Where in the World is Chris Christie?


(google images)

Remember when Chris Christie was standing behind Trump like Big Pussy on The Sopranos? And then he was boarding planes with him to campaign sites. Where has our absentee governor gone? There are vacation rumors, rumors that he’s left Trump’s campaign.

I live in New Jersey and haven’t seen him. Have you? Is he closing unknown bridges on faraway shores?

Not that he’s doing much for the Garden State anyway.

Perhaps he was upset by Trump’s mocking him at a rally in Columbus, Ohio. Trump mentioned how Governor Kasich was shirking his gubernatorial duties in Ohio, then went on to Christie:

“And your governor is absentee,” Trump told the crowd. “He goes to New Hampshire, he’s living in New Hampshire. Living! Where’s Chris, is Chris around? Even more than Chris Christie, he was there, right? Even more.”

Let me know if you see him.



Melania Meets The Stepford Wives

Did anyone else find Melania’s stump speech in Milwaukee bizarre?

It has the surreal air of Patty Hearst meets The Stepford Wives.  Perhaps it’s the short baby blue dress attempting, unsuccessfully, to un-sex and de-glamorize her, or is it the forced, canned nature of her speech?

Her dress reminded me of Baby June’s dress in Gypsy. Were the image stylists going for a “baby doll” look? I don’t think so, probably it was more of a girl next door who happens to be from Slovenia.

Baby June(l

(google image – Gypsy with Patti LuPone, Baby June far right)

Don’t you just want Melania to break out singing “Let Me Entertain You?”

My interpretation of Melania’s speech:

Yes, you will love The Donald as I love The Donald.

He will make the best leader.

You will believe every word I say or I will devour you whole and make you into a Stepford Wife.

You will never be as gorgeous and rich as I am, but you will find me relatable somehow and realize how much He loves women and isn’t a sexist pig.

Porn Spam


(google image)

Happy Monday, everyone!

It was hailing in New Jersey this morning. How about by you? Now it’s all rain. Satan’s secretions.

Feeling I haven’t had much to say as of late, so to get the wheels turning, I thought I’d ask you all a question. Does anyone else get oodles of porn spam in their comments’ section? I get a combination of retail spam and porn spam. Not sure why they are attracted to my site. I don’t write about porn, not that there’s anything wrong with it, but it does seem peculiar.

How do they find me? Do they want me to attend a local porn rally? Are they happening in the vicinity of the New York presidential candidate rallies? That might be fun, come to think of it.

Anyway, just thought I’d throw it out there to shake things up on a dreary Monday morning in corporate America.

And now for something completely different:

Hair Salon Confessions


(photo by Darla Hueske)

Snippets of conversation overheard at the hair salon on Saturday.  Yes, I couldn’t help but eavesdrop despite the driving music piping through the speakers. I’m reading the New York Times and checking Facebook on my iPhone. Chlling.

In the hair coloring / highlighting area:

Client 1, sitting to my left, is in her 40s-50s, with a long face and long blonde hair. Her exhaustion is palpable, tired eyes, speech listless. Her hair stylist (Stylist 1) is a 20-something brunette, perky and well-made up.

Client 1:  I pulled my back out this morning putting the baby in the crib. Ooooh.

Stylist 1:  I’m sorry to hear that.

Client 1:  The kids keep coughing. My daughter says it’s a respiratory infection.  Coughing, coughing.  Never ends.

* * *

Client 2 enters the coloring area with her stylist (Stylist 2). Client 2 is a petite blond, and Stylist 2 is a taller redhead with her hair piled playfully on top of her head. Client 2 is sitting behind me. They are both loud talkers.

Stylist 2: Would you like a cup of coffee or something?

Client 2: Hell yeah, after last night.  I was sooo drunk!

They both laugh loudly.

Stylist 2 (handing client a coffee): Are you dating?

Client 2: Actually, yeah, an Irish guy.

Stylist: Yeah?

* * *

Client 1:  So my daughter takes the kids to an infectious disease doctor. He doesn’t know what it is. Now they have to run more tests.

(I make brief eye contact with Client 1. She looks right through me.)

Stylist 1:  Oh, that doesn’t sound good.

