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Saturday, January 24, 2004

Leavin' on a Jet Plane 

Ok, I'm out for a week or so. As you may know, I will be tagging along with the wife on her bidness trip to Barcelona. You know the deal, stay over on a Saturday and the airfare drops in half. So the extra day's lodging is all paid for, and it's a nice resort. So who am I to turn up my nose at being a "kept husband"???

I will come back armed with pictures next Thursday...so stayed tuned. ( Yes, architectural splendors are on the list!)

In the meantime, please vote in the comments section for the phrase you think will be uttered most during the trip...

a) Take your time at your presentation dear, I'll just be at the bar sampling more Sangria!

b) Get your lazy ass up, and figure out how to plug in my laptop, this is not a free trip!

c) Dammit, the US dollar ain't worth shit over here!

d) I wonder what the kids are doing...NOT! hahahaha

e) (submit your own phrase)

If you read this, please vote. Otherwise I'll think that you guys are just sitting there doing nothing, waiting for me to return.

PS I know I should have someone Guest Blog while I'm out, it's all the rage, but I'll take my chances that the really swell and kind readers I do have, will not forget me over a scant 5 day hiatous.....???

Friday, January 23, 2004

Money. Money Changes Everything 

I had a near miss with greed the other day. Until Serenity reminded me with this post, I almost totally forgot about it.

On Wednesday, I needed to dump my Knicks tickets for Saturday's game. ( going on vacation..woohoo). It was about noon and I was leaving NYC for the suburbs on a 1:20 train, so I had about an hour to find a buyer.

Unfortunately, I have been in this situation way too often over the last few years so I know exactly how to find a buyer quick. Craigslist! Yep, it never fails.

Ok, long story short. My well articulated and sexy advertisement drew an instant response. The fact that I was asking $100 bucks for the pair, face is $135, probably had something to do with it too. I agreed to rendezvous with they guy, Ryan, at the clock in Grand Central.

He comes bouncing up, in a t-shirt, and a blue down ski coat unzipped, dragging a soft cast on his left ankle. He's talking a mile a minute..are you JimiLove, your cool, I really need these, I got here as quick as could, the Knicks are playing great..blah, blah, blah.

Then he hands over a thick wad of twenties. Not that I'm all that experienced with cash transactions, but 5 twenties is usually pretty slim, even folded over once. So right away, I know something isn't right. Ryan, isn't too well versed in these transactions either, he scours the front and back looking for god knows what. He's holding the tickets an inch from his little face, so I figure he's nearsighted or something. "All good my man", he chirps.

I responded, "hold on there, young pup..money's not right". He instantly reaches for his wallet with an apologetic..."I'm sorry". "No Ryan, you got it wrong, the tickets are $100 for the pair, you gave me $200." I then handed him his money back and said, "enjoy the game."

The part that gets me, is that I hesitated. Not in my actions, but in my mind. I definitely had a momentary skip in one of my brains synapses. It was short lived, but I reckon it would have been picked up by any lie detector.

I thought about keeping the money.

I think it was his age that did it. He wasn't an equal. It would have been like betting on a game when you already know the outcome ( which I get the opportunity to do just about every week as I watch golf on TV, having already seem the results on pgatour.com).

So, I can't really bask in the purity of my actions, since mentally I'm dirty. I'm hoping when judgment day does come, and I believe it does, you thoughts don't get tested. Because like a few others, I have lusted after Andrew Jackson.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Steppin' in Style 

I lot of people are talking about their boots. I was never really into heels, being over six foot and all, but there's something to be said about the "killing" feature these new pointey-toed boots exhibit.

I noticed a nice shiny pair in my house recently, take a look. Just the site of these monsters will keep those 'little critters' looking for deeper holes and tighter corners to hide in.

Of course the boots aren't mine...here's a picture of the proud owner!

( this is one in a series of pictures that, in 10 to 15yrs, tends to inflict real emotional damage...so, collect 'em all!)

