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February 19, 2017 / thackersam

Drunken Nostalgia

kva-2Tonight, I am writing courtesy of Jack. It was supposed to be the little Jack. Not the airline size, the one that has just about three shots. My usual liquor store by my job didn’t have it, nor any other whiskey in that size. Just brandy and rum. I walked east and found the little cheaper place, but they didn’t have it either. I did not want the half pint, I just wanted half that much. Someone suggested I go to the wine shop nearby. Silly me. I thought they just sold wine. A lovely woman at the door gave me a taste of a California white blend, but I was much more impressed with the glass than what was in it (it was as light as a feather). They had a half pint of Jack, so I bought it. And I’ve just finished my second shot. So here we go.

I will only edit for things that I might regret saying after I hit publish, like referring to someone’s mother as a whore. Let me just say that I have a lot of respect for mothers and women who do what they gotta do to take care of their kids, plus I have long thought that we should just legalize prostitution. (Here is a thought – referring back Putin stating that Russia has the best prostitutes, and to the issue of immigration, I do think we need a strong vetting system regarding immigrants, and have always felt we should not be letting in, and I’m being truthful here, many Russians. There’s a whole Russian mafia here in the United States, and they’re not very nice, but those prostitutes! They come here to this country and THEY steal jobs from our prostitutes. That’s where the problem is!)

Eyes scroll up, re-focus. Okay, no editing unless something regretful is said.

You know, I’m always writing crap during the week, in this tone because this is genuinely how I write. But still, come Sundays I am often at a loss. Too personal, too whiny, too – who gives a flying fuck. There is a theme to the blog though it has developed into something else (Note to self – Will you PLEASE update your About page! Sheesh!) I’ve got tons of underdeveloped stories and here, I’ll share another with you, as it should be noted that I am about to get up and pour shot number three, aware that I can still edit at I go, I think.

This is an Amy story. I can mention her by name, like Vicki, as they are both deceased, less than 5 months apart. I liked going to small theater with Amy. Sure in later years I would go more often with Vicki. Good thing I like off-off Broadway because Vicki cannot be trusted in a Broadway theater as evidenced by the time – oh you know this story – when we were at a Broadway revival of Showboat (yawn) and just before the show started I had been telling Vicki my theory that all men are assholes and all you can do is pick your asshole. Vicki then gave one of her sharply inhaled laughs and exhaled, loudly, “Pick your asshole.” Fortunately, the lights went down shortly after.

Let it be noted that I have just taken the first sip of my third shot and in my mind, I am doing incredibly well. I am now also eating bread and butter. *Not that Vicki wasn’t a very smart person, but Amy was a bit of an intellect and we shared an appreciation of small productions of plays. We would go see the classics like Hedda Gabler, which I remember nothing about other than Amy benignly scolding someone for honking, to which that person took umbrage; a college version of The Importance of Being Ernest, of which Amy rightfully pointed out that the English accents were toooo drawn out; Twelfth Night, where we both going to pop the guy behind us who was showing off for his date by reciting along (what do you think the odds are that there was another date), with that same off-off Broadway Shakespearean company, we saw a remarkable thing – A production of Venus and Adonis, one of Shakespeare’s long sonnets done with a cast of seven, three women taking on the voice of Venus and four men as Adonis. It was great! And that I could have recited along with as it is my favorite poem, my favorite work by the Bard. And I don’t even like poetry, but yeah, I have read Shakespeare. I can’t really believe it myself. And get this – my favorite play is August Strindberg’s Dream Play. What? Who? I said this last year and I say it again, now with the spring in the offing, I have got to use my NYC creds and get me to the theater.

So the picture, that’s a tough one with losing Amy and Vicki so close together, seeming like yesterday rather than three years ago. That’s Vicki in the middle, and her sister holding on to Amy, the beautiful blond, because Amy hated having her picture taken.

I’ve just finished the third shot, and it is increasingly difficult to write as I am continually correcting as I go, and still thinking I’ve done well. I want to point out that unlike last week when I experimented by writing off the cuff for the hour before I had to hit PUBLISH, I am writing this on Friday, painfully aware that come tomorrow I must bring the laptop I love so much in to the Geek Squad for whatever it takes to cure its ails. So unless I say otherwise, this is being posted from my cellphone.

