New York Cabs: WTF?


 

 

 

So, I was in The Big Apple over the weekend for the annual Book Expo, and I made the lethal mistake of trying to get a cab in front of the Javits Convention Center on a Friday at 4:30 in the afternoon.

 

My feet were killing me from walking 3,000 miles up and down the aisles making sure I saw every exhibitor and scoffing up every freebie giveaway book and book bag in the joint. So it was with a sinking heart as I watched the first of 2,000 cabs fly by me at 60m.p.h…without so much as a glance my way. I tried waving with one hand, then flapping both hands, then changing corners, then risking my life by stepping off the curb dangerously close to oncoming traffic—all for naught. I briefly entertained the idea of stripping down to nothing but my thong and high heels but then quickly realized that at my age, I’d have to wait at least a month…maybe forever.

 

After 40 minutes, success! A cab crossed four lanes narrowly missing two bikers on city rentals, a pedi-cycle, a sanitation truck, and four other cabs all jockeying for a head start at the stoplight. I skipped happily over to the cabbie’s open window, but my elation was quickly dashed when I saw the look on his face—he had the look of a man who had been sitting on severe hemorrhoids all day on a 112 degree  pleather seat. When I inquired if he could take me to 58th and 1st, his pained expression got much worse–like his hemorrhoids had spontaneously expanded 4 inches in diameter. Also, little did I realize that I had to be pre-qualified before he accepted me as a fare. Here’s the deal:

#1. You must have cash. Credit cards are about as welcome in this city as bedbugs.

#2. Your destination must not be too close or too far away and positively not in streets where there’s major construction going on. Fugghedaboudit—that means no place. 

I might just as well of said I needed to be driven to Whitefish, Montana, because he refused to take me citing various issues like traffic implosion, hazardous construction, ethnic street parades, pot-holes, heartburn, and one way streets. My first reaction was to say “Excuuuse me, but isn’t your job driving fares to where they want to go?” But judging from the look on his face, I chose a more dignified way of dealing with the situation… begging. “Puleeze, my feet are on fire and I can’t carry these bags of  book booty one step more before I collapse.”

But that didn’t work so I tried plea bargaining. “Okay, how about if you let me off on 3rd and 56th to avoid the U-turn and the bridge construction?” He thought for a minute, then said, “Okay, get in.”

We sped across town, me holding on to the strap by the window for dear life, as we lurched and careened like a bucking bronco for the next 30 blocks. I closed my eyes down to slits as I tried not to watch the impending massacre of any one of a dozen guys on bicycles and skateboards darting around us navigating through traffic. My knuckles were whiter than they’d get on a cross country flight where I’m forced to sit next to a guy with a suspicious looking briefcase on his lap the whole way. But in spite of it all, I was very grateful to be off my feet. In fact, I was so beholden to the cabbie that at the end of the ride as I forked over the $25 highway robbery fare, I considered throwing in my IRA as the tip.


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Introduction to Happy Hour With My Dad

 

This is the introduction to Happy Hour that gives the background for the setting of the story. I will periodically post excerpts from Happy Hour for you to enjoy.

Introduction

I’m a humor writer; in fact you might have heard of me. Among the books of great social significance I’ve penned are Hormones from Hell, It’s A Girl Thing, and When You’re Hot, You’re Hot: How I Laughed My Way Through Menopause. Okay, so they’re not exactly candidates for Oprah’s Book Club, but they’ll make you laugh a lot more than hers. Besides being an author, I’m also the mother of two sons, the sister of two siblings, a grandmother of four grandchildren, and the daughter of a 95-year-old dad. For the past few years, I’ve been on a journey with Dad as he has transitioned from living alone in his own condo (he’s a widower) to an assisted-living facility. And, at some point, I expect he’ll probably progress to full-time nursing care.

This journey can be a difficult one to witnesses, especially because we Baby Boomers are occupying front row seats, watching a drama where our parents are gradually slipping away mentally, physically, or both. Yet, it’s an inevitable journey that we ourselves will be embarking on in the not too distant future. Therefore, during this “dress rehearsal,” we can learn a lot from traveling right along beside our folks. There are many lessons we’ll be learning —lessons in patience, compassion, and the profound importance of validation and dignity at the end of our roads.

One of the valuable lessons is in learning that humor can be a most useful tool in coping with these difficult times. The old adage, “You’d better laugh or else you’re going to cry” has never held so much meaning as when you’re dealing with the challenges and heartaches of the last chapters of life.

