Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Today, I went to Shake Shack for a burger on the Upper East Side. It was terrible but reminded me to be grateful that I don’t have children. Don’t get me wrong, if I had a child I would love it with all my heart but aren’t they a pain in the ass? So much racket and fuss. I have never, ever, heard a kid tell a story that I had any interest in. Not once. Sometimes, I think a story’s going some place interesting and then it just ends with “I like the color red” or “Stephanie is my best friend.” Really, that’s what I waited 10 minutes for?

Anyway the Shake Shack was a disappointment until Susan Rabin sat across from me. Susan Rabin is the best selling author of books on flirtation. She’s been on Letterman, Leno, Oprah and Phil Donahue (time to update the website Susan). She’s a delightful person and we chatted for an hour. I asked her about my flirting skills. I told her to watch and observe as I smile at women in the Shake Shack so she could see how cold the women of New York City are. I looked around and there were only high school girls there so we both decided it would be best if I didn’t do that. She asked me the last time I opened a conversation with a woman.

It had been awhile. I told a girl a couple of weeks ago she had nice boots. I wasn’t lying they were cool boots. “Nice boots.” I said. Several months ago I was in a coffee shop in Brooklyn and I told the barista that she had nice teeth. They were nice, very white and even. “You have really nice teeth.” I said and I meant it.

When I sat down to write about Susan and the Shake Shack tonight I had a general idea of what I was going to say but as I wrote the last paragraph I realized that either of those comments could be misunderstood. Nice boots might sound like “nice boobs”. Nice teeth could be interpreted as “nice tits”. I’m just realizing this. Maybe the women of New York City aren’t cold, maybe I don’t enunciate very well.

Friday, April 12, 2013

I’m waking up Broadway to catch the subway at Union Square. Across the street I hear a ruckus. A young girl, early twenties, is crying loudly. A guy with a ponytail has her against a food truck and seems to be pushing her against it. There is a guy near me, also watching.

“Do we need to get involved in this?” I ask him.

“No.” He replies and points to a woman that has approached the couple. “I think she’s got it.”

The pony-tailed guy waves the woman away, “She’s my wife.” He yells at her.

I walk across the street.

“Oh great another one.” Pony-tail guy says, waving me away.

I go up to the girl. “Everything okay?”

Pony-tail steps between us. “She’s my wife.”

“I don’t give a fuck, I’m asking her if everything is ok or if I need to call the police.”
Note: This will be the first of many “fucks” I say in a very short time.

“I am the police.” He says, stepping up to me and putting his face in front of mine.

I push my face even closer to his. Our noses are almost touching.
“Fuck you, motherfucker.” I explain.

I should probably mention at this point that I have never been in a fight. This may have been some information I should have remembered before this whole thing went down.

He pushes me. I push him harder.

The girl looks at the cigarette in my hand and says. “Can I have a cigarette?

I realize that I’m involved in the drama of an idiot couple. You see them on the police shows all the time, lots of drama and then lots of kissing afterwards.

“No.” I shout at her. She starts crying again and runs down the street.

Oh God, how have I gotten myself in this situation?

Ponytail and I are still nose-to-nose, staring each other down. I’m thinking that when I get home, I ought to watch some youtube videos on how to head butt someone. It seems like valuable information I could use if I’m ever in a situation such as this. I suspect it involves my forehead and his nose but I’m not sure and, let’s face it, all I have to recommend me is my unmarred beauty.

I might have called him a bitch-ass ho’ but, at this point, the adrenaline is pumping so I’m not 100% sure. There is, apparently, a white trash hoodlum buried deep inside me that emerges in times of distress.

He pushes me again, turns and runs. I, for some inexplicable reason, run after him. At this point there is no rational brain in me, only lizard brain is showing activity. After a few steps I stop.

“What the hell am I doing?” I ask myself.
I turn around and walk back toward the train. The woman that first tried to get involved walks with me.

“I sometimes forget that I don’t know how to fight.” I tell her.
She laughs, “Oh well, you have to get involved.” She said.

I look across the street and see the guy that I had been standing next to. He looks away when I catch his eye. I ought to smack that punk ass bitch upside the head.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Last night I was invited to the United Nations Headquarters to watch a premier of Javier Bardem’s documentary on the human rights abuses in Western Sahara. Before you ask why I was invited to such an important event I will remind you that I am a very important person with a very bright future. At least that’s how my daily pep talks into the mirror begin. Although I am a bit concerned, I had Chinese take out last night and my fortune cookie contained no fortune. I’m not a superstitious person, as I’m sure you’ve gathered from my intellect but I have barricaded myself in the apartment today and I’m bathing in hand sanitizer. If you get nothing from this post at least take away this bit of knowledge- they aren’t kidding when they say for hand use only.

The event was hosted by the Robert Kennedy Foundation for Justice and Human Rights. It would be hard to really disagree with anything in the name of that organization. First you have Robert Kennedy. It doesn’t matter what you’re opinion on John F. is, everyone loves Bobby. Human Rights and Justice. Who, other than Morocco (as I learned last night) is going to argue against that. So really whoever named this organization deserves kudos.

For the straight women and gay men that read my blog, prepare to swoon because Javier Bardem was there. Straight men and gay women, sorry but Penelope Cruz was not there so she most definitely did not make out with Selma Hayek who wasn’t there either.

All and all the evening gets high marks for social justice, movie stars, Kennedy kids and angry Moroccans who disagree that there’s a problem. Unfortunately, I need to subtract some points for a lack of girl-on-girl action. No worries, my comment card addressed the issue and I’m sure the U.N. will rectify this situation.

Some of you may remember that I spent time in the Sahara Desert sharing a chapstick with my Berber brother from a darker mother and I take a certain nationalistic pride in saying that I didn’t know there was a problem. Javier, (yes, we are on a first name basis) remarked that is was a shame that the world wasn’t aware of the situation going on in Western Sahara and it was his hope to change that. I think it’s a shame that I didn’t even know there as a country named Western Sahara- and there’s a very good chance that I was in it.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Who would be the quintessential New York celebrity? That one person that you saw on the street and said, “Yup, that’s New York.” My friend says Martin Scorsese or Robert De Niro- whom I was referring to as Marty and Bobby until their attorney’s threw a “cease and desist” order at me. My first choice is Woody Allen. So imagine my surprise that while walking down Lexington Avenue who should I see but the man himself filming around the corner from my apartment.

It threw a crimp in my plans because my day had been scheduled around a visit to The Lexington Candy Store and Luncheonette. My idea was to have a hamburger in this venerated slice of 1920’s New York. An old man in an apron bars my entry into the shop with a dangerous wave of his greasy spatula.

“Step off old man- I wants me a burger.”
“Get a job you low-life scum”
“Quit telling me what to do. You aint the boss of me, Perv.”
“Get out of my store Nancy-boy!”

Anyway, long story short the diner is closed because they are filming a movie in it. The old man points his spatula across the street and there stands Woody Allen with John Turturro and Johnny Depp’s ex-wife- I’m sure she has a name but, really, who cares- she’s Johnny Depp’s ex-wife. But don’t say that to her because it’s probably offensive and don’t ask Woody if you can see the Polaroids he took of Soon-yi because that is probably also in bad taste

So I guess what I’m saying is that celebrities are jerks and I didn’t get my burger.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

So if I haven’t been updating this blog what exactly have I been doing? Other than the massive amount of rejection from women and job interviews- you know, the usual. I’ve been writing.

In a month long burst of creativity brought on by that nasty flu that was going around I wrote a 300 page first draft of novel. I was handwriting 3,000 to 5,000 words-a-day. I was unstoppable in an obsessive compulsive way. I dreamt about this novel, I daydreamed about it. I was researching the particulars, bouncing ideas off others. Always writing forward. That was my mantra- “Write Forward”. Don’t edit, don’t go back a few pages a see what I wrote, don’t correct misspellings, don’t re-read what was written. If the lead character’s name changed mid sentence- screw it keep going, write forward. A man obsessed. After that month, which ended yesterday, I had a rough first draft in two parts.

And yes, I’ve already cast the main characters for the movie and spent all the money I’ll make on it. And no, I'm not certain the notes taped to the wall won't take the paint off.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Can I write everyday for a month? I doubt it but I’m going to give it a go. So expect 31 crap entries. I had to look at the calendar to see how many days are in March. I should have made this resolution in February and called it done.

