Monday, June 29
Friday, June 26
Unless you've been sequestered under your living room couch for the past couple of days, you are no doubt aware, as is the rest of the civilized world - thanks to the relentless drooling coverage by all the major news media, that Michel Jackson died yesterday at the age of 50 from an apparent heart attack. One would think by the instant and now persistent gnashing of teeth and renting of perfectly functional garments by the thousands of Michael Jackson devotees around the world that someone of major significance had departed this earth. I don't know, I'm thinking of perhaps someone of true iconic stature such as a Abraham Lincoln, or a Gandi, or a Sister Teressa. When it comes to placing an individual on such a lofty pedestal, as has been the immediate reaction with Michael Jackson, I think we are sadly and profoundly missing the mark.
One teary-eyed individual, when asked by a reporter his reaction to the news of Jackson's passing, stated that the event would be so profound in his life that he would "always remember where he as and what he was doing when he first heard the news." This is an individual, in my opinion, who apparently lives a very shallow and meaningless life, if indeed Michael Jackson is to serve as a pivotal moment of reflection in his otherwise hum-drum existence. I clearly remember what I was doing and where I was when the news broke that President John F. Kennedy had been killed by an assassin's bullet in Dallas, Texas. I remember what I was doing and where I was when the space shuttle Challenger exploded soon after liftoff from the Kennedy Space Center on January 28th, 1986, and I certainly can recall precisely where I was and what I was doing on the morning of September 11th, 2001. My guess is that what occurred on yesterday's date will fade into my lost memory bank just as assuredly as what I had for lunch on that same day. Sorry Michael, you just don't measure up in my opinion of what an icon is and should represent.
Make no mistake, Jackson was a true musical genius, who was ahead of his time in innovative showmanship, lyrical inventiveness and generation influence. But his personal life, far too often played out pathetically in the ever glaring and inquisitive public eye, was a travesty. No doubt his music will live on, appreciated and mimicked by those, like myself, who grew up with Michael when he first burst on the stage as the lead singer for the Jackson Five. But this dangerous world in which we tenuously reside needs more individuals who can achieve true iconic status by acts that rise to the necessary level of adoration for living an exemplary life in all aspects of their existence...not merely for having given a good performance.
If I am to morn Michael Jackson's passing at all it is because he lived such an apparently sad and lonely life...a life cut short by his own lifestyle misdeeds. Released now is he from his earthly pain...and that is a blessing. That having been said...let's move on.
Monday, June 22
Friday, June 19
Friday, June 12
Reason Number 9: After 17 years, still pissed that Leno got Tonight Show gig and he didn't.
Reason Number 6: When Letterman calls his mother, she always answers the phone, "David who?! Then hangs up.
Reason Number 5: Finds it perfectly acceptable that it took him five years before he finally decided to marry the mother of his child.
Reason Number 4: His idea of socializing is to stand in front of a mirror for hours on end just admiring his reflection.
Reason Number 3: Only person in the universe who doesn't think his mimicking sidekick Paul Shaffer doesn't look like Warren T. Rat in the animated movie An American Tail.
Reason Number 2: Has a plaque on his desk that says. "If It Weren't For Me The Sun Would Have No Reason To Shine!"
And The Number One Reason David Letterman Is A Jerk: He's An Egomaniacal Ass!!
Wednesday, June 10
Tuesday, June 9
Monday, June 8
Saturday, June 6
Most evenings, while eating a bite of supper, Judi and I mutually enjoy watching together the national news followed by Squeal Of Fortune. Admittedly, we're rather puritanical in that regard. This week's Squeal is emanating from Hawaii, and in celebration of that fortunate locale, Ms. Vanna was, in last evening's show, wearing a very fetching and brightly colored summer dress. Innocently and, very soon thereafter I learned, mistakenly, I made the comment on how attractive I thought the dress looked on her. Judi agreed. The evening was continuing to progress very amicably. Or so I thought.
