Category Archives: Observed

Just Listen/The Jane and Her Whore

Through eloquence the couple riding in the taxi’s darkened backseat elevates their smut into an elegance unusual to Las Vegas.

Most of what the driver Lewy hears during his night-into-day shift is worse than repetitive. It’s boring, demonstrating a lack of inventiveness as well as class.

Lewy considers himself doubly fortunate. Not only is the fare lengthy, but the pair seated behind him mark early morning miles with intricate rather than mundane or raunchy conversation. To put a cherry atop all this they also converse in Italian.

Before the ride commences, Lewy gauges his passengers. Under hotel valet lights he appraised them, then once they climbed inside from the rearview mirror. Somewhere in their 50s, he intuits that while together they aren’t an established couple. His workweeks consist of seeing many pairs who’ve used the “anything goes!” behind Las Vegas to temporarily sidestep propriety and fidelity.

Fortunately, he never put much stock in morality. Especially others’ morality. Continue reading Just Listen/The Jane and Her Whore

Annual Discretion

Inside the lounge of a swank Las Vegas hotel sits a couple. Pier Paolo and Virna, both are on first glance unremarkable. Not invisible or undeserving of attention, but so absolutely placid neither grabs the eye instantly.

How unlike so many visitors to Vice City. And these are visitors.

The place, time of evening, marks them as out-of-towners. Rendering them conspicuous is their comportment. Neither revels. In fact ennui almost squeezes their compact table.

Night has deepened. Clubbing glad rags nor any increasingly acceptable casual into slovenly styles mar them. Although casually attired, their garment labels are high-end. These they wear with elegance equal to their bearing.

Observers could assume Pier Paolo and Virna a married couple. Around each other they exhibit almost a certain lassitude, an indifference, towards one another. Isn’t that common of long-settled pairs? Besides, wedding rings encircle the proper fingers.

It’s hard to determine who looks the most bored. Perhaps they are distracted or seek distraction. Continue reading Annual Discretion

Black Tail

Not only does Las Vegas facilitate transience, the city also encourages wading into life’s wild sides. Some visitors plunge in yet escape unscathed. A few who get in over their heads drown.

The adventurous, the curious, those thwarted elsewhere visit Vice City to conduct themselves in manners frowned upon at home. Here, they escape prying eyes and those judgmental acquaintances who squint through them. Since the city caters to inhibitions like few others, visitors can indulge among the similarly-minded and not fret about earning much, if any, opprobrium.

After all, everybody being immersed in some hip-deep misbehavior by choice should limit hypocrisy. Continue reading Black Tail

American Fly

Happy New Year!

Ancient Greeks would’ve most appreciated Bill Cosby’s contretemps. Mightn’t his plight have become their meat? From it a Greek playwright might’ve scribed then bequeathed us one tragedy which not only could’ve still informed us today, but presented a template to the sullied comedian’s fate.

Let there be no mistake. What has befallen Cosby is fate. Continue reading American Fly

Who Was Oisk?

A vintage sportswear retailer issued a baseball catalogue a short time ago. Its cover featured a forlorn boy amid the ruins of what had been the quirky splendor of Ebbets Field, one-time home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. They had abandoned the ballpark and borough for Los Angeles. Their old address was being razed for low-income housing.

The dejected boy toted a bat and glove. By his demeanor both destruction and departure confused him. Doubtlessly he had been a true-blue Dodgers fan.

Can’t imagine such devotion today. Sports franchises routinely extort municipalities for taxpayer funded improvements and fresh facilities. Free agency has broken once solid binds between players and fans.

Even our old baseball cathedrals are no longer sacrosanct.

There should’ve been an outcry and defense for old Yankee Stadium similar to that which spared Grand Central Terminal sharing the fate of McKim and White’s Penn Station. Instead, wrecking balls demolished the House That Ruth Built. And while the team simply moved across 161st Street, the old edifice’s aura remained put. Monumental as the new structure is, the Yankees’ glorious continuity is broken.

Ghosts do not travel. Not even in the Bronx. Continue reading Who Was Oisk?

Sometimes a Quaint Notion

A worthy gridiron rival recently shamed alma mater on national television. That’s great. It’s just the sort of trip/fall/lose-that-ball pie in the face which should prompt donations from already alligator-armed fellow alums.

Eh. Probably not.

What resulted fell into the tiger pit of unintended consequences and receiving just desserts. Prestige game as it was, if Arizona administration had treated outside forces with less deference and considered the homefolks above mammon, it may’ve improved the squad’s chances of victory. Surely less embarrassment would’ve ensued.

My school went for the cash. The do-re-mi, baby. A major sports network dangled a big bag of money before the accountants who today determine the athletic department’s direction. Bottom-line nabobs as they are lucre trumped the old virtues. Any old virtues. No one even bothered with lip service about “the fans.”

So making greed is good palatable, that Saturday also became an opportunity to promote the university’s “brand.” Just the sort of fresh-scented aerosol which ought have allayed most of the unsavory stink. Continue reading Sometimes a Quaint Notion

… But Necessary Nonetheless

Screw John Hersey.

He actually covered (as a war correspondent, Hersey wasn’t a combatant) both theaters during World War II, yet his much lauded New Yorker article describing the aftermath of Little Boy on Hiroshima is steadily transforming the conflict’s concluding factor into a war crime against the victors.

When did commemorations for Hiroshima and Nagasaki become more noteworthy than Pearl Harbor remembrances? And why is this?

How have foreign revanchists and native revisionists alter just punishment into crimes perpetrated by the victims? Continue reading … But Necessary Nonetheless

Dreadful People

It’s a displeasure crossing paths with certain kinds of ex-Metropolitans in Las Vegas. Not those who’ve self-exiled themselves to Nevada rather than Florida from the Bronx or Brooklyn after careers in the trades, lifelong housewives in tow, both of whom lovingly lament forsaking “their New York City,” yet on a dime can recite chapter and verse complaints about how the modern boroughs now resemble strange worlds populated by aliens.


That group has earned its loud plaid pants, white shoes and belts, as well as teased-to-giggling blue rinse coifs. The vast majority of them are to be revered. Their generation raised mine.

Pampered as we growing Boomers were, especially compared to parents who endured the Depression then won World War II, they also gave birth to the consumer society by indulging us their children. Nonetheless what gift can replace any nurturing parent? Continue reading Dreadful People