I am sitting in a coffee shop at Astor Place killing time before a meeting. A line of trailers runs down E. 8th Street- security guards are eyeing everyone suspiciously including me. Grown men carrying cameras with very large lenses pace nervously. Suddenly there was action. As if a gun had been fired everyone begins to run. Security is tense- they eye the men with the large lenses. The photographers run backwards, shooting a young girl that is walking toward them. She’s trying to get to her trailer but is walking slow enough so they don’t miss a shot. She smiles for the cameras- obviously pleased (who wouldn’t be?). All of this is happening in front of the table I’m sitting at drinking an espresso. I half consider getting up and getting my picture taken with her- maybe make it in People Magazine but I can’t be bothered to even take a picture myself. And the last thing I need at this stage of my life is a restraining order.

This brings me to the point of this little post. I am somewhat disappointed that I’ve never had to take a restraining order out on anyone. I’ve never had one stalker and I’ve dated some pretty reality-challenged women but they were all very attractive which….yea I’m not looking very good here. I used to kid myself that I had plenty of stalkers but that they were so good that I never saw them stalking. If I’m to have a stalker I’d like to think she’s be somewhat professional about it. But I’m beginning to realize that being stalked and having a court document that I can wave at someone while screaming, “stay 50 feet away!” will not be in my immediate future. I also suspect that I’ll never be in People Magazine and I had my chance yesterday, but really it’s the lack of stalkers that has me down.

After the hubbub died down I tell a security guard that I must be getting old, as I didn’t even recognize the young starlet.
“Oh, she not famous.” He said. “Not yet anyway. She’s a rising star.”
“What are they filming?”
“The Carrie Diaries”
I must have looked confused. So he added, “It’s the Sex in the City prequel, the Sex in the City women as 16 year old girls.”
“Jesus, you’re kidding right?”

So there you have it. I am stalker-less and there’s a prequel to Sex in the City. Unless, of course, Annasophia Robb is stalking me and that this was just some elaborate ruse to get near me. If I had a stalker she’d be good like that.

Addendum: I forgot that the girl from The Office was stalking me in Paris and a couple of models- so I'm doing ok. Let's just forget about this post.

By the way a photo of Annasophia Robb- seems like a nice girl- but what do I know?

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

I was having coffee in the East Village with a friend when he let it slip that he had been on a reality TV show. He was rather casual about it until I reminded him that I was from the Midwest and he doesn’t have to pull that blasé New York bullshit with me. He then spoke about it excitedly but in a low voice so that the other customers wouldn’t know he enjoyed it. From what I gathered it was similar to project runway but with hair styles.

“Where can I see this show?”

“It’s still playing in Sweden.”

While I’m interested in seeing my friend on this show I’m not ‘travel to Sweden’ interested and so I had to make do with youtube. It’s true. But that isn’t really what I want to talk about.

As we were leaving Yaffa Café on St. Marks Place he pointed to the building across the street. “That’s where the Rolling Stone video Waiting on a Friend was shot.”

“Woooo back up. You wasted my time with your bullshit reality show talk when all the while we’ve been sitting across from the stoop from “Waiting on a Friend.” “

“It’s also the building used in the album cover for Physical Graffiti for Led Zeplin” he said “and Jeff Buckley used to perform down the street”

“You could do tours of New York- focusing on the East Village” I said wondering how I could get a cut of that action.

“Alan Ginsburg lived in my building”

“Jesus dude you’re sitting on a goldmine!”

“It was just in my building, not my apartment.” He lamented.

They don’t have to know that- charge people to tour your apartment. We’ll scribble some “original” verses of “Howl” on the wall.

I told him of my plan to charge people money to bathe in the bathtub Jim Morrison was found dead.

Who wouldn’t pay $1,000 dollars to smoke a joint in and that tub? He asked


I feel as though I found a kindred spirit.

Looking for a justification I tried to put a philosophical
“It doesn’t matter if it’s true, people will think it is- which is a form of truth in itself.”

“That’s true… or a form of truth. It’s almost like performance art”

“It’s exactly like performance art!” I cried. “At least that’s what we’ll say if there’s an inquiry.”

We got quiet for a moment while I snapped a photo of the building.

“…but this really is the “Waiting On A Friend Building, right?” I asked

“I think so.”

Monday, December 31, 2012

It’s been awhile since I’ve written- although I have a good excuse this time. I just returned from a three-week visit to my little corner of the Midwest. My dad had knee surgery in early December and a few days later he had a heart attack. Apparently, it is pretty common when you get older. The shock to the body from surgery causes the arteries and platelets to get sticky, narrowing the blood flow. The nurse gave us a cartoon book describing the process. Blood cells are like little red cars that flow through the arterial highway (about the diameter of a piece of spaghetti- who knew?). The highway suddenly narrows, traffic lanes merge together abruptly and there’s a pile up.

“Oh, this is interesting!” I said to my father, shoving the cartoon book in his face. “Look at all these little red cars with the frowny faces.”

“A piece of spaghetti! Did you know that?”

I settled back in my hospital lounge chair. “Wouldn’t life be easier if everything was explained using cartoons?” I asked. “It would certainly demystify the vagina.”

He stared at the ceiling above his hospital bed probably wishing the morphine drip ran a little quicker and that his son would shut the hell up.

What goes through your mind when you’ve been close to death? He’ll be 82 years old in a few weeks. Do you review your life? Is there regret? I’m not certain what he would have to regret- he’s lived a good honorable life; raised six kids that enjoy his company. He’s traveled the world. In fact he and my mom cancelled a month long tour of Southeast Asia for the knee surgery. A few years ago they went to Jerusalem during a travel advisory. There had been an influx of bombing and violence. We questioned whether it was a wise trip to make. “It’s not getting any better and we aren’t getting younger so we’re going.”

I stayed with them while he got his strength back. Running errands, getting him to doctor’s visits and taking my mom to the grocery store. The other kids scheduled times to stagger visits in an effort to not overwhelm my parents. In short, we circled the wagons and took care of each other- like we were taught.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I went to a lecture given by my Upper East Side neighbor Hilma Wolitzer at The New York Society Library. The topic, Developing Characters for Fiction, was one I was excited to attend. She’s written 13 books so I assume she knows a bit on the subject.

It wasn't her lecture that stuck out for me, although it was an excellent two-hour talk, but the people that were there. As I looked around the room at the 20 or so people in attendance I was struck with the thought, “Don’t you people have jobs?’ Of course, I see the hypocrisy in this criticism, but I think we all realize by now that to while away two hours in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon is somehow expected of me- but these other people. I wanted to stand up and announce, “People, there is an economy to rebuild; there is a nation that needs you. Who’s manning the ship? Surely, there is something else you could be doing with your time.” Perhaps I would have if I hadn’t over indulged in donuts earlier that morning while pondering if Snuffy Smith was still in syndication.

As the lecture went on I focused my judgment away from the collective and narrowed my beam of righteousness on individuals. There was an English guy, glasses perched on his nose, bad teeth, you know the type, that was intent on letting the rest of us know exactly how clever he was. He asked no questions but rather chose to share his infinite wisdom with the lecturer. In three minute (yes, I timed him) he cited Bryon, Samuel Johnson and made a joke about Charles Dickens, which was pretty funny but I did not laugh as I think it important to not encourage this kind of behavior. I jotted in my notebook “Hey man, I didn’t pay good money to watch your corn kernel teeth move up and down.” In truth I hadn’t paid anything, none of us had, but it’s important to not let the truth get in the way of judgment. Far too many very convenient judgments had to be abandoned after looking too deeply into the facts. On further reflection I realize that I never actually saw his teeth and they were probably fine. See what happens when you let facts dictate?

A woman writing a biography focused her comments on the problems she was having with researching a particular time in America’s history. Why she felt the need to bring this issue up in a lecture entitled “Writing Character For Fiction” was unclear until she let slip that she didn’t know what the topic was and wasn’t really sure what we were all doing here. She happened to be walking by when she saw a few people go into the lecture room and she followed them. “Research this!” I wrote in my notebook. I’m not particularly proud of this but the English guy used a lot of words I had to look up after the lecture and I was feeling “less than.”

