July 18, 2015

  • I've Stopped Looking for Work

    I've stopped looking for work.

    That's the bad news.  The good news is that I'm volunteering, on a daily basis, at the Alzheimer Parkinson Association of Indian River County.  And I'm happy as a clam.  Finally, I've stopped obsessing about the huge injustice that was done to me, and to the Indian River Medical Center, when security was outsourced to an incompetent contractor for the purpose of stinting on money so that employees could lose their jobs, patients can be cheated of decent care, and all so that the hospital executives could continue to line their pockets.

    Well, okay, it's obvious that I'm still obsessing a little bit.  But just a little bit.  Honest.  I've finally begun the process of letting go of the injustice, thanks to the immense pleasure and satisfaction that I'm getting at AlzPark.   Hmm.  I still can't publish a hyperlink.  Try going to http://www.alzpark.org/info.php for more info.  (AlzPark's home page is badly outdated.  Fixing it is one of the things I'll be able to help with.)

    I'd rather help those folks for no pay, as I'm doing, than subject myself to the kind of employee abuse I can expect at most jobs.  What I used to have at the hospital was too good to be true.  A job I loved, and a job that loved me back.  Nothing that great can last forever, even though I thought it would.

    OK, the announcement has been made.  My job search is over, and I've found a situation that I love.


July 15, 2015

  • Go Set a Watchman

    I'm probably the slowest reader you ever met.  That's partly because I like to reread and savor interesting sentences.   And I never got into speed-reading anyway.

    I say this to emphasize my recommendation that you read (and savor) Harper Lee's controversial newly released novel, "Go Set a Watchman."  I could not put the book down, and finished it in less than two days.  A normally fast reading time for me, for a book that size, is two weeks.  Or two months.  But don't think that it's a long book.  It's practically a novelette.  Like I said.  I'm probably the slowest reader you ever met.

    WARNING:  It is complex.  Complexity is not a bad thing, though some people think it is.  Complexity just means:  hard to understand without great effort.  I remember there was this lady I was dating, who decided she wanted to terminate our relationship.  And her revelatory words were:  "You're very complex."  She meant it as an insult, and I was too naive to take it that way.  I AM complex.  Enough of that.

    I hasten to point out:  everything I've read from commentators and reviewers is WRONG.  I think, because the novel is too complex for them to understand.  But I'm done talking about complexity.

    My assumption is:  everyone knows about the classic first novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird," which was made into a magnificent movie starring Gregory Peck as the 55-year-old small-town southern lawyer, Atticus Finch.  A larger-than-life lawyer hero, beloved by all.


    What may NOT be general knowledge is:

    Harper Lee wrote "Go Set a Watchman" first.   It happened to be so full of interesting flashbacks that the publisher to whom it was submitted asked Ms. Lee to write the prequel that became "To Kill a Mockingbird."  Just last year "Watchman" was discovered, and now it's in print.  And the nutty reviewers are just as disillusioned as Atticus's daughter Scout, who is appalled that, 17 years later, the father she's always looked up to is an out-and-out racist.

    Very well.  Prepare to be shocked.  The reviewers were shocked.  I was shocked.  And you will be, too.  Maybe you'll hate the book, but I sure didn't.  Just the opposite.



    I did find one decent review so far, written by Lawrence Hill at www.theglobeandmail.com

    Here is how he explains the new publication's title:


    The book takes its title from Isaiah 21:6: “For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.” In this line, the prophet Isaiah is predicting the fall of Babylon. Just as Babylon will fall in the Bible, perhaps Maycomb County – a place where black people live in poverty and are condemned to second-class citizenship and to jail for crimes they do not commit – will one day fall, too.

June 14, 2015

  • How To Fix the World

    How to fix the world.  The list of problems is a mile long.  Wage gaps.  Overpopulated prisons.  Violence.  Corrupt politicians.  Untreated mental illnesses.  I could fix them all, in one fell swoop, if the world would just listen to me.

    A mandatory ethics unit, every semester, from kindergarten through college.  If only a few of the world's richest -- I think Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have already announced their willingness -- to put their billions to constructive use -- we could get 'er done.

    Raise teacher salaries.  Put the unemployed to work rebuilding our infrastructure, and spend the rest on training enough guidance counselors and classroom aides so that the 5-, 10-, and 15-year-old snickerers are stopped in their tracks when ethics are mentioned in classrooms.

    We have to start somewhere, right?

