Monthly Archives

October 2016

All Entries Fashion Humor Leisure and Sports Technology

Space-aged, High Capacity Sports Bras

October 18, 2016

While rummaging through my old junk drawer, I came across one of my prize possessions: a ballpoint pen that writes upside down and was endorsed by NASA. In 1965, it was the must-have accessory of the times. Not only could you use it to write letters while lying in bed, you could draft a note in zero gravity, on greasy paper in a wide variety of temperatures – all while submerged underwater.

For the life of me, I can’t think of a single instance when I’ve cursed to myself, “Dang, I wish I had a pen that wrote upside down, underwater and on greasy paper.” But, it probably would come in handy if I was ever buried alive in a coffin or needed to scribble a note to my editor explaining that this week’s column would be late because I just drove off a bridge and was presently lying underwater at the bottom of a lake.

Since that time, clever marketing pros have come up with thousands of ways to enrich the quality of every day products. In 1974, the suave actor Ricardo Montalban became famous by pitching the 1974 Chrysler Cordoba with soft, Corinthian leather. It’s a mystery how the tiny Greek city got caught up in supplying upholstery to over-priced, American sedans, when if fact, the seats were actually covered with American cowhide and vinyl products from a plant outside of Newark, New Jersey. But, it worked. read more

All Entries Appearance Humor Life and Death

A Hairdresser’s Lament

October 11, 2016

While wrapping up the 1972 ski season, I met a male hairdresser who seemed to have everything I wanted: nice clothes, a new Porsche and lots of women. Wads of cash, thick hair on his chest, and lots of women. Socks with no holes, gleaming teeth and lots of women. But, what particularly impressed me was that he could afford a place without 18 roommates.

So, at the end of the ski season, I moved into a studio apartment with two friends and enrolled at The Hair Academy of Beverly Hills. I didn’t do much research to see if it was a good school – I surmised if it was in Beverly Hills, Barbra Streisand was bound to walk through the doors. As it turned out, our school was located on the fringe of Beverly Hills, in the seediest part of West Hollywood. I was heart-broken to learn that millionaire actresses usually don’t get their hair done in beauty schools by people with three weeks of experience.

The first thing that surprised me about beauty school was how much there was to learn. Ms. Tulip was the lead instructor and had over 67 years of experience in the trenches. She would be leading us through 10,000 hours of general theory that included organic chemistry, sterilization techniques, the principles of abdominal-thoracic surgery and an introduction to skin and nail care. They were important concepts to have when they brought in the homeless women from the Los Angeles Rescue Mission. Most of the women hadn’t had a shampoo since 1927, when shampoo was invented, so we got a lot of practice de-lousing and ridding them of seborrhea, ringworm, and the heartbreak of psoriasis – all of the things you’d expect to see at an upscale Beverly Hills salon. read more

All Entries Humor Life and Death Religion

Reincarnation Gone South

October 7, 2016

For the life of me, I can’t figure out how I got here. A month ago, I was contently adjusting to my short stay in Purgatory, waiting for the bus to Heaven. Then, out of the blue – poof – I find myself standing in the middle of Mandelbaum’s Commercial Poultry Farm in Bakersfield, California. Both are a long way from Heaven.

My life came to an abrupt end during a fluke rock climbing accident in Yosemite National Park. Given my vile and contemptible life on earth, it came as no surprise that I’d be sent to Purgatory before I made it past the pearly gates. But, nobody told me about reincarnation. Granted, they said there was an outside chance I’d be forced to spend a little more time on earth before rising to the great beyond, but Mandelbaum’s Poultry Farm? C’mon. Give me a break. Even Bernie Madoff got to enjoy 3 weeks as a Burmese belly dancer before they shipped him off to Hell.

I was dropped into the middle of a chicken coop on a busy Friday afternoon in the form of a mature Rhode Island Red – eight and half pounds of pure Chicken McNuggets. Most of the management had already gone home for the Labor Day weekend, so there weren’t any humans around to complain to. Instead, I was left to my own devices to secure my spot in a pecking order of 8,000 other mature hens and roosters. Looking back, I suppose it could have been worse. If I had arrived a week earlier, I might have already been cut up and slathered with Bar-B-Que sauce on someone’s holiday party platter. Or, I might have woken to find my skewered carcass slowly circling the rotisserie grill in a Gelson’s Market. At least this way, I’d have a couple of days to get to know some of the locals before formulating an escape plan. read more

All Entries Humor Life and Death Religion

Stranded in Purgatory

October 7, 2016

Here I am. Stranded in Purgatory. You’d think with all of the opportunities I’ve had to excel or fall from grace, I’d have gone straight to Heaven or Hell. Instead, I’m trapped here in mediocrity.

Getting stranded in Purgatory is the equivalent of getting a C+ on your Chemistry final – not bad, but not great, either. True, I’ve never gone out of my way for anyone, my entire life. Faced with the opportunity to do something illegal, compassionate or meaningful that could result in some form of positive or negative distinction, I always took the easy way out. Like the time Morrie Fensterman’s wife came onto me at the Christmas party. Instead of ripping off her elf costume and ravishing her on the conference table, I chose to give her a half-assed hickey in the janitor’s closet. Big deal. “You’ll never get into heaven that way,” accused my friends. It also won’t get me into hell. Where it did get me was the head of the line to Purgatory. You have to do something a lot worse than having a tussle with your manager’s wife to earn a lifetime of eternal fire. read more

All Entries Humor The Arts

(Don’t Let Me Be) The Last Virgin in Saigon

October 7, 2016

I’d been fogging up the windows with Magda Biedermann for the better part of our senior year. As graduation approached, I had only one thing on my mind: consummating our relationship (and coincidentally, losing my virginity) before being drafted and sent off to Vietnam. Her motives were considerably more funereal: she wanted to get married and carry our little bun in her oven.

My rapaciousness was no match for Magda’s wholesome ambitions, so progress was painfully slow. While I was able to reach first base through a cunning synthesis of deception, chicanery and Olympic-class flexibility, there were no indications that I’d get any further, let alone slide into home. And, time was quickly running out.

I thought she’d finally caved in during a passionate tussle in the back seat of my mother’s Pontiac. After pinning me down with a Flying Forearm Smash, followed by a humbling Testicular Claw, Magda agreed to sacrifice her loins provided I write her a love song before I left – her idea of the ultimate commitment between a man and a woman. read more

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