A comely woman asked an excellent question. I was left wondering if she was beautiful because she asked a very good question or was it a very good question because she was beautiful. My lack of depth begrudgingly forced me to concede the latter. My copious notes are then filled with a crudely drawn sketch of her shapely legs. I interrupted the filling in of the fishnet stockings with the statement. “Should probably give Match another try”

So my point is, had all of these people been at work like they should have been maybe I could have paid closer attention to the topic of “Problems with Research” “Overcoming Writer’s Block” or whatever the hell the lecturer was talking about.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Anyway, I eased up on the carbs so I could squeeze out my little window and stand on the fire escape. Looking down I noticed several of my cigarette butts in the courtyard below. I met the woman that lives in that apartment during Hurricane Sandy. I haven’t discussed the hurricane at all because it didn’t affect me. If you are a long time reader you will know that if I’m not directly affected by something it probably didn’t happen.

We had a nice discussion over the high winds as we stood on the stoop of the building. I was a bit preoccupied calculating my ability to push her out of my way if a strong wind should occur. She definitely said she was a musician and she said this with an English accent so you know she’s cool and probably a bit pissed about the revolution and a bit touchy about how English musicians stole the black man’s music. Again, not directly affecting me so I didn’t dwell on it.

Looking at the butts on the ground I thought I would do the honorable thing and write her a letter apologizing for the cigarette butts and Romney’s recent UK visit. I taped it to her door. Admittedly creepy but that’s how we do in the Midwest and besides I may need to hit her up for a loan that I will, of course, never repay.

She wrote a nice letter back saying that she noticed a cloud of what she thought was dust descending on her courtyard and that must have been the ashtray. I then had to write her back saying that that was actually me shaking out a rug out. The deeper it went the worse I looked.

So the whole point of this pointless little post is that if you hear a song on the radio entitled “The Asshole in 2D” it’s probably about me.

Friday, November 02, 2012

I moved to a new apartment on E. 88th.

“There’s a balcony.” I tell my New York friend.

“A balcony? Wow that’s pretty snazzy.” She replies.

“Well, when I say balcony it’s really more like a fire escape.”

“So you don’t really have a balcony. Your building has a fire escape.”

“Yes, I think that’s a fair assessment of what’s outside my window”

I can’t swear she rolled her eyes, but I think I felt the eye roll of judgment upon me. It really is an issue of how you look at it. To me it’s a balcony to the rest of the world it’s a rusted fire escape which will require a tetanus shot.

James Thurber, a wonderful writer, was going blind. His vision was failing quickly. A reporter asked how he felt about it, one of the truly stupid questions. I loved his answer

“It’s not so bad- where everyone else sees a brown paper bag blowing down the street; I see an old woman in a raincoat doing summersaults.”

How I see it: I have always had a mental picture of me leaning over the rails of a New York fire escape. I’m wearing a wife beater shirt, cigarette dangling from my mouth, 3 days growth of beard. I watching the kids play stickball in the street. I may be Italian in this picture. Yea, I know I should aspire to more.

Actuality: A 48 year-old man trying to get through a small window to an unstable fire escape, feet too big to maneuver, legs not limber enough and a small yelp of pain when the hip feels like it’s going to pop. It’s a sad little sight indeed.

“It’s not how I envisioned it.” I tell my sister over the phone while I clutch the rusty fire escape, clinging for dear life.

“Maybe you should move to Seattle.” She says.

Hmmm, I could see myself on a fishing boat, wearing a Greek fisherman’s hat, weathered face, cigarette dangling from my mouth and a Scottish accent. Maybe I should.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fourth Match.com Date

Email: Sassylady to Misplaced

Re: Your Profile
You don’t say how much you earn and while it might sound shallow I don’t want to waste my time.

Email Misplaced to Sassylady

RE: Your Profile
You mention in your profile that you are 45 and want 2 kids. Yea, you may need to fast track a relationship

Date #1
No Date #1

As you can see it has turned quite nasty in the world of Match.Com. That was never my intention. What I had hoped for is that I would meet a nice woman that I could wander around the city with, hit bookstores together, chat over coffees late into the night and maybe share medical records. (Note what a cheap date I am). The purpose was to "get back out there" after the divorce left me somewhat disillusioned with the notion of love. OK- I've become bitter and jaded on the subject.

I can't get passed the notion that when we commit to another that commitment is actually saying "I will commit to you until something better comes along- I promise". I'm probably over thinking it, but anything worth thinking is worth over-thinking. The most any of us can really say- is that I love you at this moment and I think I want to be with you forever- unless at some point in forever I change my mind and then all bets are off.

So I cancelled the tentative coffee dates I had set up with a note saying that I didn't think this was for me. I decided to take a little break from the world of on-line dating.

I received this reply from one woman.

"It's a shame, you didn't give us a chance. It seems that we have so much in common- New York, Paris, no drinking. Give me a call if you change your mind."

See, that's how we get got. Hope. Maybe this is the one.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

When I reopened this blog I decided not to enable the word verification on the comments section. Basically it verifies that whoever is leaving a comment is a person and not a computer. To do this it asks you to type in the letters they show- these letters run into each other and are basically meant to be too hard for a computer to read and copy and this will eliminate spam in your comments.

As I’m sure you are aware, my mind is much like a finally tuned computer so much so that I can never read the letters I’m supposed to copy. Having this kind of high-end instrument has it’s benefits such as having an incredible memory except when it comes to names, dates, history, things I’ve said to you or things you said to me. The downside is that I am completely without emotion and I am unable to feel love. I’m like Spock from Star Trek except I have awesome hair and he has a job.

Anyway, some of the more flattering comments sent in are computer- generated and as an added bonus they often link me to porn to thank me which none of my real readers have ever bothered to do. So here are a few highlights of how much the computers love what I have to say.

"Undeniably believe that which you said." (Porn)
"You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well.” (PokerDownload)
"Will likely be back to get more.” (Hermes-Birrkin)
“Viagra bestellen schweiz…” (Viagra)
“Personally I think strongly regarding this” (Turbo-slim)
“This web page is really fastidious and the viewers are sharing fastidious thoughts” (Same Day Loans)
“I really like reading through an article that will make men and women think” (porn)
“I joined your rss feed and sit up in search for your excellent post” (digital camera)

So there you have it- please feel free to comment. I sit up in search of your fastidious thoughts.

Monday, October 22, 2012

I’m sitting outside a coffee shop in the East Village with a pack of cigarettes on the table.

“Mind if I sit down?” a guy asks. He has one of those great New York accents.
“Donald” he tells me as he lights a cigarette and extends his hand- we shake.
“We are a dieing breed.” He says, motioning to his cigarette. I laugh even though I’ve heard and said that line a thousand times. It’s how smokers begin a conversation- it oils up the talk.

A fire truck goes by and all the firemen call out to Donald and wave. He smiles and waves back.

He asks where I’m from.

“Good people in the Midwest” He says when I tell him. “Pretty part of the country too.”

I agree- it’s funny how you don’t notice those things until after you leave.

“I’m about to make a terrible mistake- in about 15 minutes” he says- dragging deeply on the cigarette.

I don’t press it, he doesn’t offer.

He’s a retired firefighter who broke his back in during 9/11. He was hospitalized and forced into retirement. He had been off heroin for many years before that but with the pain medication he slipped back into using. He’s been clean now for 3 years.

The bad decision he is about to make is that the corner we are sitting on is the same corner his dealer works.

“Funny, I woke up today, walked around and found myself here, on this corner." He said smiling. "I found myself here, after taking two trains and walking 10 blocks” I just found myself here.

I told him a bit of my own past demons.

"Good people in the Midwest." He says again. "I mean there are assholes everywhere but there seem to be fewer there.”

“I’m wondering if this move to New York was a bad idea.” I say in response.

“It’s not”, he replies but doesn’t tell me why it’s not a bad idea, some information I could use right about now.

“Want to know how we would find the bodies of firemen in the towers? The smell of the burned equipment. Civilians we couldn’t find, there was nothing left of them. But the firemen in the protective gear, it’s a smell you never forget. They turned to jelly in those suits”

There isn’t anything I can say to that. So I stay quiet.

“I started taking meds for the rods in my back and the dreams- next thing you know I’m shooting up and ended up in the vaults." He explained, "The key to the vaults is you got to crush an orange around your nose and mouth to mask the smell. The vaults*.” He motions over his shoulder, beyond Thompkins Square Park. (I may have mis-heard the word "Vault" I looked it up and could't find any reference to it)

I’m looking toward the corner to see if I can see anyone that resembles a drug dealer. I don't even know how to respond because I can't even imagine how it feels to live through that. I do understand the 'urges' so I talk about what I understand.