In other news, an archive of old aerial photo's of WWII, which are really cool, are now on the net, see RAF!

Whoops... they were supposed to be here this past Monday, but the server is still not up. My advice is, just chill out and check back in a few days. Don't get all pissy like these folks.


Commentary on Life in NYC 

Do you think we have a rat problem here in NYC?

Actually, this is what business owners have parked outside their front door, if they don't use Union Labor.


Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Lost and Found 

I just lost a huge, well written, insightful, funny, and totally spell checked post on last night's State of the Union address. The crummy computer I'm using at this office froze up, in mid-publish mode. Damn.

Has anyone seen it?

Oh well...did I mention I am going to Spain this weekend??...Sangria...ahhhh!

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Big News Last Night 

Iowa is over, and so is the Gephardt campaign.

I don't have much time today..lots of planning for upcoming trip..but I wanted to see how the Dean supporters were faring...looks like they are in denial, or looking for opportunity elsewhere!!

Also top five reasons why Al Sharpton will not leave the Democratic campaign for presidency:

1) his people tell him his 1 in 7 chance of winning, is up from 1 in 9 only a month ago, "all systems go, AL!!"
2) with all the donations and federal grants, the campaign is a real money maker for him.
3) the free food along the campaign trail is more like a "gravy train" to him.
4) forget about Gore, Al got an endorsement from Annika! ( see her sidebar...haha, while the cats away, the mice will play!!)
5) he might as well stick it out since he doesn't have a real job to fall back on!



Monday, January 19, 2004

Today - Rememberance 

Please remember MLK Jr. today.

When I was in grade school I remember asking my father who he admired. He said, "Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that guy had a lot of guts. I don't think I could have walked 10 feet in his shoes."

Those comments have always stuck with me. As I learned more about MLK, I too feel like he was someone to admire. Someday, when my sons asks me who I admire, I plan on giving him the same answer...word for word.

Memories 

I could have used this advice 4 years ago. But now I'm an old diaper changing, medication giving, meal making pro!

thanks to the presurfer.

Head Strong 

Lee Ann is not feeling well and might be in for a spot of bad luck, if you believe in myths. How do I know?? Because I read this. (Fingers crossed, she feels better and avoids any misfortune.)

It's a silly myth, but interesting reading nonetheless..example:

Because of this superstition, some folks will not even keep a pet bird, not so much as a budgie or canary. And there are those whose aversion to indoor avians runs so strong that they eschew pictures of our feathered friends, even representations of them on wallpaper. One of those persons was Lucille Ball, who dated her antipathy to birds to the 1915 death of her father when she was three years old — she recalled that a picture fell from the wall that fateful day, and a bird flew in the window to become trapped inside the house. Even as an adult, the comedienne would refuse to take lodgings in any hotel that displayed pictures of birds, either framed or incorporated into their wallpaper. She was no less particular about her home — in the 1950s she had Japanese silk print wallpaper that went for $90 a roll ripped out of the front hallway of her Beverly Hills home because only after the paper was up did it become apparent the shadowy images of birds were part of its pattern.

...Not everyone holds the opinion that having birds fly into the house is bad news. Our cats, for instance, view such incursions as having their prayers answered.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Quick NFL Update 

ok it's still pre game, just enough time to get in a renewed NFC prediction. Yes, I picked the Rams and Packers to prevail in the NFC. Both teams got nudged out, but I still think the underlying basis of my decision making was sound. Experience will win in these playoffs. I got the AFC correct. Dead on.

The NFC was a different story. I think I misjudged the experience level of the Eagles vis a vi the Packers...but I definitely took a hit with Carolina.

So, to get some of my credibility back, I will pick the "experienced" Eagles to pulverize the pretty Panthers.

Ok - if this doesn't work out, I will agree my prognostication, including the premise, is faulty, and I will forgo all my football picking posts for the remainder of the season.

Update: god-damn-it!

