Bill's Blither

Location: Cheshire, Connecticut, United States

devilishly handsome, screamingly funny, overly modest

Sunday, November 27, 2005


The main reason I'm writing this is to keep from working on my term paper. I'm in avoidance mode (1)because I haven't written a major theme paper in 40 years, (2) because I'm intrinsically lazy, (3) because I know already what I'm going to say so the actual writing feels like a boring rehash, and (4) I think I have writer's cramp. Since 4 is the direct result of 1, 2, and 3, and since I've rejected the solution of pouring Ben-Gay in my ear, I think I'll work through it with a little homework blither.

Reading comments on Aldon's "Blogging Alone" post on Orient Lodge yielded a real gem. Colleen Redman, who blogs at "" wrote this incisive and revealing thought regarding her goals in blogging: "One is to create a time capsule of my life...and the time and place it is set in. Another is to build readership and as a contact place for my book.Also, it is a very social thing for an introvert like me who can only take physical outings in small doses." Not only does this describe a large percentage of bloggers (except for the book part), but it also jibes with some of my paper's discussion of blogger's motives. This quote goes directly into my theme. See, this blog has already accomplished more than avoidance.

Maybe I'll delay a few more days and proceed directly to panic. This mode guarantees action but it may lessen the quality a tad. Or not.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005


One of the problems I have with anger is that I never know where to direct it . If I aim it at myself (where it usually belongs), I don't get rid of it, I just get madder. If I direct it (inappropriately or not) at someone else, I merely feel guilty for not taking personal responsibility. Guilt is easier to handle than anger, so guess what I do. I'm constantly amazed that people put up with me.Some don't, but unbelievably only a few.

What I'm currently angry about is blowing up yesterday's blog before I published or saved it. I had an electrical problem which I tried to fix by flipping the switch on my fuse box which wiped out a post I'd worked on achingly for 2 hours. Would someone please step up and take responsibility for this act of stupidity. It's way too dumb to have been my fault. My wife refuses to share the blame (just because she had nothing to do with it-she's clearly missing the point). I could threaten divorce, but since I've done that (silently) 10,328 times in the last 38 years, I believe that tactic will probably will not succeed. She may be on to me.

My missing blog concerned my distrust of women with whom I haven't had sex. I bet THAT got your attention! It was inspired by my vicarious reminiscing while reading of the blog of a young friend of mine, who shall be unnamed here.The post was "R" rated, which means you couldn't understand it unless accompanied by a 17-year-old. I'll try it again when I'm in the right frame of mind. It was really good . You don't know what you missed.


Sunday, November 20, 2005


I think the chief obstacle to my becoming a great writer is that the disasters in my life are too prosaic. It's not that they're not big enough, or cataclysmic enough, or even complicated enough, it's just that the solutions don't involve the type of aesthetic thought process that makes for great literature. My life is too involved to be Seinfeld, but not contorted enough to be Tolstoy.

Cancer is a perfect example. EVERYBODY gets cancer. I've had it twice, once in a rather large melanoma and more recently (5 months ago) diagnosed in a malignant lymph node. This should have led to terrific tragic drama, with all my family and friends wringing their hands over me and my courageous fight against the forces of the Pale Horse. But no, the surgeon said that the melanoma wasn't deep enough to worry about. After my lymph node operation, my oncologist had the nerve to tell me that although my bone marrow held a few malignant cells, they were of avery slow growth variety and I probably wouldn't be affected for 15 or 20 years, if ever. No treatment, no sympathetic beautiful women weeping at my candle-lit bedside, no DRAMA, not even pathos.
How can great prose come from that?

Technology, also, has robbed me of heroic death. 6 years ago, I was diagnosed with secondary-type diabetes. My biologic father had died of diabetic complications at age 53 many years ago. This could have led to a variety of tragic consequences: blindness, loss of extremities, even death. These potential results are naturally hard on the body, what a great stimulation for tragic and moving prose. But , once again I'm denied this literary benefit. Science has invented Glucophage. I take a couple of pills a day and poof, no tragedy. For 6 years my glucose number has actually remained below average. My limbs are intact, my eyes have somehow IMPROVED, I can't catch a break.