    In a perfect world designed by me, we would have Enlightened Management at all our companies.  Instead of lining executive pockets, employees would be paid a living wage, violence would be outlawed, and mental illness would be de-stigmatized so that people could get the help they need.  HIPAA wouldn't be necessary because companies would be ethically bound not to hold illness against people.  (Mental OR physical.)

    I don't expect any of this to happen, of course.  But wouldn't it be wonderful if people could just talk about it?

June 6, 2015

  • Tiger's worst round ever

    How far is it possible to fall?  As it stands, Jack Nicklaus is still the greatest golfer in history.  At least I think he'd win if every knowledgeable person had a vote.  But Tiger was, for a period of 10 years, the most dominant golfer ever.  No question.  He was SO dominant that I have a friend who is absolutely certain that Tiger will again be as dominant as he once was.

    Nothing's impossible, but that sure SEEMS impossible, at least to me.

    Currently, I'm in mourning for the current state of Tiger's game.  I'm also in mourning for the appalling notions that are creeping into my mind.

    Tiger has never been in prison, and I don't imagine he'll ever sink THAT low.  (Again, nothing's impossible.)

    But what's appalling is that when I try to think of public figures who have dropped as far as Tiger, two of the three are sports figures who have been in prison, and the other is Richard Nixon, who should have been jailed.

    I'm thinking of Pete Rose and O.J. Simpson.  And again, I apologize to myself and to everyone else for linking the three.  Woods is nowhere near as horrible a person as Rose, and Rose is nowhere near as horrible a person as Simpson.  (Nixon ranks between Rose and Simpson.)

    More later, maybe.  I'm going to watch TV with Barbara now.  We're getting ready for the Belmont Stakes, but first we're going to eat an early dinner.



    More thoughts, following American Pharoah's wonderful race to the triple crown.  (I hate misspelling pharaoh, but I guess I don't have a choice.  The horse's misspelled name is an established fact.)

    About Tiger's problems.  He's made other major swing changes through the years, which confounds observers.  He's always trying to get better, and he was successful with those changes, and it's hard to quarrel with success.  Maybe he'll get good again, because he's got the talent and the dedication to pull it off.  But what I'm thinking is, his former swing methods were probably responsible for his knee and back problems.  Just about any golf swing is so unnatural that it creates stresses on various body parts.  Now that Tiger's been through reconstructed knee and through back surgery, he's created a new swing that he hopes will allow him to stay physically healthy.  Will his age and body permit a return to competency?  (Greatness is another question.)  And, in words close to what Yogi Berra once said, 50% of golf is 90% mental.  Yes, Tiger's mental state is questionable, too.

    I wish him well, but I'm not optimistic.  It's just so sad, right now, to see him struggle this much.

May 23, 2015

  • What happened to Google Chrome?

    I guess I have to call the computer doctor again.  Turned on the 'puter this morning, clicked on Google Chrome and Google came up instead of this page.  Then there was some message saying that Norton added some shit and I said don't add and now the Chrome icon is still there but nothing happens.

    At least good old Internet Explorer is still here.

May 12, 2015

  • Tom Brady's 4-Game Suspension

    It's likely to be reduced to just two games on appeal.  I say that for two reasons.  All the wise guys (such as Mike Lupica) predict as much, and who am I to disagree with Mike Lupica?  And secondly, there's the cynical reason that the NFL doesn't want to lose the ratings for the Patriots-Cowboys game, and so they'll get the fix in for the appeal to be successful.  (Maybe that's why Lupica predicted what he did.)

    Though I'm not a Patriots fan, and though I cohabit this house with Barbara, who thinks Brady should get the heaviest penalty that law will allow (that already has not happened), I'm way on Brady's side on this one.  Despite the seriousness of cheating.  And despite the smirk that was so obviously on his face when he fielded questions in January.  And despite his refusal to cooperate with the investigation by turning over his cellphone and email logs.

    This is why.

    They all do it.  Brady just got caught.

    If you're not cheating, you're not trying.

    That's the sad truth of it.  In competitive activities, it's wonderfully noble of you to follow all the rules religiously, but when everybody you're competing with is cheating, you simply have to cheat.  Hell, I'm starting to rethink my objection to admitting Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    There was a college course I took once.  I was staying up all night studying for the final exam (which was to be graded on the curve) and my friends said to me, "Didn't you know there was a cold copy of that test available?  [So and so] has it."  So of course I contacted so and so, because I didn't what to flunk a course I'd worked my ass off in all semester.  I was forced to cheat.  Or accept a poor grade on my transcript that I didn't deserve.  Yeah, I can hear your argument that I should have done exactly that.  Be righteous.  I'll concede you could be right, but I did what I did, and I know I'm a righteous person even if you don't think so.

