Monday, March 31, 2008

I really must ask Bev

I really must ask Bev how she manages all this blogging stuff.

I had a post ready to go (two of them, in fact) on Tradition Three, one of which I posted last week.

Then, today, I went to create a new post and KAFLOOEY, I wound up blowing up my hard-earned post du jour and wound up posting the 2nd draft of the post regarding Tradition Three I had leftover from last week.

Now, I can hold forth for hours with the best of them in recovery meetings, but two posts, virtually back to back, on the same subject, is a little much, even for a self-absorbed alkie like me.

My friend Bev, on the other hand, apparently posts about as much as Arianna Huffington does on a good day, not including video logs, cake-baking and puppy-tending.

Somewhere in there she manages to find time to whiz down to Santa Barbara to attend showers (wedding and baby), weddings, births, christenings, bat mitzvahs and God only knows what else. Drive visitors into San Francisco for the Cook's Tour of the place (hold on... this is Lombard Street) and still have time to drive up to Marin to have lunch with her Mom.

I don't know how the woman does it.

I wish she'd fill in for me now and then.

I need to go lie down now.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Righteously Saved

I know I've beaten this subject into the dust, but I feel compelled, today, to rant, yet again, on the subjects of presumptivness and certitude amongst the Righteously Saved.

The Righteously Saved think that we are a Christian Nation, founded by Christians, on a Christian basis and that our Constitution and laws should be based on a strictly Fundamentalist Reading of Selected Passages from some book they believe that God wrote and tossed out of Heaven one day in 1603 or something.

The Righteously Saved believe that I deliberately chose a lifestyle that flies in the face of their beliefs for the sole purpose of pissing them, and their God, off.

The Righteously Saved believe that the Godly States of America were mandated by Heaven to spread the Gospel, by the sword if necessary, to the rest of the world and that it is our God-Given Duty to do so.

The Righteously Saved believe that there should be no comingling of the races.

The Righteously Saved believe that all men should be Rich... and White... and in charge... of everything. Everyone else can either die or move to Europe.

The Righteously Saved believe that women are brood mares who exist solely to provide pleasure for Rich, White men, also to cook for them and to bear as many of their babies as they can before they wear out and die.

The Righteously Saved believe that Jesus was the Waspiest looking Jew-Boy you've ever seen in your life.

The Righteously Saved believe that the Republican Party has won every war since the Spanish-American War (hint: that was the LAST war they won).

The Righteously Saved believe that not only should we not admit the foreign spouses of LGBT Americans but, instead, that LGBT Americans should be de-ported to somewhere else.

The Righteously Saved believe that I should believe what they believe and that if I don't (or won't, or can't) then the very least I can do is to shut up and pretend that I do.

The Righteously Saved believe that I have an agenda.

But oddly enough, when I look around, the only agenda I see has the words "Righteously Saved" written all over it.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Only Requirement for Membership

My 12-Step Program, in addition to it's 12 Steps, also has 12 Traditions. In a Program that really doesn't have any rules or regulations, our Traditions lay down the groundwork under which we operate. Each of the Traditions has equal weight, and each is equally important.

Part of our Program's lore has it that "the Steps keep us from killing ourselves... the Traditions, however, keep us from killing each other."

Boy, ain't that the truth.

Oftentimes meetings dedicated to the Steps (cleverly entitled "Step Meetings") will reserve one meeting a month for a discussion of that month's Tradition. March, for example, being the third month would be reserved for Tradition Three, "The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking."

Period. That's it. There are no other admission requirements to the Program. You're a member if you say you're a member, and nobody can throw you out or blackball you as long as you have a desire to stop drinking.

The Traditions have their genesis in the early days of the Program, when we were a far more secretive (and frightened) society than we are today. Some groups didn't want blacks as members. Or Catholics. Or Jews. Our literature (in a book we call the "Twelve and Twelve" - the Steps and Traditions) even mentions that in the old days groups would (or wanted to) bar "beggars, tramps, asylum inmates, prisoners, queers, plain crackpots, and fallen women..." (yes, this is a direct quote -- one which usually causes gales of laughter in meetings today).

Even a loose reading of that paragraph would've probably disqualified most of our membership, way back when. I, personally, qualify in several of those categories!

Tonight, at a meeting here in New York, I'll be speaking on the subject of our Third Tradition.

Apparently, the mere act of not picking up a drink, one day at a time for 10 years, qualifies me to hold forth at length on this subject.

