Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday spectacular for 2011

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – when I struggle like a madman trying to get his head unstuck from the revolving door before that big guy on the other side tries to come through - to think of something both holidayish and spectacular for my – holiday spectacular. After my last year’s effort, Don did put on some pressure for me with his Christmas Day comment: “If you're gonna top this one next year you better start working now.” I’m not sure I can do that off the top of my head, as I don’t even remember last year’s.


Every holiday season I like to set down the best comments I got during the year, the sole criteria being, I guess, that they insult or make fun of me. Bear has always dominated and now that Don has all but dropped out of the insult-comment field, Bear strives uncontested upon the field.  In fact, two people who actually read my blog regularly (and I’m still shocked anyone reads it) but rarely if ever comment told me they actually only read a little bit and then scroll down to see how Bear insults me. Just great.

Here are Bear’s finest comments for this year, made with all the ardor of a ten year old knocking down his friend’s blocks. I don’t rank them, but put them in reverse chronological order. My present comments are put in italics:

Here Bear weighs in on my Christmas movie list.

She's Got Mail", "Love, Actually" great movies????? Who is the Mary writing this stuff? "... the effervescent Jeremy Pivin.." How GAY is that? Next time I see you and have the urge to whack you in the head, I'm going to blame it on an "EPIC attack". What a ma-roon.

* * *

What scares me the most is that you think these quotes sound normal. Put down the books and go outside, Webblefester. Now.


* * *

Bear analyzes me.

Hmm, I'm talking sexual deviance and you start talking rape and murder. This is deep psychological quicksand, Frodo. Worrisome indeed.

* * *

Here he goes on a rant that makes me chuckle out loud every time I read it.

AAARRRGGGGHHHHH! First, a'quick hop through history" that goes on FOREVER, then, finally, diarhhea mouth gets to the point. And what a grand point it is: Liberty, you're darn tootin'. It's good. REALLY? Was it necessary to quote 4,000 friggin' philosophers and historical figures to come around to "America is bitchin'"? Write about growing up,or books, or living in the country... PLEASE, I AM BEGGING YOU. How about a list? Top Ten ANYTHING....

* * *

But, there is that line between artistry and craziness, and here my friend goes a little over it.

O I wish I were an Oscar Mayer Weiner, that is what I truly want to be-ee-e. For if I were an Oscar Mayer Weiner, everyone would be in love with me. Join the Weiner Party for a better America in 2012. Vote with your Weiner, for a Weiner, and we wll a be shiny happy people, forever and ever, thus spake Zarausthra. * * *

But here, he’s just mean.

It takes balls to write 700 paragraphs on ths crappy idea and then call someone else's work on the same thing pretentious babble. Rock on, Hippocrites.

* * *

I think this one made me laugh the loudest.

I’m reading along: Glenn Beck, Olbermann, Tunisia, Egypt; and I’m thinking for once his political commentary isn’t boring. This is pretty good stuff. Should have known it was a set up. Health care: “I see a liberty interest here… more pressing than the commerce clause…I would have to put in a lot more time…perhaps I will in another post.” NOT IF THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN. ‘Nuff said.

* * *

But, his first one of the year was a pretty good shot too.

more at http://pewstinko.snoozefest/longwinded blowhard/faith-in-shut-the-hell-up-before-I-slash-my-own-throat

 - to which I responded, “Now you are just trying to write a contender for the top ten best comments at the end of the year, aren't you?”

Thanks, Bear, for all the hard work you put in knocking down my blocks.

I just had a Christmas epiphany. This holiday spectacular is going to be all about my two most frequent commenters, and good friends, Don and the Bear, who I’ve known for a total of about 66 years.


