A Journey’s End – The Prelude

Honeymoon daze!

A Journey’s End – The Prelude Continue reading

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Working Remotely Daze


With the latest in a series of snow events here in NJ, Mother Nature has finally gotten the best of me, so I’m working remotely today. I love that expression…Working Remotely. That’s just a fancy way of saying I’m at home working in my underwear (with kudos to my friend Scott who owns the domain name AtHomeInMyUnderwear.com, or something like that).

It’s not like I’ve been sitting on my ass all day. I did contemplate going to work, which required a bit of shoveling and cleaning off my car. Also gave me an opportunity to play in the snow with Shay (poor Cosmo doesn’t do well in the snow these daze). Once I got back inside, I thought better of going to work and decided to work remotely.

I have also been working the remote. Watched the SU women’s basketball team play in the ACC tournament. Sadly, they lost. Watched coverage of the Delta flight that nearly skidded of the runway at LaGuardia. Now, I have moved onto the Golf Channel to watch the tournament in Miami, and the seemingly endless string of water balls.  Where’s an NCIS marathon when you need one?

The one thing I have not been doing remotely, is eating. Been a full-on assault of the kitchen and the pantry. Started with cream of wheat, moved on to potato chips, and now it’s pizza. For my next course, I’m thinking I should move onto something healthy. There’s hummus and veggies waiting. Or maybe that one last piece of chicken leftover from last night. At the rate things are going, I will have cleaned out the fridge by 5, and packed on about 10 pounds. Could be more if the liquor cabinet starts calling my name. Of course, I could burn 2 or 3 calories by rubbing Linda’s feet. She’d really like that. Me….not so much.

Luckily for me (and my waistline), it actually looks like the snow has stopped. Time to put the boots on and start digging out, while burning some calories at the same time. Of course, with the neighborhood snow blower, usually takes about 15 minutes to clear the walk and the driveway. Unfortunately, removing the snow is something that takes some manual labor. Neither my shovel nor my snow blower work remotely.

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The Idiot Tax


I think I’ve come up with a new type of tax that even the most flaming far right conservative republican can get behind. It’s called The Idiot Tax and yesterday in Toms River, NJ, we had a perfect example of how this would work.

Let’s recap what our 2 idiots did. They drove a truck out onto a partially frozen section of the Toms River. Now this is New Jersey. Not Wisconsin or Minnesota, where folks routinely drive trucks and small huts out onto frozen lakes to go ice fishing. It’s not New Hampshire where they recently opened up a 3000 foot runway for small airplanes on Lake Winnipeesaukee. It’s New Jersey and it’s not even North Jersey. Folks don’t usually drive their trucks out onto a somewhat frozen body of water in the Garden State, despite the record cold weather we’ve been having.

And that’s not all these idiots did. According to a witness, the truck did a series of donuts while driving across the river.

But that’s not all. The driver and his asshole buddy (and I do mean asshole) managed to escape the truck before it sank, but forgot to tell anybody that they were OK. Worse yet, they left a dog in the truck to drown when the truck sank.

Sunday morning, the NJ State Police and Coast Guard started an all out search and rescue, only to find out later that the driver and passenger were safe and sound. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the dog. According to one news report I heard, the cost of all of this was more than $100,000 – and here’s where the Idiot Tax comes in.

First, these 2 idiots should be prosecuted for being…well…for being idiots. Make them repay every penny spent on attempting to search for their sorry asses. Second, they should be charged with animal cruelty and put in a cage in a dog pound, and given water and dog food for a few daze. Third, they should be hit with the Idiot Tax: Punitive damages paid to the State of New Jersey. What are those damages?  I’ve got no idea. Maybe double the cost of the search and rescue mission. Maybe more severe.

Whatever it is, it won’t be enough. It won’t be bring back the life of that poor dog. It won’t stop other idiots from doing whatever idiots do, and probably won’t stop these 2 from doing something just as idiotic again. However, it might put a very small dent in our state’s budget deficit. Unfortunately, we can’t tax the folks who run things here in New Jersey, who very often act like??? You guessed it -IDIOTS!

