Category Archives: rants

Beach post #1:Tranquility Base (except for the radio that is 20 ft. from my left ear…)

Just as I was enjoying the calm, two schmuckarina’s sat down and turned on their mini-boom box (do they still call them that?)

This is Karen’s Third Law of Peace & Quiet: “If you have achieved a small slice of nirvana (let’s call that ‘nirv’), someone or something will feel compelled to add both volume and toxicity to your serene space.” I believe it’s a magnetic kind of thing.  The forces of chaos and clutter are madly attracted to anything that resembles silence.

They (the forces) say (with a slightly Germanic accent) “NO SOUP – I mean, NO SUPINITY for you. Go eat some stone soup!”

Beach Post #2: Nature Calls

And then there is the more challenging than you would think activity of peeing in the ocean. When the waves are heaving and rippling at frequent intervals, there is a tug of war in the bladder between release (ahhhh!) and the preparation for flight. Each small wave that collides with your body evokes a probably self-protective response, which clenches and therefore effectively shuts down the system. I spent about a half hour in the surf trying to resolve this conflict, rather than trek the equivalent of two city blocks back to the hotel.

This, I am certain, is TMI. I claim beach brain as my excuse/justification…

Beach Post #3: Randomness Reigneth

I sit here, observing a large contingent of what I deem to be Eastern Europeans. I deduce their land of origin from their dangerously pale skin and the penchant of some of them for wearing high top black shoes on the beach. Na Zdorovie, Comrades.

As a somewhat professional observer of human nature, I am in a kind of heaven here. An almost unimaginable array of shapes, sizes and ages are moving about across my field of vision. The diverse horde is missing a significant element, however. No darker skin-tones are evident. Have I lurched unwittingly onto a ‘whites only’ beach? Or has segregation become so embedded that non-Caucasians don’t even consider showing up here?

As I write this, I pause to more carefully scan the area – maybe my assessment has been incomplete…

Nope. Everybody is lily white (or splotchy red.) Those I had momentarily deemed to be of other racial groups turned out to be hardened sun-worshipers of the leather-skinned variety.

Another surprising observation is how many pregnant women are here taking in the sun and surf. I’m pretty sure that back in the day (we’re talking 40 years ago) preggo’s stayed zu Hause. No trudging imbalancedly across the wide hot sands. Are women now made of stronger stuff? Or have we just become more willing to roll the dice of fate.

On a wholly other note, my friend (and she is my true friend) – the ocean, is as crisply inviting as ever. The wash of danger (which has increased as my age-linked capacity to keep my balance when wacked by the fast-moving watery churn has waned) adds a nice jolt of energy to the endeavor.

Another anti-social word or two –

I am grousing in response to a self-inflicted irritant. I like being in the front row. Yes, we are still talking about the beach. I like having no one obscuring my view of the roiling water. Now, it would have been far better if I remembered that when we were setting up umbrella and chairs, because three people, ignorant of my rightful position, put their big-assed selves right in front of me. Rat-bastards! I do feel righteous resentment and will not apologize.

And, as if things couldn’t get any better (or worse) – a freakin’ ice-cream man, pushing a hand truck of frozen goodies just walked by. My gracious PIC volunteered to go get me some chocolate ices! But, alas, he returned with something else: a cone of red-colored ice. It was sugar to the 12th power and no more than a quick lick was tolerable. A disappointment – but one that could not for long undermine the warm, breezy wonder of the day.


The return of the horn blower upstairs. …the source, the impetus, the raison d’être for this blog; the reason I have to remind myself on a daily basis: DON’T KILL YOUR NEIGHBOR (Please, sir, may I?)

You know how it is: when pain disappears we have a tendency to forget about it. It’s nature’s way.

All of a sudden this evening, as I sat relaxing, watching television, I heard a sound which at first I couldn’t identify. Was someone being killed? Should I call the police? Then, with that sick, cold feeling of dread spreading from my stomach to all parts of my body, I knew…

He’s baaaaack! The sanctity of my home, my privacy, my beloved quiet – was ripped asunder once again.

Immediately, I was thrown into full-on mm (that’s murderous mode). My PIC attempted to calm me as I careened, wild-eyed through the rooms of my apartment, seeking escape from the earworm of cacophony from upstairs. I had been in a fool’s calm. The old reality was still in play.

So, the story continues, I will, each day, confront my ultimate dilemma: Should I or shouldn’t I? So far, I’m still listening to the voice which urges me:

Don’t kill your neighbor!


