Sunday, May 26, 2013


This is not about the TV show in which the good wife manages to be unfaithful to her husband and still smell like roses. After all, she is super competent and plucky and has much to complain about re her philandering husband.

No, this is about the concept of a good wife, not something I know much about, but as you know, I don't have to know much about anything to write a few hundred words exposing my ignorance.

First, what is a good wife? Dumb question? Not at all. Once, a good wife brought land and money into her new family and hoped they'd treat her well. Once, a good wife had wide hips and promised many children, males preferred. Mothers desperately hope their sons will marry, preferably a good woman who will treat them with love and respect. Lacking such criteria, the mother can usually put the kibosh on any future enterprise. There are always issues of fitness for the new role in the particular family and social culture so good wife is always hard to predict. After all, Anne Boleyn looked perfect for Henry VIII but she produced only girls and a feeble son so off with her head to clear the way for another. His first wife was good to cement a relationship with Spain, but lacked in the production of sons. At least, she kept her head.

In our sophisticated, modern way of freedom in love, there are fewer such objective concerns. There are some guidelines, such as similar background but such are like a wisp of smoke in the wind when confronted with love. When a king gives up his throne for love, what cannot it conquer?

Just about everyone knows about that. For most, it starts like a tickle. In some cases explodes into massive passion and demand called the “thunderbolt.” Whatever it is called, it dominates all existence and demands, yes, demands gratification. In looser days, women have been abducted into new families and even now, men steal women seeking a good one.

Other ways of getting there are slower to develop. Mine took three days, Shirley's four. But however it grows, love includes, the intense desire to be in the others company, difficulty in keeping hands off, a demand for exclusivity and threats, usually implied if that is violated and promises of a glorious future together.

If both are of the same mind there is much hugging, kissing, canoodling and, dare I say it bedding until finally formal declaration in front of family and friends (Or at least, two witnesses) and all is signed and sealed into perpetuity or divorce, whichever comes first.

Do you notice there is no place in the formula for a good woman? Love has no use for the concept but somewhere down the road, the excitement, the passion slow down. In a lovely movie with Judy Holliday and Aldo Ray, he passes by her and farts. Startled, she mutters “Animal noises?” Clearly, she has a new perspective about her husband.

When the honeymoon ends, the good wife construct enters and many a man (women also) wonders, “What have I done?”

So, we come back to the conundrum: What is a “good wife?” If you can figure that out, let me know.

If you find yourself a good wife
You have clearly augmented your life.
She will satisfy your needs
With many good deeds
What, no strife in your life, what a wife!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

WHAT DO I DO TO STEAL? (Or Cheat or lie)  blog

First, you must understand that I am four square honest. I don't have no truck with sliding into dishonesty. Of course, as a lad I had no such qualms. My first dishonest act, when I was ten or eleven was to steal a fishhook from the local Sears. Understand that in the middle of Williamsburg, Brooklyn the only water I knew about came in a bathtub, the sewers or the Gowanis canal. Understand that the latter was almost mythical; I have never seen it or knew anyone who had ever seen it so the notion of using my illegal hook to catch fish misses the point. I stole for the excitement of it.

I had not known of such stealing until a few years before the above when I saw a little old lady steal three bars of candy from a theater vendor. In those days, the wares were open to all and the expectation was that kids would do the dirty. That an elderly woman would commit a criminal act changed my perspective about honesty and women forever.

In the night, my friends would raid local warehouses and wanted me to join them. I would gladly have done so except my parents, incomprehensibly found evening tasks for me. I'm convinced now that they bought a piano to keep me too busy to embark on a life of street crime. Sometimes I think I might have become a master-burglar much like Raffles who confounded the Surete, certainly a more exciting pastime than, yawn, doing psychology. Lost opportunities have a tendency to haunt us.

Because of my parent's malign influence, I became less criminally active and pretty soon I would not lie, cheat or use foul language. My friends thought I was a paragon of absurdity though I admit they knew not such words. But, I was content to be as I was and then, I married. After marriage, not before but after, I discovered that my new wife was a thief who upon arriving home would boast of her achievements in pilfering. It did not take me long to understand that her family was pretty much the same. Her younger brother whenever he had the chance shoplifted or smuggled cigarettes or stole TV sets from motels. During holiday season, he'd work at Macy’s or Gimbels and always, I mean always came home with piles of loot. To her credit, his mother, while giggling and accepting his “presents,”
always told him he “shouldn't.”

Whenever she wanted something but thought it over priced, Marilyn would “acquire” it. Her family mantra was, “They're all crooks so stealing from them is just getting back a bit of one's own.”