“The beauty of having three years off heroin is that you won’t get dope sick if you don’t use today. You can always use tomorrow- it’s too pretty of a day to throw three years out the window. Tomorrows supposed to be shitty- I’d wait until tomorrow.”

He laughs “Yea, tomorrow, maybe tomorrow. Tomorrow's always a good time to start back up”

I like Donald- he’s a nice guy.

He smiles, “I know I’m not going to shoot up today. I knew the moment I told you I was going to”

I understand the notion of "telling on yourself" but I have to ask. “Wonder why you decided to tell me. What made you sit down next to me and tell me?”

“Guys like us can spot each other a mile away.” He says. "I'm going home to see my wife."

We shake hands and he walks toward the subway, away from the corner. I wish I had gotten his number so I could check in on him but maybe we were just supposed to meet over a cup of coffee and a cigarette on a pretty autumn day.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Third Match.com Date

Date #1
Character: A psychologist who specializes in theater people because she was once a performance artists. (red flag)

Scene: Caffe Dante in the West village

How it all went terribly wrong: (Misplaced) "Wow- I didn’t even recognize you. You don’t look anything like your profile picture."

Date #2
No Date #2

Friday, October 19, 2012

Metro-sexual: A straight man without a beer belly, likes to dress somewhat well, reads, travels, has a certain amount of empathy toward his fellow man, hits the occasional museum and doesn’t grab a woman’s ass in a crowded bar. Essentially it’s a man in touch with his feminine side but he doesn’t menstruate.

These are good traits to pursue. No one wants to go back to the John Wayne era of stoic masculinity. It isn’t healthy and it doesn’t lead to a very fulfilling life. So we men got in touch with our feelings and began expressing them. Before you think too highly of us- we only did it because we thought we might get laid a bit more often. But it turns out that expressing feelings is fun, therapeutic and might keep us from firing a high-powered rifle from a bell tower- and so we expressed away.

Here’s the problem; we didn’t stop. We wanted every thought, feeling and discomfort expressed. We wanted you to feel our pain. We wanted complete strangers to say, “Damn, that fella sure got the short end of the stick on that whole soy latte transaction.” We basically began to express as much as women express- and, no offense to women, but you all express a lot. Grown men began to believe, “I’m in a bad mood right this very moment- I know that it will pass in about a minute but before it does I want to tell you exactly why what you are doing hurts my feeling and makes me feel less than “

I knew men were gone when they started using the term “emotional affair”, which is a nonsense concept, which basically means I’m really jealous and insecure so I don’t think you should talk to members of the opposite sex at work. It is emotionally no different than buying an 8 ball of coke and getting a hotel room with her for the weekend. Trust me, it's different.

So men expressed their feelings- and unfortunately, their feelings are basically the same feelings as a 5 year-old child’s whose mom wont buy him candy in the checkout line of the grocery store.

I wonder if women realize how large a part they played in the ‘Pussification of the American Male” (trademark denied). A woman friend of mine, in a peak of frustration with her new, sensitive, feeling expressing boyfriend screamed “Metro-sexuality has no place in the bedroom!!”

Well ladies, it is here and here it shall remain. Sorry the sex sucks.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Don’t you hate when you’re talking to a friend and it seems they are just waiting long enough for you to shut up about your life and other really important matters so they can tell you something that probably has nothing to do with you at all. And when you finally stop talking long enough to take a much needed breath they jump in and say, "I had the weirdest dream last night."

And you know that no matter how much you roll your eyes and sigh with impatience they will continue to tell you their stupid dream which means nothing to anyone except for the person who actually had the dream. I hate that.

Anyway, I had the weirdest dream last night. I’ve had nothing but weird dreams all week. Weird, in the sense, that they are in high definition- very vivid and always wake me up at 3:00 AM. Disturbing enough that they have actually thrown off my sleep patterns, which some guy told me was called “bad sleep hygiene.” Don’t worry I smacked him in the head for all of us.

Anywhozits (a word I’m trying to bring into the language)- about my dream. A group of men wearing business suits are in my kitchen wrestling. I’m also there - and I might be wearing a suit but I never look down- all I can see is their suits, ties and maniacal grins.

Dream Interpretation: It’s my creative-self wresting with my practical-self . My practical-self knows I need to get a real job and my creative-self says that I should write.

I choose to interpret the dream this way because otherwise it’s a homo-erotic dream and with all the changes in my life lately that’s the last thing I need to grapple with.

For those of you who are saying, "Ya know misplaced, you could get a job and write." I can only respond with, "Shut up, you stinky poopoo face."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I have to say it’s been a tough couple of weeks. There has been a seemingly never ending parade of rejections on the job front. I stare at the computer ready to send out the next patch of cover letters and resumes, which will be ignored or thrown out. It has got me feeling quite grumpy and I’m sure that’s reflected in the negative posts that I’ve been writing. You have to know when to step away and look for some good in the world. So I send them out, put on my ubiquitous sport coat and take a stroll around New York to find a better outlook on life.

I saw a tiny door, which seemed very important.

I dispelled a few stereotypes. Three orthodox Jews in a boat and they appear to be tipping

I watched the boats

I listened to a father tell his son he was doing it all wrong. I rolled my eyes at the son and the boy laughed

I went down the rabbit hole

I saw a wedding party and didn’t think “divorce count-down 10, 9, 8…”

I saw an empty shell, but on further inspection I saw a bubble and 2 girls talking.

I sat with an old man named Saul who agreed the espressos were terrific

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I was thinking about my New Zealand friend. For those of you who don’t remember, I met him for the first time in a library in Paris and he annoyed the hell out of me.

I reconnected briefly when he was in New Zealand- a newspaper gave him an RV with the instructions to pick up hitchhikers on their way to see the All Blacks play and write about. Since rugby isn’t a real sport and New Zealand isn’t a real country I only half listened to him. Last I heard he had crashed the RV and a string of hitchhikers had gone missing.

Turns out he’s living in London. I sent him an email trying to convince him to write a post for my blog.

Misplaced: How’s it going? I was thinking about how tough it is in the world today- financial hardship, wars, famine- actually we may have licked the famine issue but still, times are tough all around. I was trying to find something positive to write about and all I could come up with was, “Christ, can you imagine having all of those dark forces in the world and being from New Zealand?” This got me thinking about you, the wrecked RV and all those poor hitchhikers that just wanted to see a rugby match. I thought you might want to write a couple of paragraphs about what it’s like to be an unemployed writer from New Zealand for my blog. I think it would really make my many readers (5) appreciate their own lives.

New Zealand: You need a ghostwritten blog?? What the fuck are you doing with yo’self.

Misplaced: A lot of people have asked about you. (this, of course, isn't true but we need to throw a kiwi a bone every once in awhile)

New Zealand: How much? How many people said no before me? Goodnight

Misplaced: I’ll buy you a coffee next time I see you. I asked a retarded kid down the street and he is considering it. At least I think he is, I laughed so hard when he spoke I might have misunderstood.

New Zealand: Write your own blog you shaggy American fuck. P.S. How retarded?

Misplaced: I’ve been blogging for a week and I’m out of ideas other than posting my grocery list and a detailed list about how the 82 year-old Hungarian neighbor has done me wrong. Maybe I’ll just post these emails so people can see how selfish New Zealanders are.

New Zealand: no response

No response means- you have my permission to post my private emails.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Isn’t this a beautiful scene? I took it awhile back, a lovely woman playing classical music in Washington Square Park. So peaceful; or is it? Beneath this idyllic setting lie 20,000 bodies.

The area that would become Washington Square was originally used as a potter’s field for the yellow fever epidemic. Between 1797 and 1826, if you were poor, you were probably buried here. Whenever they do renovations at the park they usually come across a few bones. In 1965, when Con Ed was running lines, they found a set of stairs that lead to a crypt with 29 bodies- they left them there. That's the official policy, finish your work and put the bones back where you found them.