BTW – It’s not like I have not written under the influence before, far from it, but this is raw and I’m leaving it as is. And I’ve got another rally tomorrow, Monday. I’ll be sober when you read this, but now, well I think it’s a good thing I’m done.

February 12, 2017 / thackersam

I’d Rather Be At The Beach

cousins

I’m just winging it tonight. I’ve an hour to write and to post if I’m to stay on schedule, so let’s just see what happens. We know I’m never at a loss for a story, but I’m not in the mood to take on a memory, old or new, and construct it into something readable.

Let’s talk about the weekend. Nothing horribly exciting happened. I got a haircut on Saturday then went uptown to have dinner with Cousin Bratty. I hit a few thrift shops before we met up, always on the lookout for a cheap CD, and these days I’m obsessed with finding ashtrays. It’s hard enough finding any ashtray at all anymore, but I’m looking for old, cool ones. Something funky, something that maybe your parents bought for the bar in the basement of their suburban home to entertain friends and neighbors. I’ve not been successful yet. But the Housing Works uptown did have Mary Chapin Carpenter’s Come On Come On CD for a dollar, which has her wonderful rendition of Lucinda Williams’ “Passionate Kisses.”

Dinner was swell, and on the way home I learned that the Whole Foods near me is opened until 11pm. I had decided on Sunday that I would not be going to Tribeca’s Kitchen, and perhaps my lack of having a story, or a political rant tonight has something to do with not having Alberto taking such good care of me as I write. “The usual today, darling?” “Here you go, sweetheart.” He knows my name, but I like the endearments. And always coffee. Mostly my cup gets refilled a lot, but when Alberto decides it’s time, he will bring me a fresh cup and whisk the old one away. However, today I thought I’d go to the Jewish Rally for Refugees in Battery Park to show my support for refugees, cause we have got to help those people. Period.

It was freezing rain today, and I didn’t know what kind of turnout they’d have. I thought my extra body would help. Unlike the rally and march two weeks ago down in the Park, which had attracted an impromptu crowd of 10,000 or so, this looked like hundreds rather than thousands showed up. Still not bad considering the weather. The rally was to only be for an hour, no march, and was attended by Mayor De Blasio, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer and others that I could not see. I stayed for about half an hour before toddling home. I have the Not My President rally on President’s Day next Monday, and am looking forward to the Day Without Women strike that doesn’t seem to have a set date yet, but unfortunately will miss the March for Science on Earth Day, April 22nd as I will be taking a class on social media each Saturday of that month.

And that was my weekend. Riveting, wasn’t it. What does the picture have to do with anything? Well, that’s me and Cousin Bratty of course. She’s the blond in red and I’m the dark-haired girl in yellow. The blond boys are her brothers and the other boy is my brother. I’d never seen this picture before Bratty’s mother found it recently. I can tell you this, it’s Jones Beach, probably Tobay, and knowing my brother, he was not hiding behind our young cousin, but probably threatening to throw the boy into the ocean. Great picture though.

And I see my time is up. No time to proof or make any changes, so I’ll just hit publish.

 

February 5, 2017 / thackersam

Max And A Hard Place

max-wall

That’s Max in the wall of my office at work. It’s a long story that goes back to election day, when I had to bring him with me while my apartment complex was supposed to be replacing both my windows in my corner apartment. They’ve been doing the whole complex. Due to a something on someone’s part, they did not have the right size for one set of windows, and three months later they came to replace that one. That was Friday, and Max came with me to work again.