    Not saying Tom Brady is righteous, but ...

    If you're not cheating, you're not trying.

    On the other hand, I'm not criticizing Roger Goodell here, because he HAD to drop the hammer.  Especially after his weaselly responses to domestic violence.  Even though there's no comparison.  And even though the irony is obvious.


April 27, 2015

  • If You Love Football, Quit Reading Now

    Actually, I still kind of enjoy the game, but I still count myself as one who's trying to quit watching, and supporting, the 21st-century version of Gladiatorial Combat, where it's regarded as entertainment to watch healthy men (and boys) put their bodies and brains at unconscionable risk.

    The reason I'm writing is to express my admiration for the page make-up editors of my favorite newspaper, The New York Times.

    Did you see the sports page this morning?  More white space than print.  Obviously, the editors wanted us to read the sole article printed on that page, and I've already gone online to see The Times called out for being shamelessly manipulative, but that's somebody else's opinion, not mine.

    I used to work in the newspaper biz, and page layout was a specialty of mine, but today's idea was one that had never occurred to me.

    In case you haven't figured out what that sole featured article was about, it was a "shamelessly manipulative" piece about the sad story of a star high school running back who grew up to be a young, perpetually confused and perpetually depressed adult who called his mother up on the phone so that she could be a witness to his suicide.  Just like that.

    The point of the Times typography department was that this was too important a story for readers to skip over.  Yeah, editorial opinion was a factor.  If you don't agree with the Times, deal with it.  But whether or not you agree, it's possible to applaud their genius.

April 18, 2015

  • Farewell, Yoo-Hoo

    Farewell, Yoo-Hoo

    Today's a sad day.  Yoo-Hoo is my Jack Russell - rat terrier mix that I brought home from the Humane Society in August of 1998.  It was that month that I met my wife Barbara, when I took Yoo-Hoo in to meet the vets and techs at the Village Animal Clinic.  Barbara had just moved to Vero Beach, and when on our first meeting she addressed me as Mr. Lipton, I asked her nicely to call me Bob and she said, "OK, Mr. Lipton."  The rest is history.

    Yoo-Hoo is now 19, going on 20, and I don't want her to suffer a single day of infirmity and pain.  We've been watching her, and it's time.  She'll be going to Doggie Heaven on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge, around 4 p.m. this afternoon.


    There was a post I created on October 5, 2005.  If I have time, I'll try to repost it here.  But in the meantime, readers can use the calendar on the left side of this page to find that post.

    Ah!  Here 'tis:


    Five Songs That Knock Me Out


    Libby (Iby1014) has tagged me to list five songs that I am "currently passionate about."  I retitled the category in tribute to my friend Lionne, who uses that phrase -- "knock me out" -- in a way that, well, knocks me out.  Coincidentally, Libby tagged Lionne at the same time as she tagged me.


    In no particular order:


    "For Once in My Life."   The recording I most remember is by Tony Bennett, but Google emphasizes Stevie Wonder and Frank Sinatra.  Either my memory is whacked or Google is.  What is special about this song?  Here's the story.  There's this little Jack Russell Terrier/fox terrier mix at my house named Yoo-Hoo.  I fell in love with her during my five years of volunteering to work with the adoption dogs at our local Humane Society.  Yoo-Hoo had already flunked out of two homes.  I mean, she was adopted twice, and returned twice to the Humane Society as being incorrigible.  She had separation anxiety, and could not be left alone in a house.  She'd claw down the drapes, she'd howl till her people came home, she was impossible to live with.


    Because of some special talent I have, the Humane Society people asked me to work regularly with the difficult dogs.  I took personal charge of Yoo-Hoo for nine months, but every potential adopter was scared off by the stories of her previous behavior.  Finally, I couldn't stand the thought of her being put down eventually, so I took her home with me, even though I already had two dogs and two is the number of dogs I like to have.  (Ever since that day, there have been from three to five dogs in this house.  Someday it'll be two again.  I can only dream.)