I’m reading about this in the park and my first reaction, after saying “eeek!”in a high pitched squeal, is to re-enact the Poltergeist scene, grab the piano playing woman by the lapels and scream, “They just moved the head stones! They didn’t move the bodies!” But that wouldn’t be entirely true and probably considered assault. There are no headstones- if you could afford a headstone you probably didn’t have to be chucked into an open pit. Unless you’re James Jackson, an Irishman (of course). Recently they came across his head stone buried 2 1/2 feet down.

James Jackson From Kildare Ireland died 1799. They found his headstone buried 2 1/2 feet down. Leave it to an Irishman to bring an expensive headstone to a pauper’s grave.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

I'm on a crowded train during rush hour. Everyone's grumpy and tired of smelling the person next to him. We pull into Grand Central Station. A guy getting off the train, pauses, turns around and addresses us all in a loud voice.

"Smile New York, it wont mess up your hair!"

Friday, October 12, 2012

Second Match.com Connection

Date #1
Character: Waitress from Long Island

Scene: The Modern Museum of Art

How it went all went terribly wrong: (Waitress) “So, what do you do for a living?”

Date #2
No Date #2

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I go to Mud Coffee in the East Village almost every day. It’s a great place and the women behind the bar can make a fine cup of coffee and when I say “fine cup of coffee” I mean they are attractive and they talk to me.

I’m thinkin’ some pretty deep thoughts n’ shit when there is a disturbance. A guy with his girlfriend orders a half-caf/ decaf soy latte to go.

“Sorry" says the beautiful barista that may or may not want to run away with me. "We are out of soy milk"

It becomes quiet- too quiet. Somewhere, far off, a dog barks.

There’s a photo of the allied soldiers when they first open the prisons at Dachau. The faces of the allied soldiers are haunting- as they try to take in and comprehend the inhumanity they are seeing.

That’s the look in the eyes of the idiot in line. He turns to his girlfriend and says, loud enough so that all of us can hear his pain and outrage.

“Can you believe this shit?”

His girlfriend shakes her head because that is some shit she cannot believe.

He storms out of Mud Coffee vowing to never return.

Since I have copious amounts of free time on my hands I ponder this. When did men become such pussies? (I realize that’s an offensive term but it’s the only way to describe men that act like…well…pussies). Since I’m a huge fan of finger pointing I’ve decided to blame metro-sexuality.

Metro-sexuality is a good thing but somewhere along the line it morphed into the Pussification of the American Male (trademark pending).

More on this later- I need to wash my doily collection.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My first date on Match.com

Date #1
Character: A very attractive woman that works as legal council for a large, prestigious university.

Scene: A restaurant/ bar on the Upper Westside

How it all went terribly wrong: (Misplaced) “Wouldn’t it be fun to start this date by admitting all the things we lied about on our profiles”

Date #2
No date #2

Monday, October 08, 2012

I may have to reconsider one of my biggest pet peeves. When walking down the sidewalk of any bigger city I always get stuck behind those three people, with arms interlocked, strolling down the avenue without a care in the world, and no place to be. I dodge and weave to get around them; estimating the oncoming pedestrians to see if I can slip by and get back in the right hand lane. Wishing I had paid attention at the high school math problem; If a train leaves D.C. at 6:00 and travels at 40 mph and another train leaves Pittsburg …

On 86th there is a threesome leisurely strolling down the street, shoulder-to-shoulder, deep in conversation. Behind them is a couple pushing a double baby stroller bobbing and weaving to get around. The game is afoot.

“Excuse me!” says Mr. Stroller. “Trying to get through here. You’re taking up most of the sidewalk.” The threesome form a single file line and the Stroller family quickly go by with a nasty remark concerning etiquette. I take the opportunity to get passed the threesome too. I’m to turn on 3rd Ave but decide to continue following the family (ok- it’s creepy I know).
“I have no patience for that.” Says My Stroller to his wife
“Unbelievable” agrees Mrs. Stroller

We get to the crosswalk and wait for the light.
“Good thing you made it to the stop light so quickly.” One of the threesome yells as they settle in behind us.

The stroller man’s wife gives them a sneer. “Happy Holiday to you too.”
I realize she’s referring to Columbus Day, which would be an awesome insult if the threesome were Native American but they aren’t and so it’s just a bit confusing.

The Strollers look at each other and shake their heads,
“Unbelievable” they say in agreement.

The Strollers continue down the street.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa. Don’t stop!” Mr Stroller yells at a woman in front of him that slows to look at a window display.
“Jesus, don’t just stop in the middle of the sidewalk I almost ran into you.”
“Unbelievable” his wife agrees.

This goes on for two blocks; complaining whenever someone has the audacity to get in their way, or be of any inconvenience to them at all. Their kids say “beep, beep” as they approach anyone walking slower than they. I’ve had my fill and decide to take a right down 1st Avenue to grab a cup of coffee. They stop in front of a salon that the Mrs. Stroller is going into and, I kid you not, I accidentally run into Mr. Stroller.
“Jesus! Dude watch where you’re going” he shouts at me.
"Unbelievable" his wife agrees.
“Have a nice holiday” is all I can muster.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

I am standing outside my apartment on E. 80th Street smoking a cigarette. A pretty woman approaches walking her dog. She looks at me, then at my cigarette and scowls.
“Disgusting” says the woman carrying a bag of dogshit.

Writing this reminds me of an incident in Chicago. A friend and I had been walking around the city for hours- no place to go, no particular destinations, just strolling about aimlessly. While walking through the park we saw a woman bend down to clean up after her dog. We jokingly said we should start a website called “Hot Chicks Picking Up Dogshit”. It would just be photos of, well, pretty women picking up dog crap. We laughed, running with the joke much longer than it deserved. Then it got quiet.
“You know” he said, “There might be a market for something like that.”
“Might be a chance to make a bit of money.” I responded.
“I’m mean, there are a lot of weird fetish site.” He preached, to an already converted choir.
“Hell, all we do is walk around anyway- we’d just need to bring a camera and muster the courage to take pictures of hot chicks that happen to be picking up dogshit.”
“It could be a subscription website- but we’d have advertisers. We could make some good money.”
It’s a pretty solid business plan.” Said the Sociology major
Definitely” replied the English major.

Long story short (too late?) there already is a site devoted to pretty women cleaning up after their dogs and its called Hotchickspickingupdogshit.com.

All the best ideas have already been taken.

Friday, October 05, 2012

What a difference a week makes.

Day 1 On crowded New York subway
Misplaced: “My god- this is incredible- surrounded by people from every walk of life. I love New York and her people.”

Day 8 On a crowded New York subway
Misplaced: “Jesus Christ, quit touching me! It sounds like a goddamned TB ward in here!”

Thursday, October 04, 2012

My new life coach, who may or may not be a doctor, a wee bit insane and possibly an alcoholic, directed me to 3 dating sites to get me back into the romance game. It should be mentioned at this point that I have no game with women. I bemoan this fact with a woman friend and she explains that my not having game was, in itself, game. While I appreciate the pep talk I’m not buying into the observation. It would be like saying my inability to time travel is precisely what makes me able to travel in time so well.

But I’m ready for a change so I look at the three sites she gives me.
1. Ashly Madison. A site for married people that want to have affairs. Since I wasn’t married I thought it would be dishonest for me to join that one.
2. Plenty of Fish. A free site and I love fish so that’s promising. Unfortunately, Plenty of Fish has a lot of fish with meth mouth.
3. Match.com is a paid site so there will be women that are invested in dating on it. “A classier kind of lady” my new life coach explains.

I am already on Match.com something I had forgotten. My 12-year-old niece, concerned with my pathetic social life, set up an account for me. She was on the computer with her friends, twin 11-year-olds, all three giggling. I don't know if giggling kids are allowed to be on the computer without supervision so I rat her out to her mother, my sister-in-law. It is then we discover they are filling out a Match.com profile for me. Instead of being beaten their mother and grandmother join them in creating a profile. They are a little dismayed by the lack of Jewish women on Match.com and suggest J-Date. I'm a little dismayed that they are family and aren't aware I'm not Jewish. I’m not certain what they wrote but soon I am receiving a plethora of emails from extremely overweight, black women in their 60’s. They seem to have struck a demographic chord.

