Sunday, July 27, 2008

Memo to Self: Don't Quit Your Job

After freelancing for 15 months and seeing my unemployment run out, I found a full-time job. Thanks to Governor Paterson, if I had still been looking I would now be eligible for another 13 weeks of benefits. See the graphic for an important adviso from the NY State Dept. of Labor.


My daughter is taking a semester in France. She's a French major so this isn't a dilettante on holiday. She's got spunk, a lot more than me, and I like spunk. I was talking to my brother-in-law about his electric bill and his kids turning on the air conditioner too much. I offered to trade my cell phone bill with international roaming for his electric bill. Yup, it costs more to pay a cell phone bill that to run a house.


Best joke I've heard in a while, from Conan O'Brien:
John McCain invited his grandchildren to visit him for Father's Day. Unfortunately they couldn't make it. They were all busy visiting their grandchildren.

I love my family but I lose a lot of respect for their judgment when they all watch Big Brother.


One night I was watching that odd show, Classic Arts Showcase, on late night cable. A performance by the Comedian Harmonists, a highly popular German singing group from the 1920s and '30s was shown performing "Happy Days Are Here Again" in German and also in English It led me to this great movie about the group. The beauty of song is juxtaposed against the rising Nazi regime, who eventually destroy the group because half the members are Jewish. The harmonies are sublime and I recommend this movie on every level, especially if you love 20th century music such as The Four Lads, the Beach Boys, or the Manhattan Transfer. I especially enjoyed their trip to America, where artful camera shots placed them in Central Park, the Empire State Building, and the Statue of Liberty. Note: The Algonquin Hotel is shown under the Brooklyn Bridge and that's a minor quibble.


My new company has great benefits, free bagels every week, summer hours, after work mixers, a good retirement plan, nice people. Have I been so used and abused in other jobs so much that when I stumble into a good thing I don't trust it? I blame seeing The Twilight Zone, "How to Serve Man" for this subconscious dread.


In the words of Ben Folds, it sucks to get old. When he heard Ed McMahon was broke, Kimmel offered him a new/old job, TV pitchman. Ed needs the money. How did Ed end up broke? There's a Who's Who of old guys in showbiz take young wives and their lives and afterlives take a turn for the worse.

Ed told Larry King, "I want to speak for the million people [in America] who now have foreclosure signs on their houses...If you spend more money than you make, you know what happens," he said. "A couple of divorces thrown in, a few things like that." Ed's wife said "Over the years, it's a combination of maybe Ed working so hard and not looking at proper management. We didn't keep our eye on the ball. We made mistakes. It's been tough but somehow our marriage is strong."

My analysis: Cagney was very ill and fell under the thrall of a women who exploited him and made him do a TV movie when he couldn't even talk. Astaire married a women who, after he died, sold his image to sell a vacuum cleaner. Kelly danced to heaven and his young wife had him cremated before his children could see the body. TMZ reports this new Mrs. McMahon spends a lot of money and could this be why Ed had to overextend himself, to pay her bills? I wish Johnny were here to help him out.

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