The recent passing of Andy Rooney made me realize that what we need is a good curmudgeon. Look around and no one really comes to mind. I believe this is partly due to the (admittedly alliterative) proliferation of political partisanship in our society. No one is against everything. The conservative talkers like Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh, even Glenn Beck are primarily against things because those things are against what they are for, The talkers on the left are…well there really aren’t any talkers on the left. I know there are Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, but they have way too much fun doing what they do to even be considered. Besides, complaining just to get laughs is disingenuous at best, which is why Bill Maher and Dennis Miller are out too.
I spent this past Thanksgiving away from home, staying in a hotel for a few days. Not being a name-dropper, let’s just leave it that this hotel was one of a well-known national chain. I’ve done a fair amount of traveling in my life, stayed in many hotels and know enough to refuse the room that is next to or behind the elevator. I’ve also seen many changes in hotel service over the years, some for the better, some not.
I recently read an essay by Eric G. Wilson, a professor of English at Wake Forest University, in which he laments the decline of melancholy in American culture. By contrast, he questions the preoccupation we Americans have with happiness, as evidenced by the poll he cited conducted by Pew Research Center which found that 85 percent of us admit to being happy or somewhat happy. Continue reading
I was reminded recently of a line form an old Jack Douglas book, “I promised my analyst on his deathbed that I would see an opera once a year.” Moving past the likelihood that very few will remember who Jack Douglas was, or that I actually was in therapy when I was twelve, I calculated that, were this really the case, by now I would have owed my hypothetical analyst upwards of forty operas. Continue reading
Ladies, please! What is it about shopping that you don’t understand? I’m not talking about the shopping times when you are in it for the sake of the browsing. I mean when you actually intend to make a purchase. At times like these, when you want to buy something, you have to pay for it. It seems a simple enough concept, but my unfortunate experience says otherwise. Continue reading
The other day I heard on the news that the Justice Department was no longer going to spend resources to prosecute cases that challenge the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). This was the 1996 law that declared that a valid United States marriage consisted of one man and one woman. Continue reading
One of the great social disconnects between men and women is shopping. Ogden Nash once said that men go shopping, find what they want, buy it and take it home. Women go shopping, buy everything they see, take it home and then figure out what to do with it. For men, it is simply a problem to solve. I need something, I go buy it. Continue reading
I remember 50 some years ago when my grandfather bought a new car. At that time, directional turn signal lights were not standard equipment on cars; they were an option that had to be purchased separately. Why I remember this, I do not know, but I have come to the conclusion that we have returned to those days. Continue reading
Believe us, Rod, we feel your Paine. These are, indeed, times that try our souls. Barely have we, in the Land of Lincoln, had time to bask in the optimism of Obama before being brought back to more sober times over the babblings of Blagojevich. Even worse, the recent events surrounding Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich have left many of us straining to hold on to that icon of the American justice system: that one is innocent until proven guilty. Continue reading
I recently heard a radio commercial for one of those credit card debt consolidation services. The gist of the commercial was that many people are now buried under mountains of credit card debt, but it is not their fault. Perhaps you’ve lost your job, or your high mortgage payment is not leaving you enough to pay your credit card bill. Continue reading