I call my niece, get the password and re-do the profile. I remind myself that the purpose is to sell me. Any photos that are chosen have to put me in the best possible light (preferably non-fluorescent); there will be no double chins, no t-shirts tightly stretched over a widening belly- in short, a photo that doesn't look anything like me at all. I tout my attributes, a soul searching process. The only thing that seems to be a selling point is the music I like but to most people that in itself is probably deal breaker. I downplay any negative characteristics- for instance, I don’t mention that I probably only hear 50% of what anyone tells me. It isn’t a hearing problem; it’s a lack of interest problem. My Life Coach suggests I emphasize that I am ‘Renaissance Man’ and de-emphasize the fact that I am ‘Unemployed Man’. Essentially I’m lying. Everything I write is true- but the things I leave out are blatant. But I have to remember I’m a product, like toothpaste, and toothpaste must be sold

At this time I’m wandering around a bit- a few months in New York, a few months in Seattle, Ireland, back to Seattle, San Francisco, back to New York, D.C.

I settle on New York City and move to the Upper East Side September 1st, 2012.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

I was floundering. There is no doubt about that; divorced, unemployed, cat-less and without direction. At the suggestion of my family I go to a life-coach to help me get back on track. This should tell you the amount of desperation I am feeling.

Thirty minutes before the first session my life coach cancels because she is hung over and still possibly drunk from the Paul McCartney concert. The second session I see a diploma on the wall, which appears to say that she’s a doctor. I say “appears” because diploma was on the wall behind her desk and kind of high up- the type was too small to read. Still, she might be a doctor, which is impressive until you realize that chiropractors are also considered “doctors”.

I speak with her for an hour I tell her of my life, my failed marriage, my failed career, my non-existent dating life, my past troubles with alcohol, all of it. I laid it out- all the cards on the table. In my desperation for the next right action I got truthful. After the hour is complete she give me the answer.

“Go to Afghanistan”

That was it. I apparently hadn’t emphasized my cowardice to her.

“Don’t people get shot there?” I ask- suspecting she hasn’t kept up with current events.

She waves her hand dismissively, as though my negative thoughts might be the root of my problems. She is convinced, and excited for me. So excited that I began to get excited.
“Yes” I think to myself “Afghanistan- how did I not see it?”

I raise a few questions, playing devils advocate, so it doesn’t seem like we are going off half-cocked.
“What if someone tries to kill me?”
“Will a bullet proof vest make me look fat?”
“Do they even have ice cream there?”

She answers with the deftness of a trained doctor.

“That’s just stinkin’ thinkin’” motioning to a shelf of books that must somehow relate to stinkin’ thinkin’

I pause, letting this truth wash over me.

“But I’d like to develop a relationship with a woman- maybe date again, I don’t see that happening in Afghanistan.”

She gives me such a sad, pitying look and speaks slowly so I can understand.

“When you are in Afghanistan, you hire a woman to clean for you and part of the deal is she has sex with you.”

“But, I’d like to consider myself the kind of guy that doesn’t go to prostitutes”

“Prostitution” she explains “is such a western term.”

“huh?” I queried

“Assignment for next week!” she shouts, clapping her hands and awakening me from my stupor. “I want you on 3 dating web sites!!”

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Here’s a quick run down of my life so far.
1. Move to Paris, the most romantic city in the world with my beautiful wife- get a divorce.
2. Return to my little corner of the Midwest to a sinking economy- lose job.
3. Take comfort in the fact that I have the love of my cat, the tri-colored bitch from hell- cat gets eaten by a coyote in Seattle.

I think that sums it up.

What’s an unemployed, divorced, middle aged man with a cat shaped hole in his heart to do?

Hmmm- I have an idea- move to New York City without a job and where you have no friends and try to make a go of it.

Even writing that makes me think that I've made a huge mistake. I take comfort in the words of Jesus and the Buddha which state, "The grass really is greener on the other side of the fence" and "There are no problems too big that they can't be run away from". I have always tried to live my life according to my misunderstanding of our great spiritual teachers.

Monday, October 01, 2012

It took me forever to get back on my blog. I forgot the password and whatever email address I was using to log in. I even had to google "Misplaced in the Midwest" to find the site. Turns out several other "Misplaced in the Midwest" sites have cropped up. I was going to get outraged by the lack of originality but it occurred to me that I might have lifted my blog name from someone else. Man it's dusty and the air is thick on this site- I'm going to open a window.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

We are rolling into Lincoln City in our spacious, luxury bus, where we will spend a few days. This is the number one visited town on the coast. We stop at a statue of a young Abraham Lincoln on a horse. The first thing you will notice is that his head and hands are HUGE. I’m not taking about big, farmer hands I’m talking huge, elephantiasis hands, his elongated, pumpkin-head seems to teeter on his small body. You may also notice that the artist signed the work by etching her name on the horse’s penis. I don’t know if this is a standard place to sign a statue but it seems to suggest some deep-seated issues. I’m not judging, I’m just saying. For long time readers of this blog, you may remember my moment of too much information when I discussed the boyhood crush I had on Lincoln’s mother. -so I have my own crap to deal with

While ruminating on the psychology of all of this, a larger question might present itself. Why did they name this place Lincoln City? Sure emotions were probably high after he was assassinated but Lincoln City didn’t get its name until 1965. You can certainly understand the overuse of Lincoln’s name in Illinois; you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting something named for him, but why in Oregon? Especially, when you consider the fact that in 1849 President Zachary Taylor tried to appoint Abraham Lincoln as the Secretary of the Oregon Territory with the possibility of becoming governor and Abe turned him down. I believe his exact words were. “I don’t think that’s gonna happen Zack, baby”. Maybe I live on a deeper level of resentment but I sure as hell wouldn’t name the city after him unless it was to name it Lincolnsucks City or Boothtown. I admire the higher road they’ve taken- for me that’s a road less traveled.

The name came about in 1965 when, the 5 towns that make up the city, incorporated. Instead of fighting over whose name would be the new name they held a contest among school children and, inexplicably, the name Lincoln City won. As for the statue, the sculptress, Anna Hyatt Huntington in 1965, donated it. She actually had some trouble giving the statue away because of the $25,000 shipping costs (keep in mind that back in 1965, $25,000 would have bought New Zealand and a pack of smokes). The State of Oregon turned down the offer because of the shipping costs, as did the City of Eugene. Lincoln City, with its new name, jumped at the offer and paid the $25,000. Mrs. Huntington donated it to them with 4 conditions.

1. The statue must face west. (it faces east)
2. The statue must be accessible to children. (it sits in a small lot surrounded by busy traffic)
3. The statue must not be used as a tourist destination (it was our first stop)
4. Lincoln City must never change its name.

Like the man said, “3 out of 4 aint bad.”

So what have we also learned here today?
1. Never let school children or a resentful blogger choose the name of your city.
2. If you give something to Lincoln City, get the terms in writing.
3. Don’t fall in love with a dead president’s mother- it will only lead to heartache.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Our first stop was Drift Creek Covered Bridge, where we met the remainder of our group. I don’t get the fascination with covered bridges- aren’t they just like regular bridges but…I don’t know…covered? I soured on covered bridges when I tried to read “Bridges of Madison County” . The book is about 6 pages and I could not get past the first 2 but people loved that book. I remember running into a woman I worked with in Chicago, she was finishing up the last few pages of that book and tears were streaming down her face.

“It’s so romantic.” She explained
“But isn’t the woman in the book married and having an affair with some random guy?”
“It’s a love you can’t understand,” she said angrily, as she wiped the tears from her face.
“I can’t help but think that if it was some guy having an affair because he was bored you might find it more piggish than romantic.”

In a fit of anger, she lunged at me with a knife that she had concealed in her sleeve. Thank goodness I am well versed in the art of self-defense and I quickly subdued her 4’ 6” frame, took possession of the knife and held her until the police could be summonsed. Today, she sits in an 8 x 10 cell, another victim of passion and bad reading habits. Anyway, the point is every time I think of covered bridged I’m reminded of adultery, tear stained cheeks, jail-time and a really crappy book. Imagine my surprise, when I found myself fascinated by Drift Creek Covered Bridge and the story of its survival.

