Velocity. Serendipity. Proximity.  Eternity.

It's never what you plan for...

Three people.

One automobile.

One bright Easter Day in New York...

All came crashing horribly together at 2 pm, Eastern Daylight Time... in the Bronx... leaving one of those people, a toddler, dead in the arms of the second person, his Mother; at the hand of the third.


Put the variables on a sheet of paper.  The people, the hour, the minivan-traveling at 60 feet per second, the bullet-traveling at 3,000 feet per second.  You could combine those variables a thousand thousands of times and NEVER get them to add up to yesterdays devastating result.  NEVER!!!!  NEVER.  Never.


Well, maybe once.

Serendipity sounds like such a fairycakes-and-tea word, but it's not.  It's cruel.  Oh, it's cruel.  Right-click on the word in Word, and you get synonyms that fill the news accounts of David Pacheco's Easter Sunday:  Providence.  Fate.  Destiny.  Coincidence. 

Young, precious two year-old David Pacheco, enjoying Easter with his Mom and sisters, was on his way to an Easter celebration.  He said he wanted ice cream.  He never had a chance.  Chance.  That's another word for serendipity.  Another brutal word. 

366478-317431-thumbnail.jpgYou never see it coming, do you?  It's never what you plan for.  David was strapped into his car seat, in a vehicle equipped with the greatest array of safety equipment The Experts recommend: antilock brakes, airbags front and side, traction control.  Yet who could have imagined the horrible sequence of events already under way--the timing of a party, the flow of traffic, the turning of traffic lights, the building of an argument, the pulling of a trigger, the passing of a car--that would end with a bullet piercing a car door and shattering a family?  Without mercy.  At.  That.  One.  Moment.  The whole idea behind placing your child into a car seat is that they're supposed to come out in the same condition as when you bucked them in.  It's in all the brochures.  It's the way things are supposed to happen. 


Tear off a new worksheet.

Five people.

One automobile.

One bright Easter Day in New York.

For this family, sweeping blithely within twenty minutes and two miles of the killing fields that claimed David, the odds played out differently.  They made it through their drive down the Henry Hudson Parkway to The Battery to spend Easter with an old green French woman who hangs out in New York Harbor carrying a torch .  They dressed.  They drove.  They celebrated Easter in New York.  But they made it home.  Safely.


Forevermore, I will wonder why one family is so swiftly and indiscriminantly consigned to face the rest of their days on Earth without their beloved child while another family with a variance of two miles and twenty minutes can have the calculation come out differently.

One child meets a bullet.  Three other children--my children--end up having ice cream. 

And I, among others, am shaken to the core.


Where have you gone, Pat Paulsen?

ppin.jpg"All the problems we face in the United States today can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian." 

Pat Paulsen (1927-1997), Satirist, Statesman, Perennial Presidential Candidate


I was just wondering

What did the people depicted on these plates have on THEIR plates?ives.jpg


... and I have many leather-bound books

366478-271969-thumbnail.jpg"I wanna say something.
I'm gonna put it out there.
If you like it, you can take it.
If you don't, send it right back."
-- Ron Burgundy


A friend sent this to me today.  I got such a kick out of it, I had to "put it out there."  Here's the full version. "Why Republicans are better in bed"

It’s all about him—he needs to be the best you ever had, and that can be a good thing if your getting off is contingent on his.  He doesn’t even stay for breakfast.  (Though if you do make him breakfast, he is eternally grateful and will go down on you for another several hours.)  One word: pancakes!
A Republican man will never, ever cry. Not on election night (no matter what happens). Not when you’re breaking up with him (what, you think he cared?). Not even when he’s having “a problem I’ve never had before, really, I’m not kidding, I swear.”

Republicans, particularly when naked, do not want to sit around and talk about Social Security privatization.  Or Iraq, for chrissake. Or why (oh, boo hoo, get over it!) Kerry lost. They don’t even want to sit around naked and talk about George W. Bush. They just want you to sit on them.

babar.jpg4.  A SENSE OF HUMOR
Republicans are happy to watch Jon Stewart with you.  They think he’s a riot.  They don’t parse every word he says in an effort to figure out if “The Huffington Post” will approve.  They just laugh, pour another cocktail, and decide upon which couch they will fuck your brains out after the show.