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Vaccination Island

The first (and not quite official) @IraSez hat.


I think it’s time for a new reality TV show. Coming from me that’s pretty funny, as I have never watched a full episode of reality television. No Survivor, no Idol, no Ducks, not a one. Happy to say that one of my favorite Iraisms is that “reality TV is the one of leading causes of the death of creativity in America.”

Here’s the premise of my reality TV show, which I call Vaccination Island. It’s a dystopian view of a world where anyone who refuses to get your standard vaccines is sent to live among other like minded non-vaccine loonies . If you are born today and your family says no shots for you, than off you go…and take mom, dad, and all your siblings with you.

Immediately after your refusal to get your vaccines, your entire family is shipped to an island, any island, as long as it’s far away from me and the rest of the vaccinated world. No more trips to the mall, no more supermarkets, and especially…no more trips to Disneyland, the epicenter of all things Mickey, Minnie and measles.

Here you will be free to live your life, free of vaccines, and safe in the knowledge that you have eliminated the one in one million chance of being diagnosed with autism, or some other extremely rare side effect that vaccines may or may not cause. You can also be safe in the knowledge that tens of millions of human beings, who have had their vaccines, can now spend their daze not worrying about getting measles, mumps or some other preventable disease.

Of course, no reality show is complete without a great host and we’ve got the perfect person….Jenny McCarthy. She’s not only the host of the show, she’s the host of the whole damn island. It’s the starring vehicle she’s always wanted, and now, so richly deserves.

But wait…there’s more. Jenny will also be the island’s very own vaccination therapist, convincing you that you did the right thing for you and your family. Screw society and the millions of people who had got their shots. What does the rest of the world know that Jenny, fresh from receiving  her VHD (that’s Vaccination Hypocrisy Degree) from DLU (that’s D List University), that she doesn’t know? And now that she’s got her degree, she’s hanging out her doctor’s shingle. Or should I say shingles?

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Beach replensishment – the fleecing of America

Note: This is an updated version of a post from a couple of years ago. I thought I was doing some minor grammatical edits but WordPress had other ideas and updated the whole thing, including the publication date.

Once again, certain beaches along the Jersey shore need to be replenished. I would really like to know how many tens of millions of dollars have been spent to keep sand on these beaches when it is clear that mother nature is clearly telling us “no, no….that’s not how things work.” Mother Nature is bringing an entirely new meaning to the words “If you build, he will come.” What she is saying is “if you build it, I will just throw a nice big nor’easter at you, and put it back the way it was because you guys screwed up my barrier islands.”

Here in NJ, the barrier islands are made entirely of sand. If you build on them, pave them and generally screw them up, Mother Nature is going to do her best to take them back.  The fortunate few who have property on these barrier islands, than coming crying to the government and the Army Corps of Engineers, silver spoons in hand, begging to save their beaches. And they do and who fits the bill? We all do. One woman on the news tonight sounded like she wanted us to feel bad for her because her house couldn’t be rented without the beach. I have a great idea – build your own f’in beach and you can use that silver spoon of yours to do some digging. I don’t ask you to take care of my backyard, so don’t ask me to take care of yours.

Stuff like this doesn’t just happen along the beaches. Let’s look at the folks who buy houses near major highways. For the most part, those highways were there when they bought there house. Didn’t they think it might be a tad noisy living next to the Garden State Parkway or some major interstate? Than they move in and oh my god, they are in shock. The noise is unbearable and can’t the government build sound barriers that stop the noise.  And who fits the bill? We all do. The great thing about these sound barriers is they suck. They don’t absorb the sound, they just bounce it around as if the cars driving by were in an echo chamber.

I live 3 houses off South Orange Avenue, not a highway but busy nevertheless. I also live 3 blocks from St. Barnabas Medical Center. Do you know what comes flying up South Orange Avenue on the way to St. Barnabas Medical Center at all hours of the day and night? Ambulances, that’s what and they don’t come quietly.  Oh my god…can the government build a sound wall around my house? That even sounds stupid.

