I start to get the nagging feeling that I’m heading down the same trail.

My dad used to laugh about a movie entitled “I'll Never Forget What's'isname.” He never actually saw the flick, or at least he didn’t remember seeing it, but he got a real out kick of the title. I used to think it was funny, too, up until Thursday night.

I suppose the subway story is yet another sign that I’m getting older, along with the various aches and pains and the gray hairs on the parts of my body that I don’t shave.

And the eyesight is fading. I prided myself that at 51 years of age, I still don’t wear glasses. But I fear I’ll have to cave in pretty soon.

I was out on Friday for sushi and when I got the bill, I squinted, cocked my head, turned the slip of paper at every possible angle in search of better lighting and I still couldn’t make out those ridiculously tiny numbers.

Are they just hoping we’ll hand over the plastic and not bother to look?

I finally showed the bill to my companion and asked her to tell me what it said. It was a little embarrassing, but at least I remember her name.

I’ve been watching this TV show, “Life on Mars” about a modern day New York cop who gets clobbered by a car and wakes up in…the Seventies.

This may be the first time I’ve ever seen a time travel story that goes back to a time when I was alive. I forgot how awful the clothing and the music from that time really were, so thank God someone created a show to remind me.

Do You Know Me?

Obviously I’m not the only one with memory problems in this world. Hell, if society didn’t have a collective amnesia, most politicians would never get elected.

I decided I should do something to help myself before I forgot what the problem was, so I did a Google search of the phrase “improve memory” and got 670,000 hits.

Regain a Young Brain, one sponsored link says, though it doesn’t specify whose young brain I should regain. I’ll work with mine, but if there’s a nicer one around I’m willing to take it around the block for a spin.

Memory Formula: $29.99, another proclaims, which is an easy number to remember.

Debilitating Brain Fog? You’re asking me? If I have brain fog, I wouldn’t know it and I’d be traveling on automatic pilot—which sounds like a large portion of my life.

I saw the word “Free” and I clicked onto another link about improving memory, but it turned out to be for computers, not people. Computers don't have to worry about forgetting something. If they do, it's probably your fault.

“Want To Improve Memory?” one headline asks and then answers: “Strengthen Your Synapses. Here's How.”

I thought this meant I had to make my synapses do push-ups and hoist barbells, but it’s really all in my head.

“Stress is a major cause of synapse dysfunction,” the article said. After a couple of rounds with Dell’s Tech Support it’s a wonder that I have any synapses left to snap.

And I was feeling awfully stressed in the subway car Thursday night sitting across from that guy on the crutches. I kept sneaking looks out the window to see how close we were to home.

Damn it, if only I had stayed on the No. 2 at Times Square I never would have run into Captain Crutches. I’m really starting to dislike that guy, whoever the hell he is.

The memory article advises people to reduce stress (good luck with that one), exercise regularly (I knew push-ups were going to be part of this.), do puzzles, and challenge your brain by breaking routine.

Can’t I just eat lots of fish instead? I thought they were good for memory, but then I ate three tons of raw fish at that sushi dinner and I still can’t remember that guy’s name.

I do recall a Three Stooges bit where Larry says “fish is good brain food.”

“You should catch a whale,” Moe says and smacks Larry upside the head—which can’t be good for your memory.

I tried googling “fish + memory” but the first few articles were about the fish’s memory.

One link asked the musical question, Do Fish Have Memories? Well, they keep getting reeled in—just like people during election time-so I guess not.

But there’s evidence to suggest otherwise, according to an article entitled “Three Second Fish Memory Myth”—a great name for an album--which says that a 10 year(?!) study of fish memory “concluded that fish can not only remember in the short term but also rely on long term memory.”

Oh, the poor bastards. You mean fish remember bad break-ups, traumatic childhoods, and the Bush administration? That three-second memory is starting to look pretty good.

You can forget something and then forget that you forgot it, so you won’t be embarrassed about forgetting it in the first place. I can forget Catholic school, freshman year, my last 20 relationships, root canal, the IRS, and anything my boss tells me to do.

You could even forget fact that you spent 10 years of your life trying to prove fish have long term memories.

I got up at Bay Ridge Avenue and my mystery companions got up with me, as this, too was their station. I wished them well, hoped his leg improved, and told him I’d see him around. Then I dashed the hell out of the car and up the stairs.

I’m going to the gym now so I can exercise my synapses and improve my three-second memory.

I'll work out hard and hope I won’t forget how to get home.

And if some stranger walks up and greets me by name, I’m going to slap him across the face with a 20-pound flounder.

He won’t forget my name anytime soon, that’s for sure.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Garden Party

I went to a garden party to reminisce with my old friends...