Friday, January 16, 2004

Move Over  

Can you believe Michelle Wie?? A scant 14 years old, and she's playing against the big boys on the PGA tour this week. Sure it's on a sponsor's exemption, but hey, she's driving it every bit as far as they are...and she's Four-Teen!! That makes her the youngest person to play in a PGA tour event.

Oh well, it's all about the C.O.R. right?? Actually, they all play the hot drivers so it's no advantage.

Remind me to discuss why I think the USGA is obsoleting the game of golf, at least for the recreational players and their courses.

But Michelle's efforts are nothing compared to this guy. He's 14 and turning pro in soccer!! I've seen clip's of him play. Damn good; fast, great control, tough as hell to get off the ball, he's the real deal.

Soccer, now there's a sport that doesn't have an equipment controversy.
Alas, they make up for it in other ways!

Update: Michelle missed the cut by one...read about her round. The best quote from the article was provided by her playing partner..."You know she is good and you knew she was capable of this. But she is also 14 and you keep thinking a 14-year-old is going to crack, and she never cracked."

Sign of the Times 

In an reflection of the tightness of the job market here in the financial sector, I have had to reword my resume.

It now reads: Wall Street Executive looking for work - hourly rates available

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Eight is Enough... 

..actually, it's too much! Thank god they are dropping out, but not fast enough. I wish the Demoracts would just hurry up and pick a candidate, so we could all start focusing our ridicule on one person.

In other stupid news, I heard one of the reporters at the press conference yell to Dean...." hey Howard, how big is Carol Braun's ass"....look what he said, what a jerk!

Snowy Thursday 

I got out of the Knicks game last night and it was snowing like a banshee. NYC is so cool when it snows , because nothing works. These "down-staters" (this is a retaliatory phrase since New YOURkers refer to any part north of the city as "up-state". I guess there is no need to differentiate between Albany, Syracuse, Rochester, Ithaca, Buffalo, and Niagara Falls, since you can't get a good bagel in any of these towns) just don't know snow.

Everything comes to a grinding halt, or skid. I watched a bicycle messenger skid and fall flat on his face. Perhaps he shouldn't have been riding a bike and trying to hold an umbrella over his head! What is it with umbrellas in the snow anyway? I never saw that in Buffalo, but maybe that’s because the snow in bflo is accompanied by 1,000 mph winds. Still, umbrellas are a bit much considering a hat will do the trick, and you don't have to schlep it with you when you go inside.

Also the cabbies can't drive in the white stuff. I hoped in one at 31st and 7th, and he was scared to move..." too much snow, can't see road". Oh brother - just do what you always do - drive until you hit something.

The Metro North trains are equally inept in the winter weather. I was greeted at Grand Central Station with signs flashing "severe weather, expect delays on Northbound trains". Severe weather? There wasn't even an inch on snow on the ground, and the last time I check the trains ran on rails!!

I guess I should be happy though. The signs could have read, "expect delays on Upstate-bound trains". Plus, the Knicks did win.

The new coaching choice Lenny Wilkens, will be a good addition, since I'm certain he will expect better results than Chaney.

With a new coach and a decent line-up...Mutombo, Thomas, Van Horn, Houston and Marbury, plus reserves, Hardaway, Williams, and Anderson, the Knicks should make the playoffs in the pathetic Eastern Division.

Speaking of pathetic, did I mention Christian Laettner went to my high school. He graduated about 8 yrs after me. Although he did well at Duke, I knew he was only going to be a so-so pro. He can't jump or run, or move too well. But he can shoot, which seems to be a lost art these day in the NBA. Christian broke all my HS basketball records, for which I will never forgive him, and if I find out he's playing in one of those alumni games, I'll have to get in there and school him!


Let em Rip 

After a few day of hoping something good would happen, I took matters into my own hands. Just like I did originally, I simply copied what everyone else did - thats how I got hooked up with Blogspeak. I lost my password to Blogspeak and was too lazy to send an email and request a new one, so I never really asked them why their service is down.

