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Dinner with Amelia

A fable:Weeks ago, a spider set up shop in my office/basement/bunker. It was a very Charlotte-looking spider with long, almost daddy longlegs-ish legs and a petite little body. It built a nearly invisible, wispy web tethered on three sides by a goofy stuffed animal hanging on the wall, my floor lamp and a pile of stuff I don’t look at very often sitting on top of a rolling set of plastic drawers.I had an instinct to kill it but then I remembered two things:One, they eat other insects and are generally supposed to be human-friendly; andTwo, on rare occasions they have been known to spin words into their webs.I made a mental note to watch for said words, and – in the event the words she spun were “Some Pig” or an equally offensive comment about my weight – kill her immediately.Days passed, maybe weeks, and my friend proved to be a completely benign roommate. She rarely moved and I occasionally wondered if she were dead or, like me, just contemplative about her life choices. Then one day…
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Eat my Schwartz

I suppose short validation is better than none.Leave it to comedy icon Harry Shearer to tell people, “Gittelman’s right, this is bullshit.” Shearer, best known as one-third of Spinal Tapand an alarming number of the voices on The Simpsons, has come out of the closet and said what, apparently, you’re not supposed to say anymore, which is: You know it’s called acting for a reason, right?Those faithful to the blog know this was a point I raised when Mike Henry decided to stop voicing Cleveland on Family Guy and The Simpsons simultaneously announced they would no longer have white actors playing non-white characters. Non-white animated characters. I mean, to be fair, the title characters aren’t even white, they are yellow.On the plus side, Shearer states the obvious: “I have a very simple belief about acting. The job of the actor is to play someone who they are not.” This is about as smarmy as Shearer is in daily life; he has a reputation for being something of a douche, according to almo…

Karen II: The Revenge

I’ve written (a little) and talked (a lot) about the evolving vision I have for this blog. I like the idea of reaching people, inspiring conversation. I don’t have a platform I’m peddling or a position I’m defending or advancing. I like to think I’m an independent thinker and I believe the world would be better if there were more of us. And I tend to flinch away from the hot stove of partisan politics, not because I am without opinion but rather because I believe my words and thoughts will disappear in the ugliness of dissension and reach precisely no one: Those who agree with me will gain nothing, and those who don’t will stop reading. Lose-lose.But today’s post veers directly into the oncoming headlights of politics, not to take a side necessarily but to examine the interesting phenomenon of communication and the different ways we move people in one direction or another, push and pull, sometimes using shorthand of our own design.Sorry, Mom. You might want to skip this one.***Some of…

No, I said he was f---ing Goofy

I'll bet you think this is going to be about the fistfight in Trader Joe's over mask-wearing policy, or maybe about how Taylor Swift is getting heat for a new logo that's too close to another trademark, one owned by a black woman.
Wrong! Suckah.
Nope, this is about superheroes, and the culture we have built around them.
As you may know, the NBA was faced with either not having a 2020 season or finding some way to have one without the possibility of spreading COVID-19 among players, staff or fans. What they did was fairly amazing, and far more effective than any municipal, state or federal COVID response thus far: They set up shop in Disney World, where an abbreviated season will be played out in what's been called a "bubble." That means no one comes in, no one leaves without being quarantined upon return (i.e. suspended from playing for a period of time). Just good, old-fashioned basketball, played by professional athletes who get paid for, well, playing basketb…

Pennsylvania Dave and the Temple of Nothing

OK, let’s talk about religion.
I was born and raised Jewish. We weren’t terribly religious when I was growing up, and our family friends – Jewish or not – weren’t either. I never really encountered virulent anti-Semitism. I'm lucky, and I recognize that the absence of immediate threat and personal trauma probably made me more complacent than I have a right to be. 
I was always intellectually curious about other religions because, in my view, God exists (or doesn’t) completely irrespective of man’s constructs and customs. Flawed as it is, that manmade part is religion and that’s what’s kind of interesting to me. Not why something happened, but what we decide to do about it.
My wife was born and raised Catholic. Like many Catholics, she was raised with careful attention to the auditable details: attend mass every Sunday, check the box, sign the attendance list, and then live life more or less the same as you would have anyway – not always necessarily the way Jesus would prefer.
When we …

Take this Joe and shove it

In the couple weeks since I’ve written I have taken a much needed vacation, drank my share of a very large bottle of vodka, and avoided deep thoughts at virtually all cost. 
I’ve also done a bit of mourning, primarily for Gus (aka Skeletor), the feline friend I thought would never leave us; and for my kids’ youth. As a parent, nothing shakes you up quite like watching your twenty-somethings do exactly what you’ve groomed them to do – leave – right in front of you, in real time.
Hence the vodka.
As I’ve tried to return to work and writing simultaneously I’ve been challenged by three things overall: Limited time and capacity An unusually robust calendar of NEW AND IMPROVED stuff going on with workAnd the mounting shittiness of an election cycle in high gear I could talk about the first one, but that’s boring. I could talk about the second one, but I’m not sure many would be as interested as I am. And the third one…well, what is there to say? Federal troops firing on protesters in the Pacific…

Leave the gun, take shortcake biscuits

You gotta love New York. Well…you don’t gotta, but shame on you if you don’t. There’s a reason, if you make it there, that you can make it anywhere.  Because nowhere else in the US, at least, will people always let you know exactly where you stand.
In this particular instance, where people stand is, in fact, the issue. In The Big Apple there are a number of Trader Joe’s stores that cater to some fairly entitled individuals. Those of you who are thinking, “Wait, didn’t he tell us this story already?” I commend you for paying attention, but NO! You are thinking of this earlier post, in which I confessed that TJ’s edges out Wegman’s in a cage match for my heart.
So when Trader Joe’s started opening up after COVID-19 hit New York, hard, the pent-up demand was remarkable, but not surprising. And because Trader Joe’s takes their customer care, not to mention their customers’ health, very seriously, long lines developed as people almost literally camped out to get their best shot at chile corn…