Hey, that sounds like a song. I'll have to keep that in mind. Meanwhile, let's talk about Sunday's Brooklyn Blogade at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

This fabulous event at this beautiful location was organized by that sharp-eyed shutterbug Flatbush Gardener, whose photos I am once again proudly stealing for this post.

I've been going to the Botanic Garden ever since I was a child, but this visit was really special. We had lunch outside at the Terrace Cafe and then headed into the Members' Room for some presentations from the Garden's staff.

And then we got a guided tour of the place. The weather was beautiful as our guide took us around the garden's various sites. I told everyone about how I came here when I was a little kid with my aunt and got lost in the Japanese Garden.

I still maintain that I was never lost and even if I were, this would be the place to do it.

We ended up by the herb garden where I spotted a plant known as the "cannibal tomato." Not to worry--this is not a killer tomato that comes to life and goes for your jugular.

Legend has it that this particular plant was once popular with cannibals in the South Pacific who used it to make sauce for eating people. I didn't know cannibals used sauce for their human meals, but then I never eat hamburger without ketchup, so there you are. Or there you were.

I visited the Peabody Museum in Salem, Mass. years ago when I spied this strange implement mounted next to a human tooth in one of the glass display cases.

It turned out that the tooth once belonged to a cannibal ruler. He was suffering from a toothache, the story goes, and an explorer (I want to say Capt. Cook, but I'm not sure.) offered to remove the malicious molar if the chief gave up his consumption for human flesh.

The chief agreed and out came the tooth. The chief converted to Christianity and, as a sign of trust, he handed over his fork that he reserved for eating folks--the strange implement in the case.

I found it interesting that cannibals used forks. I just assumed if you made the decision to eat a fellow human being, you wouldn't be too worried about your table manners, but it's all right now. I learned my lesson well. You can't please everyone, so you've to--hey, there's that song again.

Anyway, the Blogade was great. We had a lot of fun, plenty of sunshine, and no one was eaten by cannibals. Who could ask for anything more?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ninth Circle of Dell

At times like this I almost miss my typewriter.

I spent four hours in tech support hell on Friday, spending the time being passed around from techie to techie like a hooker at a bachelor party.

I’ve logged enough time talking to India to give me jet lag and frequent flier miles; I’ve got a crick in my neck from holding the phone against my shoulder and a crushed ear from pressing the receiver to my head.

The only thing l don’t have is a working computer.

After months of mild misbehavior, my Dell desktop finally went berserk last week, switching off without so much as a by-your-leave, which was one of my mom's expression that I thought I would bring out for this occasion.

The computer liked to torture me, coming on long enough for me to think it was okay and then keeling over right before my eyes.

I’d hit the power button a few times, the thing would power up, I’d feel confident it was okay and then—poof!—it would croak again.

Usually I handle these things with a combination of blind fury and mindless hope. After cursing the fates for a couple of minutes, I become baselessly optimistic, figuring if I just give the machine a rest, it’ll come back to normal—as if my computer is suffering from Montezuma’s revenge or a bad migraine.

It was really bad this time and I knew I had to crack down and call tech support. I know this means hours of waiting, talking, fiddling with the machine’s innards and trying to decipher the accents and the techno-babble being drilled into my head.

The Dell bunch also likes to sell you stuff, which I find most irritating. (Maybe they should call themselves “Sell.”)

That’s like trying to sell a drowning man a year’s worth of swimming lessons. Yes, I’m sure they’ll come in handy some day, but you could pull me into the damn boat first?

The first time a guy talked me into buying ink cartridges. Fine, I was out of them anyway and could have really used them when my aunt and uncle were here last week.

Okay, so I buy the damn ink, they put me on with tech support, the dude takes over my computer. It’s weird watching your cursor come to life and shoot around the screen; I felt like calling a priest.

The guy messes around for a bit and pronounces my computer ready for the world. Great, Internet here I come.

And then it craps out on me again.

I’ll call back and the next guy offers me the special tech support—not the regular support we give the losers, but the super secret, top-of-the-line, bells and whistles, first-class tech support…for a nominal fee.

I got a little mouthy at this point, insisting to talk a techie and not a peddler. The next person, a woman, tries a bunch of stuff, and determines that it’s a hardware problem and sets me up with one of their local repair people.

I find out the guy works during the day and takes off weekends…kind of like me. But we agree he’ll come to my house on Friday at 6pm and work his magic. I dash out of work, leaving God knows what in my wake, and find the guy on my stoop.

This Won't Hurt A Bit

Naturally the computer is in the one room in the house that I didn’t clean up, so this poor bastard is stepping over clothes, books, boxes, shrunken heads, artificial limbs, and several tons of dirty laundry, including my underwear.

I go out to the living room and shudder with embarrassment.