    Anyway, I was taking Yoo-Hoo to a nursing home for a pet therapy visit.  She was in the passenger seat and that song came on the radio.  The lyrics so incredibly fit her situation.  For once in her desperately unhappy life, she had someone (me) who needed her and wouldn't desert her.  That song has knocked me out, ever since.  Yoo-Hoo is still intractable and difficult to live with, has to stay in a crate unless I'm home to supervise, and no matter how tired and busy I am, she gets her walkies twice a day.  But the love in her eyes, you have to see to appreciate.


    For once in my life I have someone who needs me,
    Someone I've needed so long.
    For once, unafraid, I can go where life leads me
    And somehow I know I'll be strong.

    For once I can touch what my heart used to dream of
    Long before I knew
    Someone warm like you
    Would make my dreams come true.


    For once in my life I won't let sorrow hurt me
    Not like it hurt me before.
    For once, I have someone I know won't desert me
    I'm not alone anymore.

    For once, I can say, this is mine, you can't take it.
    As long as I know I have love, I can make it
    For once in my life, I have someone who needs me.




    "You Light Up My Life."  This has to be listed for two reasons, besides the fact that Debby Boone did such a wonderful job with it.  There's a music box on our bedstead that plays that song when you wind it up.  It was one of the first gifts I ever bought for Barbara, back when we were courting.  A glass bubble with snow that falls after you turn it upside down and back again, and a cat sitting on a throne, on the inside of the bubble.  At the base, outside the bubble, is a sleeping cat whose head is against a ball of yarn and its paws are entangled in two loose strings of the yarn.  And the second reason this song knocks me out is that it reminds me of my late wife Marvis.  One day when she was away from the house, she called home just to tell me to turn on the radio.  "Our song" was playing.


    So many nights, I'd sit by my window,
    Waiting for someone to sing me his song.
    So many dreams, I kept deep inside me,
    Alone in the dark, but now you've come along.

    And you light up my life,
    You give me hope, to carry on.
    You light up my days
    And fill my nights with song.

    Rollin' at sea, adrift on the waters
    Could it be finally, I'm turning for home
    Finally a chance to say, "hey, I love you."
    Never again to be all alone.

    And you light up my life,
    You give me hope, to carry on.
    You light up my days
    And fill my nights with song.

    You, you light up my life
    You give me hope to carry on
    You light up my days
    And fill my nights with song
    It can't be wrong, when it feels so right
    'cause you, you light up my life




    "Slip Slidin' Away" Words & music by Paul Simon


    All of Simon's lyrics are amazing.  This is just one of many I can name.  What do these words mean to me?  They're about how elusive our goals are.  About how difficult it is to choose the right path.  About how after we get what we think we wanted, we realize we went down the wrong path in the first place, and have to start all over.  About how we're so afraid we'll actually achieve our goals, there might be nothing else to aim for, nothing else to aspire to, no reason to go on living.  These stanzas say all those things to me, and more.


    Slip slidin' away
    Slip slidin' away
    You know the nearer your destination
    The more you're slip slidin' away.

    I know a man
    He came from my home town
    He wore his passion for his woman
    Like a thorny crown
    He said "Delores,
    I live in fear
    My love for you's so overpowering
    I'm afraid that I will disappear."

    Slip slidin' away
    Slip slidin' away
    You know the nearer your destination
    The more you're slip slidin' away.

    I know a woman
    Became a wife.
    These are the very words she uses
    To describe her life.
    She said a good day
    Ain't got no rain;
    She said a bad day's when I lie in bed
    And think of things that might have been.

    Slip slidin' away
    Slip slidin' away
    You know the nearer your destination
    The more you're slip slidin' away.

    And I know a father
    Who had a son.
    He longed to tell him all the reasons
    For the things he'd done.
    He came a long way
    Just to explain.
    He kissed his boy as he lay sleeping
    Then he turned around and headed home again.

    Slip slidin' away
    Slip slidin' away
    You know the nearer your destination
    The more you're slip slidin' away.

    God only knows.
    God makes his plan.
    The information's unavailable
    To the mortal man.
    We work our jobs,
    Collect our pay,
    Believe we're gliding down the highway
    When in fact we're slip slidin' away.

    Slip slidin' away
    Slip slidin' away
    You know the nearer your destination
    The more you're slip slidin' away.