What they don't know is that I'll be lucky if I don't throw up on the first three rows of attendees.

And this is how we keep each other sober (with a healthy serving of God's help along the way.)

God, please give me strength and inspiration to a.) not make a complete ass of myself and b.) to actually have something worthwhile to say.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Take the Accent Test!

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: Philadelphia

Your accent is as Philadelphian as a cheesesteak! If you're not from Philadelphia, then you're from someplace near there like south Jersey, Baltimore, or Wilmington. if you've ever journeyed to some far off place where people don't know that Philly has an accent, someone may have thought you talked a little weird even though they didn't have a clue what accent it was they heard.

The Midland

The Inland North

The South

The Northeast


The West

North Central

What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Monday, March 24, 2008

Obsession du Jour? Tires!

It all started when I noticed that the OEM tires on my 2005 Honda Element, some pieces of crap made by Goodyear, were starting to lose their tread. At 25,000 miles. I know a guy who rides my commuter bus, who has the same car, but an earlier model year. He said he'd put Michelin's on his and was looking forward to getting 60,000 trouble-free miles out of them.

Well, that started me on my quest. Keep in mind that there's no imminent danger of the car falling off the road, or of the tires suddenly exploding in a parking lot. I've probably got about 3 or 4 months before things start getting really ugly, treadwise.

So I decided to start looking for a place to buy the recommended Michelin's, over the weekend.

I dropped by the local STS store on Saturday morning. The particular model of tire I need, LTS M/S, P215/70R16 99S, is on something called "national backorder" which means nobody can get 'em, and nobody can order 'em.


A simple little exploratory outing had suddenly turned into a matter of life or death.

I detoured down Route 130 towards Bordentown, to the nearest BJ's. They didn't have it in stock, either. Same story.


Now, of course, I'm terrified to drive.

By yesterday afternoon I wanted to know, personally, from Michelin headquarters in France, WHY these tires are on national backorder and WHEN, precisely, I might expect to see them being delivered for installation on my car.

As if they'll tell me. But really...

don't these people know who I think I am??

If they know what's good for them, they'll start pooing tires later on today.

Am I crazy?


Saturday, March 22, 2008

How British Politicians Handle It!

No blabbage today. Just two clips from the BBC series "Little Britain" in which a local politician puts a helluva lot of spin on his sexual dalliances. Note the reactions from the long-suffering spouse. Both are courtesy of YouTube (and how did we ever live without that?)

and this one:

Friday, March 21, 2008

Good Friday

Today would be a great time for me to thoroughly disrepect those who fervently believe that what they believe is what everybody ought to believe or else we should get the hell out, but unlike certain dipshit, asshole bigots who think

A B S O L U T L E Y - N O T H I N G

about trampling, trashing and totally destroying my life, and dispensing an unending stream of vitriolic bullshit about me (without even knowing me) in the process (i.e. that I "chose" to be gay -- that one is really a hoot -- and really pisses me off) in order to further their beliefs, I won't.

I have too much respect for faith in general. I know I wouldn't like it very much if I was attacked on the basis of my faith. My faith doesn't come with a bible (unless you consider The Big Book of my 12-Step Program to be a "bible", which I don't). Nor does it come with a hierarchy (lamas, ministers, deacons, monks, bishops, archbishops, popes, presidents, emperors or kings). Nor does it have a vast bureaucracy.

My faith is pretty simple, actually.

There is a God.

I'm not Her.

There are no Virgins who have babies, or endless cycles of reincarnation or 20 pound books that God drops out of Heaven, fully writ in 16th century Olde Englishe.

There are no thundering, mounted hordes of horsemen, riding out of the Arabian desert, spreading their beliefs at the point of a sword.

There are no inquisitions, or auto da feys or dunking chairs or burnings at the stake.

There is no such thing as heresy.

There is no such thing as blasphemy.

All there is is the simple, pure belief that there is a Power Greater than Me...

and that I'm not Her (and no, there's no belief that God is one sex or another. That's ridiculous. God just "is." God doesn't need an "other" in order to create. If God wills it, it is. I just use the feminine pronoun to piss people off.)

What others believe is their business. I make no attempt to dictate to them on the basis of MY opinions about faith and belief.

And I would certainly never make any attempt to have my spiritual beliefs encrusted in our flag and enshrined in our constitution or laws.