Well guess what? So is rebuilding the beaches and putting up sound walls. I have a great idea. The next time a big storm comes, wiping out the beaches and maybe taking a few houses with it, don’t let these people rebuild with our tax dollars. If you have to continually rebuild the beaches to protect a few houses, than maybe…just maybe, you shouldn’t have put houses there in the first place.

If you bought one of those houses, you had to know that beaches were always going to be an issue when you bought it. And if you bought one of those houses thinking the beaches weren’t going to be a problem, than I suggest you build a barrier around your brain because it’s not like anything is getting in there.

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Obscene on TV

“Red alert, red alert” screams the first officer. The warning siren is blaring, the image on the screen is bouncing here, there and everywhere, and everyone on board the bridge of the USS Enterprise gets tossed about like lettuce in a salad spinner. I realize Captain Kirk is one tough earthling, but haven’t they heard of seat belts in the 24th century? And this is from a 60s TV series where we first saw DVDs, cell phones (or something close to that), video phones and lots more cool stuff yet to be invented, but which we actually have today. But something as simple as seat belts? I guess that’s part of the artificial gravity on board a starship.

It’s stuff like this that makes me laugh or scream “are you kidding” at the TV, depending on my mood. The crazy shit you see in movies and television that makes absolutely no sense. I know you are supposed to “suspend your belief in reality” when it come to watching this stuff…but come on. Some of this is just so obvious.

Here’s another one. You’re watching your favorite cop show, crime drama or anyone of a few dozen CSI/NCIS type shows. McGarrett or Dan-O or Gibbs or Callen or…well you get the picture…arrive at the pending crime scene with 20 guys in full SWAT gear right behind them. The back-ups have helmets, shields, Kevlar vests, semi-automatic weapons. The star of the show is wearing some sort of nylon, (slightly) bullet proof vest, maybe a baseball hat, and carrying what looks like a BB gun. I realize they’re the stars of the show, you need to see their faces and all their award winning expressions, but can’t we at least get something to protect their heads?  Everyone else has one and we don’t want our stars to get shot, do we? How far does this “suspend your belief in reality” thing go?

And how can we forget the “sure to die” scenario? Our hero faces a dire situation, totally out-manned and out-gunned (cue the dramatic music). Of course they are totally out-manned and out-gunned by the gang that couldn’t shoot straight. In the world of television, terrorists, gang members and other really bad guys carrying big ass guns, couldn’t hit the side of barn. But our hero? He or she is a pro marksman who wounds or kills the bad guy with one shot.

And why is it that they always kill the bad guy right after they say “remember, we need this guy alive”? If you are an actor and have a guest role on a TV show, those are the last words you want to read in the script because those are the last words your character is going to hear before your back in the casting line.

As I said, any time you sit down in a movie theater or in front of the TV, you have to take a lot of what you see with a grain of salt, but would a little reality kill a movie or a TV show every once-in-a-while? I’m all for proton torpedoes, warp speed, death stars and whatever else the science fiction and fantasy writers want to throw at us. But when the captain of the Enterprise and his crew are on the bridge, it should be click it or ticket.

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My New Job


The first (and not quite official) @IraSez hat.

The first (and not quite official) @IraSez hat.

Yesterday I updated my LinkedIn Profile and added “IraSez” in the Experience column. Despite the fact that I stated I had been “Writer, Editor & Blogger” since 2010, LinkedIn told all my connections that I have a new job. Since then, my inbox has been a constant flow of emails and LinkedIn notices offering congrats on the new job.

First, thanks to everyone for sending their best wishes. Second, I have actually been writing IraSez for about 5 years, so it’s not exactly new. Third, I never really viewed my blog as a job. It is fun to write, fun to have people read what I’m writing, fun to get comments, fun to interact.

I had always hoped that maybe, someday, someone might actually pay me to write a column or two. That IraSez.com might actually be a place for people to advertise and that I might actually make some money off the damn thing.

IraSez was not my idea. It was my wife and our friend Lizzie who talked me into starting my own blog. What possessed them to do this? I have no idea. I also have no idea what possessed Lizzie to recently tell a friend of hers, who happens to be in “the biz,” about IraSez but she did. This friend, who knows a thing or two about writers and blogs, told one of her colleagues about my blog, and she is actually interested in helping me out. If you think you are shocked by this turn of events, imagine my surprise.