Without anyone stating it overtly, I’ve observed that a custom has taken hold over the past several years. It’s the practice of charging one’s phone/device in someone else’s home or office – without asking permission. Just plugging in.

Now, I don’t really know what the $ amount is for filling up, but that’s not the real point. Is there any other commodity that people feel entitled to use on another person’s dime? No. There was, in my perception, a migration which I’ve seen over time: first – it was unthinkable that someone would basically hijack your electricity for their own use; then there were the tentative requests…”would you mind, Karen, if I charged my phone?” Now it’s become an entitlement (as so many things have), and – you know how that goes – once something has crossed into that realm of “I deserve it” you can kiss your hope of undoing it goodbye.

I’ve had a few somewhat evil thoughts: I could try to make certain accessible outlets less user friendly so that the user would get a mild shock. Not thrown across the room with their hair on fire, just a jolt that says: “Really, did you think you had a right to take that?”

or – I could put up a sign: “Please leave twenty-five dollars if you charge any device. Management appreciates your cooperation.” Is that a little too stringent? Nah. I think we (the “usee’s”) have to take a stand. If not, what’s next? Workmen and delivery people helping themselves to the contents of your refrigerator? Random strangers showing up to take a nap in your bed? Once that door is opened, there’s no telling what will enter.

So…let’s stand firm against the tide of laissez-faire; let’s kick some ass and take some names (okay – maybe I’m getting just a tad too fired up).

As a bit of additional context, I do want to disclose that I’m an only child, so sharing is something I don’t necessarily do reflexively.  But, as a conscious choice, I don’t want to accede to the gobbling of my resources. I’m planting my flag and guarding my territory. Don’t tread on me…

Look for my new non-fiction book, FEAR OF LANDING, The stories we tell about commitment and their meanings. It’s available on

Also available on is my science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future, when what was once seen as a disability is merely a difference.

You can find more information about me and my books at


The influx of Citi Bikes combined with the extended “good” weather has made walking in the city a high wire act.

The bikers a) don’t stop for stop signs or red lights and b) ride on the sidewalks when the whim strikes. (Two such assholes were just coming at me traveling from Broadway to Amsterdam on W.95th St.)

I am not that young but I’m pretty agile. So I can duck and weave when necessary. But Christ on a stick (sorry for the offense), why do I have to? When did we – the perambulating rank and file – become so much potential road kill?

Is this more of the evil DeBlasio’s hidden agenda to kill us all in the service of his ultra-liberal mindlessness? I wish to have him strapped to a board (similar to a firing squad) and have a volley of bikers who aren’t really paying attention aim their two-wheeled instruments of mayhem in his direction… Let’s see him play dodgeball!!

Nothing Personal, Florida…

But, you are hot and humid and slow(er than New York) and people are way too relaxed and some of them even smile for no reason. It’s more than a body can take. On the other hand, if you want to live forever, this is the place – because one day lasts about a year.

I’m not sure why everyone migrates here after a certain age. I’m already that age (and then some) and I have zero impulse to relocate to this land of sun and surf. It doesn’t actually feel like a real place to me. That must be part of the charm – you know, the surreal “happy place.”

As an essential New Yorker (that means deep in my bones and soul and any other deep place that matters), I can only take so much happiness and cheer. I need a bit of the surly; I require that someone elbows me sharply at least once a day; and I only want a handful of smiles in any twenty-four hour period…more is just exhausting.

And that is part of my reaction to Florida: I’m exhausted. Not because I’ve been doing much physically (beyond a morning swim in the pool – which I have to admit is really nice). No, I’m more or less in languid mode. I’m exhausted because the stimulation I am used to, and therefore crave, is strangely absent. Not much in the realm of conflict (except for what I cause myself); not very much of the cold, avoidant hostility that is rampant (on a field of gnashing teeth) in the City. The zaps of irritation that are my vitamins are few and far between her in F.L.A.

Yes, it’s good to see my mother. I will continue to visit, of course. But I will also continue to bitch and moan to my Partner in Crime – much to his dismay. He…likes…Florida…

Nothing personal. Okay? I don’t want a gang of orange and grapefruit growers coming to my house late at night and throwing sand in my windows. Nor do I want testy, outraged letters from a gaggle of octogenarians taking a break from their bi-weekly bridge or bingo. Please take this as just  the ranting of a born-in-Brooklyn-lives-in-Manhattan grump who is very attached to her grumpiness.


Hate them all. Okay – trains a little less. It’s not that I’m a stationary object, I just don’t enjoy speed. Sorry, but it simply feels bad to me. Is it too cute if I say, “I do not have a need for speed?”