Not too much further into the evening, I was greeted with the words, "I'm disappointed." I responded to the verbal clue and asked, "How so?" "Didn't you notice the new dress I'm wearing tonight?," she followed up. I had, but I made the off-handed assumption that it was one she had worn previously. The temperature in the room went up precipitously several degrees. "You noticed and commented on Vanna's dress, but you didn't say a thing about mine." Judi was right and I honestly felt helpless and instantly terrible about it. I had no excuse, but still the nagging belief that she had another dress very similar to the new one that she had worn many times previous. I had off-handedly mistaken that the two were one and the same. Sue me...I'm guilty of being a typical , unobservant male.
"I bought this dress and another one the other night when I went shopping. I wasn't sure which one I wanted to keep. So, I wore this one today. I received very many compliments on it...but not from you." The temperature in the room was now reversing course and was traveling just as precipitously south into the frigid zone. "I knew you went shopping," said I, lamely. "But I didn't know what you had purchased. You had just simply said that you had been 'shopping.'" This is where I was desperately trying to deflect any small portion of guilt off of me and back toward her. She wasn't buying it.
Judi always takes a great deal or time and effort to always look her very best, whether she is going out into public or just for my benefit alone. Everyone else in an office could be wearing jeans and a t-shirt, but Judi will always take the time to be dressed very appropriately and professionally. Rightfully, she take a great deal of pride in that practice and I honor her for doing so. But too often I fail to let her know that I recognize her for doing so. My error.
For some this episode of marital discord might seem trivial. But, when it comes to how a person feels about themselves and how they wish to be perceived by others, especially a spouse, there are strong emotional elements at work that need to be recognized and addressed. A husband risks at his own peril if he doesn't take regular inventory of his life's partner's emotional needs and practices conscientiously the daily requirement to meet those needs. My silence on not at least noticing Judi's new dress unfortunately spoke volumes about my inattentiveness. It was an error of omission rather commission, but an error nonetheless.
Most men (I pray) have enough sense to never answer their wife's question, "Do I look fat in this dress?," unless the gentleman in question has a death wish. However, it is best to initiate the conversation oneself by asking, "Is that a new dress? And then being honest in one's answer if the wife in turn asks, "Do you like it?" You're on your own from there. Being oblivious to what your wife is wearing for your benefit is not, I can assure you, a formula for an enjoyable evening or a happy marriage. Pay attention!
While lying in bed last evening, I again began to rethink my reaction to when I did indeed really notice Judi's new dress and my initial thought that it was similar to another dress that she already owns. I remembered... She does have another summer dress that is red, white and blue and in which she looks absolutely stunning. I like it ten times better than I do the one she purchased. She looks much more terrific in bright colors. I considered telling her this when she came to bed, but decided to let sleeping dogs lie. I am going to tell her...just as soon as I can muster enough courage to reopen that subject. Wish me luck.
Wednesday, June 3
I don't know how long Facebook will maintain its gravitational pull on its thousands of adherents before its popularity wanes or it is ultimately replaced with some other more alluring means and methods for soliciting mass self-expression. My guess is that it will be when the theorem is fully proved that there really is only three degrees of separation between each and every human being. That's when we will all finally become "friends" with one another on Facebook.
Placed Call: Rings and rings and rings... (Global warming, world hunger and a half-dozen other catastrophic issues all solved before phone call is finally answered by...)
Electronic Answering Voice: "Hello!" (A cheery female voice proceeds to supply a list of menu items that each may be accessed by pressing the appropriate numbered key.) Ten minutes later I am left with the only choice that made sense, "Other - Press 1.")
Electronic Answering Voice: "Thank you. I will promptly connect you with one of our helpful customer service representatives. And remember, we here at______ are dedicated to providing you with only the very best customer service in the industry. Please hold. Our customer representative will be with you shortly."
Me: While being entertained (?) by obnoxious elevator music , Chrysler and General Motors work their way out of bankruptcy and evolve once again to become the world's leader in motorized rickshaws. Then I hear...
Customer Service Representative: "Hello!" How may I be of service to you?"
Me: I very carefully and succinctly explain my dilemma in great detail, including how I carefully followed the trouble shooting check list that came with the equipment and discovered that the phone jack has no dial tone.
CSR: "How is that possible?"
Me: "You're asking me!?!"
CSR: "Well, Mr. Latchford, our company doesn't supply wall jacks."
Me: "Well CSR, that makes two of us...and when we switched over to your service, your technician installed the present wall jack, which I reiterate, it isn't working now."