I read that they lost their hosting service, whatever that is. Anyway, I moved onto a service so let the comments fly!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

She's Pretty 

You know you are obsessed, but what does she have that you don't?

For a good laugh, look at these ....the first one of Leonardo DiCaprio, is just wrong.


Who What Where 

Looks like another guy is moving on, just like me. I'm not outraged about the all the changes in professional sports rosters and coaches. The days of professional athletes spending their careers with one team ended with free agency. Remember, the unions created this trend as a way of helping players maximize their values. So I don't feel sorry for them or professional coaches.

The same is true in the business world, (although like coaches, we don't have a union). The pension plans are now 401k's, which are portable. The process of finding job is institutionalized, so instantly via the internet employers and candidates can more easily find one another. And the stigmatism of taking a new job every two years is lost in this age of employers needing results right away - at any cost.

All this makes it easier and more acceptable for employees to separate from their employers. The fact is there are less reasons to stay at one company your whole career. Gone is the 30 year special pension payout, or the golden handshake. No longer are "lifers" revered for their longevity and implied special company knowledge.

This is the era for free agency and mobility. Change is good? ( I hope). Here are seven NFL teams that are hoping change is good as well!

..in other stupid news: right now Paris Hilton is, in a bedroom, yelling, "see, this proves I do wear clothes!"

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Hot and Cold 

Yes, it was a bit snowy yesterday, as someone pointed out. Not enough to really count in my opinion, but then again I'm from Buffalo.

It is so annoying that the snow removal retards that I employ seem to love to rush over every time there is the smallest trace of snow, but they play possum when the heavy stuff comes down. During last year's storm a call to their office got the following message..." in an effort to better serve our customers we will wait until the snow stops falling before BEGINNING our route!" Morons!

The sad part is it took me two years just to get ON the route. Apparently there aren't enough Landscapers who moonlight as Snow Removal Morons during the winter. Either that or there are too many lazy homeowners who won't lift a shovel. ( I know what your thinking, and I'd do it, but I have a bad back and doctor won't let me...so there!)

In other news, I got the Christmas lights down today, in between the snow squall and wind storm. More bad weather is a-comin', but I love winter!

Monday, January 12, 2004

Oh No You Don't 

I might not have a boss for a while, but I'm certainly not ready to be Mr. Mom!!

Anonymously, I got this sent to me....NOT FUNNY...who ever you are!

Now that you have some extra time on your hands, please study how the house should be managed!!!

1. Have dinner ready: Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a
delicious meal - on time. This is a way of letting her know that you
have been thinking about her, and are concerned about her needs.
Most women are hungry when they come home and the prospects of
a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.

2. Prepare yourself: Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be
refreshed when she arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in
your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-
weary people. Be a little gay, NOT TOO GAY, and a little more interesting. Her
boring day may need a lift.

3. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part
of the house just before your wife arrives, gathering up school
books, toys, paper, etc. Then run a dust cloth over the tables.
Your wife will feel she has reached a haven of rest and order,
and it will give you a lift too.

4. Prepare the children: Take a few minutes to wash the children's
hands and faces if they are small, comb their hair, and if
necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and she
would like to see them playing the part.

5. Minimize the noise: At the time of her arrival, eliminate all noise
of washer, dryer, dishwasher, or vacuum. Try to encourage the
children to be quiet. Be happy to see her. Greet her with a warm
smile and be glad to see her.

6. Some DON'TS: Don't greet her with problems or complaints.
Don't complain if she's late for dinner. Count this as minor
compared with what she might have gone through that day.

7. Make her comfortable: Have her lean back in a comfortable
chair or suggest she lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm
drink ready for her. Arrange her pillow and offer to take off her
shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice. Allow
her to relax and unwind.

8. Listen to her: You may have a dozen things to tell her, but the
moment of her arrival is not the time. Let her talk first.