You are getting the abridged version of the story as my laptop is in need of some fixing. Lucky you. Let’s just say that my 20 pound cat found an opening in the radiator no one knew about and found himself a new cave. It was frightening not knowing where he was though he was seen going into the radiator. But he just vanished after that. We were panicky, but through process of elimination figured he had to be in the wall. I managed to contort my old body so I could get my arm into the wall opening, cell phone set on camera firmly clutched in my hand, and took several shots with the nail of my thumb (this really was not easy), and was relieved to see Max just hanging out like he does in each of the many boxes he has in our alcove/studio. He likes hidey-holes and is not an idiot, so I felt he’d come out eventually. I had no idea how long he’d be in there and was prepared to spend the night if necessary, but he came out after about an hour, very dusty. My staff and I were very jittery the rest of the day, particularly my millennial as I had told her back on election day that if anything happened to my cat I’d have to kill her. Max didn’t seem to understand what the big deal was.

I considered the exercise I got wheeling Max from Battery Park City to a block south of the Bowling Green subway station, where we averted all massacres, to be Friday’s workout. I had loaded Max into his hard, escape-proof carrier, which is heavy, but I can shove him into it, and strapped that to my K-Mart hand truck, which is a wee bit short for me. The 15-20 minutes each way, with Max often quite vocal, really did a number on nearly every part of my body and by Saturday I could barely move. I’m much better now, thank you for your concern, and still got in over an hour workout tonight.

I have decided that Max should not come to the office anymore. Nothing good comes from it. Friday, he caused a some havoc, though somehow we managed to keep it amongst ourselves, and look what happened on election day.

BTW – Football doesn’t interest me and don’t care about the SuperBowl, but I am rooting for the Falcons. Sorry to my cousin, but even before I learned of the trump connection, I thought brady and the patriots were a bunch of infantile jerks.

One last thing tonight, as unbelievable as it still seems, and unreal, today is the third anniversary of my friend, my oldest and closest friend Vicki’s death. I watched the movie Chicago just a few hours ago thinking of her. 2003 was a really good time for us friendship-wise. I had gotten canned from my job and had lots of free time, so we went to the movies a lot. We enjoyed Chicago, particularly the Cell Block Tango. You know the one – “he had it coming…”

January 29, 2017 / thackersam

Steely Dan Gold – Expanded Edition 1991

tequila

Prologue: Mopey me who spent most of Saturday in bed during which time I wrote tonight’s post, then Sunday went to Tribeca’s Kitchen for breakfast and some needed kindness from Alberto, realized when I got home this afternoon that I had to go back out. There was a rally going on right down in Battery Park to protest trump’s war on immigrants, and I wouldn’t be much of a good old-fashioned American protester if I didn’t get my butt down there. It’s all of a 10 minute walk away. I had my determined walk on, and I do not wear my boots lightly, so I may have made it in half the time with people on the paths turning to see who was coming. There were already thousands there, 10 I hear. Gotta love us New Yorkers, no matter where we came from or how long we’ve been here, we can assemble a peaceful, impromptu rally of 10,000 in no time at all. Born from last night’s nationwide airport protests (Props to Terminal 4 at JFK!) people came with makeshift signs, many written on the sides of cardboard boxes, and most who came marched over to the courthouses as the rally wound down. There’s nothing like a good protest rally, and living in a country where we can still do that, to lift one’s spirits.

Now, tonight’s post:

After that disappointing purchase from the Brooklyn Heights Housing Works that consisted of two empty CD cases at a dollar each, the Tribeca store offer a lovely consolation prize. Amidst the collection of Laurie Anderson and Pet Shop Boys CDs that someone must have just unloaded, was the Steely Dan Gold compilation. Excellent find. This extended edition ends with the live version of Bodhisattva. For those who don’t know of which song I speak, it’s the one that when you hear it in a bar, you sing along as Buddha Socka, using your beer bottle as your microphone. But you know what the CD starts with? That’s right, my favorite and possibly yours, “Hey Nineteen.” Hence the picture, though I kind of doubt is specifically of Cuervo Gold and fine Columbian, but you get the idea. I found “Aja” last summer, which I haven’t listened to since, but this one, even though it doesn’t include my other two personal favorites, “Dirty Work” and “My Old School,” will be played often.