CSR: "Are you sure it was one of our technicians?"
Me: "If the fact that he arrived in one of your company's trucks, was wearing one of your company's issued shirts with your company's logo on it is of any consequence, let me hazard a wild-ass guess and say 'Yes!'"
CSR: "Well, Mr. Latchford, we don't have to get snippy!"
Me: "I would prefer to use the word, 'irritated,' but snippy will suffice just as well."
CSR: "I understand your frustration, Mr. Latchford. Let me schedule one of our technicians to swing by your place and see if he can't resolve the problem. Would that be agreeable to you?"
Me: "May I assume that he too will be driving one of your company's trucks and wearing one of your company shirt with your spiffy company logos sewed on it?" I don't want there to be any further confusion in the matter. And the answer to your question is "Yes."
CSR: (Grumbling in the background...) CSR proceeds to provide me with a list of several two-hour blocks of time in which the technician will be available to make a service call, and then says, "Well, you should be informed that should our technician discover that the phone jack is not a piece of our equipment, then there most likely will be an additional labor and material charge."
Me: "Does the phrase 'Over my dead body!' strike a familiar cord with you?"
CSR: "Well, Mr. Latchford, that is a matter that you will have to take up with the technician."
Me: "I'm sure that we can come to some satisfactory conclusion to this matter of disagreement, mono-a-mono."
Me: "Never mind."
The technician arrived about an hour ago. He took one look at the in question wall-mounted phone jack and said, "Who put in this piece of crap?"
Me: "Take a guess. By-the-way, I like your shirt."
Technician: Puzzled look...
Bottom line... The technician acknowledged that the phone jack was indeed initially installed by a previous company technician, and he proceeded to replace the defective wail jack with a new and functioning one...at no charge. Upon his departing, I made the inquiry...
Me: "Do you happen to know your company's customer service representative, _____?"
Technician: "Yes. Why?
Me: "Nothing important... Just give her my best regards."
Tuesday, June 2
That having been said, Republican members on the Judiciary Committee must determinedly shy away from any vindictive innuendos that would suggest a deliberate despairing challenge to the Democrat's portrayal of Justice Sotomayor's rags-to-riches story as being equivalent to her walking on water. Her story of overcoming difficult odds as a member of a historically depressed minority to her present position of accomplishment is to be, by all means, applauded. A repeat of a vengeful tit-for-tat attack upon her person, as was so distastefully displayed by Massachusetts' Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy when he publicly disparaged the then Supreme Court nominee, Clarance Thomas, should be avoided at all cost. With the 2010 mid-tern Congressional elections looming, the Republican Party must do all within its power to avoid alienating potential adherents to their banner if they have any realistic hope of winning back control of the halls of Congress. To be labeled in the media and, therefore, most likely perceived in the public's eye as being deliberately vindictive toward a recognized minority would certainly be counterproductive to their desired end goal.
It is certainly within the Republican's purview, if not obligatory responsibility, to require Sotomayor to explain in unvarnished detail under what judicial precedent she holds fast in her assertion that a Latino female would be able to render an impartial ruling better than would a white male. Diversity of any legislative and/or judicial body is, in my opinion, a beneficial consequence. However, to hold to the premise that one ethnic group garners a higher level of mental acumen hearkens back to a time when the black man was considered inferior to his Caucasian counterpart. That ideology is not only prejudicially antiquated, it is a scientific absurdity. Indeed, Justice Sotomayor should be given every reasonable latitude to fully vet her personal reasoning for this proclamation and let the public judge the reasonableness and feasibility of her clarifying arguments.
In the final analysis, the Republicans should come to the realization, if they haven't done so already, that President Obama's replacement pick for the U.S. Supreme Court is going to be confirmed. They should, nevertheless, go carefully forward with the confirmation process, doing so with gentlemanly decorum, to succinctly frame the flaws in Sotomayor's judicial philosophy and letting the country-at-large discern and dissect the factual outcome. To spend time doing otherwise is to joust at tilting windmills and to continue to stalemate the more pressing national concerns for which the majority of Americans have a vital stake in their resolution.
Make your point...and move on. The people's work is languishing.