That being said, my story is a tribute to our aging parents and to all of us grown children and grandchildren who have the good fortune of helping write our loved one’s life script right through to the final chapters.

 

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Happy Hour With My Dad

 

This is my newest book which just came out on Amazon. I am going to reprint a chapter from it on my blog, so you can get an inside look at what it’s all about.

Happy Hour with My Dad: A Journey into the Cocktail Hour of Life
Jan King (Author), Heather Forsgren Weaver (Editor)

Kindle Price:
$4.99

Book Description

Publication Date: March 1, 2014

Happy Hour with My Dad, written by bestselling humor author Jan King, is the poignant memoir of her 94-year-old Dad’s transition from living independently in Florida to an assisted living facility in Virginia. The story is full of Jan’s signature humor as she tells you that as a Baby Boomer with a front row seat, she has observed that the final drama of life isn’t necessarily The Rocky Horror Picture Show but it isn’t On Golden Pond, either. We can either laugh or cry at many of the heart wrenching moments we’ll watch our parents going through, and often times we do both simultaneously. Jan guides you through the inevitable journey we’ll all be embarking on with a good dose of wit and wisdom. This is an extremely honest but uplifting story that’s a must read for not only those of us experiencing this situation in our lives, but our children as well.

 

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Tysons Is Not for Chickens!

 

Every time I drive down Route 123 or Route 7, I feel like I’m in the movie, Escape from New York. I expect to see Kurt Russell perched up on a metro trestle, wielding an assault weapon. The view from where I sit is all steel girder and cement pillar erected amongst a plethora of detours, newly created exits and entrances, one-way streets, and divided highways. OMG–total chaos! By the looks of things, I can’t imagine any of this being completed until Kurt bites the dust. However, the planners say that in ten years we’ll be living in a metro-intensive, low car density, pedestrian friendly, urban neighborhood where we’ll live happily ever after. Who knows? But one thing’s for sure–there will be no free parking for the rest of our natural lives.

I’m really freaked out though because the metro is like a confusing jig-saw puzzle to me. I don’t know about you, but after six years of living here, I still haven’t figured out how to successfully add money to my fare card without asking for help—make that begging–even from a tech-savvy six-year-old zipping by on his razor scooter. I can just see myself frantically trying to figure out how to get to a final destination by having to transfer between the red, orange, blue and silver lines. Help! I could be wandering around for days, deep in the bowels of the metro system, aimlessly transferring between lines from 8am ‘til 4 pm.

The other big issue that keeps me awake at night is how can I possibly go shopping without my car? If I stock up at Wal-Mart, how on earth can I carry a 52” Vizio TV home on the metro? Not to mention the bean bag chair and coffee table I just couldn’t pass up.

I also understand that free parking will be as obsolete as Julio Iglesias. I guess my window shopping marathons at the Galleria where I have a helluva’ entertaining day buying absolutely nothing are over.

But, as they say, you can’t stop progress. So, a word to the wise. Before those shiny new metro cars start sailing all around town, we’ll all need to put in some serious gym time. We’re going to need biceps like Kurt Russell’s just to go shopping.

 

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Weiner Extended

 

 

Somebody stop me! More Weiner? Okay, here’s what happened. After I finished my Weineraldo article last week, I was sitting on the patio of my fav coffeehouse, Greenberry’s, when I looked across the street and lo and behold! Parked in the lot of the Staybridge Suites was the hotdog shaped, mustard yellow, iconic Oscar Mayer Weinermobile!!

Naturally, since I am an intelligent and sane person, I took this as a sign from God that the world needs more weiner. So, I immediately began searching for more juicy stories. When we’re talking about Weiner this is not hard (every pun intended). He’s out there everywhere–just hanging in your face.

The latest Weiner story has to do with a mega-faux pas at an AARP forum when he exchanged words with George McDonald who is also running for mayor of New York. When McDonald questioned Weiner’s character, experience, and judgment as a legal issue in the campaign, Weiner retaliated by slamming him in the chest with his fingers. McDonald said “Don’t put your hand on me ever again.” (He was lucky that’s the only thing Weiner stuck in his chest). Then Weiner replied, “What’s going to happen if I do? Are you a tough guy now?” McDonald shot back that Weiner had “anger issues” and Weiner said “No, I don’t—but you do, GRANDPA.”

Really, Congressman Weiner? Do you really want to call somebody “Grandpa” at an AARP event where 50% of the New York voters are members? I’m sure nobody anywhere appreciates their members being referred to as Grandpa.