    Slip slidin' away
    You know the nearer your destination
    The more you're slip slidin' away




    What am I up to?  Three songs?  Two left to choose?  Hell, I can't choose just one OR two from the many antiwar songs that move me.  Here's however many I feel like hunting up the lyrics for:




    "The Last Farewell"


    There's a ship lies rigged and ready in the harbor
    Tomorrow for old England she sails
    Far away from your land of endless sunshine
    To my land full of rainy skies and gales


    And I shall be aboard that ship tomorrow
    Though my heart is full of tears at this farewell
    For you are beautiful, and I
     have loved you dearly
    More dearly than the spoken word can tell
    For you are beautiful, and I
     have loved you dearly
    More dearly than the spoken word can tell

    I've heard there's a wicked war a-blazing
    And the taste of war I know so very well
    Even now I see the foreign flag a-raising
    Their guns on fire as we sail into hell
    I have no fear of death, it brings no sorrow
    But how bitter will be this last farewell.

    For you are beautiful, and I have loved you dearly
    More dearly than the spoken word can tell
    For you are beautiful, and I have loved you dearly
    More dearly than the spoken word can tell

    Though death and darkness gather all about me
    My ship be torn apart upon the seas
    I shall smell again the fragrance of these islands
    And the heaving waves that brought me once to thee


    And should I return home safe again to England
    I shall watch the English mist roll through the dale
    For you are beautiful, and I have loved you dearly
    More dearly than the spoken word can tell
    For you are beautiful, and I have loved you dearly
    More dearly than the spoken word can tell




    "The White Cliffs of Dover"


    There'll be bluebirds over
    The white cliffs of Dover
    Tomorrow, just you wait and see
    There'll be love and laughter
    And peace ever after
    Tomorrow, when the world is free.

    The shepherd will tend his sheep
    The valley will bloom again
    And Johnny will go to sleep
    In his own little room again.

    There'll be bluebirds over
    The white cliffs of Dover
    Tomorrow, just you wait and see...!




    And the next one you might not consider an antiwar song, but it always sounds that way to me, somehow:




    "Danny Boy" 


    Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
    From glen to glen and down the mountainside
    The summer's gone and all the roses falling,
    'tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.
    But come ye back when summer's in the meadow,
    Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow,
    'tis I'll be there in sunshine or in shadow,
    Oh, Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.

    And when you come and all the flowers are dying,
    If I am dead - as dead as I well may be -
    Ye'll come and find the place where I am lying
    And kneel and say a prayer for me;
    And I shall hear, though soft you tread above me,
    And all my grave shall warmer, sweeter be,
    And ye shall bend and tell me that you love me,
    And I shall sleep in peace until you come to me.




    And speaking of flowers, and antiwar, there is of course:


    "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?"


    Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the flowers gone?
    Young girls have picked them everyone.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where have all the young girls gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the young girls gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the young girls gone?
    Gone for husbands everyone.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where have all the husbands gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the husbands gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the husbands gone?
    Gone for soldiers everyone
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where have all the soldiers gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the soldiers gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the soldiers gone?
    Gone to graveyards, everyone.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where have all the graveyards gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the graveyards gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the graveyards gone?
    Gone to flowers, everyone.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?

    Where have all the flowers gone, long time passing?
    Where have all the flowers gone, long time ago?
    Where have all the flowers gone?
    Young girls have picked them everyone.
    Oh, when will they ever learn?
    Oh, when will they ever learn?




    And the granddaddy of them all:


    "Blowin' in the Wind"


    How many roads must a man walk down
    Before they call him a man?
    How many seas must a white dove sail
    Before she sleeps in the sand?
    How many times must the cannon balls fly
    Before they're forever banned?

    The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
    The answer is blowin' in the wind.

    How many years must a mountain exist
    Before it is washed to the sea?
    How many years can some people exist
    Before they're allowed to be free?
    How many times can a man turn his head
    And pretend that he just doesn't see?

    The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
    The answer is blowin' in the wind.

    How many times must a man look up
    Before he can see the sky?
    How many ears must one man have
    Before he can hear people cry?
    How many deaths will it take till he knows
    That too many people have died?

    The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind
    The answer is blowin' in the wind.
    The answer is blowin' in the wind.




    Somebody please tell me it was Bob Dylan who wrote this song, or if he didn't, who did?




    [Thursday edit]  I forgot the rules, I think.  Am I supposed to tag somebody?  Some have tagged five, some have tagged two, I'll tag three:



April 14, 2015

  • Job Hunting.  Music.  Golf.

    The same old same old keeps getting samer and older.  But since it's a good life, I'm not complaining.  It could be gooder -- I mean better -- if I could be gainfully employed again.  Retirement would suit me -- I'm old enough -- but being underfoot at home tends to annoy my dear wife -- and extra spending money plus the FUN of working, not to mention the feeling of being needed, being productive, having structure -- means I really do wish a bookstore will summon me already.