I've been told by some that this kind of thinking, especially if spoken aloud, will arouse the wrath of the gods for my hubris. My wife, among these "some", runs out of the room covering her ears when I go off on a rant like this. Maybe, he says slyly, if I can't have tragedy I can at least foment melodrama.

I'm off to play in traffic. See if anybody here can figure out why I love high-risk activity. Toughto figure, huh? Later.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


IT"S NOT MY FAULT! This mantra for the current American political regime, and possibly for the whole GenX, is my not so original substitute for "the dog ate my homework". It turns out that I can't download "quicktime" because my computer and it's software were purchased in the Stone Age (1999). I told my wife over a month ago that we needed a new computer, but for gender reasons we haven't bought one. I say "gender" for the following reason (see next paragraph) which also delineates why this predicament is NOT MY FAULT.

People like me (i.e- those of us with a y chromosome) have spent less than 6.5 minutes in our entire lives thinking about shopping, particularly COMPARISON shopping. If I want a new computer, I walk into a store, say Circuit City, tell the guy there what I want, and load it into my trunk.3 minutes,tops. If I had done that, my vblog homework would have been routine.

But noooo. I chose to consult my wife,(a person without a y) whose first reaction was "we should wait for the after-Thanksgiving sales". I could sense disaster looming. Her second reaction was "let me check with the girls at the office". (not a y among "em). This was followed by "research" (she could have cured cancer with all the work she put in).Finally, she went through 75 or so back issues of "Consumer Reports". None of this has led to anything approaching a purchase, only a multitude of questions (Apple or Microsoft? Laptop or PC?) I shoulda just bought the damn thing and came home with "Surprise, honey!". That's never worked before, however, and I might want to have sex again before I die.

This is not to say that women cannot buy on impulse. Shoes (except sneakers), skirts, ice cream, make-up, and sometimes cheese-its fall into the instant decision category. I strongly advise any male not to accompany a woman if she is buying (1)groceries with coupons, (2)any appliance but particularly refrigerators, (3)jewelry of any kind, (4)eye-glasses, and ,of course (5)computers. I watched a woman (of about 40) in CVS take 35 minutes trying to choose a pair of vanity glasses, I asked her if she were deciding on wrap-arounds to match her motorcycle, but I think she failed to see the humor. Sometimes people look at me very strangely. I should carry a camera.

Last night I saw my brother for the first time in 17 years. Went pretty well, I thought. That's a story for another time. Later

Monday, November 14, 2005


OK, I give up. HELP. I can't make the Vblogs V. When I click where it says "click here to view video" I get this Q-looking thing that freezes me up. I noticed that of the half-dozen classmate blogs that I looked at tonight only Brett has a Vblog comment and that only very briefly. When I went to the blog he suggested, I couldn't make that "V" either.Somebody please either comment or E-mail me and get me out of the mire.

Friday, November 11, 2005


What a day! Yesterday was one of the biggest roller-coasters I've ever ridden. In the morning I was in a state of traumatic shock. A blood test had strongly indicated that my 3-year-old grandson Fin had multiple myeloma, a semi-rare form of cancer, and was being taken to Yale-New haven for further tests and diagnosis. I was having flashbacks from 30 years ago when my daughter had a disasterous bout with leukemia, which she survived but the treatment left her with brain damage. I was fighting a black cloud of despair, trying to function at work with a mountain on my back. Then, at about 10:30, my son called from the hospital. "They think he's just got a bad viral infection", he said. Shakespeare never wrote more beautiful words. A surge of joy went through me such that I have felt maybe twice in my life. The room went Wizard of Oz, from black and white to radiant technicolor. I spent the rest of the day on a high like I was on halucigens.