"When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." (although often attributed, there's no clear-cut source for that quote. Some think it was Upton Sinclair, others think it was Sinclair Lewis. My vote goes to Shari Lewis, via Lambchop.)

No matter what you believe, may you have a joyous and peaceful weekend.

This weekend and always.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Despair, Teen-Angst & Island Suicides

Interesting little article in today's NYTimes about a cluster of teen suicides on Nantucket.

I know a thing or two about teen angst and/or despair. Fortunately for me, when I was a teen, I was able to keep the vivid dramas I concocted for myself on a daily basis completely within my head and never seized upon the opportunity of a classmate's suicide to jump on the do-it-in-yourself bandwagon.

I believe in the theory of "cluster" suicides, especially among teens. Teens do everything in packs, including offing themselves. It's chic. It's dramatic (THEY'LL BE SORRY! -- uh, no, they won't). It makes a real statement.

It's also a permanent solution to temporary problems.

But try telling that to a 16 year old. Anything that runs past midnight tonight IS permanent in their books.

I know that when I was 16 I would never have believed things were going to get better. Mostly because for 16 years they hadn't. That's what comes from living with drunks while trying to raise yourself. What I didn't realize, though, was that in time they'd all die and I had the option to make things better for myself, once they were out of the way. So that long after they were gone I kept living every day as though they were still around and still making me miserable.

Silly me.

Naturally, I drowned those (self-inflicted) painful feelings with booze. Others choose drugs. Still others choose both.

Personally, I think that suicidal teenagers would be far better off becoming drunks. At least in the short run. Booze numbs the pain, no matter what the source, and, God willing, there'll be time enough later to sober up, after the source of the original pain is long-gone. I know that sounds irresponsible or callous. Rest assured, it's not. I'm certain that I would've been dead decades ago if booze hadn't numbed me to life until I was ready to accept life on it's terms.

Accompanying the article is a picture of a hand-written note taped to a classroom door in Nantucket High. It's a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:

"Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life."

Good words to share with a despairing teen. Good words, too, for the rest of us.


On a completely different (and more frivolous) subject, here is the question du jour:

Is Dale Earnhardt, Jr. a Big 'Mo? Click here to find out for yourself.

Monday, March 17, 2008

All Fall Down!

A week ago we found out that the governor of New York, Mr. Goody Two-Shoes, was schtupping some high-priced slut from New Jersey.

On Saturday, just around the corner from my office, a construction crane collapsed trashing 2 city blocks, destroying a couple of buildings and killing God knows how many.

On Sunday the venerable investment house of Bear Stearns (aka "Da Bear") was sold to JPMorganChase for about $2 bucks a share. The building it occupies at the corner of 47th Street and Madison Avenue is worth more.

Today the speculation surrounds the rumors that the brokerage house of Lehman Brothers might be next (I certainly hope not. They owe me a pension!)

No wonder people drink! Especially in this city. Times either are very very good, or else they suck donkey.

Today the city has it's annual celebration which involves tens of thousands of Italian, Polish and Jewish teenagers who arrive on trains and buses to imbibe obscene quantities of green beer, festoon themselves with buttons and hats which invite the world to "Kiss Me! I'm Irish!" and to vomit said green beer in the middle of, and all the way up, Fifth Avenue, so the marchers can find their way from 42nd Street to 86th Street. At that point the parade disperses and, by 5 o'clock this afternoon just about every cop and firefighter in town will be drunk out of their minds and hanging out the open doors of every Irish Pub on Manhattan's (usually) fashionable Upper East Side.

It's a great time to knock off a few banks. Ain't no way you'll get caught.

I only suggest that because, well, times are hard. Even if Georgie Porgie can't or won't see it.

So, Happy St. Paddy's Day, everyone.

Eat, drink and be merry! But especially, drink (if you can).

(And for those who keep track of such things, I am one-quarter Irish, one-quarter English, one-quarter Scot and one-quarter Welsh. Now you know why I never stood a chance.)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Cash & Prizes

I started to get sober 10 years ago, a week ago last Saturday. That's a lot of sober time. It also represents a period spent mending a lot of fences (and erecting a few new ones, too).

I got an e-mail this morning from a guy I've known since October of 1971. I think we probably liked each other a lot back then. I remember thinking, in those days, how nice he was and how I wished I could be a part of his inner circle of friends. But my disease took me elsewhere and even though we'd maintained a very loose contact with each other over the years, I never had that close friendship I would've liked to have had.

