jrpearlman

Norma, shut up!

Got a new dog this afternoon. It’s my first dog. Wife insisted on a girl (no juicy red rockets), so we got a girl. Wife insisted on something sort of small, we got something sort of small. Wife insisted on a non-shedder, we got a non-shedder.

Dog’s name is Norma, after my wife’s grandmother. I came up with the name. Grandma Norma is neither soft nor cute (without saying much more, she’s sort of the opposite), but she’s 90-something years old, and has never had a namesake. Hence, the dog.

We got the dog at 3 pm. It’s now midnight. Thus far:

• She’s vomited on the kitchen floor.

• Peed and pooped in her cage.

• Peed on the floor.

• Barked incessantly.

I’m not saying I’m miserable, but if anyone knows of a studio or one-bedroom apartment in the New York area that doesn’t accept pets, please let me know.

The Pope needs a hankie

Just read that the Pope finally apologized for the actions of those priests who sexually abused their followers. Though I’m all up for a good ol’ apology (how do you think I survive marriage?), this seems a little odd. Apparently hundreds upon hundreds of priests—who are technically employees of the Pope—take advantage of people in the worst possible way … and all the Pope can do is offer this meek apology:

“I would like to pause to acknowledge the shame which we have all felt as a result of the sexual abuse of minors by some clergy and religious in this country,” Benedict said during an address at a Mass in Australia. I am deeply sorry for the pain and suffering the victims have endured. I assure them as their pastor that I too share in their suffering.”

First off, you don’t share their suffering. Not even close. I’m friends with someone who was sexually abused as a boy, and it’s anguish+torture+horror+nightmares+every possible negative one can think of. And the Pope apologizes? Like that?

I’m sorry, but I don’t buy it, and I don’t think members of the Catholic Church should, either. More than five years after this story first broke, it’s time for people to start asking hard questions—not just about Catholicism, but about organized churches/synagogues/etc. Here’s my question: When is faith a blessed thing, and when is it a power grip around the throat?

Hmmm …

(I’ll get back to sports now)

Favre

I am sick and tired of Brett Favre.

Great player, great guy. But gimme a friggin’ break.

You wanna continue your career? Fine. But after announcing your retirement following a prolonged (and very public) debate, don’t rip the Packers for disrespecting you. I’m not a guy who usually supports teams over players, but, well, I’m supporting a team over a player. Despite the conventional wisdom of players and 99% of the media talking heads, the NFL owes Favre absolutely nothing. Nada. It made him a wealthy man for the obscure (and relatively meaningless) ability to throw a wad of dried pig flesh 60 yards in the air to another man wearing sticky gloves and and Breathe-Rite strip. So enough with this, “The Packers need to let Brett play where he wants to play. They owe him that much …” Blah, blah, blah.

If anyone owes anyone anything, it’s Brett owing me a little peace and quiet. Because he’s driving me friggin’ crazy.

Either shut up and go to camp with the Packers as a backup (hell, you’ll win the job in two weeks, max) or begin your life giving Rotary talks and working 4-H bake sales.

But make up your mind. Please.

Johanna

The woman in this unfortunately blurry picture is my great-grandmother, Johanna Baer. The man, sitting next to her, is my great-grandfather, Arthur.

When I was a tyke, I’d visit my Grandma Marta’s apartment in the city, and she had the photograph sitting atop her dresser. I’d look at it often, because I knew Johanna had died in a concentration camp, and I knew that it broke my grandma’s heart. My grandma never spoke of the Holocaust, and on the rare times it came up (or her mother would come up) she cried. As a little kid, I never understood. Gradually, I began to get it.

Tonight, for no reason I can think of, I went to the Yad Vashem website and looked up my great-grandmother. This is what I found:

Johanna Baer nee Wallerstein was born in Hockenheim in 1886 to Louis and Regina. She was a businessman and married to Arthur. Prior to WWII she lived in Karlsruhe, Germany. During the war she was in Karlsruhe, Germany. Johanna perished in 1942 in Auschwitz, Camp at the age of 56. This information is based on a Page of Testimony (displayed on left) submitted by her granddaughter.

My Grandma Herz was probably my favorite grandparent. She lived in New York City at the same time I did. We spoke a couple of times per week, and we always scheduled lunches and dinners together. I always told her, “I really think of you as a friend as much as a grandma.” I think she liked that. On the day she died, I received a call from my mom. I sat in my apartment and cried all alone, then hopped in a taxi and went to her apartment on 181st Street in Washington Heights. I still remember exiting the elevator and seeing the door slightly ajar. As I walked down the hallway toward the dining room, a police officer asked me if I wanted to see her. I turned to my left, peeked through a crack in the door and there was Grandma, lying on her bed, eyes closed, moth slightly open. She had suffered a heart attack a few hours after leaving the theatre with her friend, and died in bed. She was only 85, and I wanted her to live a lot longer. But as far as ways one can die, it was a pretty darn good one.

Anyhow, that night I took my grandma’s handkerchief from her pocketbook, because it smelled like her. Nine years later, I still have it in my closet; still smell it from time to time. The next day I returned and grabbed the picture of my great grandparents. It reminds me that the Holocaust is real. It reminds me that there was a Johanna Baer, and that she died along with 6 million others.

Mostly, though, it reminds me of my grandma—who I continue to miss terribly.

We have a winner!!! The Color Me Badd second jeffpearlman.com book giveaway

First off, I have to say that, with a contest like this, there are no winners here—only losers. We all share some damn humiliating taste, and there’s something to be said for that. Do you think P. Diddy would ever admit to loving Olivia Newton-John’s “Xanadu?” Do you think Slash wants us to know that he curls up in a ball and cries every time he hears that wonderful Neil Diamong song, “Heartlight.”

