Now that I'm retired I can actually hang out during the week! Although the city traffic does not make for a pleasant experience. Other than that, I had a great afternoon in with my cousin Suzanne Laberge
Great find for lunch, "Delicatessen" on Prince and Lafayette. Then I
saw her "hotel", which basically looked (and sounded, according to Suzanne)
like a flophouse. In fact it pretty much IS a flophouse! The rooms were the size of
a spacious bathroom with latticed ceilings which made for a lot of
unwanted verbal intimacy with fellow guests. Finally found Yonah Schimmel on Houston and 2nd Ave. http://www.knishery.com/main.htm, the best and, probably oldest, Knish place in the city. Hadn't been there in years. What a treat!
After 19 years at Johnson & Johnson, I just finished my last day! It hasn't really sunk in yet, though I feel a wave of relief as its been a difficult year. There have been a lot of changes at work, and though I've accomplished a lot, our department was moving in a different direction. Not that my work wasn't appreciated - they threw me a really nice party last night and I received a lot of praise, hugs and presents. I'm going to just kick back for a while, but I already have some potential consulting/video projects in the works. I really do want to relax for a while, but while most people retire from work to do what they've always wanted to do - I've already been doing that! I'm very fortunate to have loved working in video, which I have done throughout my career, at CBS and J&J. So, while I look forward to not working, and certainly not commuting, I'm interested in seeing where this stage leads me.
This January, we went on a Safari in Tanzania, with the Oberlin Alumni Group. It was an incredible experience. We saw just about every animal imaginable - lions, giraffes, cheetahs, a leopard who we saw kill a baby antelope, warthogs, hippos, rhinos, zebras and wildebeast. I recommend the trip as a definite entry on the "bucket list." I'd previously gone on a safari in Kenya, but I think I saw more animals on this trip which took place during the "Great Migration" in the Serengeti as animals follow the seasons towards Kenya. Another great location was the Ngorongoro Crater.
Christmas, like Trix (for those of you who remember), is for kids. This was our granddaughter's first Christmas and it was much more fun opening her presents than the requisite "adult" gifts of books, gift certificates, etc. It's amazing how rapidly we've adjusted to becoming grandparents. Makaela is a really sweet baby and we had great fun playing and being with her. I took some video, and while it's long, it captures the day. Coincidentally, I found some video of Jeremy's first birthday, and in both cases, the present was a little toy car. Also, it's funny that the way Linda talked to Jeremy about 26 years ago, is so similar to how she talks to Makaela now. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Nothing like a disaster to make you appreciate the little things in life - like electricity. It was almost unbearbable being without heat for 7 days, especially in this weather. It was exhausting. We used the fireplace a lot, but it only generated heat when you were near it, and stayed out of the house as much as possible. We saw 4 movies in 4 days: Argo, about the Iran hostage crisis and how 6 Americans still in Teheran were smuggled out, impersonating a film crew on a "scouting" assignement; The Other Son, a fantastic story about an Israeli and Palestinian who were mistakenly switched at birth and grew up in families not of their biological origins; The Sessions, about a polio victim who uses a sexual surrogate to experience love - very graphic, but tastefully done; And Smashed, with Aaron Paul (from Breaking Bad) about an alcoholic couple and the changes that occur in their relationship when one of them decides to become sober. The last was our least favorite, but still worth seeing. Thank God the power went back on Monday night, 11/5, exactly a week from when it went off. How did people ever live without heat and electricity? I guess that is why life expectancy was so much shorter. It was stressful, though I'm not sure how much worse it was due to the fact that we are used to having power. It certainly supports the theory of Global Warming, which has predicted more frequent and severe weather events. Maybe we'll finally address tha, if it's not already too late.. Anyway, the next day, 11/6 was a momentus occasion when Barak Obama was re-elected. Now the hard work begins and one can only hope that bipartisanship prevails over self interest, stubborness and animosity.
It's been an eventful past year. In November 2011, Linda and I became grandparents to a lovely girl, Makaela. Recently, sadly, Linda's mother, Barbara (Chris) passed away. Like it or not, time is somewhat ruthless. Unless you believe in time travel through black holes and alternate universes, or some manifestation of Einstein's theory of relativity, time is one thing you can't stop, control, moderate or change. Whereas you can affect aging, if only cosmetically. And we're seemingly at the point where we can manipulate genetics. In any case, Kris was a loving mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She was an enthusiastic tennis and football (Jets) fan, an energetic "doer" and had the most organized closets I've ever seen in my life. I'll always remember the warm, friendly family dinners that she and her late husband Marty had in their home in Great Neck, LI,. The main attraction, besides the company, being thinly sliced perfectly cooked brisket and "Barbara Frackman's" rice, a kind of rice-a-roni concoction. Linda, like myself, is now an "orphan", the first time that she is not anyone's child, at least anyone alive. In a strange way, that is the first time you are fully an adult. The official older generation. Next up. Of course the lovely counterpoint is seeing your children becoming "honorary" adults and your children having children. I guess one of best things you can do in the service of Mother Nature is to bring up a family in the most loving way possible, take the good with the bad, have patience and wonder, and tolerance for the inevitable bumps, or even chasms, in the road. Life goes on forever, just not yours.