This issue is on my mind because I will be traveling to Florida at the end of the month. My mother is there; I can’t imagine any other reason for making the trip. So, there will be the taxi to the airport and then the dreaded flight. I’ve been waiting patiently for “beam me up Scottie” technology for lo these many years and I’m kind of out of patience. Let’s go, team! While I’m young! (Well, not exactly). And, while we’re at it, can we possibly get back into a serious pursuit of space travel?

Yeah, I know all about the space station. But, that’s not what we collectively were imagining when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. No. By now we were supposed to be terraforming planets and encountering aliens in deep space. I have watched way too much Star Trek, I admit.

But there was something so hopeful about the promise of space exploration. It was the next frontier of humanity. Isn’t it a core element of our humanity that we continue to expand in new ways? Hadn’t we taken charge of a big part of our evolution? Pushing our own boundaries rather than just going along for the evolutionary ride?

What happened? Have we succumbed to the mundane? To our earthbound reality? To becoming passive observers (i.e. endless TV, movies, internet), instead of doers and creators?

You might be wondering: How does my dislike of traveling/speed translate into my complaint about the lack of progress in space travel? Let’s not get caught up too much in logic here. Whether or not you or I will personally step into a space-bound vehicle, don’t we all need the sense of the species moving forward? You know, one giant step for mankind. And then, another.

As I white knuckle it on Jet Blue in a couple of weeks, I will not be a happy camper. I will beseech the gods of transportation to be kind to me and not fling any nasty glitches into the mix – you know, delays, equipment trouble, crazy or inebriated passengers, unplanned for re-routing. And, while I am creating my wish list, can I have at least a two-row separation from any crying baby or over-enthusiastic toddler?

After the flight, there will be the dance of the rental car. . . something that seems to be stuck in the previous century. Then, at the end of all that, we get to be in lovely, sweltering Florida in August. What a payoff. But we will see Mom and get to celebrate her 91st birthday, so I will now officially end my bitching and just grin and bear it. Okay, no grin.

My new science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, is available on It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future, when what was once seen as a disability is merely a difference. Here’s the link:

You can find more information about me and my books at


Did I mention I’m back in Harry Potterville?

Well, yes, it’s true that my mother told me life was full of disappointments. She really did. But I a) didn’t believe her and b) even if I had believed her, I would never have thought Harry Potter could be a disappointment.

But here I slog – I mean, read – trying not to become enraged at the need to deal with the script-i-ness of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (I am so identifying with the experience of being cursed). And I don’t think it feels the same without the embellishments of a novel; it’s too bare. And…it’s not pure JK. Nope. It’s a different animal.

I will probably finish it – just to find out where the story goes. But I am permanently distressed: this is a real loss. No other set of books occupies the beloved space that the Harry Potter books dwelled in. It is true that the Tales of the City series (Armistead Maupin) has its own equally exalted place of love. It’s just that the degree of cherished appreciation and enjoyment of the exploits of Harry and Hermione et al was a thing unique and most wonderful.

This “tome” is just a pale imitation. It really should be called “Harry Potter Light” or “If Only I Was Harry Potter” or something that signals it’s not up to snuff.

I spent a bit of time looking on the Internet at the reaction of other readers. Assassinations have occurred over less resentment. The natives are beyond restless; there is massive hurt and anger at the betrayal – yes, I said betrayal. We accepted that the first seven books might have been all there was. We accepted that. And then, when the whisper was heard that an eighth book was in the offing, our joint joy could have sent the Earth into a new orbit. What a gift, we thought. Life really IS good: here’s the proof.

But, no. Just like the pony you were hoping for when you were five, this is merely a wooden hobbyhorse. It will provide a small dollop of fun for a while, but then it will just be a big bore.

My new science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, is available on It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future, when what was once seen as a disability is merely a difference. Here’s the link:

You can find more information about me and my books at


 Driving in a taxi to the dentist. He’s got the radio on and I hear that the evening’s Democratic convention will highlight a speech by Bill Clinton. They say, “it will be highly personal.” What else would you expect from a narcissist?

It’s not quite egg-frying hot in the back of the cab, but it’s pretty friggin’ warm. I just asked the driver to up the fan/air conditioning, but the result is negligible. The industrial strength plastic divider (protecting the driver from being shot by a disgruntled passenger) is keeping him cool, but blocking the flow of air. Note to self: take one of the newer cabs on the return trip.

