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Chasing The American Dream

June 30, 2005


Dear loyal readers,

I'm off to Phoenix to visit my dear son for 10 days. I sooo need this break and can't wait to share some father time with him. I finally bought a new digital camera so if I can figure out how to work the darn thing, maybe I'll post some pix.

Take care all. See you soon.



June 26, 2005


I studied Spanish from sixth grade through my freshman year in college. The only time I didn't get an A was in my senior year in high school when I was thrown into A.P. Spanish class where you couldn't speak any English. That coupled with a bad case of senioritis caused me to receive my first D ever.
That grade pretty much told me I couldn't read and speak fluent Spanish. Nevertheless, I could speak and understand the language pretty well.

That was then. Nowadays, the expression "if you don't use it you lose it," comes to mind. Man, I've forgotten so much, but it's been fun practicing and relearning. For the past two months, I've been working near downtown Miami for a client where Spanish is the predominant language. I've come across Spaniards, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Colombians, Venezuelans, Chileans, and Agrentineans just to name a few.

It seems all of these cultures have something in common. Everybody's got a nickname, a term of endearment perhaps. I've even got one. So from now on, you can call me El Flaco. Want to know what it means? Of course you do. But I'm not gonna make it *that* easy for you. You'll have to look it up. OK, OK, here's a little hint.

June 25, 2005


Posted by Hello

She stepped onto a dark stage and flicked on a table lamp. Against the backdrop of a standing ovation, Alanis opened with an a capella version of “Your House.” Her voice was spot-on. The melody was beautiful, haunting, and ‘breathy.’ I couldn’t even see her. All I could see was the dimly lit lamp and the little end table it was perched on. She closed the song to a standing 'O' and segued right into her next song.

The curtain was raised and disclosed her true set. It looked like an everyday living room complete with couches, love seats, chairs, and pictures on walls. Two large video screens accompanied the setting along with her 5-piece band, which included two acoustic guitarists, a bass player, keyboardist, drummer, and a percussionist. The spotlights were on her now. She looked good. Smiling. Happy. She wore what appeared to be a knitted, green-striped, sleeveless dress over black or brown leather pants. Gone was the short-cropped hair seen on her recent video “Everything.” It now fell just short of shoulder-length.

The largely young, female audience began singing “You Learn” in unison with her,
“I, recommend getting your heart trampled on to anyone, yeah. I, recommend walking around naked in your living room, yeah. Swallow it down, what a jagged little pill…”

And this was the pattern throughout the 90-minute set. I felt like I was sitting in the audience of an MTV Unplugged concert. I can’t emphasize enough how on key she was. She hit all the high registers flawlessly. Songs like “Perfect” and “Mary Jane” made me shut my eyes. They soothed me. So melodic.

Alanis joked about her perception of being angry 24/7 and then proceeded to demonstrate it when she sang “Forgiven.” Her interaction with the crowd was more thank you-type than storytelling. She said she was enjoying her 10-year celebration of the Grammy-winning CD. She told us she would intersperse a few meaningful non-pill songs throughout the set. She captured the audience more with her acoustic versions of every song on the Jagged Little Pill CD. The lighting and videos changed to accompany the songs. Her encore performance of “You Outta Know” looked like it was sang in hell. The flames on the video screens along with the orange and yellow-colored lighting helped emphasize the anger as she sang it. The crowd sang along word-for-word during the song and during the familiar

My only disappointment was that she didn’t sing anything from her newest CD So-Called Chaos and in particular, “Everything.” Still, I certainly can’t complain. What a truly wonderful concert it was. Believe me, I’d tell you if it wasn’t. I’m paying a pretty penny for these concerts, and I’d definitely voice my opinion if these concerts I’m seeing aren’t any good. It’s concerts like these I cherish and just take everything in and realize how special these moments truly are. “Priceless,” as the commercial says.

Note: programming reminder, you can see Alanis sing live on
VH1 on June 30th.

June 22, 2005


Posted by Hello
I was hired in October, 1999; I left in October, 2001. The shit hit the fan in March, 2002 so I was lucky I left when I did. My former employer, Adelphia (Greek for “Brother”) Communications fell from grace like a house of cards. The stock price plummeted from a high of 50 to mere pennies in less than six months. Earlier this week, my former bosses were sentenced to prison for 15 and 20 years, respectively.

That period in my life makes for great reading, and I fully recount that unbelievable story in my book-in-progress. Those two years were extremely difficult. What started out to be a dream job ended in a complete and utter nightmare. These guys looted the company for billions. Mr. John Rigas was a sweet old man and was always treated my nicely. He always remembered my name. He’s 80 and may die in prison now. I feel a bit sorry for him. On the other hand, I don’t feel at all sorry for his son, Tim (pictured on the right) who had an ego the size of the dollars he looted. He was the financial brains behind the whole scandal. Among other things, this guy was building a golf course for his own personal pleasure and paid for it via company funds. I’m sure it’s a wasteland now as is the little town of Coudersport, Pennsylvania that I lived in for nearly two years. My direct boss worked directly for Tim and made my life totally miserable. A living hell. My only regret is that this guy himself didn’t get arrested. Still, former employees like me who worked under Mr. Tim Rigas are smiling brightly today. What goes around, comes around. Amen brother.

June 21, 2005


Posted by Hello photo courtesy of wsvn miami

Posted by Hello photo courtesy of the miami herald

I think the sky really *is* falling. I'm beginning to wonder what can happen next? Yesterday, we got 5+ inches of rain in just over 3 hours. What a storm, and there is more rain on the way. Sunshine State???