I met Bear 41 years ago as 7th graders. We didn’t become friends until a few years later, but we played basketball together once at the caddy house, a magical place it would take too long to explain in the new world where children have play dates instead of just playing and where they play video sport games instead of actually hitting, kicking and shooting balls together, and I went to his house and met his mother. He wrote a newspaper article for the school about the alleged ghost in my basement. In 11th grade, we became good friends, realizing that we had a tremendous amount of interests in common, including history, mythology, science and literature and that we were both ridiculous underachievers lucky that we didn’t flunk out of high school. He’s introduced me to the authors Robert Howard and James Lee Burke and books I still have like The Dun Cow and Red Eye. There was a time he nearly went off the deep end when a young man, though doing his best to hide the worst of it from me and I’ve seen him nearly sink into oblivion and rise like a phoenix to being a school president in a major city. He chased skirts like a dog after a bone when he was young, but now has one of the most loving and stable marriages that I know and he has a man-cave in his house that looks like it could be the parlor in a Hollywood manor in which he houses my second favorite private library. He makes Maryland home with his wife, M, the only talented home designer I know (the ones on tv appall me). He knows more about sports and higher education than anyone you are likely to meet and in 41 years, I can remember only a very few times in our entire life he was not in a good mood. He is an excellent poet (an activity in which I excel in sucking) and should have done more of it. Unaccountably, he actually looks good in hats. He has a booming laugh that is impossible to stop and is a world class mocker and ranter when he wants to be.


Don came to work in a law firm I was at when we were both young lawyers back in the days when you could open the door to a law firm and there might not be one computer inside. We became friends, working, skiing, going out at night and on one laughable occasion, even going dancing, an event I’d rather forget. Jesuit educated in high school, he was a wild man nonetheless and claimed he couldn’t be an alcoholic no matter how much he drank because he didn’t go to meetings. Around 7-8 years ago (he can correct me if I'm off), he moved to Montana to escape being a lawyer and, initially, to chase some crazy chick who was out of his life before he got there. The home he bought on the banks of a small river in the mountains is so remote, that it makes the 1300 pop. town I live in surrounded by national parks seem like a metropolis. He can recite lines from movies he saw decades ago like he was holding the script in his hand and is still an athlete in his young 50s. He lives again on the east coast, longing for the west, running a law office in Long Island and living on the Jersey Shore. He is a bachelor and please lock up your daughters when he is in the room. He is a fierce debater, who talks faster and more assuredly than almost anyone else can, even when he is defending the indefensible, but is one of the few people you can call at 3 in the morning, say, I need you to help me right now, and know he will come without needing an explanation. If he is on your side, there is no other side.

Don and Bear

Though they sometimes argue about politics in comments here, they actually have a lot in common. They both are insatiably curious and read as much as possible, share many high falutin’ interests, and both know far more about sports and entertainment than I ever will. They met when we were in our young 30s through me, when Bear managed a bar that Sam Spade would have hesitated to go into and Don liked to hang out in such places. Don is a long time conservative who has become more of a libertarian, more so than me, and we have both influenced one another’s political thinking as much as it is possible with two very opinionated people. Bear is not as interested in politics as Don and I are and will argues with me when I say he is a liberal (at least a cultural one), but that is true of almost every liberal I know. I see signs in the last year that he is moderating some but we don’t discuss politics that much and it is hard to tell. The two will probably never agree on global warming or climate change or whatever it is being called these days. Both are raconteurs, more so Bear, but neither lets the actual facts damper a good story. I’ve always said that there are two kinds of people in the world. Those who are unhappy absent some immediate gratification and those who are happy unless they have a good reason not to be. Fortunately, both of my friends fall into the latter category. However, each have had their demons and conquered them. And, they are both good people with consciences and I’m lucky to have them as friends. They mostly ignore my faults even if Bear likes to pierce my delicate pride every week or so and enjoy a hearty laugh at my expense. And when Bear is laughing, there is nothing you can do but sit down and weather it, because no force known to man can stop it until he is done.

They will both have to live with my descriptions, now immortalized in the most important blog on my block, but I don’t think they will argue that much with them. Everyone has faults – even, and this may shock you, dear readers, me – but they have been great friends for most of my life, and that is no small thing.  Here now are some tales from the lives of Bear and Don, performed in my presence. Their more sordid tales, for which I was absent, will have to await their memoirs.


Don was going stag along with me, my insignificant other and another couple in New Hampshire on a New Years’ Eve ski trip in the early 90s. The first night, we went to the hotel bar, where Don flirted with the waitress. Don flirts with a blowtorch, not a feather. We didn’t notice that the bartender was her boyfriend. It got a little hot in there, but not overtly hostile at all. We went out to dinner for New Year’s and Don, not imbibing particularly moderately, decided to lift a drink off the tray a waitress was carrying on her upraised hand to the next table and in doing so, broke the delicate balance you need to do that and caused her to upend all the other drinks onto her other customers. We left very quickly. When we got back to the hotel, the manager informed Don that he was not welcome in the hotel bar. We all defended him that he had done nothing wrong and he really had not. We argued it was not a good idea to have a waitress and a bartender who are dating. Don went to his room and called his credit card which - and I don’t know how he accomplished this, determined not to accept the hotel charges, and had a very nice three days for free.