Wait, there’s more. Just yesterday, Weiner said to an English reporter named Lucy Watson that because of her accent: “It’s hard to take you seriously.” OMG! It’s hard to take her seriously, Anthony? This coming from you, a man with the alias of Carlos Danger who spends most of your day Tweeting pictures of your private parts to a woman named Sydney Leathers? And, this is what’s getting you media coverage? I’ll tell you one thing, Mr. Congressman–the only kind of coverage you should get is from a sock.

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Weineraldo

 

 

This was a horrific week for women. We were attacked with a visual one-two punch by the worst parts of two men. First, there was the “selfie” of Geraldo’s 70-year-old puny pecs and absentee abs exposed on Twitter. Are you kidding me? My immediate thought was that his “chest” could use a Jonas Salk iron lung and my second was that he looks ready for a “body bag.” OMG! What’s with these aging men? Don’t they know that a 70-year-old man should NEVER go shirtless under any circumstances? Okay, maybe just one–if he’s in a room so dark it can only be navigated by bats.

And then just when you thought it was safe to go back on Twitter—he’s baaaack! Yep, it’s the return of Weiner’s weeney–under the alias of Carlos Danger. This time the lucky recipient of his sexting and explicit sexual photos was a 23-year-old “progressive activist” from Indiana who goes by the dubious sobriquet of Sydney Elaine Leathers. But hell, that explains it all. Besides ears of corn and barrels of STP, there ain’t much else out there to keep a girl occupied on long evenings.

Of course, when the Peter Tweeter was busted, he immediately took to the airwaves for the de rigueur tearful apology to all of America. And naturally, Huma Abedin, his codependent wife was right there standin’ by her man. It’s enough to make you throw your Nuva Ring at the TV and give up sex forever.

Give us a break! In the past week we’ve seen more bad organs than a Wurlitzer repairman. I don’t know about you but Rosie O’Donnell is starting to look pretty good to me. I’ll tell you one thing, though. If the New York City voters go ahead and elect this perv as their esteemed mayor, the whole state should secede from the Union.

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Breaking Up is Murder!

 

I always thought that if you’re unhappy with your boyfriend, you should just quietly break up with him. Or if you’re in a bad marriage, then get a divorce and do it as civilly as possible. I mean, isn’t this how it’s supposed to go? Well, I always thought so—that was until I began watching a TV show called Investigate Discovery which chronicles lots of ingenious crimes and the methods by which they are committed.

Warning: this show is highly addictive. It not only tells you much more than you need to know but it could actually put ideas in your head! Just a few of the informative shows on ID are titled, Wives with Knives, Who the #X! (Bleep) Did I Marry?, When Love Kills, plus other assorted (or sordid) goodies. According to what ID is showing, there are a lot of women out there who apparently don’t believe in divorce anymore. Nope—seems like it’s too much trouble. Their way is to simply add a few pinches of arsenic to their husband’s meatballs and spaghetti, or possibly greet their husbands at the door with a 9 inch kitchen knife, or give them a gentle nudge off the cliff when they’re out hiking together. However, the most popular method for divorce on ID is for the wife to simply shoot the husband in the head while he’s in bed, snoring loudly. I guess that solves two problems at the same time, eh?

However, a successful whack only takes up half of the show. The second half is devoted to how the wives get rid of their husbands’ bodies. This is accomplished in a number of creative ways, aired in about a dozen episodes. Among the more popular ways these ingenious wives have disposed of their husband’s pesky bodies are by:

  • putting them in the freezer
  • burying them in the back yard
  • dissolving them in a barrel of lye
  • hacking them up with a meat cleaver
  • cooking the hacked up parts on the stove in their new Calphalon pots and pans
  • rolling them up in a Persian carpet and putting it in the storage room

Now, I was brought up to believe that if you wanted to be rich you needed to get a good education and work hard. But, not so according to ID. On their equally educational series called Dirty Little Secrets, they give you great ideas on how to skip over the working hard part and land yourself an aging Sugar Daddy instead. These shows are chock full of stories about plain Jane schoolmarm types who suddenly begin wearing lots of makeup, hair extensions, and Spanx–plus they study the Kama Sutra to a point where no man can resist them. It also helps if you have a rap sheet longer than a roll of Charmin’ before pursuing these rich but incredibly stupid older men.

In every episode, these women used their sexual wiles to ultimately get the man and the marriage license. Of course, within six months they also get their young, hunky lovers to help them embezzle millions from their new husbands. Next, they really amp up the sex and get their hunky lovers with very low IQ’s to shoot their husbands in cold blood. Then just when the lover thinks he and his sex kitten are going to live happily ever after in her dead husband’s mansion in San Diego, she rats him out… and he ends up living in San Quentin, instead.