That all changed after I started getting sober. And that e-mail he sent me detailed, in a very short paragraph, how much I've come to mean to him in the last 10 years.

It made me so happy that I started to cry.

When I wrote back I tried to find the right words to let him know how grateful I am that by getting sober I've been able to finally get something I've wanted for years. To be his friend.

For the last several years he and his life partner, and another friend of ours, have vacationed together for a week or two just about every summer. My emailing friend and I tend to be early risers and I love spending a quiet hour or so with him every morning, sitting out on the screened porch, or on the deck, or somewhere overlooking the beach or water, just drinking coffee and yapping about nothing, something, everything.

The best gifts I've gotten in sobriety are the gifts of love and friendship. Anything else is just "stuff."

For an alkie like me, it takes a long time to come to appreciate the really important things in life. I'm grateful that I "got it" before it was too late.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sally Kern - Politician, Mother, Christian, Asshole

A self-loathing Christian woman (and Oklahoma politician, but I repeat myself), Sally Kern, who failed so miserably at motherhood that one of her sons turned out queer is now blaming the entire LGBT community (with our vast, hidden, agenda) for making him that way, even though he attended nothing but Baptist Schools throughout his childhood. Momma is denying that Jesse's gay, but Qweerty has unearthed some interesting court documents. Read about it here.

She also claimed that we're out to kill her, but that turned out to be a lie, too. Click here for details on that.

I know this is old news, but hey, what can I do? Spitzer resigned already, thus depriving blogging pundits such as moi of days of gleeful condemnation.

Let's all move to Oklahoma and make this good, Christian woman's life a living hell!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Meet the New Governor of New York State

That gentleman to the right is the new governor of New York State. His name is David Paterson. Click here to read his Wiki entry. He sort of got the job by default. His predecessor resigned because he violated a whole bunch of laws and ethics by transporting money, via the banking system, in order to solicit a prostitute (violates: The Mann Act), not to mention just being an all-around sleaze-ball, hypocrite, just like all the Republican and Christian assholes who've gotten caught with their hands in the sexual cookie jar over the past few years.

So, the "Steamroller" is gone and now New York has it's first African-American, visually impaired (i.e., legally blind), governor.

I personally like Governor Paterson. He likes LGBT people. He's been pro-marriage for us since the early 90's. He, his wife and kids, live in Harlem, a district he has represented for decades. His father was important in both New York and National Democratic politics (vice-chair of the national party organization).

Governor Paterson has also staunchly defended stem-cell research.

Now Spitzer is gone. It's time to move on.

The King is dead. Long live the King.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


This is the cover of today's NY Post. It features soon-to-be ex-Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer, aka "Mr. Clean" and his long-suffering wife who probably looks a lot better when she hasn't been crying.

Spitzer made a lot of enemies in New York during his crusades against organized crime and Wall Street corruption over the years, while he was State Attorney General, and before that when he worked in the NYC District Attorney's office under mob-buster Bob Morgenthau.

He always talked a good game about being pure.

Pure as the driven slush, as it turns out.

He's just another ideologue, the worst kind of politician. The Mark Foley kind of politician. The Larry Craig kind of politician. The kind of politician who'd happily tell YOU how you should live YOUR life while his was a dirty, little shithole.

I'm not terribly sorry this happened to him. He ruined some nice people during his single-minded quests to stamp out crime. People who's only crimes were to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. He took no prisoners and was pretty unforgiving. Now, of course, he appears on tv, looking all contrite and beaten, like a whipped puppy. Looking for forgiveness, no doubt. Asshole.

Why is there always, ALWAYS, a long-suffering wife at the side, sucking it up in public on behalf of the all-important male's career? I wish his wife had whipped out a gun and shot his ass or, at the very least, pistol-whipped it. Now THAT would've been good tv.

Spitzer is now a drag on the Democratic Party during a very important Presidential Election Cycle,

He should resign immediately and start hanging out with his fellow ideologues who got caught with their hands in the sexual cookie jars, Mark Foley, Larry Craig and that jerk out in Colorado who headed up an anti-queer evangelical church even while he was hiring male hustlers and doing drugs.

I didn't invent the world, but I do believe that he who lives by the sword should probably die by it. And those who never give forgiveness should probably forget about ever getting it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

10 Years and 2 Days

Saturday night was great.