Of course, there is work to be done. First, this one-page very WordPress, site needs to go. A new and improved IraSez website is in the works. Second, I need to keep writing, writing, and writing some more. For those of you that have been loyal fans, you know it can be weeks between posts. Those daze are over. Third, and here’s where you all come in, I need to keep building my audience, or maybe I should, say build an audience. I need to get my name out there, use the IraSez moniker wherever and whenever possible. Post comments on other blogs, other websites, whatever it takes to build the IraSez brand.

Most importantly, I need to stay true to the core values of IraSez. First, common sense…always common sense. Second, be real, be myself, and never hide from folks who don’t agree with me or appreciate my view of things.

Third, and this was really the whole point of IraSez….a bunch of years ago, I was in Las Vegas on the annual golf trip. I was walking down the strip and talking to my mother (miss you mom) – the strip is fertile ground when your mind works like mine. I said to my mother, “Mom, I missed my calling. I should have been a sociologist, studied people so I could write books making fun of them.” Who knows….maybe, with a little help, I can find my calling after all, but it will never be my “new job.”

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Little League Daze Flashback

I’ve said it once and I will say it again, there is no purity left in sports. When ESPN televises every inning of the Little League World Series, you know all hope is lost.

Last week it was announced that the Jackie Robinson West Little League team from Illinois had been stripped of their 2014 National Championship for violations regarding player eligibility.  The sad thing about this is I’m not surprised. Has happened before and will surely happen again. The parents and the coaches involved with youth sports have gotten themselves completely wrapped up in the “winning at all costs” mentality, even when children are involved.

At one point, I was a certified youth sports coach…more like certifiable. Coached Zach in little league baseball and soccer, and Allie in basketball. For those of you that know me, picture this. A small elementary school gym, me in it, not so quietly imploring one of my girls to GET A REBOUND!!!! I’m sure my voice is still echoing in that place 15 years later.

As for little league, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. I enjoyed working with the kids and had a good rapport with them. If you ask my friend Ted, he still thinks I’m some sort of little league player miracle therapist. His son had been begging to pitch all season. In a Memorial Day Weekend game, we were up 10-0, and decided now was as good a time as any. The poor kid gave up 9 runs in one inning, nearly had a total meltdown and was due to bat 2nd in our half of the inning. I took him aside, told him that it was fine, and that we needed him to keep his head in the game. Ted’s son goes to bat and gets a base hit. All I can say is I missed my calling.

My problems with little league were the parents, the other coaches, and the politics. Nothing like getting dragged in front of the Little League Board of Directors because one parent doesn’t like the way you are managing his kid, and then lodges an official complaint. Imagine that one. Facing the possibility of being suspended as a little league coach.

The last year Zach played little league, I decided to hang up my clipboard. Our team was considered to a favorite to win the league title. Unfortunately, the coaches/fathers we left in charge completely screwed things up. Played obvious favorites to their own sons, completely destroyed the team chemistry, and lost the support of the parents. After that year, Zach – who was a pretty good ballplayer, never wanted to play baseball again. Can’t say I blame him.

From what I understand, many teams in today’s little league have found a solution to this problem – paid coaches. A couple of the former HS players, who are now all grown up,  now coach little league. When I first heard this I was thinking it was babysitting money. Imagine my surprise when rumors started going around town that one team was paying their coach $8000 for the season. Again, just rumors, but even if there was a little truth in that, well…I just didn’t know what to say.

At this point, I’m 11 years removed from Zach playing in little league and happy to be done with it. I’ve actually only set foot in Gero Park (home of the local little league games) a couple of times since then. When I was there last spring, I was completely unsurprised to find the same 4 or 5 members of the “little league mafia” sitting in their usual spot, ruling over their little piece of turf, just looking a lot older than they did back in my little league daze. It was these men who tried to rig the game, and they are still at it. The only thing missing are baseball jerseys that read “Chico’s Bail Bonds.”


