The Modern Dating Game: The Butcher's Dilemma

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

I would argue that The Newlywed Game, when it debuted in 1966 with Bob Eubanks at the helm, was the first great reality show.  While The Dating Game may have pre-dated the production, dating is, by definition, and series of lies and half truths.  That thirty minutes was a just a litany of sexual innuendoes and bad choices -- more akin to a 1960's The Office than The Real World.   The Newlywed Game, by contrast, revealed a brief glimpse behind the curtain of hundreds of ostensibly happy couples' lives. is still rife with clips from old shows, the contestants' clothing immediately transporting you back to an era before the Game Show Network, where husbands and wives inadvertently let intimate private information about how they "make whoopee"slip to a syndicated audience.  (At the time it was the closest our still somewhat moral culture came to a nud3 c3l3brity pic dump.)

The Elves Always Rang During Dinner

Thursday, September 18, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

When I was a kid my dad spoke Elvish on the phone all the time.

I didn't know it was Elvish back then, I was little.  But the coded messages he dictated into the receiver certainly weren't English, and by the time I read The Hobbit in middle school I became fairly certain that it was Elvish he was speaking.

That helped me understand why he'd get up from the middle of a family dinner, traditionally a punishable no-no, to go chat in tongues upstairs in his bedroom.  The Elf people were a highborn race and not to be kept waiting.  I figured my father must be a very important human to consult with a race known for their legendary hesitancy to interact with the sons and daughters of Men.

"Get me the human father on the line"

The Shit Twist Swirly

Thursday, September 11, 2014 | 0 Comment(s)

When it comes to writer's block I am lucky in two ways.

First, my blockages are specific.  For instance, if I set in my mind that I wanted to publish a new piece on my blog every day for a week, the blockage would surely come in the form of a dearth of new ideas. Now that I'm writing a book, most often the walls are between me and creating new content on any given day.  

The second advantage I have is that my personal neuroses is so strong that when the words just aren't coming to me, I usually write about what a failure I am at writing (e.g. right now.)  It usually comes out just self-depricating enough to not sound overtly narcissistic.  Though it obviously is. 

First Jobs and Boredroom Kindness

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 | 1 Comment(s)

My first real job out of college was bartending in NYC.  I was the "new guy" at two different establishments and got all the shitty slow shifts to suffer through.  I was overworked and underpaid.  Then 9/11 happened and I had no work with no pay.

My second job out of college was as a psychology research assistant to the Medical Director of a  therapeutic community-style substance abuse center.  The MD was a small man with a big job title and while he only handed me the occasional assignment, usually web-search related, I had a bigger office than those with Master's degrees who were getting their hands dirty doing the actual work.  Those worker bees were also my only coworkers, and I liked them all without exception.  They were from all walks of life: a German-born thirty-something who put her heart and soul into developing the psychology branch of the substance abuse center,  a forty-something Jew-Bu who was both motherly and fierce simultaneously (I, appropriately, was both stupefied and enamored with her), and another young white dude my age who I sincerely can't remember anything about except that we would commiserate together until he left for grad school, or marriage, or something else equally important.  Suffice it to say, we were all pretty forthright about how ludicrous it was that I had the big office.  More than anything it was a passive-aggressive power move by the doctor to show the others who the boss was -- because he didn't have anything resembling the balls to stand up to those two women himself. You know, the women doing the lion's share of the work that he, I assumed, was taking the lion's share of the credit for. It was not an optimal work environment.

Moving Day: You Can Never Go Home Again

Monday, September 8, 2014 | 1 Comment(s)

I said goodbye to my latest residence last week (pictured).  I'm leaving Amherst after the better part of a decade.  Sure, I'm only moving about 40 minutes away, but the move is as symbolic as it is structural. 

I Got 99 Problems and the Neighbors are 3 of Them
This town has been a time of transformation for me.  I got engaged, became a doctor, got a second puppy, and got married in this house.  Those are some major milestones.  Amherst is the first place I've really settled since living at home with my parents.

Amherst was also my first attempt at community.  If I was gonna stay put, I figured, I might as well seek out the benefits of being a relatively big fish in a relatively small pond.  One thing I learned from this swimming expedition is that small ponds have relatively few warm pockets, and therefore the fish all tend to huddle in those areas.  And that destination-based socialization, is a form of community.  A shared love of particular establishments and the safety, comfort, and ambiance they provide.  Like a shared homestead for you and your friends, a coffee shop can become a living room, and a bar a dining room.