I had such a sucky morning at work Friday, which followed a sucky Thursday afternoon that I wound up leaving early and bought a bag of assorted Snickers, a small bag of Doritos, and almond cookies for dinner. I don’t remember the last time I felt bad enough to buy and consume even one of those, although I did treat myself to an almond chocolate croissant a couple of week ago. It was very good. The cookies, you’ll be happy to know, lasted until Saturday night. I will forge on.

BTW – Ah, never mind. Oh wait, I’ve got one. My nighttime ritual includes watching the old Perry Mason series at 11:30 weeknights that ran from late 50s to early 60s. I had never seen the original, but enjoyed the revitalized version in the 80s, both of which starred Raymond Burr as Mason and Barbara Hale as his loyal secretary Della Street. As I was watching Friday night I learned that Barbara Hale has just died at age 94. As I watch the original Perry Mason, I wonder why he was not disbarred, or imprisoned, but I also appreciate that the secretary was a strong and sensible character. And that of course leads me to the death of the oh so very beloved Mary Tyler Moore. I walked into my staff’s office to tell them she had died, not knowing if my Generation Xer and Y (the millennial) even knew who she was. Both women were dismayed. Sure they knew Mary. We all owe a lot to her.

I’ve got another one – If my laptop holds up and/or I get it fixed and/or get a new one, I will be adding a mid-week post to The Walrus Was Paul now and then as I’ve got a lot to say.

January 27, 2017 / thackersam

Women’s March on NYC – The Fight Begins

march-nyc-2Now that I have fully decompressed after last Saturday’s March on NYC, I want to share a little of my experience with you. Of course I let it go a wee bit longer than I should have, and though I had the opportunity to demonstrate my pointing skills that I utilized as a March volunteer as late as yesterday, the exhilaration, killed by a week at work, has faded to a great memory.

But to recap from this Sunday’s regular post, a friend suggested I go with her to the Women’s March on DC but by the time I got around to deciding I would go, there was no room on the bus. So I volunteered to help out at the one being held in Manhattan. I didn’t know if I could get anyone to walk with me, so the showing up and walking from Plaza to Tower wasn’t that big of a deal for me, and I thought I could be so much more effective behind the scenes. Besides, having spent many years in various forms of meeting and event planning, I like being part of the organization process. Give me something to do. And they did. I was assigned to crowd control on the first shift 9am-Noon, show up half an hour early.

During our first conference call about a week and a half before the March, we, including two of the organizers that were on our call, learned that we had just reached 100,000 registrants, capping the planned number on the registration site. We were all excited at the news. We were even more excited, though not surprised at the next and last conference call the night before the March, when it was announced that we hit 200,000. We had our training material and our instructions for the day, and all questions had been answered. Finally, the call ended, or would have but for that one woman who had just one more question. I had the speaker on and the phone muted, so even though I could hear the sounds of phones disconnecting, I decided to stay on the line.

I don’t recall if the question was at all relevant to me, but that woman with just one more question then had one more thing to say. She went on to thank the organizers so eloquently with a slight accent and the voice of maturity, and when she expressed how impressed she was with their ability to pull this whole thing together in such a short time, the organizers, who you could tell were gleeful for  her words, chimed in at the same time, “Eight weeks.” “Amazing,” said the woman, and as she concluded her short speech, I unmuted the phone and gave the first “here-here” which was then echoed by the smattering of volunteers that had remained on the call. Our small group now said good-night and I excitedly blurted out “see you tomorrow.” I needed to blurt as the excitement had built up inside me. I hung up the phone and turned to Max who had been watching me this whole time from him perch on the back of the couch that abuts my desk. “I think I’m going to cry,” I told him. But I already was. 

I picked up my gear that included a yellow volunteer vest sometime before 8:30 the next morning, met some lovely women and even donned a pussy hat. Anyone who knows me knows that wearing a pussy hat, using the term pussy to describe anything but a cat, or wearing pink for that matter (this does not include shades like salmon or shrimp), is just not what I do. But one of the volunteers announced to those of us lucky enough to be standing in line waiting for our assignments right behind her, that she had just started knitting, and would anyone like a pussy hat. What can I say, I got caught up in the moment. Besides, it came in very handy as I stood on the corner of 47th and Lex directing March goers to Dag Hammarskjoeld Plaza yelling “Rally this way” and utilizing my fanciest pointing moves. It got a little chilly after a while.