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Cork Screwed

Note: This post is dedicated to my friend Gregg, who actually knows a thing or two about wine, and was nice enough to pay the wine tab at a recent dinner in NYC where the wine was more expensive than the dinner.

Tell me if this sounds familiar to you. You go out for dinner with a group of friends. One member of your group considers him/herself to be a descendant of the Rothschild wine family, and picks the wine for the table to enjoy. You actually prefer beer, vodka, scotch, etc., to wine, and enjoy one or two drinks, while the rest of your table slurps down on their “oh my, this is such a nice bottle” of wine.

Now comes the fun part…the bill arrives. The bottle or two or three that a few folks enjoyed is actually more than the food. Your one or two drinks is about $20 but somehow you get stuck paying for your share of wine, which can often double the cost of the total per person charge. Does Baron Rothschild offer to pick up the tab for the wine or split it with his drinking buddies, Ernest and Julio? No. You get stuck with your share of the wine bill and the taste of sour grapes in your mouth.

Here’s the issue I have with many wine drinkers. They think you drink wine to get drunk. Well kids, I have news for you – that’s not the purpose of wine. Wine (and many beers for that matter) is supposed to compliment your meal, not deaden your taste buds so that you can’t tell the difference between a porterhouse and a big mac. You wanna get your buzz on? Start with the hard stuff and get a nice moderately priced bottle of wine to go with your meal. That’s what a true wine expert will tell you.

Unfortunately for us non-wine drinkers, many so called wine connoisseurs are all air and no substance, just like the wines they drink. You know you are in trouble when the dinner conversation somehow turns to wine: Who has the biggest wine cellar, or who just bought and/or sold the most expensive case of wine, or who just had this fabulous bottle of  ” ’69 Old Sour Grapes French CabofrÁnc” and it was only $500. These folks just love to hear themselves talk. The problem is most of the time they talk with a cork screw shoved up their arses but seldom with their wallets.

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Runs Like A Girl Daze

During the Super Bowl, there was an ad for Always Feminine Products entitled “Run Like A Girl.” If you didn’t see it,  here’s a link to the 60 second version:

Runs like a girl. Once my daughter Allie became an athlete, I learned to really dislike that expression. As a young child, Allie was not all that athletically gifted. She couldn’t do a cartwheel like some girls, she basically walked out of a ski school class one day because she kept falling, soccer games were spent chatting with friends at midfield. Unfortunately, when it came to athletics, Allie got her mother’s genes. As I like to say about my wife, in elementary school when they were choosing sides for kickball, it came down to Linda and one other girl. Linda usually was the 2nd to last one picked because at least she was cute (and I’d be totally un PC if I described the other girl).

But if you know Allie, once she sets her mind to do something, look out. At about 10 years old, she decided becoming a better athlete was going to be a priority. She made the decision to switch from a nice Jewish sleep-away camp in the Poconos, where athletics were not the highest priority, and made the move to Camp Lenox in the Berkshires. It’s not only Syracuse where my children followed in their parents footsteps, as I also spent many happy summers on that Berkshire mountainside.  And guess what? Their logo is an Orange torch!

At Lenox, where the emphasis is on athletics and instruction, Allie became an athlete. By freshman year in high school, she had honed her skills playing club lacrosse (which she started playing in elementary school) and made the freshman field hockey team, winning defensive player of the year. It was at a field hockey game where my dislike for the expression “runs like a girl” became a reality.

Watching a game one day, one of Allie’s teammate’s father said, “Look at them. They run like girls.” My very quick and terse response was, “Your daughter may run like a girl but my daughter runs like an athlete.” I’m sure the expression on my face matched the tone of my response, so Linda tugged at my sleeve and backed me up a few steps. I quickly calmed down but, to this day, I still think I should have decked that guy. Or better yet, I think Allie should have decked that guy.

Today, my California girl surfs, is a cross fit junkie, and has even been known to play on her company’s co-ed softball and football teams. If you ever get the chance to catch her working out on an elliptical trainer, it is a face of raw determination. Yes, Allie runs like a girl. A girl who is an athlete…and that’s the way she runs.

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