We went to the local ice cream place, Friendly’s, where we had had more than a few adventures. We went up to a group of kids we knew from school. One of them, a big blowhard who thought he was much cooler and tougher than he was, suddenly turned to us with plastic ketchup bottles in both hands and squeezed, catching Bear in the chest with both of them. Bear did not yell, fight or whine. He walked away and up to the counter and ordered an ice cream cone. We went outside with him happily lapping it. Then, we went over to get our bikes in the rack. He located the bike of the idiot who had sprayed him and turned the cone upside down on his seat. It was pretty hot out and in 5 minutes that cone had to melt all over, by which time, we were long gone. Now, that was cool.


Don and I were working in a firm in the mid 90s. We debated constantly. Don was much more demonstrative than I, would raise his voice a lot and talk very fast. We weren’t fighting. It was just his style and it intimidated a lot of people. But, I knew he wasn’t violent (well, not to his friends) and it didn’t bother me at all. In fact, it usually amused me. One day we were in my office with the door closed. I was sitting in my chair with my hands behind my head and my feet up on the desk. Don was standing in front of the desk pacing back and forth and arguing very loudly and forcefully. I am sure the people outside the door could not hear me, although I was talking as much as he was. Suddenly, on one of his swings to the door, Don stooped, picked up a piece of paper, unfolded it, read it and cracked up. If was from my secretary and it said, “David, should I go for help.”


Also back in high school, Bear, who I then often called Lars Wonderchild, and I would hang out at a local Baskin & Robbins where a friend worked. One day when we were there Bear wandered near the open freezer door. Our friend and I pushed him in from behind and shut the door, locking it. Why did we do this? Because we were teenage boys and he was momentarily vulnerable. Any two of us would have done the same to the third. But, you need to be a teenage boy, or remember being one to understand – so ladies, don’t strain yourself. But, of course, we had no intention of harming him. So after about ten minutes, we opened the door. There was Bear, his pockets stuffed with ice cream sandwiches, calmly munching on one and smiling, as calm as could be.


Don and I were going to a local pizzeria. I parked in the little lot behind and got out of my car to see Don pull into the lot across the street. Just before he pulls into the spot, another car pulls in front of him and gets it. Two guys get out of the car and Don gets out of his. Don demands that they move their car and they pretty much laugh at him and one says “What are you going to do? There are two of us and one of you.” I am thinking, great, now I have to get in a fight for my crazy friend over a stupid parking space. But, Don doesn’t even look at me, but says, “Fine.” He goes to his car while they watch him like deer in headlights and he comes back with a baseball bat and the same guy says, “I’ll move the car.”  When Don comes over after parking in his spot, I say, “You know you are out of your mind, right?” He says he does, but can’t help himself sometimes, and he suggests we go to a different pizzeria a few doors away to avoid a further confrontation. Actually, he was trying to be nice, because they were terrified of him.


I am at a pizzeria in Queens, NY, a great restaurant by the train station in Kew Gardens, near where Bear and M are living. I am thinking this has to be about 15 years ago.  Some nice teenage boy, skinny and acne-faced, is our waiter. We were finishing up our meals and the nice young man comes by and scoops up the plate in front of Bear’s wife on which there is a little food left. You know how you don’t want to come in between a real Bear and her cubs. Similar, if less lethal, reaction here. Bear snarls “MY WIFE ISN’T DONE WITH HER MEAL YET!” and the little kid is practically shaking. After he scuttles away practically bowing, M and I both look at Bear and say something like, “What are you doing?” “Well,” he says, “she wasn’t done.”


Don and I are in Pennsylvania to ski at a little mountain where his parents have a trailer. It is freezing inside it and there are no sheets or blankets. We drive up to a hotel and Don goes in to inquire if they will be kind enough to lend us a few blankets for the weekend. I am out there in the car for about 5 minutes when Don comes sprinting out to the car screaming “Go, go, go.” He jumps in and I speed off asking him what the hell happened. “I couldn’t find anyone to ask, so I figured we’d just borrow them for a few days.”

“And?” I ask.

“Apparently, someone saw me and started chasing me. So, I dropped them and ran.”