The Drift Creek Covered Bridge was built in 1914; the wet condition and lack of attention began to rot it away. The bridge was condemned in 1997 and scheduled for demolition. Kerry and Laura Sweitze felt drawn to the bridge. They lived 8 miles away and the thought of a piece of Oregon history being treated so shabbily left them uneasy. Apparently the repair and maintenance of a bridge is expensive so they decided to just let the bridge rot and fall in on itself, much like the wedding vows of the couple in “Bridges of Madison County”. It was then that the coincidences began. The Sweitzes had a concrete bridge that spanned 66’10” across a creek that went to their house- the Drift Creek Covered Bridge spanned 66’10”. I wouldn’t have been moved to do anything because of this coincidence but I also wouldn’t have built an Ark just because I heard voices. (Not listening to the voices has also kept me from stalking Megan Fox and buying a convertible sports car). Still unsure about their role in the fate of the bridge, the Sweitzes prayed about it. The following day a calendar, with a picture of the bridge, arrived in the mail. That settled it- they gathered volunteers, donations and moved the bridge 8 miles to their house and rebuilt it. The tenor of the trip was set. This is a journey about passion, not mine of course, but other people’s passion. The Sweitzes had a passion and they did something about it.

Kerry and Laura donated the bridge and the land to Oregon. It’s a worthwhile visit- even if you don’t “get” the covered bridges you have to respect the passion.

To get there travel east of Lincoln City on Highway 18, about 3.5 miles. Turn south on North Bear Creek Road .The bridge is 1 mile on the left.
It took Lewis and Clark almost 2 years to get to Oregon from Illinois. In that 2-year period there were brutal winters, starvation and murder. There was a constant, nagging feeling that they would perish.

I arrived in Oregon 4 hours after I departed. I guarantee that I bitched more than Lewis and Clark. Between getting up 5 AM, paying a taxi, switching planes in Seattle and not smoking I was in a state of agitation. The truth is that I would have lasted 5 minutes on the frontier and they would have been 5 minutes of intense griping, name-calling and finger pointing. I am cut from a different cloth than those folks- a more delicate and fragile cloth- perhaps lace. This isn’t a realization that I wanted to discover so early in the trip but it makes sense. I’m traveling with professional and successful writers and there is a “less than” feeling. Thank god I am well versed in the art of denial.

I was picked up at the airport by a deluxe bus that was well stocked with cold drinks and appetizers. Several of the travel writers were already on board and we began our trip from Portland to the coast. There were a few unscheduled stops for wine tasting, so we were already behind schedule and perhaps a little tipsy. I, an abstainer of most things fun such as alcohol, arrived clear headed and delighting the other writers with my constant complaining and insightful observations about how my feet had swollen from the flight and all the free pretzels I had consumed. I would have delighted them even more but they all seemed very intent on taking notes about the trip thus far- I figured I had better put on my travel writing cap (resembles a wizards hat but without all the queer stars) and take some notes too. They will find out I’m a fraud soon enough, no sense in blowing my cover so soon into the trip.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I received a call a couple of months ago from COCO, Central Oregon Coast Association. They invited me to tour the central coast of Oregon as a travel writer. Apparently someone with COCA followed my Paris exploits and suggested it might be good to have a blogger mixed in with the “real writers”.

COCA: You’ll be joining a group of professional writers and photographers on a 9-day, expense paid trip along the central Oregon coast.

Misplaced: You’ve read my blog?

COCA: We’ll be touring lighthouses, exploring the beaches, walking through a world-renowned aquarium, ATVing over the dunes in Reedsport, and sand surfing in Florence. You will, of course, be staying in the finest hotels and B&B’s that the coast has to offer. A chef will prepare each meal and winemakers will explain the art of their craft. We will be picking up all the costs and, in turn, we want you to blog about it.

Misplaced: You HAVE read my blog, haven’t you?

I researched COCA to make sure I wasn’t joining a cult or selling myself into white slavery or worse, some time-share sales pitch. Turns out they are legit and even if I did have to shave my head or serve espresso wearing nothing but tubes sock and a smile I figured what the hell. Clearly, I was in over my head but the greed of wanting to visit the central coast of Oregon easily out-weighed the ethical responsibility of saying “You are making a horrible mistake- hire a real writer!!”

Monday, June 01, 2009

I need to get back involved with the blog. It turns out that unless I write every day I wont write at all. To get you up to speed: I moved back to my little corner of the Midwest in October after living in Paris for the past year and a half. I still haven’t received my deposit back for the apartment in Marais and the landlord moved to Argentina- it looks promising.

The economy has taken a nose-dive and everyone here is scrambling to get their financial affairs in order. Not to brag, but I irresponsibly blew through all my money in Paris before the coked-out, 20-something investment bankers could lose it for me. My friends complain about the state of their 401k plans I shake my head in commiseration while silently belching up a little pain aux raisin. “Excusez- moi suckas”

My life has gone through a few major shake-ups since returning from Paris. No point in going through that here but it seems that getting back to writing might be a good mental health activity. Long story short, I’m rolling with the punches and taking some time off in Oregon.
You: “Time off from what?”
Me: “Shut up

Friday, December 19, 2008

With the threat of 2 inches of snow the city is abuzz. The grocery stores are crowded; there is a run on milk- we must hunker down for the impending doom. Everyone talks about the “winter warnings” The city is already saying they wont have enough salt for the roads to get through winter- it’s unclear how this is possible due to the fact that it has only snowed once so far and it snows each year.

Frogs might as well be falling from the sky to hear the local news programs. The weatherman finally gets his day- with all the catastrophes in the word he often feels left out. There are dark circles under his eyes because he’s been up all night “tracking the storm” Of course tracking the storm means he’s been looking at a satellite pictures in a comfy chair- I suspect it’s easier than tracking the one armed man but he looks more run down than Richard Kimble. He’s on edge- ready to smack the bubbly, blonde-headed news anchor right in her perversely white teeth but not so frazzled that he will mess with the sports guy.

All we can do is sit and wait for the 2 inches of cold death to appear over-night. We sleep uneasily. The roads are deserted.

When we awake there is no snow- nothing. “The city has been saved!” we cry. The “Great Storm of 2008” shifted north sometime time during the night- the weatherman tracked it. He looks relieved. I'm half expecting him to say, "I'm getting too old for this shit." We all take the day off just in case it sneaks back to get us. When did we become such wimps?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I didn’t really miss Paris until I went to the American Library in Paris- sad I know, but that is one of the few places that tolerate me and I love the people. Several of us went to a Scottish bar in the Marias to play snooker. Snooker is essentially pool with only two colors and the balls are smaller than the pool I’m accustomed to- no reflection on the English, I’m sure.

As you may recall, my New Zealand friend and I were thoroughly trounced upon by the French in petanque- pool was a different story. We played like champions and just before we beat them into submission they all quit.

“Uhhh?” I exclaimed as they lay their cues on the table.
“This is a boring game” they replied and went off to eat some cheese or something.

I’d write a musical about it but the music left me that day.

I’m staying in New Zealand’s girlfriend’s room in the 8th while she is away on vacation. There is one stipulation to staying there- if the owner of the building or the concierge questions me I’m to tell them that I am her cousin- otherwise they will ask me to leave. It’s a Catholic thing I’m told- very strange. She pays rent, has lived there for years but she is not allowed to have a man stay in her room. I could understand it if it were a home for recovering crack-whores but, as far as I know, this is not the case.

HOT TIP- BIG NEWS: David Sedaris is speaking in Paris next Wednesday. It isn’t being advertised and it’s free. (This is what we call a cliffhanger in the biz.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I’ve been pulled out of the security line at the International Kentucky Airport. There is a “situation” with some of the items discovered in my bag. The dentally challenged security lady pulls out two small jars of Jif Peanut butter.

“You can’t bring these on board.” She says, eyeing them with the same lust and greed that I viewed Caligula at the age of 14.

“You’re taking my peanut butter?”
“Sorry” she says, not sorry at all.
“They don’t sell peanut butter in Paris”
I am nervous; beads of sweat begin to glisten on my forehead. The withdrawal has already begun.
“But what about the change of which Obama spoke?”
“Not going to happen,” she says as she rifles through my bag some more.

An American needs peanut butter- it’s what makes us America. I try to see her point, I suppose I could force the pilot to eat a spoonful and overtake the plane while he tries to extricate it from the roof of his mouth. I should probably thank homeland security for battling peanut butter terrorism- but I’m feeling less than gracious.

“This is too big.” she says, taking a silver can out of my bag”
“Not my product!” I cry as she studies the can of hair gel.
“This” I say, pointing to my luxurious head of hair, “doesn’t just happen”
Unimpressed, she tosses it in the bucket with other illicit items that will undoubtedly make lovely Christmas gifts for her rather large Kentucky brood.