My station was the southeast corner so I could see the hordes of people coming at me from the west and from the south, and just had a feeling that this was going to be much more than 200,000. Groups of varying sizes were coming, and groups were meeting on every corner, some people telling me stories of protests of yore, not just the Viet Nam war, but civil and women’s rights and community issues. One woman of my age group who was there on her own, told me this was her very first March. She just wasn’t a protester, she said. But she felt she had to come today.

But it wasn’t just women, it was people of any gender that you can think of, oh so many cultures, children, husbands, whiskered men in pink pussy hats. Boomers like me and Silents, the generation before, and Generations X, Y and Z were all represented. Many thanked me for volunteering as they passed. “You’re welcome,” I’d shout out, followed by “Rally this way,” always diligently doing my job. Four hours I stood on the corner, not getting hoarse in the least thanks to my vocal exercise and chanting that is incorporated into my exercise routines. After 47th Street got so backed up that I had to start shouting for people to go to 48th, when someone approached me to tell me 48th was no better and my colleagues on the other corners were long gone, I could do nothing more. It was 1:00 and the City was packed.

It took me an hour to get back to the volunteer office as I made a wrong decision that put me smack dab in the middle of the people trying to get into the March and those who were supposed to be Marching but were mostly at a standstill. Some people would ask me why they weren’t moving, and I, who had been isolated blocks away without information stated the obvious. “A lot of people,” I said.

I finally got to hand in my yellow vest, which was the only reason I needed to return to the office, and made my way home, going south on First Avenue, where some man had all the doors open on his parked SUV blasting Brian Lehrer, who was working on a Saturday afternoon although his radio show is on WNYC weekday mornings. Crossing west somewhere below 42nd Street was a snap as there was no traffic. The March, our protest, had stopped everything up. 400,000 people showed up, I heard, and I believe it. It was crazy, and invigorating and oh so satisfying, and I can’t wait to do it again.

BTW – In case you don’t know, that’s me in the upper left of the photo with fellow volunteers.

January 22, 2017 / thackersam

No Debate

talk

I have a question. Why is it considered insane to talk to yourself? I have found talking to myself to be what keeps me sane. I sometimes use Max as a shill, even though we’re the only ones in the room. There are some things I can talk to him about and some things I need to work out with myself, and then other things that are simply none of his business. Max is my congregation. He has heard more sermons from me than probably all of the people I’ve ever known combined. Max is a good therapist. He listens well, when he’s paying attention or hasn’t lost interest.

Throughout the holiday season, which I am extending to Valentine’s Day, he has held on at 20 pounds showing that he’s done better at the diet thing than I have. Me, well the Valentine’s Day extension won’t help, but it’s another first goal as the Ex and I have started our weight loss pact again. He thought that losing one pound by Valentine’s Day is a bit tame, after he asked me when Valentine’s Day is, but we’ll both probably push it a bit and he’ll do better than me, because he’s got about three times as much weight to lose as I do. His buddy just had a heart attack, so the Ex is more motivated. The friend is alright now, but the Ex was bemoaning the similarities in their physiques, not to mention their long grey ponytails. You gotta love us aging boomers.

The Ex and I have similar views and values and we differ on some issues, and that’s fine. However, the other day I heard myself tell him that if he was not agreeing with me I was not going to talk about it. It was not open for debate. He was defending some trump supporters and I feel there is no defense. [As a courtesy, I will warn those of you reading along who would like to avoid my political rants, I am starting one now. ]

Arguing is not something I am very good at, so I’d rather not, thank you, but everything in my being, every organ, every muscle, even my toenails and hair follicles, is telling me I must get out there and fight. I first thought I must go to the Women’s March on DC, but couldn’t get on the NOW bus. Then the NYC March had been organized and I could go to that. Not enough though, so I volunteered to work as crowd control. I had such an exhilarating day that I need to share it, but I will give it more time to write it coherently so perhaps you can follow along. I’m still a bit giddy and have already scribbled tomes about the mere quarter of one day that is still resonating inside me. I will say this, my Facebook friends were already treated to a picture of me wearing a pink pussy hat and though it is so not my thing, I looked happy and comfortable doing so, because I was. What can I say? I got swept up. So, if you don’t mind coming back during the week, I think I will have a nice little story for you.

