"Mirror Image" (Poisoned Pen Press) now at your bookseller's.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I "Discover" Jim Pinette

Sometimes, in the midst of all the gloomy news about the economy, global conflicts, and pandemic scares, you just need a laugh. Not a chuckle, or a wry smile---I'm talking big, hearty, fall-out-of-your-chair laughs.
A few days ago, I happened to catch a Comedy Channel special featuring a cherubic, sharp-voiced stand-up comic named Jim Pinette. Maybe you know him. Hell, maybe he's been around for years. All I know is, I'd never heard of him.
But that's changed now. Believe me, I haven't laughed so hard, and with such real joy, in a long time. Tremendously at ease on stage, Pinette uses his rapid-fire timing, vivid word pictures and hilarious sense of outrage to puncture myriad sacred cows. And yet, while a truly modern comic in the usual sense, his booming voice and clownish facial expressions bring to mind the classic comics of vaudeville, the Borscht Belt and the Catskills. He's part Bert Lahr, part Jackie Gleason, and part Buddy Hackett. 
Plus, it doesn't hurt that he's a paisan. Though, trust me, you don't have to be Italian to enjoy his hilarious riff on getting over-fed at a small, family-owned cafe in Italy. It's not only fall-down funny, it makes you want to jump up afterwards and find the nearest Italian restaurant.
Like I said, up until a few days ago, I'd never heard of Jim Pinette. If he's new to you, too, I recommend you go check him out. In my clinical opinion, it might turn out to be the most therapeutic thing you've done for yourself in a long time. 

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Dick Cheney "Problem": A Modest Proposal

To my teenage son's chagrin, I'm kind of clueless about computers. In fact, I half-jokingly refer to myself as a Luddite when it comes to technology.


Well, I'm upgrading from Luddite to full-blown Quaker, because after watching and listening to former Vice President Dick Cheney's relentless attacks on President Obama's policies, I'm now in favor of bringing back public shunning. If anyone needs to be shunned, it's a guy who favors torture,

unnecessary wars, and outing CIA agents.


Hell, maybe shunning isn't enough. Maybe we should take a leaf from the Bush administration playbook and subject Cheney to the "enhanced interrogation technique" known as putting people in stocks. It could be that a couple days in an enforced sitting position, locked into wooden stocks in the public square, while outraged citizens and bemused school-children point and laugh would prompt an attitude adjustment on Cheney's part. Though, admittedly, I doubt it.


Seriously, what Cheney is doing with his frequent attacks is nothing less than attempting to undermine the presidency, which-—paradoxically, given his so-called concerns—-has the net effect of making us less safe. By emphasizing his lack of trust and belief in the current administration, he makes strengthening our ties to allies a more difficult task. It also makes Obama's goal of clarifying our commitment to national security, while maintaining our core values as a nation, all that much harder to attain.


After 9/11, former Vice President Gore admirably threw his support behind George W. Bush, and urged everyone, including his still-dispirited supporters, to do the same. Where is this same sense of patriotism and putting-America-first from Dick Cheney? Usually only too happy to wrap himself in the flag, Cheney apparently has no compunction about trying to undermine this new administration, even before it's been in office six months.


So I say let's put on our colonial peaked hats, break out the wooden stocks, and make a statement of our own. Maybe then Deck Cheney will have the decency shown by his former boss and just slink back to some ranch somewhere, start clearing some pesky brush, and save his self-serving vitriol for his inevitable memoirs.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

If You Want My Opinion....

...on the current economic meltdown, and its effects on my patients, here are two recent items. The first is a short interview I did for The Business, NPR's show about the entertainment industry. It comes about mid-way through the program. Here's the link:
The second is my contribution to a New York Times article from last week, highlighting how therapists are helping their patients deal with these career concerns.
Here's that link: 
Hope you find each of them of interest. Let me know what you think!