I belong to a gay 12-Step group in Pennsylvania which was celebrating it's 13th Anniversary Saturday night, the same time I was celebrating my 10th anniversary of sobriety. The group's chairman had invited me to be one of three guest speakers that evening. I asked my sponsor (and his wife) if they'd come to this "eatin' meetin'" and present me with my 10-year medallion there. He said yes. By the way, we call them eatin' meetins' because group anniversaries are traditionally started with a big, sit-down buffet dinner. And when gay people are involved, the food is, of course, FABULOUS!

To be honest, though, I'd been dreading the day for weeks. I was nervous that I'd make a fool of myself in front of 50 or 60 people. (it turned out to be more like 80.)

I needn't have worried. The group chairman made a big fuss over me by announcing from the podium that we had a "special" anniversary that night and then he called me and my sponsor up on the dais. My sponsor made a lovely speech about how I came along just at the right time in HIS recovery, and about how much he liked working with me and being my friend over the last 8 years. He gave me the medallion and a big hug and we went back to our seats.

Seconds later I was called back to the podium, as the first speaker of the evening. I don't remember what I said (the best shares are totally unrehearsed -- or "unpremeditated" as I call them), but whatever it was, it was mostly about love and gratitude with very little emphasis on the old, drinking parts of the story, except for enough to "qualify" as an alcoholic. Although I doubt that anyone would doubt that. Most of my friends have far too much first-hand experience with me to the contrary.

But it was the first time in my memory that I told my story pretty much leaving out all the gory details of my victimhood. Somewhere along the way in sobriety I realized that people had long ago stopped hurting me and that I was only hurting myself. Over and over again. By making bad choices and by opting, continually, for pain over joy.

Anyway, it was a quick speech, probably less than the 15 minutes I was supposed to speak. But I hate speakers who drone on, long after they've run out of things to say (okay, I'll stop typing now).

A number of people came up to me after the meeting to thank me for what I'd said. I was floating around on cloud nine.

But what mattered most Saturday night was that I was surrounded by people who mean the world to me, whether they were there in body, or there in spirit.

You see, I've come to realize that I am loved. And that I am capable of giving a lot of love in return.

Friday, March 07, 2008

March 8, 1998

I won't be posting anything over the weekend, so I might as well get this over with now.

Tomorrow is my 10th anniversary of sobriety. 10 years since my last drunk. 10 years of trying to learn to be a sober adult (not as easy a task as it might sound).

10 years of going to meetings, working the steps, working with others, often getting frustrated, occasionally feeling grateful and always, ALWAYS, learning patience, tolerance and acceptance. 10 years of FINALLY letting go of past slights and hurts, of learning forgiveness for others and forgiveness of myself. 10 years of learning compassion for others and compassion for me. 10 years of learning that there is some bad in the best of us and some good in the worst.

10 years of becoming a better person than I was during the first 49 years of my life.

10 years since I woke up in jail; homeless, penniless, careerless, loveless and drunk.

10 years that have been the most wonderful ten years of my life.

I thank God and the granddaddy of all 12-Step Programs for this life I've been given.

Dear God, please don't let me screw this thing up. And, if it be your will, please grant me another 10 years of sober, happy, joyous and free living. I promise to do everything I can to make it worth your while.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Putting the "Wild" Back Into Wildwood!

From the pure 50's & 60's kitsch of Atlantic Avenue with all of it's "space age" motels, to the quarter-mile wide beach (quite a hike on a broiling hot summer day), to it's 3-mile long boardwalk lined with "bad fer ya" fast-food joints, arcades, shops and amusement piers, nothing says "summer" to me more than Wildwood, New Jersey. Unless, of course, it's Bobby Rydell singing "Wildwood Days."

This takes me right back to my childhood, and to some very happy memories. I even plan to hit the Doo-Wop Hall of Fame while we're there this summer.

In it's day, Wildwood was where American Bandstand spent it's summers.

I can hardly wait. Meanwhile, check these out. The first is actually a parody of a Red Hot Chili Peppers song that was done by WMMR-FM in Philly (my old college days radio station). It's cute, though. The 2nd one has a problem (initially) with the controls. You'll probably have to jiggle it or something, but it's worth the effort. It closes with Bette Midler's beautiful rendition of "Under the Boardwalk" that brings tears to my eyes.

or this one:

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Taking the Verizon BS by the Horns!

Just when life seems serenely complacent something invariably comes along to throw a wrench into my spiritual works.