The guy replaces the burnt out motherboard, I throw him 20 bucks and I’m ready to get back on line.

Only I don’t have any Internet connection. None, zip, zilch, never heard of it, how did you get in here anyway? So I call the techie on his cell (sell?) and he tells me to call support.

All right, I don’t complain. It shouldn’t be long. So I call the number—I’m not sure where Verizon is—and the woman starts giving me a series of tasks to perform.

I feel like a guy in an airplane being talked down by the control tower…only I can’t find the runway and the pilot just dropped dead.

Finally, she tells me to call Dell.

“Wait a minute!” I wail. “They told me to call you!”

So the Verizon woman calls Dell for me, puts me on with yet another techie, who takes over my computer once again—I feel so violated!—and opens the thing up like the medical examiner carving up a corpse on Law & Order.

I had that damn phone pressed to my head for hours. I give the guy credit, though, he tried everything to get me back on line. And finally—he did it.

“I see that your computer is very slow,” he tells me. “Have you considered getting additional memory…?”

He means buying additional memory, of course, but I’m so happy to be connected I say sure, though I draw the line when he tries to sell me some traveling memory unit.

Enough already, pal, huh?

But then I see that my Norton 360 security system is not working. Surfing the Internet without this protection is like going to Vegas without condoms. You may have fun, but you’re liable to catch something very nasty.

“I’m going to give you a number,” my salesman techie friend says. “For Norton—”

--no, please don’t say it, please—

“—technical support.”

More geeks? Are you kidding me? I can’t handle any more disembodied voices floating around my skull; I can’t keep telling the same story over and over again. It sucked the first time and has not improved with the re-telling.

But there was no getting around it. And since I had wasted my Friday night anyway, I decided to finish this thing once and for all…for the time being.

I called Norton tech support, left a number, a nice young man working somewhere outside of Manila called me back. He, too, took over my computer—Jesus, I’m going to get a bad reputation—and tries to make small talk.

“I see a picture of a woman on your computer, sir,” he says. “Is she your wife?”

“No, she’s my aunt,” I say, “but I’m sure she’ll be very flattered to hear that.”

We laughed, talked about politics, both here and over there, where, my buddy tells me that in the Philippines “we have a lady president.”

Finally he tells me I can leave and he’ll finish up. Great. The next night I go online to write a blog posting about how my computer was resurrected and now I’m back in the game.

And it crapped out on me yet again. I've got ink cartridges, additional memory. I just don't have a computer.

I’m writing this now from another location and the traveling techie is supposed to come by my house this week with another new part.

He’s not getting a tip this time and he doesn't fix my damn computer, I’ll be on the next plane to India with a Louisville slugger on my lap.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Atomic Drop

“Wisdom and Knowledge shall be the stability of thy time.”

I owe my life to the atomic bomb.

It feels very strange and somewhat disconcerting to say something like that, given the horrific results of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, which killed upwards of 220,000 people, but during a recent walk through my father’s old neighborhood I found how much I owe to world’s first—and so far only—nuclear attack.

My Uncle Joe and his wife from L.A. came to stay with me last week and I took time off to accompany them as they did the New York tourist routine.

We went to Rockefeller Center, took a ride around Manhattan on the Circle Line, caught a Broadway matinee, and took a ride up to Marble Hill so my uncle could see the area where he, my father and the rest of my dad’s family grew up.

Their old apartment building is gone and I tried to imagine what the neighborhood must have looked like before the box retailers, chain stores, and bodegas, back when there was a dairy nearby that used horse-drawn wagons to deliver milk.

Standing at the bridge at 225th Street, Joe pointed to a huge rock near Spuyten Duyvil from which my father would jump into the Hudson.

As I listened to stories about my father as a young man made me wish—once again—that I hadn’t fought with him as much I did, that I had been more understanding of his experiences during the Depression and World War II.

But regret doesn’t cure a damn thing and usually makes life a little tougher.

Somewhere during our walk, we started talking about my father’s service during the war and Joe mentioned that my father’s division had been selected to participate in a planned invasion of Japan.

I remembered hearing this story years ago when I was a teenager, but I had figured that it was all talk. Yes, maybe my father might be picked to join this battle, but this invasion never got close to happening, and if it did, every U.S. soldier would be in on it.

I even joked about how I might not have been around if my father had gotten killed in the proposed attack. Or maybe he would have survived, stayed in Japan and married a local woman. I was a very imaginative kid.

But the invasion of Japan was much closer to becoming reality than I ever imagined. My uncle told me that my father’s unit had been brought back to the States from Europe ahead of other troops, and sent out to Fort Lewis in Washington to prepare for the attack.

