Monday, February 26, 2007


All Hail SCORSESE!!!


Sunday, February 18, 2007



Every Sunday I go to the very large commercial bookstore in my neighborhood. I go there because there was a time when I liked book stores and old habits dont go away so easily.

I remember a time when book stores (even the big ones) were quiet. I MEAN SILENT! Sadly times have changed. Book shops are now mega bookstores. They are sort of like a Costco or Best Buy for books. Where by loud music echos throughout the store, milk is being steamed to perfection as it bellows from the cappuccino machines, and small children are encouraged to run around screaming.

I'm all for Americans reading more but I cant say for sure if any reading is actually going on. In fact I cant quite understand why so many people are there in the first place.

You cant thumb through a new novel that you may want to buy because you would need to actually pull a book off a shelf first. This task is impossible to do unless you are willing to you climb over packs of children that litter the isles using book shelves as leaning posts and head rests. You cant sample a chapter of that new political biography because even if you make it to the shelf you cant actually hear your inside voice read over the noise of Dido singing about "going down with the ship" on the store's stereo system. You cant even read a magazine because the local chapter of Moms with Attitude are holding a town meeting about alternate side of the street parking and the new neighborhood hair salon in the magazine section.

The only section of the store I can find any kind of peace is in the Religion and Middle Eastern studies section which is sort of ironic. Its the only section of the store that has not been colonized by the suburban American beasts that do nothing but drink Green Tea Frappaccino's and catch up on local gossip while other shoppers watch them wishing Hilary Clinton's "It Takes A Village" really gave permission to scare other people's children into obedient silence.

For the third week in a row I have come home with a book about the religions of the world. This weeks purchase was Jerusalem: One City Three Faiths last week's purchase was The Fight For Jerusalem. Interesting reading, yes. But in a sea of books could I dare hope to find something else? Nope.

I used to like book stores. I like reading. I like browsing for new ideas. I dont want to buy my books on-line. I miss the old lady in the reading glasses with her gray hair pulled back in a bun shhusshing everyone. I want my damn bookstore back.

So when did this happen? Has the bookstore truly gone the mega route? Is nothing sacred anymore.

Perhaps I need to renew the good old library card. Or do they play out dated pop music there too?

Saturday, February 17, 2007


This Little Piggy Went To...

Tomorrow is Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Mongolian, etc NEW YEAR.

2007 is knows as the year of the Pig (actually its a Boar). It is also known by its former name of Ding Hai. Or as I like to call it, "keep eating porky, and you'll need to buy new clothes"

Some fun facts:

"Its better to give than to receive" would probably be the Pig’s motto

Famous people born in the Year Of The Pig include Hillary Rodham Clinton, Nigella Lawson, Sarah Ferguson, Julie Andrews, Winona Ryder, Marie Osmond, Jenna Elfman, Shannen Doherty, Camilla Parker-Bowles, Paula Yates, Marie Antoinette, Christina Applegate, Ginger Rogers, Lucille Ball, Humphrey Bogart, Thomas Jefferson, Ernest Hemingway, Alfred Hitchcock, Mahalia Jackson, Letterman and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Friday, February 02, 2007


Air Travel

I had only a few days home between Israel and heading to Utah for the Sundance Film Festival. I got a cold sometime after I got home from Tel Aviv. I got rid of that cold in Utah, only to get a whole new cold after I got home from Utah. A wise friend of mine said, "You just need to stay off of airplanes for a while." And its true, I've pretty much flew around the world in 40 days. London, Israel, and the less exotic Utah. The frequent flyer miles pile up but man does the body hurt. And lets face it, flying pretty much sucks. I sat in business class to London and Israel but felt the pain of coach on my trip to Utah. Which brings us to the topic of this post.

Exit Rows.

My sister just got home from a trip and has confessed to me that her policy on planes is to request and in some cases DEMAND the exit row. And I don't blame her. There was a time in my adolescent days of business travel that I too would opt for the Exit row. You get more leg room, wonderful nods of appreciation from your fellow travelers and a sense of human heroic obligation.

Now, in the heyday of my business traveling life I push over babies waiting in line, I flash my Gold Member Mile card at every turn and I plow past the greetings of the pleasant flight attendants all in the quest of getting that coveted overhead bin space. I've earned the right to board first, get overhead space first, be belted up first, and get the lone pillow first. Mostly I've earned the right to be the first to be knocked out cold from enough Xanax and in some cases Booze and Xanax that would quiet a medium size sheep dog who was forced to sleep on a bed a push pins.

I no longer can request Exit rows because on air planes, I am no longer qualified. I leave that duty to the more alert folks on board who appreciate the leg room and relish in the opportunity to do their civic duty should they be required. Or so I thought!

On my sister's most recent flight she sat in the Exit row as per her new policy. And the very strong man seated next to her proceeded to drink 4 bottles of wine during the flight. Rendering him not drunk enough to cause an emergency landing in Dallas, but just drunk enough to make him utterly useless in the event he needed to open the door and perform the duty that befalls one who sits in the Exit row. My sister was alone, carrying the burden that no person should carry alone, regardless of their upper body strength.

Thankfully no such duties where needed on her flight. But it does beg for some questioning. Shouldn't the PA system that announces emergency procedures be revised and shouldn't new rules be applied? Instead of, "If you are seating in an emergency row and can not perform the duties please notify the flight attendant blah blah blah" (Which basically means, 'If you are to much of a sissy and if you are dumb enough to give up the extra leg room, raise you hand'). I would much prefer the announcements set some ground rules. For example, refraining from getting wasted, falling asleep or popping so many pills so that in the event your services are needed you are actually able to perform them.

In fact, the only thing you should be allowed to do on a plane in an Exit row is pray that you don't have to perform your duties.

I vote for change my friends. Someone's gotta do it, and that someone is not me.

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