Democrats often need something incredibly erotic—like Meet the Press—to get revved up, particularly on a Sunday morning (there are only so many sections of The New York Times).  Republicans, on the other hand, don’t even need Fox News to get it up.  They understand that foreplay is about sex.  And lots of it.  Democrats are too busy checking if the condoms you keep in the jar by the bed are good for the environment.
6.  SIZE
It is absolutely, positively, 100 percent true that Republicans have bigger dicks. Just ask Lynne Cheney. (Dick is the Liam Neeson of Washington!)

Republicans are much more likely to whip their dicks out during the cab ride back from dinner.  (This is not an urban myth.)  They are also more inclined to get started in the elevator, pin you against a wall, do you on the kitchen sink, wherever.  Democrats bring jammies, spend at least twenty minutes prior to “sex time” doing God knows fucking what in the bathroom, and then emerge with a big grin that says: “After all I did for you supporting equal pay and abortion rights, the least you could do is make love to me.”  Democrats always think you owe them.  Republicans, because they’ve never done a goddamn thing for you, have no such delusions.

Republicans have great taste in restaurants and will never make the wussiest of pre-date proposals: “You pick.”  They understand that a woman wants a guy who knows how to pick a restaurant by himself.  And who doesn’t feel the need to tell you what Zagat said about it before you get there.  A Republican also knows how to order wine without getting all prissy about it, never dissects the bill (they don’t even look at it!), and will never, ever—ever—say, “Well, yes, I think that’s fair; your half comes to $39.25, but you had one more drink than I did,” if you offer to pay.  They won’t let you think about offering to pay.  This is so sexy!  The best part: There’s never any guilt involved; we all know they got their tax break.

Republicans will never send you group e-mails that consist of the entire text of Al Gore’s last speech (that was “woefully underreported” but “I knew you’d want to read it in its entirety”). Or the sign-up sheet for Democracy in Action, or whatever the hell those weirdos from the Howard Dean campaign are up to now. Nah. Republicans send e-mails that say: “I can’t wait to eat your pussy.”

You will never hear a Republican say, “Let’s just cuddle and read The New Yorker tonight.” They understand you do not want reading materials in bed. You want a man.

Yes, Republicans are the better lay—but only the Republicans you’ve never heard of.  The opposite is true of Democrats.  Think about it.  Is there any woman on the face of the earth who wouldn’t fuck Bill Clinton? (Didn’t think so.)  But with a gun to your head, could you even think of doing Santorum? DeLay?  Lott?  Okay, with a gun to our head, we might do W.  And Cheney.  Definitely Cheney.  As long as we’re blindfolded. (But that’s okay. Republicans are into that, too.)


Not the usual Wry fare, I know, but according to Muhammed Ali, it's not bragging if you can back it up...  And let's face it, the GOP hasn't had too much good news of late.  Just think what a great recruiting tool it could be... [pun not intended, but for humor's sake I'll let it stand.]   


Thought for the day

No man ever wore a scarf as warm as his daughter's arm around his neck.

-An old Irish proverb


A toast I cooked up tonight

To my friend Bob, who announced his retirement:

My friend, there are grapes yet to be planted that will bear wine you and I will share in happiness for years to come.  


It happens every time

It is an unalterable law of sociological and meteorological science that no matter the circumcstance or time of day, if you want someone to magically appear and walk into your office... fart.

Good Grief.jpgDon't ask me how I know.  You've probably already guessed. 

(And so has the woman on the cleaning crew who just walked into my office.  Pour soul.)


The Brigadoon Friendship

366478-281609-thumbnail.jpgBrigadoon is a story of two Americans who, hunting in the Highlands of Scotland, stumble on the enchanted village of Brigadoon, which emerges from the mists for a single day, once every 100 years... 

While the rest of the world speeds by, Brigadoon stays virtually unchanged; frozen in the mists of time. 

Such a treasure is the Brigadoon Friendship...  preserved by the passage of years; unburdened by the daily trading of water cooler gossip; invisible to the speed dial, but marked instead by the milestones of annual birthday cards and calls, five year reunions, and the deliciously rare unplanned crossing of paths in a small, small world. 

Some aquaintances are plated by proximity and frequency:  the coworker, the parents of your kids' friends, the other familiy in the carpool.  But the value of the Brigadoon Friend is solid gold.