9. Make the evening hers: Take her out to dinner or to other places of entertainment; try to understand her world of strain and pressure and her need to get away and relax.

10. The Goal: Try to make your home a place of peace and order
where your wife can relax.


Saturday, January 10, 2004

While I'm at It 

..a couple more things..

It's great that we are learning more about Mars..here are the new facts. But why did everyone make such a big deal about Mars orbiting so close to the earth a few months back? I was thinking this would be the best look at Mars I would ever get, I even woke my kid up to see it at 10 o'clock at night.

A few months later I'm showing him pictures of the Mar's surface on the internet! When I explained to him that these photos were close-ups of the little dot of light I was pointing to in the sky that night. He was confused as to why I just didn't show him "the good pictures". Good question.

------

I hate stores managed by kids under 25yrs old. Blockbuster, Starbucks, The Wiz. They only hire other self absorbed adolescents who could care less about the needs or feelings of their customers.

All these chains are super "cool " to work for, mainly because you do no work. If you are working the cash register, it's OK to be on your cell phone making a personal call, or yelling out "hey , I can't a signal over here..Tommy can you get a signal" . If there's a special order or you can't figure something out, regardless of how long the line is, you are allowed to wait until a supervisor comes and handles the situation...everyone must wait for you - after all, they're only customers.

Lastly, if a customer asks you something, and you don't know the answer, or you just don't feel like answering because you have a college degree and are above answering customer's stupid questions, you can simply mutter something inaudible. When they ask again, mutter the same response only lower. If the jerk is still demanding your attention, say "ask a manager." This is perfect, because they will never find a manager since he is up in the office downloading songs from the office computer. They will leave you alone, and learn not to be such a stupid customer.

It was a Busy Week 

Man, being unemployed is quite time consuming. Lots of farewell e-mails to write. It's funny how you don't talk to people for months, then when you are leaving you have so many things to say to them! I had a few good bye lunches and that was it. Twelve years. Gone. Over. Out the door.

But it's a good feeling. I never could have made it work with the new owners. They wanted me to stay, but I didn't feel like moving to Boston. They are a bit strange up there. Boston folk. Perhaps it's the culture but in this company they were slow to accept outsiders. No new ideas needed, we know everything. And it was wacky how they all just loved Boston, like the world revolved around them or something. I was like.."you have heard of the Yankees, right??"

Oh well, good luck to them.

Football..ok the Bills are just about out of it, so I can now turn my attention to whoever is left, oh, the playoff teams.

No team has a dominating comparative advantage that will carry the day. They all have their strengths in strategy, personnel, home field , etc., but a fare amount of weaknesses, too.

In my opinion experience will prevail. I know this is a standard catch phrase , but everyone is talking about Quarterbacks and the weather, while experience has been pushed to the side.

So here you have it ...the Eagles will erode. St, Louis will suffer. Indy will idle, while the Titans will topple.

Then, the Carolina will crash and the Chiefs will cease.

Followed up the Patriots punishing the Packers.

I have learned not to bet against Belichick. He did it in 1991 when, as Defensive coordinator, he directed the Giants to shut down my mighty Bills, and more recently in the 2002 Superbowl verses, who else, but the highly touted, undefeatable, St Louis Rams!

OK, so Boston may have little something going for it!!

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Free and Easy 

That's me! I am now officially unemployed, even though I am still sitting at my desk using the same computer and e-mail, but that will end Wednesday.

It's amazing how much personal business one can substitute for work. It's been non-stop for me, once I got all the incriminating files and photos off my PC. I have been updating my life insurance, my investment portfolio, booking my summer rental, looking at some rentals upstate for skiing, and today I found out I'm going to Spain at month end!

God I love being unemployed. I have all the freedom in the world. Tragically, I have been interviewing, as well, and I'm in the running for a job that will end my new found freedom shortly. However, the job is in London, which could work out to be really cool, sort of like a 5 year adventure for the family. I always dreamed of living overseas, but never did it because I felt like I would be missing out on something here, or losing my place on the corporate ladder.