“Oh, God,” I said, and looked in the rear view mirror for the whirling red siren that fortuitously never came.


We went to a local, family owned movie theatre in the village near where we lived. The couple who owned it were very friendly but a little odd in that really nice way. Few people went there as it was old, not so clean and ran old movies. We were going to see Field of Dreams. Before it started, Bear warned me. His father had died earlier in the decade and when the end of the movie came, and the ghost of the lead character’s father asked his son if he wanted to play catch, Bear was going to cry. We watched the movie and then the scene came. Suddenly Bear gets up and hustles out of the theatre. It’s the end of the movie, so I go out into the lobby too. There is Bear, glasses off, wiping his eyes and being accosted by the owner of the theatre who is talking to him, but shouting to his wife across the lobby, “Honey, look. This man is crying.”

Bear does his best to explain and then we go out to the alley beside the theatre where immediately Bear goes into a rant about what just happened and how the man buttonholed him when he came out with tears in his eyes and instead of letting him hurry away, insisted on knowing what had happened. No one rants like Bear and I laughed so hard my ribs hurt and I seriously thought I might break one. But, I couldn’t stop. I am trying not to laugh now. As for the owner, I imagine him sitting in a rocker this Christmas, smiling to himself as he remembers the time his wife and he touched someone’s life with film.


One day Don calls me up and asks me for a favor. Back in those days, when Don asked you a favor, you went into a panic, because you never knew what was going to happen. If you covered a court case for him he described as “in and out,” you might find that it was the 37th time on and the judge threatened to hold him in contempt if he didn’t show or something worse. But, he had always helped me when I needed it and I said okay without asking what it was. It had nothing to do with the practice of law. He wanted me to come to his girlfriend’s house and keep the old man who used to be her stepfather from coming in the house when he came to pick up his furniture. Don liked the old fellow, who was probably 75, and didn’t want to do it. So, when he showed up, I was standing in the doorway, trying to smile pleasantly and said that I was sorry, that he couldn’t come in, but I would get anything he wanted for him.

Like a jack rabbit he jumped in my face, cocked his fists as if in a movie, and said that he could kick my ass.

“I’m sure you can, Sir,” I said, seriously doubting it – he was 75, after all, “but I have to stand here anyway.”

“What are you? The hired muscle?”

I laughed to myself, careful not to smirk. I was raised to be a pacifist and not the hired muscle type. I had never had a real fight in my life, always preferring persuasion or just backing off in bad situations. I sometimes regretted that when older, at least in a few instances, but this was not a possibility. “No, Sir, I’m just a family friend. I’m sorry about this, but it was requested by your ex-wife that I help you, but not let you in and I promised.” That much was true. His ex had been nice to me and Don said that was what she wanted. Don, whose girlfriend was cowering upstairs, was, of course, just standing to one side, and shaking his head sympathetically for the old guy, like I’m some kind of jerk he found standing in the doorway when he got here.

Fortunately, the fellow’s older brother, who Don said was 85 years old, was also there and he pulled his brother back before he whacked me in the face and there was a problem. He shouldn’t have worried. I had no intention of hitting a 75 year old man no matter what he did to me, and had already told Don that. But, I really didn’t want my ass kicked either, did I?

There wasn’t much furniture, actually, and it soon ended, but, I noted in my mental notebook - do not do favors for Don without checking first exactly what it is.

I’ll leave off with Don as I started off with Bear’s merciless commentary.

Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukah, y’all.


  1. Well you did top last year's post. I've been laughing for a half hour.

    You must have been a horrible person in a past life to end up with Bear and me in this one. If I ever need a biographer one day you get the call. Each of the events you decribed came back to me as I started to read I said- had me rolling.

    I'm glad you didn't change the names on this post...of course there aren't any innocent to protect!

    And I'll try to go back into the insulting comment business this yera if you write more things that I disagree with!!!!!
    Merry Christmas.
    To you too Bear.

  2. Oh, I'm pretty sure I was Hitler in a past life, but not because of you two.

  3. Well, you've finally done it. I'm pretty much speechless. Boy, that Don is a piece of work, thank goodness you have one normal, stable friend in your life...
    now if I could just think of who that might be....
    you tugged on my heart strings today Frodo, and that's really dirty pool.
    Happy Holidays to you, Don, and whoever else reads this swill.

  4. Awww, shucks, Bear.


Your comments are welcome.

About Me

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I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .