Mar 30, 2010

Sold It, Sold It, Sold It!

So, it’s the last week of March and I’m not in Florida.

We had to skip Mets Spring Training & Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach because of life shit (nothing bad, just being careful). I didn’t think I’d miss it all that much, but I was wrong.  And why am I so sure? Evidence strongly suggests the subconscious is acting out again. It’s like my inner-self knows I should be on vacation and is guiding my actions accordingly. Exhibits A, B & C – all procured on Saturday: new Chanel shades, a Kat Von D Sinner/Saint compact (cheesy, yes, but irresistible nonetheless), and a “Big Brown Bag” of Bloomingdale’s friends & family sale nonsense. The only thing missing is dinner at Benihana.

At this rate, I won’t make it to any destination for vacation this year. I’ll end up sitting at home in my designer studded jeans (I told you it was bad) counting my lipsticks.

To add insult to injury, SPEED is airing at least three quarters of its bazillion hours of B-J coverage during work hours. The exception is Saturday -- but I have a $alon appointment which will probably take all day. Good lord, I sound high maintenance.

Alright. So spring vacation was a no go. Buying a shitload of expensive crap is not going to change anything. Let's be reasonable; B-J Palm Beach kind of sucks anyway. Plus, it’s a whole lot of trouble to wrangle up a $9K deposit just to be too shy to say “hi” to Steve Magnante.

Here's to Fantasy Bidding.

Mar 24, 2010

Vice Prejudice?

So, tells me Gene Simmons and his not-his-wife were on The Joy Behar show last week. They talked about sex. A lot. No, really. I’m not making this up.


We all know Simmons prides himself on his “My only vice is women” shtick. That’s itself. But I scratch my head when he repeatedly declares his disapproval of drugs and alcohol. This got me thinking about vice in general and the ranking of such vice-ey activities. Among other tangential things – can one vice really be “better” than another? And why do people perceive certain vices as unacceptable yet applaud others? In other words: why do we shake our heads (and fingers) at the fat guy enjoying a Newport, but give Simmons his own TV show?

I tend to agree with the old Julia Child quote “Everything in moderation, including moderation,” but I can certainly spot when things have gone overboard.

To be clear, I consider Simmons’ sex nonsense a “vice” just for the fact that it is so extreme, not because I am Amish. According to self-reports, Simmons has had sexual relations with approximately 4,600 women. I’m not sure what constitutes “relations,” but to rack up 4,600, I’m gonna guess it ranges from anything more than a peck to a full-on poke. Regardless, it’s a hell of a lot of women (and I’m unclear on whether or not this figure accounts for multiple encounters). 4,600 of pretty much anything constitutes a vice.

Can you imagine if someone went on TV saying they want to eat 4,600 Big Macs or smoke 4,600 cigars?

These days even saying you are an occasional smoker will get you the stink eye. You like to smoke weed? Get off welfare, you lazy ass! Let’s not forget the degenerate gamblers. And a pox on you if your vice is food-related (unless you are thin) – you, sir, are a slob and are the cause of the nation’s obesity epidemic and the sole reason why we are all going bankrupt paying for healthcare.

The bottom line is that Simmons is not alone in his vice prejudice. Not by a long shot.

Seriously, why is this? Think about only have to have sex once, for like a minute, to get pregnant or catch an STD. Even if I gambled everything I owned in one bet, the worst off I’d be is broke (Russian Roulette not withstanding).

So what gives? As is the answer 99% of the time I ask these kinds of questions: who the hell knows.

Of course, Simmons is free to do whatever the hell he wants. I just don’t get the one-sidedness of his thinking.

I guess I favor the old-time, multi-vice kind of celebs – like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. Wine, women, and song…all while smoking a cigarette and letting it ride.

No one seemed to have a problem with them. But that’s way before CNN.

Mar 19, 2010

Count Me In

A high school teacher once gave me a tip for taking the SAT. She said that if at least one of the multiple choice answers could be eliminated, we should take a guess as opposed to leaving the bubble blank. The reason for this had something to do with losing only a partial point for a wrong answer but gaining a full point for a right answer. Sounds like gambling to me, but apparently wrong answers are better than no answers in certain situations.

Why the hell am I talking about SAT scores when I’m 33? No, I don’t have a teenager. What I do have is a 2010 Census form!

I must admit a little high school ‘tude kicked in when I opened the form and saw that participation is required by law. Flash it back to RHS, when my wardrobe consisted solely of punk tees and knock-off Lip Service stretch pants. I was a real rebel, I tell ya – all "God save the Queen" and whatnot. (Ironic side note: I live 10 miles from my hometown, but John just sold a batch of my old punk tees on EBay to some kid in Japan.)

Being still somewhat subversive, but with a much better wardrobe, my first inclination was to fill out the form with bogus nonsense. I mean, the government has no problem unleashing bogus nonsense on me all the time, why not give some back? I’ll tell you why, because there is actually a penalty.

The penalty, from what I can Google, is this: 13 USC Sec. 221 provides for a $100 fine for not answering the Census and a fine of up to $500 for giving wrong information. I did not pursue the matter far enough to figure out what the “up to” actually involves. I always wondered about “up to” provisions – like the “Curb Your Dog” signs that say “...may face fines up to $200 or 3 days in jail.” Does is depend on the size of the poop? What breed the judge favors? Alright, focus.

All I know is that this flies in the face of SAT wisdom. And my punk instinct...which is pulling my hand toward filling in the “Laotian” box.


Mar 5, 2010


Fort Lee, NJ is historically significant for several reasons. In 1776, somewhere around the area we now call Main Street, George Washington began his retreat. Yes, the retreat from the British Army that inspired Thomas Paine to pen “The American Crisis” –  the famous pamphlet that begins “These are the times that try men's souls.”

Fort Lee is also known as the birthplace of the film industry (the term “cliffhanger” originated on our palisades), and subliminal advertising.

But during the snowy winter months, my beloved borough’s claim to fame becomes its impossible parking conditions.

I pay $50 a month to park underneath my building. Year-round, I consider that money well spent given the fact that I can’t parallel park. In the winter, that becomes money even better spent so I – oh, who am I kidding – so John doesn’t have to dig my car out from under a heap of snow, rock the little monster back and forth like Rosemary’s baby and  hurdle the beast over the plow pile onto the road.

So with a building-covered covered parking spot, I’ve got it made, right? Not really. Winter 2010 has been a pain in the ass in terms of snowfall. It has been even more of a pain in the ass since I now have two cars and one spot. For those of you following along, I just bought a sweet car. She is the favorite; she gets the spot under the building. That leaves the Hyundai (which, ironically I’ve been driving everyday because of the snow situation) on the street to get plowed in. And ticketed.

On February 14th, just following the first of our Blizzard(s) of 2010TM, I got a fucking parking ticket as the Hyundai was in violation of the 48 hour parking rule. At first, we thought this must be some mistake...perhaps the meter maid did not see the Fort Lee resident permit because the car was plowed in over the window?


It didn’t matter anyway – the rule is 48 hours, even with permit. Still, if a car is that plowed in, they should extend the limit a day or two, right? It was the BLIZZARD OF 2010TM FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!

But, I was technically in violation of the ordinance as much as the borough was in violation of common sense, so I went online to pay the ticket.

I did not believe that online ticket payment would be a problem. I mean, police stuff is high tech now. Anyone can see how advanced our system is by simply turning on the TV. Every hour of the day there is some kind of Law & Order, CSI, NCIS, etc., where they scan a piece of belly button lint into some 3-D contraption and – Mekka Lekka Hi Mekka Hiney Ho – the crime is solved.

Imagine my surprise (yes, imagine it!) when after typing in everything correctly, I got a message saying it could not “find” my ticket information.

Where was my ticket information? Had it flown south for the winter to escape the Blizzard(s) of 2010TM? Someone call Lieutenant Van Buren.

Scratch that – phone the FL municipal court. After confirming the fine was $40, she said I could not pay online because the ticket book had not yet been turned in, so the tickets had not been put into the computer.

Say, what?

I find it completely unbelievable that I can’t pay my parking ticket online because the upload of ticket information is manual. Granted, my exposure to crime and justice is mainly through the TV, so maybe my expectations are unrealistic.

I wrote the damn check. Consider it my retreat. I guess 234 years later, these are still the times that try men’s souls.


I had pretty much finished this essay in my head a week ago, but I’m glad I left it to ferment. Last evening a friend of mine told me she once racked up over $3K of Fort Lee parking tickets while she was hospitalized. What is the point of that? If the location of her car actually constituted such a gross violation, shouldn’t they have just towed the damn thing? Do they really think that someone who would “allow” approximately 100 tickets to accumulate on their windshield would not have a legitimate excuse for not moving the car? You would think they’d run her plates, get her address, and check and see if she was OK.

To protect and serve...ummm, OK.

She went to court. The tickets were tossed.