Wow. I love this show. I can’t tell you how many hours a day I put in studying each and every episode. All I can say is that it’s a darn good thing for my ex-husbands that ID wasn’t on TV back then.

 

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2013 Academy Awards: Cheers and Jeers

 

I watched the Academy Awards the other night along with a bazillion other folks who had nothing better to do for–what was it 10 hours? 3 days? Whatever. Here’s my “whack” take on the highs and lows of that celebrated evening.

Cheers: For the spectacular set that looked like a million candles sparkling on stage. It definitely showed more sparkle than most of the actors did that night.

Jeers: To William Shatner’s “comedy” sketch that was so lame it should have been delivered at warp speed so we missed it and then have gone where no man has gone before—straight into the film vault.

Cheers: To Jack Nicholson, sitting in his usual front row seat, wearing sunglasses and that perpetual wtf look on his face throughout the entire show.

Jeers: To the Academy for apartheid seating of the less important guys like the “short film” nominees up in the nosebleed section.

Cheers: To Jennifer Garner, Naomi Watts, and Salma Hayek for wearing fabulous gowns on their fabulous bodies.

Jeers: To Anne Hathaway’s gown which made her boobs look like stilettos poking against the satin fabric.

Cheers: To Charlize Theron who is so gorgeous that she still looked fem in that man’s haircut.

Jeers: To John Travolta. What’s up with that hair? It looked like he poured a bottle of RIT dye on it and then ironed it in place.

Cheers: To host Seth McFarlane’s fabulous politically incorrect joke about the screenplay for Django being based on Mel Gibson’s voicemails.

Jeers: To those cowardly actors in the audience who looked nauseated from the fear they’d get busted by being the butt of one of Seth McFarlane’s jokes.

Cheers: To Jennifer Hudson’s show-stopping performance. With a performance like that, honey, you don’t have to worry about anybody walking out on you!

Jeers: To Christopher Plummer’s make-up person. His nose wasn’t even remotely the same color as the rest of his face.

Cheers: To Jennifer Lawrence who picked herself right up, carrying on without a hitch  after she fell flat on her face on the way up to accept her Oscar.

Cheers: To all the ladies who wore those glammo side-swept hairdos.

Jeers: To Kristin Stewart’s messy looks, sour face, and Zombie-like delivery when presenting an award on stage. Hey, Kristin, you should have stayed home…in your coffin.

Cheers: To Barbara Streisand who proved she still has the pipes with her beautiful rendition of “Memories” dedicated to the late composer, Marvin Hamlisch.

Jeers: To Quentin Tarantino who proved he doesn’t give a crap about his appearance–his suit looked like he slept in it all week.

* Want a good laugh? Download my new chick-lit humor novel, Chinese Laundry: It All Comes Out in the Wash on Amazon-Kindle, Nook, iPad, Baker& Taylor, Gardner’s, eBookPie and Kobo.

 

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Veni, Vidi, Visa: I Came, I Saw, I Shopped

 

Newsflash! The January sales at Tysons are in full swing, gals. Time to hit the mall while retail prices are falling faster than Lance Armstrong’s public approval rating.

Now, I love sales as much as the next gal, but I admit that I always fall into the same trap. Let’s face it. We are all so brainwashed into “sale mentality” that no matter what’s put out there, if it says 50% off, we’re racking up the credit card charges faster than when we’re on a 2 a.m. QVC binge. Issues like—do we need it? Or– does it fit?– are completely irrelevant.

I’m one of those women who has never learned from past train wrecks. I still have items hanging in my closet that I bought years ago and never even worn. I’ve purchased dozens of separates that don’t match anything I own, much less each other. I’ve got clothes that are too big and too small that I bought only because I couldn’t resist a bargain. Somebody call the Fashion Police. I should be arrested for the following criminal purchases that have been taking up space in my closet for the past five years with the tags still on them:

THE PURCHASE—a size 2, white brocade Valentino gown with a matching ermine trimmed cape. Cost $259 at 50% off.

THE PROBLEM— For starters, I wear a size 6. Second, there is no event I will ever attend in my lifetime, short of a coronation, where I could wear this ensemble.

THE PURCHASE—A buttery-soft leather Ellen Tracy blazer. Cost $300 at 60% off.

THE PROBLEM—It’s chartreuse. There has been nothing manufactured since the 1960’s that goes with it.

