Monday, September 30, 2013


Watched tonight a decent gangster movie from South Korea, New World (2013), about a deep undercover cop within one of the strongest criminal enterprises in the country, who desperately wants out so he can protect his future child and wife, but things start spiraling out of control after the mafia boss dies and competing interests vie for power. Pretty good acting and action, a bit bloody (what is it with the baseball bats and long knives?), a few good twists. Entertaining. If you like foreign films and gangster movies, you might find this one up your alley.

Sunday, September 29, 2013


Watched tonight a nice little Indian (Southeast Asian) movie, English Vinglish, written and directed by Gauri Shinde. Although it is about an Indian women who attempts to crash-learn English while in New York for a month for her niece's wedding, it is really about chasing dreams, earning respect (especially from those who are close to you and overlook you), being fearless, finding love and understanding for people different from yourself. Although some, especially audiences used to standard American movies, might find this movie a little blunt in the presentation, and some of the acting clearly is a slight bit off what one might expect from a more polished American screenwriter, it is still a quite enjoyable and delightful film. Sridevi (apparently a popular actor In India) is wonderful as Shashi, who is awed by New York and vulnerable to the slights of her family and strangers, but nonetheless undertakes to learn English on the sly in four weeks with a small class of fellow newcomers, all chasing their dreams. She also has to deal with a crush of a French student (a chef by trade), who challenges her beliefs and emotions (and to a certain extent is a bit pushy and presumptuous, in my view). Yes, there are certain cultural stereotypes perpetuated in the movie, but they are handled lovingly (except perhaps the unhelpful African American cashier). The cinematography is good, I thought. The movie touched me personally because my siblings and I often teased my Ukrainian-immigrant mother for her occasionally poor English and mispronunciations (though she was probably more intelligent than all four of us combined). This is not your typical Bollywood with big musical numbers, although there is a little dancing, yet most people will enjoy the movie if they give it a chance.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Once again our hearts are broken,
similar words President spoken,
another loss to demon rounds
this time on Navy Yard grounds.
We usher victims to next stop,
hope their deaths are not a prop
to justify this or support that,
in ongoing trial of social combat.


[Letter intercepted by NSA]

Dear Jim:
How are you doing? I am fine. I can feel the cold winds of winter approaching, and although I have a luxurious coat, kept that way with only the most natural and expensive treatments and salons, I still miss the warming rays and welcoming beaches (not to mention the spaghetti thongs) of Miami beach. I mean, who wouldn’t miss seafood at Joe’s Stone Crab or steak at Prime 112. My man Dwayne hangs there. HBB chats with the Kardashians. Of course, it is hard dodging the paparazzi---everyone always seems to want a piece of me. Sarah tries to keep them away, but the public needs their Duffy. I miss my mojitos at Nikki Beach Club. But what can you do when you are tied to a brilliant geek who likes New York? Huh? Got to hang with the one who brung you.

Sarah has been partying like a madwoman because of the Dolphins. They haven’t been 3-0 in forever. All this sports good fortune for her teams has gone to her head. She be calling up the stars, trying to get dates. Several of the Heat players have banned her cell phone number. She can get down right embarrassing on the sidelines, I tell you! A couple of brewmweisters and she’ll try to steal anything she can her hands on. . .jersey, cleats, jock strap. It don’t matter. I avoided an international incident by quietly returning Bosh’s championship ring. Scandalous, I tell you. Many people think she, and not the drugs, is what is causing the Odom-Kardashian divorce rumors, but don’t advertise that. She’ll know it’s me feeding the entertainment press. Hey. . .a guy’s gotta make some scratch.

Part of the problem is her hatred of HBB, my bubbly bambi bimbo beauty. You should hear the things she says. I love Sarah, but HBB brings out the cattiness. Know what I’m saying? She gets all green eyed about Mindy too. She tried to stroke me once, and Sarah dang near came out of her sari. You should have seen the scene she made at Diwali. I mean, dog, those girls were only trying to get the colored chalk off me. She just jumped to conclusions.

All her acting and comedic schedule means she leaves me at home a lot. I mean, how am I supposed NOT to get in trouble without supervision. Know what I’m saying? In this area alone there must be twenty willing. . .shhhhhh I think that’s her. She has been sneaking in later and later. Haven’t you been watching that foursquare or whatever, all these restaurants and clubs she’s been hanging out at . . .WITHOUT me, I might add. I mean, really! There is no cat that can hold his own like I can. You know that. Haven’t we caroused! Just don’t let her know about it.

Well, dude, gotta run. Catch up with ya later.

Your pal, Duffy.