I arrive at 2:17 for a 2:30 appointment. The receptionist tells me I was scheduled for 4:30. Really? Am I losing it? I leave and take a taxi home (that’s now about $20 in unnecessary New York transportation money). The driver asks me where I want to cross the park (from east side to west side). I say 86th/87th Street (transverse). He then crosses at 79th Street. I decide not to say anything. It’s just one of those days.

I arrive at home and immediately check not only my appointment book, but the “reminder” notice the dentist’s office had sent several days prior. My appointment was, in fact, at 2:30 as I thought. I call the office, get a bit of a stupid reaction from the receptionist that takes way too long to clear up. Will I get a discount now, when I return next week? Not bloody likely.

My new science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, is available on It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future. Here’s the link:

You can find more information about me and my books at

Mean streets, part 2

Four wheeled beasts

In New York, we beat on the car that has overshot the cross walk and is sitting out there interfering with pedestrians. We do the same to the car (typically it’s a taxi) that has ignored a traffic light and turned the corner, missing you by a hair. We yell and even curse the bad driver who doesn’t stop in time or who barrels through a yellow-turning-to-red light. But even New York moxie doesn’t truly minimize the rapidly ramping up the danger of bad or mindless or hostile driving.

Getting drenched by the car that must drive full speed through the pooling water near the curb – that is certainly maddening.

The fools who are texting while driving are real bulls in my china shop. Their pure disdain for eyes-on-the-road driving is inconceivable to me, but it’s going on at an alarming and increasing rate. Not much better are the drivers who multitask: women putting on makeup, folks eating a big deli sandwich, mothers disciplining children in the back seat. The one- or, occasionally, no-hand driving scares the crap out of me. I think they are counting on Jesus taking the wheel. Well, it has been my observation that he seldom does. Crashes with other cars, the taking of pedestrian life or limb…that’s the much more likely outcome.

Now, I have an idea – maybe even a money-making one. Let’s design and market head-to-toe body armor for those of us who want to walk in the street. It might have to look a little like a spacesuit to insure that it has enough buffering to protect the wearer; and a head-covering helmet should be attached – it’s those head injuries that are the most dire. Ungainly and uncomfortable though this may be, it will certainly save lives. Like astronauts suits, it can be constructed to have a heating and cooling system – to accommodate all weather. We’ll all wind up looking a lot like RoboCop. Is that a bad thing?

Let me know what you think.

FYI: my new science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, is available on It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future. Here’s the link:

You can find more information about me and my books at

The mean streets, part 1

Just a simple walk down the street has changed. This has happened over time, but – as with most things – the change is incremental and is only noticeable when it gets substantial enough. It then crosses the threshold of awareness.

Well, doesn’t that sound scientific and erudite? Permit me to change modes:

It’s a jungle out there! The animals have taken over the zoo. It’s dangerous on a basic level. So – heads up! Pay attention! Or you will be mowed down.

Here’s what I’m talking about: It has become heart-stoppingly common for people (and that would be men and women and teenagers and children) to never move over when approaching you head on. It becomes a game of chicken and I’m always the chicken – because I see the nihilistic gleam in the eyes of the person coming toward me. It conveys their position: They WILL die rather than acquiesce. If I fail to adjust, there will be a collision. It has happened many times when I was less than cognizant.

And then there is a variation on this theme. It is the glancing shoulder bump. You can’t see it coming, because it isn’t that obvious that there is an entire person in your path. I’m not sure how much of it is intentional, but I find myself all-to-frequently trying to rub the pain out of my arm or shoulder because the person – who hasn’t missed a step and is now several paces behind me – just hit me with their bony shoulder. No excuse me; no oops; no sorry; not even a look of acknowledgment.

Another hostile maneuver is the swinging of an arm or a package so that it is right in your path. And you know (from prior street encounters) that it will hit you. Whatever it is (body part or box of small weights), it has been weaponized. If you’re paying attention, you see it up ahead and have time to zig or zag to keep from getting whacked. This seems even more aggressive than the other acts of road hositility; it seems like an assault looking for a place to happen. It doesn’t make it any better that the swinger of death tends to be about six feet tall. It just makes the diameter of his swing (it’s almost always a man) that much wider.

I am road kill. Or potential road kill. As are you if you don’t pay attention. So we must dodge and weave and try not to lose our balance and try not to trip and fall. As I said, it’s a freakin’ jungle out there.

This does not even begin to take into account the oh-so-many crazies and would-be felons who are sprinkled generously into the populous.


FYI: my new science fiction novel, RAYMÒN AND SUNSHINE, is available on It’s about the relationship between an autistic man and a female android three hundred years in the future. Here’s the link:

You can find more information about me and my books at