I feel quite differently these days. Work is much less important, as is money. Life is an opportunity to learn and grow and give. So, I'm trying to fit those tenets into my work life as well.

Spain: actually we will be limited to Barcelona since that is where my wife's business meeting will be. Yes, along with being unemployed I am also a kept man - but so far, its great! I will be looking into the attraction of Barcelona and try to pack as much into those 5 days as possible - I already started to brush up on my Spanish ( i.e. I flipped on a Spanish soap opera last night - momma-sita!) Spain is the only place I have not been to in Europe so I'm excited , but at a loss as to what to do...any thoughts??

Unemployment: one thing that makes it fun is collecting a salary. Let me explain:

You know how pre-nups are all the rage in marriages ? Well, we got the same thing here on Wall Street. It's a take off from the golden parachutes, which were created to help board members land softly during the hostile takeovers days in the 80's. In Wall Street parlance pre-nups are called "termination agreements".

Everyone has them, especially the big boys. Every possible situation resulting in an "premature end to our relationship" is considered and addressed. No longer does one rely on individual effort or contributions to influence their "exit rewards". Nope, it is all spelled out, negotiated, and executed, well before you even have you first free cup of office coffee.

The termination agreement essentially ensures that you will get a set amount of compensation, typically one year's compensation (i.e. salary and bonus) for the little guys, and set dollar amounts for the big guys. Additionally, it addresses all deferred compensation, health benefits, club memberships, access to air travel, and other corporate resources.

Since it is likely in this day an age of "down sizing" or "cost containment" ( i.e. no one says 'Layoff' anymore and you can get fired for saying 'Fired'), that your employment may be pre-maturely ended, one needs protection. Yes these handy little pieces of paper. No longer does one rely on their productivity of contributions to fend off the evil "down-sizers".

Frightening, but true.


Monday, January 05, 2004

Books! tis a dull and endless strife 

Wordsworth wrote it, but this guy lived it! Buried alive in the buff, by his own strife!

I wonder if this and this reader ever check the strength of their book shelves??

In other related book news....you can always tell when someone has been reading Elizabeth Taylor's biography!


(PS knowing her dislike for Britney and being able to combine them in the same post is well, fun! I threw this guy in just for filler!)

Pete 1972 

The truth comes out, how anti-climatic. Yes, Pete Rose bet on baseball, but didn't we already know that? I'm sure a lot of people now want to call him a gambler AND a liar. I can't blame them, because that's what he is.

Regardless, Pete Rose will always hold a place in my heart. I watched his every move in the 70's, as he played for my beloved Cincinnati Reds. I loved him and the entire team. You can say what you want about his morals and his personal character, but you can't say anything bad about his athletic performance.

A lot of great athletes (e.g. Gretzky, Unitas, Chamberlain, Jordan, MacEnroe, et al) have tried to explain their success. Their secrets vary from treating the sport like a science, or an art, or a business, to developing a true love for the game plus an abundance of God-given talent. To Pete Rose it was none of the above. The thing he taught me about being successful in athletics, or in life, is simply to win. You need to win more than anyone else. Its' not how bad you want it, or how hard you work for it, although those are certainly elelments, it's just winning pure and simple. Winning is the only thing.

In his career ( regular season, playoffs and All Star games) he won 1,972 times. That is more times than Chamberlain, Ruth, MacEnroe, more than modern day heroes like Gretzky, Jordan, Elway or Sampras, even more than Cal Ripken Jr.!!!

You can call him a gambler and a liar, and certainly he's no Joe DiMaggio, but your can't deny him his crown when it comes to winning - he was the best!

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Gone Skiing 

No, I am not abandoning this blog. I have been quite busy enjoying the holidays with my family. Not to worry, meaningless commmentary on life will resume in a few days...Jan 5th.

have a good one.

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