Fortunately, fate had provided appropriate vehicles for my spectacular mood. I had a dinner date with a new friend who I knew would share my mood, to be followed by an evening at the Wood 'N Tap, where we were conveniently scheduled to have class. Perfect.

Dinner went as expected. There's nothing like a warm, attractive, friendly female to enhance a good mood. Then on to the Tap.

I arrived an hour before class. The bar was crowded with young people , mostly in their 20's and 30's. My classmate Brett was at a raised table with maybe 10 stools around it. These were filled with a group of teachers from the school where Brett teaches, and some young women who worked at a local newspaper. Brett, who is in his mid-twenties and single, was seated next to one of the most attractive women I may have ever seen. None the less, he was looking around the room for some amorphous female with whom he'd made very vague plans. She never showed, occasioning a lot of good-natured (?) razzing of Brett about his imaginary friend. When I asked him later why he would look anywhere else with the outstanding example of feminine pulchritude sitting 3 feet from him, he told me that he would never date anyone from work. Foolish, to my mind. Lots of boats, few close-trimmed yachts. This one parted the waters beautifully.

Meanwhile, I was carrying my euphoric mood well into the evening. I love women. As I've gotten older, I find my appreciation expanding. I think at this point that all women are beautiful in one way or another. But by even the most rigorous standards, the distaff side at the Tap last night was genuinely gorgeous. In addition, the ones I was lucky enough to talk with were also intelligent with great senses of humor.

A good example of this was Marie, a raven-haired beauty who promised she'd read my blog if I mentioned her in it (what a great way to increase my blog audience). I'm honored here to do so. Lovely woman, a treat to look at, more so to talk with. Thanks for your company. Another charmer was Kerry, whose sharp wit and sardonic world view really brightened my evening. Yet another beauty, whose name unfortunately I can't recall, spent her time taking photographs, mostly close-ups of drink glasses. Odd, but somehow appealing. Time for class.

For the last 2 weeks, McE has really brought his A game. Maybe it was my mood, but the discussion really crackled. I didn't even get chopped down as much as usual. Actually I probably did, I was just feeling too good to care.

After class, seven or eight of us went back to the bar to do some shots. After only one round, reality set in and we decided to just carry on conversationally, sobering up to drive home. Big shock, McE the Private Soul brought in his date. Very pleasant surprise- pretty, bright, up-beat, funny. She really added to the evening, and to my respect for McE.

One last thing, Brett, Joe, Eric, Ellen, and John have all mentioned that leaving commens on the blogs we read is the best way to expand my participation in the blogosphere. So be it. Watch out world .Here I come.

Enough. Later.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Religious blogs. Arguing about religion is one of the great American pastimes, along with sex and politics. They all have in common the fact that there are few definitive answers to the questions posed, and those questions are so universally asked and not answered, that everyone who wants to can declare himself an expert without fear of a definitive contradiction. All that should be desired in this circumstance is to keep an open mind and try to assess the questions fairly, considering carefully all points of view. In religious blogs, this last is a rarity, possibly an impossibility.

Not that it's impossible to have a reasonable discussion on religious truths, even with a person unshakable in his faith and even if those beliefs contradict your own. Every 6 months I sit down to a 2 or 3 hour discussion with my friend, Reverend Norman Swensen. The good Reverend is a Christian fundamentalist of the first order, and an extremely effective evangelist for his Church. He specializes in helping dwindling congregations recover their faith (and numbers) and, I hear, is very good at it. Yet, though his thoughts are dogmatic (to me), his mind processes are not.He listens carefully to new concepts and incorporates them into the fabric of his faith. It's a joy for me to kick around the various conundrums facing todays theology. I look forward eagerly to our semi-annual meetings.