Of my Brigadoon Friends, three come to mind.  Our paths and day-to-day adventures led to opposite corners of the Earth.  Yet our reunions, because they are free of the march of the hours and the drama of the days, are about the richness of life and the rarity that is a true friend.  And in those reunions the intervals of time disappear like fog in the strenghening morning sun. 

So today, a wee dram for the Brigadoon Friend!

May we be happy - and our enemies know it!

And may ye ne'er want a frien' or a dram to gie him.



A Whitman's Sampler for Valentine's Day

366478-271952-thumbnail.jpgThou reader throbbest life and pride and love the same as I,
Therefore for thee the following chants.

So there I was, in the Detroit Wayne County Airport, with a two-hour layover to kill at the end of a work week.  No more talking points or power points.  Time to fertilize the brain.  I spy the ultimate Whitman Sampler: Leaves of Grass.  In my growing devotion to all things New York, I've come across his stuff... Manahatta... Crossing Brooklyn Ferry...  But now this bracing jolt.

It is I you hold and who holds you,
I spring from the pages into your arms

That's good.  

I look up and around the store.  He's talking to ME!!  Can they tell?  Did they see me recoil at that line and nearly drop the book?  Got. To. Buy. This.  Act natural.  Be cool.  It's Leaves of Grass, for crying out loud, not Tropic of Cancer.  (Although just in case, I buy some gum, a Sports Illustrated, and a comb just to be safe.)  And so, in these first few pages, he sprang into my arms, to the background music of CNN Airport News...

... all times mischoose the objects of their adulation and reward.
(CNN: "In entertainment news, Kelly Clarkson brings home two Grammys"...)

Oh, to be self-balanced for contingencies,
To confront night, storms, hunger, ridicule, accidents, rebuffs as the trees and animals do.
(CNN: "In sports, another NBA player jumps into the stands after a hapless blowhard of a fan.")

Stop this day and night with me and you shall posess the
     origin of all poems,
You shall posess the good of the earth and sun, (there are
     millions of suns left,)
You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, nor
     look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres
     in books,
You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things
     from me,
You shall listen to all sides and filter them from your self.
(CNN:  In the Situation Room, the yammering talking-head-of-the-moment tells Wolf Blitzer what "really matters to the American people.")

This is the press of a bashful hand, this the float and odor of hair,
This the touch of my lips to yours, this the murmur of
(CNN:  In entertainment news, Billy Joel calls out two 'Nylon Curtain' songs that are two faves:  Where's the Orchestra; She's Right on Time.  One I used to sing to Her our senior year in college.  The other is more or less about us, too.  I'll never get over the smell of her hair.  She broke my heart in 17 places.  She knows.)

This hour I tell things in confidence.
I might not tell everybody, but I will tell you.

(Both of us are married, with three kids apiece.  We just emailed each other at Thanksgiving. I can go months without talking to her... longest was a year and a half... but it's a Brigadoon kind of friendship.  [Editor's note:  More on that later.  Remind me.]

Each moment and whatever happens thrills me with joy,
I cannot tell how my ankles bend, nor whence the cause of my
     faintest wish,
Nor the cause of the friendship I emit, nor the cause of the
     friendship I take again.

That I walk up my stoop, I pause to consider if it really be,
A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the
     metaphysics of books.

To behold the day-break!
The little light fades the immense and diaphanous shadows,
The air tastes good to my palate.

(I don't know why things catch me the way they do.  But there's whimsy to be seen in each day.  As Elvis Costello says, "I'm having the time of my life; or something quite like it."  Because I'm home now, Grass stains on the brain, ready to cook Saturday morning breakfast for the kids!) 

[Written on Saturday, filed late Monday night.]


This morning in the Cabinet Room

366478-271960-thumbnail.jpgW:  Boy, that escalated quickly... I mean, that really got out of hand fast!

Rummy:  It jumped a notch!

W:  It DID, didn't it?

Dick:  Yeah, I shot a man in the face!

Condi:  I saw that!  Dick killed a guy!  Did you throw a trident?

Dick:  Yeah, there were birds, and a man on fire, and I shot a guy in the face!

366478-271969-thumbnail.jpgW:  Dick, I've been meaning to talk to you about that.  You should find yourself a safehouse or a relative close by.  Lay low for a while, becaue you're probably wanted for murder.