    Concerts.  I was at a couple over the weekend.  They were between OK and good, but not great enough to make me regret I didn't see every single stroke of Jordan Spieth's sensational win at the Masters.  First up was Friday night when we heard the visiting BBC Concert Orchestra in a performance of mostly British music -- my least favorite source of classical works.  I don't mean to offend anyone, and I do especially love Edward Elgar's pieces (of which we heard only a bit, an encore whose title I don't remember).  And I have to admit, conductor Keith Lockhart chose well.  William Walton's March Crown Imperial was a rousing opener of the second half of the program, and even more rousing was the finale, Benjamin Britten's Fugue on a Theme of Purcell, better known as "Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra."  I always love it when the percussion section is featured.  More about that later when I talk about Sunday's afternoon concert.  Oh, and I almost forgot to say.  My favorite performance from Friday night was that of pianist Charlie Albright, who was featured soloist for Ravel's Concerto in G Major.  He awesome.

    On to Sunday, when I gave up the first few hours of the Masters' TV coverage to take Barbara to an afternoon concert offered by our wonderful Space Coast Symphony Orchestra.  A fine reading of Barber's Adagio for Strings, followed by a concerto for oboe and strings composed by Kevin Puts.  Soloist was Kristin Naigus, who can be researched at www.field-of-reeds.net.  After intermission came the featured work, the Carmen Suite for Strings & Percussion, composed by Rodio Shchedrin for his wife, ballerina Maya Plisetskaya.  Fantastic imaginative coloring of sounds from instruments you don't normally hear together.  The music was familiar, but the sound was not.  Highly enjoyable and well-performed.

    Welcome to greatness, Jordan Spieth.

    What's in the future, no one knows.  Either a rivalry between Spieth and Rory McIlroy to rival the old rivalry between Arnie and Jack, or will we have a whole host of champions from young guns like Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, and Daniel Berger (not to mention the usual suspects Keegan Bradley, Brandt Snedeker, Hunter Mahan, Adam Scott)?

    Right now, it looks as if Spieth and McIlroy are a few cuts above the others.

    Seems I segued from music to golf without warning you.  The great thing about blogging is that I can do whatever I want, without an editor breathing down my neck.

April 7, 2015

  • Why Work in a Bookstore?

    Why Do I Want To Work in a Bookstore?

    It's been a lifelong dream, for one thing.  Bucket-list.

    Experience in dealing with the public -- careers in university public relations, Las Vegas gaming tables, hospital security -- have created both a desire and ability to help people.  Combine this with knowledge in a wide variety of subjects -- I have New York Times crossword puzzles to thank for that -- and if you're a bookstore owner, you really do want to at least give me an interview.

    Haven't read a whole lot of books.  Wanna know why?  As an accomplished tournament Scrabble player -- I was the only U.S. competitor to vie in all six world championship tournaments between 1993 and 2003 -- most of my reading needed to be focused on words deemed valid in Scrabble.  Like "wanna."  Not valid in the U.S., but OK in international events.

    Besides averaging more than 10 years apiece in the three careers cited above, I've had a penchant for volunteering, which has widened my knowledge in areas as diverse as music (radio announcer in KNPR Las Vegas), dog obedience and pet therapy (Indian River Humane Society), computers (the now defunct Senior Net in Vero Beach, which helped seniors learn to get more value out of their computers), and library science (currently volunteering at the Indian River County Library).

    I can get to work on time!   You laugh.  But 16 years of working the 4 a.m. to noon shift at Las Vegas's Horseshoe Casino makes me an early riser, so no worries.

    Consider my key strengths:  Intelligence, Friendliness, Honesty, Compassion.  Here's anecdotal "proof" of honesty:

    1.  At the Horseshoe, I survived three outright purges.  "Fire all the dealers," said the boss.  "Somebody's been stealing."  But they couldn't fire too many at one time.  At the end of all three purges, I was still there.  They just knew it wasn't me they were after.

    2.  And then there was the time a larcenous visitor came to the hospital, lied about falling out of a courtesy cart, and was proved to be lying when the free Emergency Room examination found no indication, internal or external.  Still looking to win a frivolous lawsuit, she accused me of stealing drugs out of her purse when, at her request, I placed a copy of the Visitor Fall report inside said purse.  Three different hospital executives said to me, and I paraphrase:  -- Of all people to accuse, she picked the wrong person.

    Yes, gratifying.