Since last week I've been harrassed at home by a renegade robo-phone which attack-dials my number, seemingly in six hour increments, around the clock. It scared the crap out of me at 3:30 in the morning last Friday. I've since turned the ringer off on the extension in the bedroom. But it still calls.

Naturally there are no human beings at the phone company over the weekend (and it was foolish of me to have ever thought otherwise) so it was a pointless effort to reach one until they all came in, hungry and hung-over, on Monday. It was then that I found out that in order to do this properly I would have to await the phantom robo-dialer again and, as soon as it had called and hung up, I was to press *57 which would, apparently, register the offender's number with the phone company for later tracing.

It would also, it seems, cost me a buck. I like that. You could be getting threatening calls from your crazy ex and, in order to get the phone company to cooperate with the police, YOU would have to plunk down a dollar of your hard-earned cash, in advance.

Now there's service! N'est pas?

Well, the phantom struck again last night. I was on my cellphone at the time (why do I still have two phones, I wonder?), so I struggled with yakking into the cellphone at the same time I was trying to press the (star)57 thingie. I hope I managed it.

I called the phone company this morning to report to them that I'd captured the culprit, red-handed, and registered the number, according to specifications.

They told me to wait another 48 hours to "make sure" they'd taken care of it.

Why is it that I seriously doubt that this will take care of it?

And why do I live in an age where "customer service" is just a load of corporate bullshit?

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Giving Up the 80's on 8

I unsubscribed to XM Satellite Radio today. I'd been a loyal subscriber for 2 years and 9 days. But when an invoice recently showed up inviting me to re-up for another 2 year stint I looked at the price, nearly $300.00, and thought, "Hey! Fuck this! I want a TIVO!"

"Sarah" in Mumbai did what she could to inveigle me back with enticements including a "heavily discounted" year of service (seventy-seven bucks) or even a "free 3-month trial subscription... WHILE I THOUGHT ABOUT IT." I thanked her very politely, because Indian people are nothing if not polite, and said a firm "no."

In a thrice it was all over between me (and Sarah) and XM. When I get back to the park and ride this evening and turn the car radio on, my commuting life will have gone from over 200 channels of reruns (and still there's nothing on, BUT HEY, AT LEAST IT'S COMMERCIAL FREE!) to a handful (40 or 50) of commercial radio stations from New York and Philadelphia, i.e. "ground zero" for radio in the good old U.S. of A.

Does anybody know how much a TIVO subscription costs per month?

Monday, March 03, 2008

a la recherche du temps perdu (part trois)

I didn't do squat this past weekend. Not diddly-squat.

Oh, I got the chores done, alright. But beyond that I was a comfy-chair potato all Saturday and Sunday afternoons. My big living room window faces southwest and both days were sunny. I have a couple of huge plants in front of the window which gives the rest of the room a leafy, "jungly" feel, as the sun passes through the leaves and paints dappled images on the carpet and opposite wall, over the piano.

It was delicious, knowing I didn't have a care in the world, or a commitment unfulfilled, scrunching myself down into the cushions, tv remote in one hand, the other artfully draped over the side of the armrest, dozing in and out of deep, restful sleep... from 2 until past 4:00 p.m.

That is my idea of a perfect afternoon. No drama. No place to be. Nothing hanging over my head (that I'm aware of).

I did finish one little project. An dear old friend of mine sent me a package which arrived Friday. It contained a box of slides, taken at a Halloween party she threw either in 1984 or 1985. She doesn't have a scanner and I was more than happy to scan them all in as JPEGs and to e-mail them back to her, which I did and finished late Saturday night (I sent them right after SNL signed off).

I was in a couple of the shots. I was dressed in one of my old Navy-issue Nomex (fire retardant) flight suits and a "Jungle Jim hat" and had come as a commando of some sort. I also had a toy machine gun. They voted me "Most Macho" for the evening. I do remember that. Imagine trying to hail a taxi in New York these days dressed like that, Halloween or not. That's me up there. Kinda cute, huh?

I don't remember ever being that young. Or that good looking. It's shocking, sometimes, to see our younger selves. In this particular case, that was a lifetime ago. Literally. It's such a cliche to say "If I'd only known then...", but I have to admit that if I had known then what I know now, it's highly unlikely I'd be here today.

You see, I was headed straight to hell and didn't know it. Which is just as well. Because, as Jack Nicholson once noted, I couldn't "handle the truth."

Or, maybe, I was just too friggin' lazy to do anything about it. Until it was too late.