* * *

Client 2:  I’m not heavy into Irish men, but if you’ve got an accent, forget it. Even if you’re not that good-looking. Like this guy is a 6, but he automatically bumps at least 2 notches.

Stylist 2: Yeah, I know what you mean. Did you hear about Kanye?

* * *

Client 1: So how did they get a respiratory infection is what I says. From the water? It doesn’t make sense.

Stylist 1:  Wow, that is weird.

Client 1:  I’m going home after this and turning off the phone.

* * *

Stylist 2: Well, Kanye thanked his late mom and his late father-in-law for helping him on his latest album. Isn’t that the coolest?

Client 2:  That’s awesome. Even though those two split? How decent of him.

Stylist 2: So when are you going to see the hottie Irishman again?

* * *

My stylist brought me to the sinks for a shampoo. That was all I got for the day.


The Handicapped Lane


(photo by Cameron Russell)

I had never used the handicapped lane at Shoprite or any other grocery store before. I thought it was off limits to me, but the young cashier beckoned me, “Come on, I’m open.”

“Oh, I thought it was only for the handicapped. Well, I guess I fit in if you include the mentally handicapped.”

She smiled, her long brown ponytail swinging like a pendulum.

“It’s a guideline, but other people use it all the time,” she said.

“Oh, I didn’t know that,” I said.

I unloaded my groceries quickly in case real handicapped people showed up and needed the lane. It was Friday night, not a very busy one at Shoprite.

“Paper or plastic?” she said.

She had prepared a couple double bags, paper inside plastic.

“That’s fine,” I said, “or all plastic.”

I know it’s environmentally un-PC, but I need them for cleaning the kitty litter boxes.

Behind me was a heavy couple in flannel shirts and overalls who didn’t appear to be handicapped either.

They glanced at me as if to say, “You don’t belong here, imposter.” Perhaps I was being paranoid.

I wondered what their handicap was.

The handicapped lane was a lonely one, I would imagine, especially for the cashier.

I wondered how many people used it on a daily basis.

Are there other shoppers who never use it for fear it’s off limits to them too?

I try to only use the express lanes when I have the requisite number of items, but I’ve gone over by at least a couple items at times. The express lane cashiers have never beckoned me. Perhaps they’re less lonely; they seem to be an insular group, and chatty.

Express lane vs. handicapped, fast vs. slow, efficient vs. wobbly or more deliberate.

More express customers than handicapped ones, I suppose.

Does fast always win?


Mass Shooting Number 352

Thoughts and prayers
thoughts and prayers
the politicians say
sounds like hot air
sizzling with corpse

Number 352 in a 365-day year
Black Friday record gun sales
NRA in ass pocket of senators
buy away
buy away
kill our people
our children in school
and ask us to keep the families
in our thoughts and prayers

Thoughts and prayers won’t
bring back the dead
but politicians, you can do something
Goddammit – Do!

The Lady in the Robe


mannequin - side angle

Is she a prisoner
or a confused supermodel
the Lady in the Robe

Does she wonder how
she landed in a Chemist’s on Park
our Lady in the Robe

Is she a meeter and greeter,
or did she go for a spa day
to wind up in that thing

Is she tired or
or besotted with ennui
watching pedestrians zag and zig

or a time traveler,
a Twilight Zone character–
walking the floors at night

Nothing fazes her,
she’s a real New Yorker
she never gets uptight

I hope she enjoys her weekend
whether in or out of bath wear
she needs a break from
watching the streets
our Lady in the terry

*photos by E. Herd


The Attack of the Wood Chipper

wood chipper with tree

wood chipper with man

photos by L.E. Swenson

9:45 a.m. Saturday. Morning broke to the sound of a chainsaw, a wood chipper and multiple leaf blowers. Welcome to Suburbia. I was hoping to sleep in today and recover from my cold. No such luck.

The cats are simultaneously fascinated and terrified by the sounds.

Quincy in window

Quincy supervises (photo by E. Herd)

The overpowering surround-sound makes me officially involved. I am on a mission to discover what is going on. Lorin tells me it’s a wood chipper two houses down. I peek out different windows in the house and go into the back and front yard to observe.