The rest of the trip is uneventful- I’m given the exit row by myself, God’s way of trying to make it right and I sleep for the entire trip thanks to raiding the medicine cabinet of my neighbors.

I’m sitting at Le Grand Corona near Pont Alma sipping an espresso and soaking in the atmosphere. But with all this beauty around me, I can’t help but imagine a toothless, Kentucky security guard with perfectly quaffed hair and the stink of peanut butter emanating from her rather large pores.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Well, that was short lived. I'm back to Paris November 10th for a short trip. My petanque skills have diminished but my language skills still rock- Ca va- C'est bon

Friday, September 05, 2008

I wrote up the London trip but after re-reading it, it didn’t ring true or my heart wasn’t in it- I don’t know which.

I haven’t written about this before but my Paris time has come to an end. I’ve packed up my suitcases and the cat (the tri-colored bitch from hell) and flew back to my corner of the Midwest yesterday It’s a bitter sweet time for me; I miss my family and friends in the Midwest but I’ll miss the Paris life I had but I knew it would eventually have come to an end.

That being said, it also seems like a good time to end the blog. It’s been fun but the purpose of it was to write and to tell about this Paris dream, which ultimately became a reality. What I hadn’t expected was how much I enjoyed the comments and the visits. I was surprised to find so many like- minded souls out there that were ready to chuck it all and live a dream. Unfortunately, it’s time for me to wake up.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I go to the boulangerie around the corner to pick up a baguette and a pain aux raisin, a lovely little pastry that will ultimately kill me. I’ve been off ice cream and sweets for 2 months now and once a week I a get a pain aux raisin. Today there are none.

“There are no pain aux raisins” I think she tells me
I have that panicked look that people get when they realize that they didn’t buy enough booze and the stores are closed- ok, maybe this was just me. I motion to the back, maybe, like shoe stores, they keep the main supply back there. They don’t.

"C’est Triste" I say as I pay for my baguette. “It is sad”
She laughs, not because its funny, but because I always say “C’est triste’ if something is not good. If something is good I say “C’est bon". That is the extent to which I can express my feelings in French. With my limited language skills there are no grey areas for me in Paris- if something is not good then it is sad, end of story. There is no lukewarm, there is no comfortable middle ground if it isn’t sad its good.

When she picks through the basket of baguettes to find the best one I respond with “C’est bon” and give her a knowing smile. If the bread is still warm, I feel it and smell it- “C’est Bon” I say again almost lustfully. She smiles not because she appreciates it but because she thinks I’m an idiot. C’est triste

My brother, who lives in Brussels, stayed with me for a couple of days. We go to the café around the corner, next to the boulangerie.
“He is your brother?,” the waiter says in French while shaking hands. He brings us out a plate of complimentary hors-d’oeuvres. “C’est bon” I exclaim because it does not fill me with sadness. My brother, who speaks flawless French, looks at me and shakes his head.
“It’s a crime that you still can’t speak French.”
“C’est triste” I agree because it is not good.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Check out this blog . Neighbors in my little corner of the midwest have quit their jobs and taken their two daughters on a year long odyssey of the world. The midwest is having a tough time keeping its citizens contained.

Friday, August 15, 2008

There is a crowd of people gathered around a small section of the circular pond in the Tuileries. They are snapping picture after digital picture. Murmurs arise from the crowd- I make my way through to see the celebrity. I will not be denied. Who is it, Britney, Lindsey? It’s no one, just two ducks standing on the edge of the concrete embankment looking for treats. It’s hard to not try to capture every moment of ones vacation, but people, we need to try.

I’ve brought my book with me, which is good because all the bookstores are closed for the Feast of the Assumption. Everything is closed. I went to Catholic school for 6 years and I have no clue what the Feast of the Assumption is but what I do know is that everything is closed and the only diversion in Paris are two ducks

It seems that the Germans are slowly replacing the Italians as tourists here. I don’t know if there is a travel pattern but if I were a hunter I would say that German Season has begun. Dark hair and tan bodies are being replaced with blondes and sunburns, incessant loud banter for low guttural sounds. A beautiful blonde German girl sits in the chair next to mine and when she spoke to her friend it reminded me of the sound our 1968 VW Bus made when we tried to start it in February. The German tourists have that wistful, ‘what might have been’ look. They snap out of it long enough to photograph the ducks.

If you think Paris is slow in August, you would be right, but imagine Paris in August during a 3 day weekend- I’m half expecting tumble weeds to roll down Boulevard de Sebastopol The “assumption” being you can’t do anything except sit by a pond with a book and generalize about entire populations. The trinket shops on Rivoli are open. They know what their clientele want: ashtrays, key chains, scarves, lighters, t-shirts with either the Eiffel Tower or the ubiquitous Chat Noir. I swear, put that black cat on anything and it will sell. I don’t know what the plan is for the new Iran policy but if they put a black cat on the front cover people will buy into it.

Where are all the Parisians in August? They aren’t all on the southern coast or holed up in the family’s country homes. I suspect that those that aren’t out of town are hiding in their attics so no one knows they didn’t go anywhere- their windows are blacked out, food is scarce.

Scene: Small room, dark, window shades drawn. Marie sits at the kitchen table preparing cabbage, again. Jean Claude enters smoking a cigarette.

Marie: Where did you get cigarettes? I thought you were out.
Jean Claude: I snuck out late last night, no one saw me.
Marie: Mon Dieu we will be discovered!

Me, I’m enjoying the sun and reading a bad book about London by Bill Bryson. Someone has been kind enough to write up their opinion of the book on the inside cover- the penciled review is two pages and it isn’t flattering
“A vocabulary and style beneath that of a rapper- his vulgarity is appalling.”
The vulgarity doesn’t bother me just the fact that the book did reasonably well and was probably better suited as a …well a blog.

People are still photographing the ducks, when the ducks stick their head in the water and wiggle their little duck butts you can hear a collective “awwww” and CLICK.

Paris- open some store, we are dying out here.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Who knows what you will find when you rip down an old Metro wall.

I was at a French friend's apartment for a party. My New Zealand friend and I began bragging about our petanque prowess. We mentioned having beaten two Frenchmen at their own game- big mistake. The gauntlet was thrown and it was snatched up by several of the French partygoers.

It was Westside Story for the 21st century and there was even a girl named Maria (Marie actually but work with me). It was Sharks Vs Jets but without the queer ballet dancing. New Zealand got his ire up and I had to hold him back singing.

“Play it cool boy, real cool”
“Keep coolly-cool boooooy”

The rumble was to take place after the dance at Place Dauphine on the Ile de la Cite.

Ile de la Cite,
You lovely island…
Island of expats with visas
Always the tourists are going
Always the petanke balls are rolling.

New Zealand and I walked down the middle of the street, snapping our fingers. We would have danced but the petanke balls are heavy and we promised to bring the water so we were pretty weighed down

When you’re a Jet
You’re a Jet all the way
From your first cochanette
To your last petanke play

The rumble didn’t go as planned; we played poorly. As we got further and further behind I began to slowly slip into a New Zealand accent to protect America from this shame. Finally, we were put out of our misery and the French triumped. They beat us fair and square although we did accuse them of cheating because that how we roll.

The sun had set and we and everyone drifted home. I gently wept as I walked slowly across Pont Neuf.

Tonight, tonight,
Our asses were kicked tonight
The French took their revenge, tonight
Tonight, tonight.
New Zealand was disgraced tonight
Team Kiwi played like the All Blacks tonight

Thursday, August 07, 2008

I'm not certain why blogger deleted all the comments on the last post or why it won't let new comments be added. Blogger is a fickle mistress.

Monday, August 04, 2008

I’m on the train from Paris to Amsterdam. Is there anything better in this world than a large comfortable seat on a train in first class? I’m new enough to train travel to delight in it completely. My head is against a pillow, turned toward the window. I’m watching the world go by: Brussels, Antwerp, and Rotterdam. Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde is playing on my iPod: Visions of Johanna, I Want You and Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands. Life is good, unless, of course, if you despise Bob Dylan then it would be a personal hell.

I am taken with the differing modes of Amsterdam travel- I tried to capture a few of them. My camera is having trouble focusing, much like its owner, but I’m including them anyway because Karyn and Erin were kind enough to ask.

...and of course