Monday, September 16, 2013


I knew I was going to die young. At least that is what she hinted to me, that something terrible was soon going to befall me; if not my demise, then perhaps some terrible injury that would make my life a miserable existence. I simply assumed her rash conclusion must mean I was going to die young. I was only twelve. She hadn’t said exactly that, but what else could it be?
Right before my palm reading, she had done my sisters’ fortunes and the results seemed pleasing to them both. She had buttressed her claims of successful predictions with stories of her having correctly foretold fires and other events throughout her rambling life. She had recently predicted a devastating fire at the camp she supervised, and had that not come true? Surely her words could be trusted.
I hadn’t really wanted my future foretold. But my sisters insisted I try. It’ll be fun, they assured me. So I unfurled my fingers and let her take them. She looked for a bit, and then suddenly froze and stopped. It seemed a bit theatrical: she dropped my hand and said “I am sorry. I can’t go any further. Something bad is soon going to happen to you and I just don’t want to read anymore.” And that was it. A dark cloud quickly flittered into my life and on occasional would emerge from the dark recesses of my mind to taunt me. Many a night afterward I woke up in a panic and knew some horrendous end was waiting for me. Clearly this terrible event would strike only me, not my family, since both my sisters earned glowing reviews. Perhaps by “young” she meant my early twenties. Maybe a future wife or child of mine was destined to suffer, or some similar calamity, but mostly I was certain my life would be cut sadly short.
I wished for greater explanation, but she had quickly gotten into her car and left. She had finished her duties at the camp and was moving on, having come by to say goodbye to the women in my family. I soon tried to console myself that it was all a hoax, that she was angry with something I must have done while working at the camp and this was a form of punishment or payback. I couldn’t imagine what, but certainly I must have erred somewhere.
Well into my thirties I worried. Silly, looking back on it now. Sure, there were some terrible events that befell me, such as losing my mother when I was 32, but that was a sad event for my sisters and the rest of my family as well. Maybe her ability to tell actual dates was off, I surmised. Tough things happened to me over the years---goals unmet, wife absconded, difficult financial times . . . but as I moved into my fifties I was able to finally let it go. Bad things happen, and I know wonder if she was just being mean-spirited. Perhaps she just hadn’t read it correctly. Although pain could always be in my future, I felt that every day past fifty was a blessing; I had seen friends and classmates already pass to early graves. Of course I could drop dead any time, and people would say I had gone too soon, but I feel that I have been blessed and am happy to have made it this far and hope for a few more good years.
I now realize though that she was right. That terrible thing to strike me while I was so young- - -was having her read my palm in the first place.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


"Yeahs. I saw them. Gotta cigarette? Thanks. Where was I? Oh, yeah, I saw those two, the pretentious chubby girl with golden locks and that uppity Duffy Dean. I could take him. He's soft, I tell ya. Pampered. That Sarah gal practically waits on him hand and foot. It's disgusting, youse knows. A cat needs to be on the street. Testing his nerve, grabbing the ladies, waking up the neighbors. It's what we do. In dis neighborhood we'd plant one on his mug. Yup. A pretty boy, I tell ya. Those locks ain't seen a burr in der whole existence. Bet she combs him nightly. She prolly makes him eat vegertarian, or sumpin. Cat's need meat. . .fowl and fish, says I. And don't forget it. Pate and caviar??!! Fugetaboutit. Pansy feast. She prolly paints his claws. . .if he even has any. Prolly why the little dame likes him. I could practically smell the cologne on him from a mile away. He better not come in this area again, or me and my boys will pop him one. Not that he seemed like a bad guy, just needs to toughen up. Ok, is that enough? Where's my dollar?"


[Apparently, while a certain Sarah Ramsingh was ignoring her friends and faithful sidekick, flaunting her geeky nerd roots, and sampling the liquid pleasures bountiful, in order to follow the fashionistas in New York City, during their week of debauchery and exploitation of the thin runway muses and fluffing of outlandish egos, a certain D.D. was observed traipsing about with a diminutive southern actress. An unknown street wag tagged several silver subway cars with the following piece of doggerel.]

There once was a kitty all coo-coo,
His mistress off to fashion foo-foo
he planned an escape
behind dark hotel drape
Where he could smooch his Honey Boo Boo.

She claimed it was all about clothes
and following the modelish pose
but the Duff understood
that it was all about food,
and he’s the one who truly knows.

All he wanted to do was have fun,
and he missed his Miami Beach sun,
So now it’s models galore
But we know who does adore,
His soft fur and purrs, all a-million.

His N.S.A. minders allude
though getting a little bit crude
That the lovers were sneaky
And the action quite freaky,
With black and white film in the nude.

Miss Sarah was rightly outraged
And claimed the action was staged,
But we all know the truth
Of that cat so uncouth,
And now HBB and he are engaged!

Monday, September 9, 2013


They had high hopes for my boy in ballet, said he had natural balance and nice moves. But peer pressure in junior high got him out of it, even though he loved being on stage. I hope he finds his way back, but if not, it was a great experience and development for him.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


When my eldest son was about four he began a fascination with dinosaurs, which lingers still today. Once, as I may have mentioned before on this blog, he played the second half of a soccer game as a tyrannosaurus rex. Unfortunately I don't have video of that, but I once capture a still of him starting to morph into the king of lizards.