A man wearing ear mufflers is rappelling down the side of a decapitated tree. Ten to twenty minutes later: the rappelling man and another guy wearing ear mufflers are sawing the trunk off, then sawing the trunk into smaller chunks for the chipper.

It is now 11:56 and the noise continues. The smell of freshly mown grass. One cannot escape THE NOISE. Tomorrow is Mother’s Day, so I suppose everyone’s lawns must be pristine, and dead trees must be felled.

In circumstances like these, I do have options. I can: (a) rebel, by running through the streets yelling, “Shut up, you machine-obsessed suburbanites!” and throw rocks at the machines, which would make me appear mentally ill and/or un-American. This would result in my being carted off in an ambulance or police car; (b) leave the premises; (c) join in; or (d) wear ear plugs. Dishes and laundry must be washed, so it’s option (c). The dishwasher is from another era and is rather loud so it drowns out some of the wood chipper and leaf blower sounds.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

It is 12:27 p.m. The sound of men yelling at each other over the machines adds to the atmosphere of weekend harmony.

Happy Mother’s Day, all!

Preachers on Parade


42nd Street Subway station preacher posters (a bit out of focus because I was afraid the screaming preacher was going to rip my iPhone out of my hand. He and another one were screaming “Abortion is murder!”)

Every day on the ramp from the #7 subway to Port Authority Bus Terminal at 42nd Street is a kind of mini-carnival of preachers, but last night was a full-fledged parade! They were coming out of the woodwork, I mean, tiles. Everywhere, all ethnicities and ages and temperaments. They almost outnumbered the commuters. Was it annual Preachers Day, and nobody told us?

Among the preachers were:

(1)    An unintelligible Korean woman holding a placard and shrieking Bible quotes or condemnations at the passersby.

(2)    A Latino man who approached a girl no older than 5 walking hand-in-hand with her mother. He got in her face and said in an admonishing tone, “It’s never too late.” Are you kidding? What sins has she committed? It reminded me of going to confession as a young girl and running out of things to confess. One of my “sins” was interrupting my dad when he was on the phone in his study. If I were that mother, I would have told the guy to leave my kid alone, or perhaps used stronger language.

(3)     A white stringy-haired guy standing against the wall, mumbling sotto voce. Too shy to be a preacher, I think.

(4)     A young African-American man wearing a brown hoodie with block yellow lettering on the back, “TRUST AND BELIEVE IN JESUS.” He hovered near the pamphlet / chachka table and said nothing. I wonder what his sales are like.

Tons of plaques and posters painted with scripture verses in primary colors, and one of Jesus, head bloodied by thorns, with an ocher backdrop, lined the walls. A painting depicted what looked like a man being lured by a prostitute (oversized woman, smaller man – you get the point) sitting in a come-hither pose.  I wasn’t able to make out what it said, will have to check back again tonight.

In the morning, there’s the African-American preacher in Frye boots and cowboy hat and bolo tie, who says, “Do not reject Jesus. Jesus will not reject you.” Listen here: 

The energy of these preachers on parade is palpable. If only it could be harnessed and used for the greater good, to solve world problems, or help the poor, homeless and mentally ill and other disenfranchised people. If only they were DOING and HELPING, instead of preaching and accosting the innocent. I guess I could say the same about myself; only difference is, I’m not a preacher, but still, no excuse.

(audio – E. Herd)

Hair by Karl

My hair has the most bounce and body when a certain stylist is at hand, namely, Karl. He’s mysterious though, only working by night, usually when you’re asleep. Let me show you the wonders he has worked with me.

hair by karlHBKHBK 3

In the first shot you can see the obvious surprise on my face when I initially witnessed his genius.

In the second shot, I play a bit with the do, experimenting with different facial angles and expressions (yes, I have done some acting in my day).

In the final shot, I’m working the sass, the badass, saying “Look out, world, don’t f**k with me!”

And here is the Master himself, at leisure.

Karl in the sun

BTW, Karl has a very demanding schedule.  His roster of clients includes primarily super-models (did the recent fashion show at Bryant Park) and A-list celebrities. Needless to say, I am ever-grateful that he finds the time to squeeze me into his busy schedule.

Thank you, Karl.

All photos by E. Herd