But, I promised you a rant didn’t I. Here you are: I believe trump finds the rifts he has caused in this country to be quite satisfying. Look at the power I have, he’s thinking. He’s trying to divide us to feed his ego, yes, but from what I saw, what we all saw yesterday, his presence is creating a tighter weave throughout the world. He is narrowing the chasms drawing us closer each day. We are bonded in our disgust for him. We don’t say nice things about him. We are the majority. Let’s make his life a living hell.

Oh, and Kellyanne Conway, I have two words for you – Lee Atwater.

BTW – Did Putin actually say that Russia has the best prostitutes, or was that a spoof or fake news, or did I dream it?

One last thing, my Millennial staff member just learned after having to take the young dog she adopted to the vet, that she had been shot, twice, as a puppy. Who fucking does that? She’ll be taken care of physically and mentally, but how much of a moron do you have to be to shoot a puppy.

January 15, 2017 / thackersam

We Are Catwoman!

catwoman

I’ve signed up to volunteer for the Women’s March on NYC next week. A friend had convinced me to go to the big one in DC, but when I got around to registering for the NOW bus to go with her, they’d already filled their seats (NOW = National Organization of Women, founded in 1966 by some seriously impressive broads). I kept checking back on their website, but then I found that we are having a march here in New York. The NOW bus takes you from locations in the metro area at 5am to the march in DC then starts back home at 5pm, all for $60. Good deal. Sure our MTA sucks and makes it exceedingly difficult, not to mention slow, to get around the city on weekends, but I would leave my apartment sometime before 8am to get to my 9am-Noon shift, and whether or not I decide to extend my participation, get home at a reasonable time, for $5.50 round trip.

They’ve put me on crowd control, which basically makes sure the marchers stick to the route and notifies NYPD if anything untoward happens. At yesterday’s meeting, I learned that as the first group of marchers starts at 11am, the first shift of crowd control would not be walking with a group. I must remain behind and control the crowd at the gathering point. A little disappointing, but at least my fear of leading the them into the river, either one, East or Hudson, has been alleviated. If so motivated, I can march later if I want.

Tonight’s original post was plagued with tangents. There’s this January 9, 2017 article from Kaiser Health News picked up by USAToday, “One In Three Women With Breast Cancer Treated Unnecessarily, Study Concludes,” authored by Liz Szabo, that prompted me to write a whole blog post, well, half a whole post on the topic, as I had had a theory about my own tiny stage one lumps when first diagnosed. The article I was writing was going along smoothly until it got a little out of hand, and emotional. So I’ll just recommend the article, which is not to say that I think mammograms are bad things, but really cancer specialists, can you not throw us all in the same box, please?

Anyway, we’ll talk about something else. How about politics. No? Movies then. I just watched Batman Returns again. It is my favorite Batman movie. Michael Keaton is my favorite Batman, Michelle Pfeiffer is my favorite Catwoman, and Christopher Walken is my favorite villain. It is obvious on whom his Max Shreck character is based, though Walken is far more attractive and intelligently evil rather than moronically so. I’m sorry for this spoiler, but if you haven’t seen the movie by now you will just have to deal with it. In the end, Catwoman gets Max Shreck. Batman does get The Penguin, so it’s all good. For next week’s march, volunteer cheer leaders have been recruited, a job for which I would not want as I’m not really a cheerleader, nor follower, but I wonder if I can get them to cheer “We are Catwoman!”

BTW – Sad that the circus is coming to an end. I have fond memories as a kid, but developed a dislike of clowns that I still have. They just like to harass and humiliate others so people will laugh at them. I actually did know someone once who went to Ringling Bros. clown college and was one of the very few graduates to get hired. I liked her. I doubt she became a mean clown.