Emphatically not so was my overall reaction to this weeks blogs. "Anvil Free"( was a perfect example of idiocentric arrogance and oversimplification. Imagine, taking the "Four Noble Truths of Buddhism" and dismissing them with simplified TV sound bites consolidated into a few paragraphs. Like the extreme political bloogers, John Ruse assumes the agreement of his readership with his point of view, and thu doesn't feel compelled to cogently argue his position. This is a bad habit of most idiologues. My friend Swensen could argue rings around this guy.

The "Bad Christian" blog ( was a lot more fun.He takes an ironic and somewhat iconoclastic view of the Christian faith. His blog on the Christian preoccupation with bad language washysterically funny, especially in his riposte of rival blogs objecting to his impiety. His jousting with "Jade" was classic, showing the effectiveness of the post by evoking her bombastic response. By far my favorite blog of the week.

"They Will Know Us By Our T-Shirts"(, written by a seminary student (Ben), was in my view a failed satirical attempt. Part of my dissatisfaction was my lack of interest in the chosen content. (also he's too whiny). He complains about a movie distribution I Don't Care About, books IDCA, internal church policies IDCA, and blogs IDCA.Tempest in a teacup. The only redeeming feature was political, not religious, when he pokes fun at Bush's "No Child Left Behind" policy. I spent 10 years on the state Dept. of Ed's CSPD committee and , like Ben know this policy is doomed without severe modification.

"Doxoblogy"( is to be read only if you are a devout Christian who needs his faith hammered in. I had enough of that as the only Jew at a Catholic school for four years.

I'm waiting for a blog from my friend to show these guys what religious faith is really all about.


Sunday, November 06, 2005


I'll get to my comments on religious blogs down below somewhere, but we're sitting on a powderkeg and this situation needs to be addressed.

Three hours after my last blog bewailing (again) the prevalence of white-dominated PREP culture at Trinity, ABC television news ran a commentary on racial profiling at our school. In the '60s and '70s, this would have fomented a voiciferous rally against the campus and local police, strongly protesting the fact that OUR school could be associated with such heinous practices. In these days of Reagan-Bush majority dominated social smugness, there is not a peep from the student body. Some of this stems from the fact that diversity at Trinity is a concept that seems to have bounced off the glass ceiling of our admissions policies (my evidence of this is simple observation). Another possible explanation is the confortable apathy of a generation permeated by a conservative political philosophy that believes in a "silent majority" and a "moral majority", neither of which exist.

My reaction to all this is "watch out". You'll never see it coming. While it is highly unlikely that there will be any action taken on campus, look around you. Our neighbors on all sides are not nearly as complacent or accepting as you of the social norm. If I were a black or latino living in the vicinity of Trinity and I saw instances of racial profiling, I'd be damn mad and I sure wouldn't take it any more. It's time for us,as students, to go farther than being (McE's words) "observant scribes" and take a more active role.

If not, you can see the results in today's AP article by John Leicester on the snowballing unrest in France. The Frence are smug bastards insisting on social conformity of their immigrant population(sound familiar?). The French didn't see it coming either.

Come on, classmates. Let me hear from you. Opinions,anyone?

Yes ,I have read the damn religious blogs. Will comment.Later.

Friday, November 04, 2005


Free at last! No post on McE requiring thought or response. No comments on my last blog that need my attention, although I should thank Brett and Aldon for their very helpful links. By the way, I don't think Bora was being condescending, with him that's a character trait. My lack of technical expertise doesn't need defending, I wear it like a badge (or maybe in this medium a purple heart). I think many bloggers use tech pyrotechnics to cover up a lack of creative writing talent. I think this is particularly true of anyone so devoid of literary judgment to criticize my blog. Imagine.

Because I promised a sweet, young thing (aren't they all?) that I would, I'm providing here a follow-up to my earlier description of Trinity as a "Stepford campus" . My conclusion had been that everybody dressed similarly, had the same hair style, even the same voice intonations. Everybody looked so damn neat, clean, and preppy I wanted to throw my coffee on somebody to see if he was coated with teflon.