The invasion was planned as a two-pronged assault, dubbed “Operation Downfall,” and the first part, “Operation Olympic” was scheduled to begin on “X-Day,” Nov. 1, 1945, with 14 U.S. divisions slated to take part in the initial landings.

The follow-up, “Operation Coronet,” was to begin on "Y-Day,” March 1, 1946 and it would have been the largest amphibious operation of all time. The combined cost of the two attacks was put at 1,200,000 casualties, with 267,000 fatalities.

In addition to the Japanese military, the soldiers were expected to face “a fanatically hostile population.”

“It would have made D-Day look like a picnic,” Joe said.

It’s unnerving to think that my father could have died in that invasion, or could have been seriously injured—physically, mentally, or both--or so far removed from the path his life eventually took that he would never have met my mother.

This Nearly Was Mine

My father and his fellow soldiers were worn out from fighting in Europe for so long and, like anyone else, when soldiers are tired, they make mistakes. Only in war, mistakes can be fatal.

I used to speak out against the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, not knowing how important they were to my very existence. But I recall that my father denounced the bombings as well, or at least the idea of dropping two of these devices.

Joe said that my father called him when the atomic bombs were dropped and said “there won’t be any invasion now.”

Nearly 500,000 Purple Heart medals were manufactured in anticipation of the casualties for the invasion that never happened and 120,000 of these awards are still in stock. I assume they made thousands of body bags as well.

A few days later we saw South Pacific at Lincoln Center, which seems appropriate, given the World War II theme. I went in expecting an old chestnut of a story, but I really enjoyed the hell of out of thing.

We had great seats and a really cool usher who made jokes and called us all “guests.” The show has one fabulous song after another and there’s a line in “Some Enchanted Evening,” that advises you to go after your true love “or all through your life you may dream all alone.”

That line made me shiver a little, given my age and lack of a true love. I know I can’t do the old “why me?” bit, knowing how I’ve run away from potentially good relationships, stuck with disastrous ones, and spent a large part of my life completely avoiding the search for my true love.

This was my own version of “Operation Downfall.”

I think about the lease on life I got now that I know how close my father came to dying in combat and how, by extension, my family came so close to never existing. It makes me wonder if I’ve been grateful enough for the second chance we’ve been given.

My father and all those soldiers lived, while thousands of other people, many of them civilians, died or suffered terrible injuries. The bombings are more than just history to me now; they're a matter of survival.

I think those people who died in the bombings, how they many of them were just living their lives when all hell literally broke loose. They're a lot closer to me now than they were before.

I saw a TV special about the 50th anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing. Everyone on the show was saying how terrible it was and how it should never happen again.

But one young Korean woman was furious at the United States for not dropping more atomic bombs on Japan.

"They should have dropped 10 or 20 bombs," she said, shaking with rage.

Her hatred was palable and shocking, in light of all the calls for peace in our time. But then the Koreans suffered so terribly under the Japanese occupation. Can you expect someone to forget all that so quickly?

The woman looked too young to have been alive during the occupation so I guess she was brought up listening to these stories. Like the song says, "you've got to be carefully taught..."

My father once told me that many years ago he heard about a new musical coming to Broadway and he had a chance to get tickets before it opened. He decided to wait and see what the critics thought and then take in the show.

That musical was South Pacific, and when the reviews came out, my father said you couldn’t get a ticket for three years. He regretted not getting those tickets when he had the chance. And we all know the value of regret.

If there's a lesson here, it would be that you should live your life, be thankful for what you have, and when you meet that stranger across a crowded room, make sure you fly to her side.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Blogade Grows in Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Blogade, a summit meeting of some of the funkiest bloggers you ever want to meet, will touch down at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden on Sunday, October 12.

The event will be hosted by Flatbush Gardner, who took the photo accompanying this post, and it promises to be a blast.

The Schedule of Events looks something like this:

* 11am to 12noon: Food on your own at BBG's al fresco Terrace Cafe. Blogade attendees can sign in and get their name tags at the Blogade registration table near the Bonsai House.
* 12noon to 2pm: Main program in the Member's Room of the recently landmarked Laboratory and Administration Building. Meet Dave Allen, BBG's Web Manager! There will be some brief presentations, time for Q&A, and of course, the shout-out.
* 2pm to 3:30pm: Continue schmoozing as you explore the gardens on a guided tour of BBG just for those attending the Blogade!


* BBG is offering free admission - and parking - to those attending the Blogade.
* Space in the Member's Room is limited.
* For free admission, please provide your real name.
* RSVPs will be fulfilled first-come, first-served.
* RSVP to

These events are a great to meet other bloggers and they're always fun. So if you're a Brooklyn blogger, come and down and represent...or whatever the current expression is. You'll be glad you did. And so will we.