Herewith a set of some of my molas, put up here just because.

A monkey, most likely.

Little puppy, of course.

Probably a hummingbird, but also possibly a stylized mosquito.

A parrot.


Herewith a set of pictures of some of my cats over the years. Before I left home I had this korat names Genius, because he wasn't.

Then when living with a woman named Chris, into our yard one day wandered Crunch, so called because we discovered her from the crunching sound made in the hedges as she devoured her favorite meal, lizards. She was a really friendly calico.

And then there was Maude, adopted by me in exchange for having access to a classmate's apartment when she moved. I had her for a longtime,until she developed diabetes, whereupon she was adopted by a colleague who didn't want me to put her down. That was about five years ago, and she is still kicking, ornery as ever.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


The Angel of sports came down late at night and struck me with his glowing sword and spaketh thus: Fixeth College Football, and do it now! So with this supreme mandate, I awoke and became the king of the new NCAA (with enhanced powers and professionalized staff) and decreed some changes in the college football world.

1: There would now be eight Division One conferences, each with sixteen teams, with two divisions and a championship playoff each. There would be a corresponding Division 2, also with eight conferences. Every five years each upper conference could decide to drop one team and add one team from the lower division, should one want to make the leap. If no Div 2 team opted to join the upper division, the scheduled dropped team would be allowed to stay. There no longer would be any "independent" teams.

2: Conference winners would enter a playoff for the national championship. Bowl games not tied into this system would get to pick non-playoff teams.

3: Division 1 teams cannot play lower-division teams any more, period. Each team would have to play ten games within their conference, leaving two outside games.

4: Schools would be penalized for Heisman (or any other) promotional campaigns; all watch lists would be abandoned until the month of November. No awards could be granted until the end of the season (perhaps the end of the regular season).

5: Division 1 teams can grant 40 scholarships per year, 120 overall. That would be the size of the squad, period. No walk-ons or practice squads (schools could allow tryouts). Additional spots allowed in incoming freshman class based on number of juniors who left school early to go pro.

6: Agents who approach student athletes can be shot on sight.

7: Boosters caught illegally participating in the recruitment/retention process can be exiled for ten years to Wyoming (unless they are from Wyoming, whereupon they will be sent to New Jersey).

8: 10% of annual NFL profits would be pooled and used to fund Division 2 schools to soften the loss of beat-down sacrificial games that humble young athletes in order to fund programs (and since everyone knows the NFL has been the beneficiary of a free training league, unlike other sports, such as baseball, hockey, basketball, etc.)

9: Coaches found cheating would be drawn and quartered, preferably after being fired and during the halftime show of first home game.

10: Div 1 & 2 players could not opt for professional play until their junior year. Students must carry 2.0 average in standard academic classes (no more fake or gimmee classes) approved by a scholastic committee and applied to all schools; failure to do so means suspension from play and probationary period. If a student fails out (or is dropped for disciplinary reasons), they cannot go pro until what would have been their junior year. Hey, there has to be a penalty for poor behavior.

11: No recruitment allowed of junior high, or freshman and sophomore HS players. Period. Any contact with these players could result in penalties against college teams. See rules on boosters.

12: Players who played in any professional sport, would not be allowed to play Div 1 or 2 football. Too much unfair advantage. Players who opted to join the military service and are over age 23, cannot play Div 1 & 2 ball. They can go pro. They made a choice and should be honored for it, but it is often a competitive disadvantage for older players to suit up against younger ones.

13: Maximum salaries and bonus-schedules for coaches would be established by the new NCAA and enforced.

14: I banish all individual television contracts with conferences. Weekly games will be apportioned by lottery to broadcast outlets. Weekly profits to be apportioned evenly to all teams, with some incentives to winning teams.

Protection of the players and providing for their education would be paramount. Athletes that do not want to attend school can go pro.

Sunday, September 1, 2013



This morning I was checking on some mail at the post office when I heard a tiny, but loud, banshee cry that seemed to be coming from under a car. I thought, "Oh no, a cat got caught up under the hood and somehow survived a trip here." Possible. Well, I looked underneath (no small task for a big guy like me), and then I saw a little tiger cat emerge and go inot the bushes. It took about an hour, and a little help from a couple, but I corralled her. I took her over to my animal rescue guy, but he was off on vacation and won't be back til Tuesday, so I am stuck with her for the holiday weekend. But she is such a character. She has serious separation anxiety. . .I can't even go into the other room without her wailing. And she loves to sleep right up against me, often stretched out length-wise, and she has really long legs. She loves tummy rubs. I bought her some special dinners. She couldn't have been out there long, since she was robust and noticable. She would come close, then dart away, but once I had her in my hands she was very affectionate. She has definitely been held. I named her Trena.