So.....I sat myself down at the Bistro to try a rethink, hoping that fall garb would bring out some individuality. No such luck. The guys all wore jeans (spanking clean of course) or long shorts , sneakers or some kind of flip-flop or Berkenstock, plus tee, golf shirt or botton-down. But , with almost no exception, the dress code screams PREP. The girls are slightly more creative in their style choices. Some, thin to the point of emaciation, wear jeans a size too small. Healthier looking girls hide their curves with baggier jeans or sweats. Why is that, I wonder? When did curves ceased to be sexy and the anorexic look become the ideal? It's a world I never made , that's for sure. Even given a slight degree of style difference (some girls wore short skirts and slippers or flats) ,the overpowering influence is still PREP. By the way , other than office staff I haven't seen a woman (or girl) in heels on campus. I'm a guy , so I have no clue about that. I missed the meeting where all the women got together and decided, "OK, no heels on campus this semester". Actually, I think I miss a lot of meetings.

Before I leave this blog, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that the SYT mentioned earlier was an outstanding exception to my complaint about our endemic campus drabness. Standing out like swans among pigeons, she and her friend cut a palpable swath through the crowd as they proceded to their table. She was wearing a very au courant outfit featuring a spaghetti-strapped tank top. I asked her if she were a fashion major(do they have those here?). She said no, art history. Disappointing, still creative but as an observer. Still , lucky for the art department.

I'm looking forward to matching Rusty Nail shots with Brett at our next class. What, you say, that's not the deal. One can always hope, however.


Wednesday, November 02, 2005


Forbes Magazine has as it's cover article on the Nov. 14 issue "The Attack of the Blogs". To make sure you don't miss the bias of this "balanced" view, the introductory sub-headline reads "Web logs are the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies , libel, and invective. Their potent allies in this pursuit include Google and Yahoo."

The poster child that Daniel Lyons uses for "victim" in his article is Gregory Halpern, whose company, Circle Group Holdings, was hyped from $2 to $8.50 per share.
Halpern did this by posting pictures of himself online with famous people , including Steve Forbes. He was then "victimized" by a blogger who, with some allies, attacked Circle Group with a mixture of accurate and inaccurate "information" , resulting in the stock dropping below $1 per share and wiping out Halpern's instant $90 million dollar fortune. I could sympathize with his plight, except that (1) it seems unlikely that if the company had any real, measurable value sophisticated investors would not recognize it and run the stock back up after the false blogs were exposed and (2)Halpern's response to the attack was to hire "Financial Wire"(Gayle Essary) to blog back, not on facts but on a very personal level. So much for the high road.

The article contained several interesting tidbits, however. Steven Downs, an executive at Ingersoll-Rand, complained,"A blogger can make any statement, about anybody, and you can't control it". Downs found this to be a "difficult thing". I think it's the whole point of a democratic system. You're living in America, Downs.

Lyons, the article's writer, has a slew of suggestions for fighting back against bloggers. These iclude "build a blog swarm", "bash back", "attack the host (service provider)", and "sue the blogger". Don't you just love it when a idealist takes the high road?

The following piece of information is in the article: "The anonymous assault has a long tradition in American political discourse, recognized by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission in 1995 and in a recent decision by the Delaware Supreme Court refusing to force an Internet service provider to disclose who called a small-town politician inept" (aren't they all?) None of the hyperbolic examples of abuse of this right given by Lyons would make any thinking person doubt these decisions.

Google says it's real aim is to "let users embrace the Web as a medium of self-expression". Good for Google, except I wish that precept were a little less self-serving.

On the last page of the article is a short chronology of blogs. I found fascinating thefact that there were only 23 "Web logs" in Dec. 1998 and 20 million now ,according to Technorati. The more I read this article , the further right it slants, and the more flaws I see in Lyons' reasoning. I hate this work, but we really need to talk about it.

I can't find the article at the Forbes website or anywhere online. If anybody can, please post a comment. I'll bring it to class.