June 20, 2005


Maybe Chicken Little *was* right? Is the sky falling in the South Florida area or are things just dropping from it? Those of you planning on coming here may wish to delay your visit. First we had a DC-3 go down in a neighborhood about 6 blocks from where I work. The very next day, the famed Goodyear Blimp took a major dive. These events happened back-to-back, Wednesday and Thursday last week. Eerie, huh?

Posted by Hello

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Posted by Hello photos courtesy of South Florida Sun-Sentinel

June 15, 2005


I know what I want to say; I’m just not sure how to say it. This Sunday there will be a celebration across the country. Families will celebrate together, parties will be had, dinners will be made, and the man for whom all the hubbub is all about will be treated oh so specially. Of all the days of the year, it’s the day I fear the most. Deamons talk to me, pangs of guilt return for the day, ghosts and fond memories all of which combine for a rather depressing Father’s Day.

My father was a helluva man. And although he and mom divorced when I was only three, he was my very best friend right up until the day he died of lung cancer some 13 years ago. I’d only see him two weeks out of the year but what fun we had when he came down to visit. We swam, we golfed, we ate like royalty, we played poker, and we laughed. Oh how we laughed. It’s really odd how my sister and I remember these little obscure moments in time and the words he said. We can quote him verbatim even to this day. He eventually moved down to Florida, and I got to live with him beginning my senior year in high school.

During that year and my years in college, I truly realized how special he was. He was so well liked by everyone. He taught me a lot in a short time. I modeled myself after him in many ways. I wanted to be like him, behave like him, and be as well liked as him. I don’t know about being as well liked, but my behaviors and ethics resemble him. And for that I’m proud.

Some moments in time you don’t forget. Dad had been sick for reasons unknown. He needed help, and I drove down to help him go through endless tests. Dad was in his hospital bed; I was sitting in the adjacent chair when the Oncologist came in. “Mr. Moser, you have inoperable lung cancer. You’ve got about six months to live. I’m sorry.” I’m sure I must have gone pale and did my best to hide my fear as I watched Dad try to process this unbelievable news. His face expressed bewilderment more than anything else. It was rough being there and having to deliver such news to the family, but I am glad I was there for him. For the next three months I helped him make his final move to Vermont where my sister, a hospice nurse at the time, would care for him until he died four months later. Being fatherless sucks. I think about him often, but how can I *not * think about him on Father’s Day?

When I married, I got along great with my father-in-law. It was great to have a father again. The divorce severed that relationship quickly. As soon as he found out about our impending divorce, he never said a word to me and hasn’t since. I guess he hates me for leaving his daughter. Come to think of it, I’m not sure how he honestly felt about me? I probably don’t want to know the truth at this point.

And now the really difficult part. I grew up without my father and promised myself that I’d never leave my children. Promise broken. My son is growing up with his father thousands of miles away just like I did. I feel bad for me, but I especially feel bad for him. Still, I know I made the right decision despite this hardship. Spending Father's Day without him is an empty feeling and always hard for me to comprehend. I miss that little guy, and I always will. And come Sunday, *all* these fatherly feelings will be magnified. Needless to say, I’m not looking forward to it.

June 09, 2005


Posted by Hello
True, we have become a nation full of Texas Hold ‘Em poker players. There has been a movie and a TV series bout the famed game. But that’s not where I’m goin’ here; I’m going after a different type of rounder. What I’m trying to figure out is why we are a nation of rounders? This has been bugging me for some time, and now I must write about it. Let me explain.

I got gas yesterday at one of those stations with the seemingly endless supply of gas pumps. Familiar routine, right? Swipe your credit card, pick your gas, and crank the gas pump. I use the little latch so I don’t have to continually squeeze the pump. Now here’s where, it seems, I differ from the rest of the world. The gas pump clicks, I look at the total ($35.94), and I put the pump away. Done. That’s right, I didn’t round it up to $36.00.

I took a walk around the station and observed just to confirm my suspicions. Sure enough, rounders everywhere. Someone please tell me why people do this? Don’t most car manuals warn against topping off your fuel anyway? So what is the need to round up to an even dollar amount? Are these people not going to be able to pay their credit cards if the balance isn’t to 00s?

And how about restaurant rounders? I know this guy at work who always leaves a tip that will round up his bill to an even dollar amount. I know a lot of people who do this. The bill is $24.62 so the tip is $4.38 to make it an even $29.00. Again, why? Why is it so important to round? To me, this is more unusual than George Costanza eating his Snickers bar with a knife and fork. I eagerly await your responses.

June 05, 2005


Previews I've seen on TV lately:

What has happened to TV in this country? Now I admit that I watch Survivor. Guilty. It's the only Prime Time show I watch anymore. And I'm sure there *are* good and entertaining shows out there. ABC's Lost comes to mind. And maybe I shouldn't be so quick to judge since I've not seen any of the three shows whose previews I've mentioned. But how far are we going to go with this reality crap? Take Oil Storm. Do we really need to give these M.F.ing terrorists any more bright ideas?

Sorry. Just random thoughts rolling around in my head today.

June 02, 2005


I was sitting in the libary yesterday drinking an expresso. A TV was on, and after I saw a jewlery commercial, I heard our President talk about nucular weapons? That ‘n’ word bothers me expecially when you consider it comes from our President. I wonder what the other countries think of our leader when they hear this? I mean for all intensive purposes, he’s projecting a pretty unintelligent persona for our country irregardless of the fact that, amongst us bloggers, this is simply not true. Anyways, I had to get this conversation off my chest. Maybe we really *are* a bunch of dummies? I’m no English major, believe me, but I guess my dummy theory could be a mute point if we just learned how to talk. I agree with Bugs Bunny. “We’re moidering [murdering] the King’s English.” Does anyone else have some good ones they’d like to share?