We have guts. We’re musical losers, and we’re willing to stand up and post about it. I say, “Amen!”

OK, so here are the results. I’d like to thank everyone who participated—I received a jeffpearlman.com record 20 responses to this poll, which speaks for both the rapid growth (I’ve only been up two weeks) and smallness (oy) of my blog.

In third place … with his undying support of Nelson’s absolutely dreadful “After the Rain,” is Russ Bengtson of New York (Confession: Russ and I used to be roomates in Manhattan. We would watch Magic Johnson’s talk show, “The Magic Hour,” for the simple pleasure of mocking the man.

In second place … is John M., who willingly admitted to letting the wind blow through his hair while driving at full speed and bellowing Michelle Branch’s “All You Wanted.” Truth be told, Michelle Branch can rock a bit. Seriously, she has talent. But John M’s machismo is killed with the whole hair-blowing-in-the-wind-while-singing image.

The winner of the “Color Me Badd: The second jeffpearlman.com book giveaway!!!!” is … Shawn, who seems to have a genuine love and respect for, blllleeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhh!!!!!!, Amy Grant.

Dude, Amy Grant?

Amy Grant!?

Here’s what he wrote: “I have no idea where it started, but when I was about 12 years old I started getting into Amy Grant. I don’t really know how it started, I’m pretty sure we had a copy of the Amy Grant Christmas album laying around that my family would listen to at Christmas, and I guess from there it just snowballed. Amy Grant wasn’t the only music artist that I got into; being a 16 year old boy I naturally listened to Pink Floyd, Boston, Journey, and every other classic rock staple. Even as I broadened my horizons I kept Amy close at hand, and only in the company of myself, I would dig out those Amy Grant cd’s I secretly purchased and happily listened to my favorite music that I hated myself for loving.”

Now, a quick story with an interesting conclusion: When I was younger I, too liked Amy Grant. But then, one day, I thought, “Boy, Amy Grant really sucks.” Story over.

Shawn, congrats. E-mail your address, and I’ll hook you up.

*** If you didn’t get the picture, I urge everyone here to click on one of the Amy Grant links and partake in—hands down—the worst song and worst video in human history. Wait … my … brain … be … melting …

Living like Oprah

So there’s a blogger out there who has committed to live the ensuing year following Oprah’s life instructions as precisely as humanly possible. Here’s the link.

I actually think this is a wonderful idea, and I encourage somebody to spend a year following my life instructions. Hell, why not start now. Here are your first tasks:

Step 1. Go to Amazon and order Hall & Oates’ entire CD catalogue.

Step 2. Play them repeatedly.

Step 3. Go to your bank and withdraw your life savings.

Step 4. Give 5% to the Hall & Oates Fanclub.

Step 5: Give the rest to me

Step 6: Stop my wife from buying this dog.

You’re hired.

PS: This is awesome. My favorite quote: “Oprah is on a mission. Repeatedly stated, her “mission” is, “I want people to see things on our show that makes them think differently about their lives…To be a light for people. To make a difference…to open their minds and see things differently…how to get in touch with the spiritual part of their life.” Unfortunately, the “light” Oprah offers is the “angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), and “opening their minds,” in this case means their brains fall out-they become empty headed (Romans 1:21-25).”

Personally, I just want Oprah, Dr. Phil, Steve Winwood, Stephon Marbury and the kid who played The Rickster‘s best friend on Silver Spoons to board a bus and go far, far away. They bother me. But do I think Oprah is the anti-Christ? Nah. Just overblown and annoying.

Am I crazy?

So, after living all 36 years of my life without picking up a wad of moist, rank poop with a plastic bag, I have agreed to buy a dog. Here’s a picture (dog’s on the right, my wife is on the left):

I’m actually pretty excited about this. We’ll start off by training Tollbooth (my name of choice for the dog) how to sleep in her cage and urinate in the right places. Over time, however, I’m quite certain she’ll be able to write a solid lede and track down sources.

This isn’t a contest, but we are searching for cool girl names for the little beeyatch (at long last, I’m able to use this properly). If you’ve got any, I’d love to hear ’em …

Something I don’t understand

I visited the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame several years ago, and enjoyed it. First, it’s in Cleveland, so even a Dairy Queen with a swiveling plastic cone would seem exciting. But the museum was, truly, unique; a one-of-a-kind honor ground for rock’s greatest performers.

So why, I ask, isn’t KISS in the Hall?

It makes no sense. John Mellencamp (blah) is in the Hall. Back Sabbath (eh) is in the Hall. Lynyrd Skynyrd is in the hall. Hell, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five are in the hall—and they have nothing to do with rock (legendary, of course, but not rockers).

I’ll admit—Kiss’ music could be a wee-bit spotty. But “Detroit Rock City” is an all-time excellent rock song, and “King of the Nighttime World” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll All Night” aren’t far behind. Mostly, the members of Kiss were theatrical geniuses. They stole some from New York Dolls, but then took the makeup-firing-exploding guitar-floating drums to a whole new (and insane) level. They paved a very clear path for groups like Ratt, Motley Crue, Aerosmith, etc—and yet year after year they get snubbed by the elite judges (Rolling Stone Magazine’s Jann Wenner), who think they own the music business.

Here, since you asked, are my Top 5 people who belong in the hall (but aren’t in).

1. Kiss.

2. Hall & Oates

3. Run DMC (if they’re taking hip-hop, you need the kings)

4. Willie Nelson (If Cash is in, which he is, you need Nelson)

5. Menudo.

Here’s the complete list of inductees.

*** By the way, I’m kidding about Menudo. I’d rather suck the lice particles out of my daughter’s camp-weathered scalp than listen to a single note from the mouth of Ricky Martin.