Last night, my wife Linda, was an honoree at the BlueWaveNJ Annual Ball, this year's theme being "Working for the Common Good." BlueWaveNJ is a progressive grass roots organization working to effect positive change in such critical areas as health care, the economy, marriage equality, the environment, education, electoral reform and sensible gun control. It is almost entirely run by volunteers, one of whom is Linda. Here are her remarks:
In Jan 2005, BlueWave rescued me from the empty nest blues and gave me some hope after the demoralizing Kerry defeat, and a second Bush term. This wonderful organization helped me find my voice and express my concerns on a local, state and national level. I was somewhat reticent when I first joined, but became more vocal and confident with the support and guidance of more seasoned BlueWave members. I started by getting educated on issues, and became involved with the Election Reform working group, and later, the Climate Change group. I canvassed door to door and did phone banking for state and national campaigns, neither of which I had previously done. I'm proud to have been appointed as Secretary of the BWNJ Board and Steering Committee, and have also helped run the Silent Auctions at the Blue Wave Balls. I have felt empowered by participating in political demonstrations and by lobbying our Senators and Congressman on a variety of issues. I have learned after 6 years of involvement in BWNJ that the best antidote to despair about our country is to get involved on a grass roots level. Blue Wave has been a family affair. My son Zach has been honored for his work as a volunteer at the BlueWave community center, and my husband, Rob, has videotaped events, and is helping out with the Silent Auction tonight. My niece, Katie Halper, has emceed our ball several times and performed with her Laughing Liberally group for a fund raising event. Katie was also responsible for getting Nate Silver as an honorary guest at our ball two years ago, and Chris Hayes as speaker for our upcoming membership meeting in June. BWNJ is a wonderful community of which I am gratified to be a member. It wouldn't exist without the efforts of our tireless leader Marcia Marley, and the participation of many bluewavers past and present. You know who you are. Thank you for this honor.
No, it's not a friend of mine with weird name. Zemanta is this software add-on for blogs, which supposedly generates appropirate graphics, links, etc. for the stuff you're writing about. Hey, it works! It came up with a picture of George Melies.
That's what Hugo, the Scorcese movie was loosely about. George Melies was the French "inventor" of science fiction movies and used effects that were unheard of in his time (early 1900's) at the dawn of film. Let's see if I can get a graphic of "A Trip to the Moon." Wow! It did it. It's a little cumbersome to move around though. At least with Typepad. I wonder if they have rich media like video. Hmm. I do see a link below to Rotten Tomatoes, which includes a You Tube clip, but it takes you away from the blog post I think.
I visited Zuccotti Park yesterday, site of the Occupy Wall Street demonstration. It was like being back in college in the 60's. Hundreds, maybe thousands of people gathered, of all ages, colors and religions, and you could smell marijuana wafting through the air (I'm told!) It was very peaceful, cooperative, and politically correct - recycling cans everywhere, kids preparing and distributing healthy food, playing guitar, drums, accordion, singing, listening to workshops, meditating. It was kind of "soft" politics, not strident, just expressing the frustration of the average person (the other 99%) who are suffering from the excesses of the last 10-20 years. And college kids who are in debt and un- or underemployed. It's a worldwide phenomenon, and mostly peaceful, though evidently the Rome demonstrations were hijacked by Anarchists who started burning things. But the movement itself is adamantly against that. Whether this will have any effect on U.S. politics and government, which I think people any political persuasion find frustrating, unresponsive and impotent, remains to be seen. It's not anti-corporate, it challenges whether the present political climate is representative of the majority of Americans who are not rich or powerful, and the near economic disaster caused by the financial excesses and greed of the financial firms, many of whom reside at nearby Wall St. The tsunami engulfing U.S. society is a man made disaster, not a natural one.
I work as a Director of Corporate Video Communication at Johnson & Johnson. Previously, I worked at CBS and WCBS-TV in New York. The views and content published on this blog reflect my own personal perspective and do not represent the views, opinions or policies of Johnson & Johnson or any of its affiliate companies.
Just ok. Very well done technically - an actual silent film, but I was expecting something a little more dramatic.
A very strange film which some people hated. But I thought it was fascinating. A great performance by Kirsten Dunst, unlike anything she's ever done. An element of science fiction, a planet called Melancholia on a collision course with earth, underlies the story. It's an obvious allusion to the mental state of the main character, but as far as I'm concerned, the director pulled it off. Much better, I thought, than Tree of Life, which also had metaphysical intimations, but was simply boring and pedantic.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
Based on John Le Carre's novel. Excellent, great acting, but demanding plot.
Great country music and performance by Jeff Bridges. The story was as tired as some of the worn out dives where his character, a washed out country singer, performs, but still worth seeing. Maggie Gillynhall as a love interest was grossly miscast.
UP IN THE AIR
A surprisingly wonderful performance by George Clooney. The film is timely and has an edge in this tough economic and emotional climate.
Spectacular!! See in IMAX, 3D
Indie film rented from Netfix. VERY quirky, don't expect a Hollywood blockbuster! German woman stranded in the dessert meets up with an odd assortment of characters, including a Hollywood set painter played by Jack Palance!