Marilyn gradually shifted toward honesty, though sometimes I emulated her. Imagine, you have a lamp and an obscure part of it became inoperative. The small part was available only from the manufacturer, otherwise, toss the lamp. Well, I found a similar lamp in a shop and lifted that part. Damn them for turning me into a crook.

Some of you know that I was an indifferent student so some cheating was for academic survival. Obviously, it worked because here I am with PhD and all the appurtenant perks. Do any of you suggest that I return the degree? Good luck, goody-two-shoes! It turns out that we trailblazers showed the way to current students who apparently never honestly take a test.

OK, so crime pays, but with advancing age, I have come to realize that civilization requires some trace of honesty so I now provide that trace. I don't steal or cheat thus preserving our basic tenets of decent behavior. I have again become a paragon of absurdity. Well, most of the time.

If there is something you want, just steal it
And, if convicted you can always appeal it.
For any massively fraught crime
Judges might fine you a dime
And suggest you not be such a dimwit

Sunday, May 12, 2013

MAY 6, 2013

Shirley and I take an annual trip to Las Vegas where we eat, and make merry We eschew drinking) in my time share (. We would run to wonderful shows and restaurants and spend money like water. There is a certain amount of exhilaration in all such. Gambling? Of course, we do some of that but it is not the purpose of the trip; instead, we love the glitter, and the throngs of people. Las Vegas is one of the few places where class and caste matter little. Except for the special places for the extra rich, all are together in the mad passion for pleasure.

Our trips were daily lunges toward this or that excitement and for the most part they were well worth the effort. If you haven't seen Cirque du Soleil, well they travel to Denver and you'd be wise to hie ye to that venue for the chance to observe extraordinary human capacities. Or, we'd never miss Rita Rudna, funny as hell, or the Blue Men . . . but Shirley hates the Harley-Davidson restaurant so that is off limits. Don't ask me why, but it no doubt is a minor example of that human capacity to find neuroticism in anything. I, for example will never eat okra and if you ask me about that rejection I'll mutter the equivalent of “because” and change the topic.

And, there are really great restaurants. There is the one which exists inside a great bird cage made of gracefully curved wooden bars and with wonderful food and immaculate service. And an English pub which provides meat pies that are rarely found elsewhere. The extraordinary Belagio buffet offers foods from around the world and their amazing display of gelato not to mention the amazing taste of the stuff must be experiernced. Also, Bellagio is gorgeous.

But, if such are too pricey, you can find two eggs, potatoes and toast for $1.98 with lunch and dinner equivalently priced.

We'd spend our time running from hither to yon and back, but this time was different. Our flight to Las Vegas was not direct. In some fashion what was to be a direct flight went to Phoenix first and we were somewhat flattened when we arrived at our destination. We wanted to run to our room but were diverted by a concierge who offered, a “catered” dinner (hot damn) lunch the next day at an obscure Italian restaureant and a show for $179 and all we had to do was sit still for another sales pitch. Ah, those sales pitches, the hard sell in action. Their assumption was that if only we understood the joys we could purchase tem for much gelt and no wild horse could stop us from showering them with money. I hate the damned things and refuse to go which produces the usual “Why not?” from sundry staff and to which I responded in a curmudgeonly tone “none of your business.”

Anyway, we fell into our room, refreshed ourselves and went to a formerly favorite restaurant and realized how the food had deteriorated. But, the next day, instead of cavorting about we lay in bed. Perhaps we climbed out at 10 AM and I went down to their general store for two news papers and some breakfast food. Back in my room, we leisurely ate, read the papers, thought about what we might do, finished the papers and finally decided to wander over to MGM where we would be part of a survey of potentially new TV shows. This time, they gave us each $20, so before gambling were ahead. After that, we wandered around MGM, threw a few nickles in some slot machines and then took a cab back. And, that was how we spent our trip, lolling (a wonderful word) about until the early afternoon, later dropping in on various hotels and finding nice places to eat. Once we saw a terrific magician and later we dropped in at the Mob Association. I got to speak with a “mob boss” who warned me against spilling the “beans” to a lurking policeman. The policeman tried to worm out of me the secrets I learned from the “mob boss” but I held to my oath of omerta. We learned about the seamy origins of Las Vegas gambling, the big shot bad guys and how things were cleaned up. If you ever get to Vegas, it's worth the $25.

Mostly, we enjoyed each other, enjoyed lolling (that word again) around and had a hell of a good time . . . even though it was the dullest vacation ever. I guess love is the difference.

Las Vegas is quite a neat city
If you like garish, it really is pretty
But, now the truth I'm exposing
We really preferred dozing
Laying around was the real nitty gritty.