THE PURCHASE—a Christian Dior silk peignoir with ostrich feather trim. Cost $112 at 70% off.

THE PROBLEM—the last time I wore a get up like this to bed was on my first honeymoon in 1965. I wore it again on my second first honeymoon in 1980 but the feathers, like my youth, had molted.

THE PURCHASE—a full-length, Norwegian, blue fox fur coat. Cost $1995 at 75% off.

THE PROBLEM—Every time I wear it out in public (especially in D.C.), I risk being cursed out, stoned, or having blood thrown on me by one or more rabid PETA members. My chances of survival in 10 degree freezing weather wearing NO coat are better.

THE PURCHASE—Four inch, stiletto-heeled, platform soled, YSL boots. Cost $209 at 60% OFF.

THE PROBLEM—When I wear them, I am forced to take four extra- strength Advil every fifteen minutes just to keep from screaming. I also suffer severe nosebleeds from the altitude.

Okay, I’ve confessed. I feel better now. In fact I feel so good, I think I’ll head out to Macy’s right now. They’re having a 50% sale on all their already marked down clearance items. Maybe I can find something to match that chartreuse Ellen Tracy.

 

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High Def, High Anxiety

 

Visiting my parent’s home was like going through a wormhole and coming out in the Eisenhower administration. Sitting in its place of honor in the living room was their beloved console TV with a picture tube signed by Tesla, himself. Their toast would regularly jam in the old stainless steel toaster–smoking, burning and reeking up the whole house ‘til my Dad expertly pierced it with a fork and pulled it out, oblivious to the fact that he was seconds away from electrocution. Their washing machine was the old Norge…what else…serviced by a dude with sideburns displaying lotsa’ butt crack below his tool belt as he crouched down to fix the motor. And, last but not least, sitting on the Formica kitchen counter was my Mom’s pride and joy–her Mixmaster… the same model that was featured in the first episode of “I Love Lucy.”

Aw, lighten up. It’s always been a hoot to make fun of my folks’ time-warped home. That was…until this Christmas when my son visited my condo. When he walked into the family room, he immediately fell to his knees laughing at my old “fat” TV with the monster 25” screen, proudly sitting on the old walnut TV stand I purchased during the Nixon Administration.

“What’s so funny?” I ask, annoyed.

“You can’t be serious,” he answers smirking and pointing to my 1988 state-of-the-art Sony.

“Yeah, what about it? It has a great picture and it works just fine,” I say acutely aware that I have become my mother in her June Cleaver shirtwaist.

“Mom, you gotta’ get rid of that dinosaur and get a flat screen.

“Too expensive” I automatically reply.

“That’s ridiculous, we’ll go to Costco.”

“Okay, but, I’m not spending a fortune.” Now I’m my Dad in his pleated Sans-a-belt trousers.

So, we’re in Costco and I’m hyperventilating as my son is checking out 60” screens with reception from Mars that cost $2999. We finally settle on a Vizio with a 42” screen which looks tiny to him but like an IMAX to me. After we get it home, my 80’s mentality thinks we’re just going to plug it in and we’ll be watching all my favorite shows for the rest of the night. But–not so fast. First, there’s muti–colored cables with confusing letters and numbers that have to be put in the right input and output jacks, then the remote control has to be programmed, and ooops there’s an unscheduled trip to the Verizon store way across town to switch the old cable box to a HD one. And, we’re not done yet! My son makes several 45 minute calls to the tech support people at Verizon where he’s placed on hold until New Year’s Eve. OMG, it’s a full 36 hours before we were able to see one program. Then—surprise! I find out I have 700 channels I have to memorize–high def, lo def, sports, on demand, food, history, etc, etc ad nauseum.

Oh yeah—I also forgot to mention the hefty increase in my bill each month to watch all the stuff in high def–which my son assures me is “so worth it because you can see everything in incredible detail and clarity.”

The question I keep asking myself is do I really need to have a huge screen, hi def, the hefty bill and all the technical problems just to be able to see every detail on some scuzzy sixty-something guy at a football game eating a hotdog, wearing a cheesehead hat on his head? And furthermore, since my close vision went to hell at age 45, I doubt I’ll be able to see any of it anyways–even on a 60 inch screen.

What’s my New Year’s resolution? To become more tech-saavy? Nah—it’s never to poke fun at my parents again.

**Make sure you read my hilarious new chick-lit novel “Chinese Laundry: It All Comes Out in the Wash” now available on Kindle, Nook, iPad and other sites!!

 

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