Saturday, March 24, 2018


Lady's choice
I keep reminding myself that just when things
seem beyond comprehension... inevitably the
other shoe drops. Or in the case of a President,
another former fling tells her story tomorrow
night on Sixty Minutes. At some point all of
this craziness must come to an end. However
one has only to watch CNN and FoxNews
in succession to realize just how much trouble
we're really in. I honestly try to be balanced.
However it's obvious that key media outlets
have no intention of doing just that. Thus any
attempt to find clarity, truth, or resolution only
endangers their ratings and earnings potential.
Pirro technics
Nobody likes to be yelled at. Yet that's the
modus operandi of stars like Jeanine Pirro.
This former judge has no problem judging
others. Invariably with little to no facts to
back up her accusations, slurs, and insults.
Maybe I'm nuts. However if I compare the
content and context of her spews to those of
Rachel Maddow - I come to the conclusion
that there is no comparison. That's because
Ms. Maddow backs up her conjecture with
FACTS. Pure, simple, bold truth. Whereas
Ms. Pirro has no problem saying whatever
comes to mind. Even if it's a total lie...
Odd man out
We all have a choice as to who guides our
way. Sadly many Americans are willingly
led to slaughter by opportunistic con artists.
When will the swirl of conspiracy theories
finally stop? In my opinion not until the
Mueller Investigation is allowed to run it's
course. In the meantime the best thing for
America is for everybody to wait and see.
Does screaming in protest benefit any one?
Especially when it should be considered
a confession of guilt? Our governmental
processes and framework insure that no
one is above the law. Even Donald Trump.
Well shut my mouth...
Obviously this could all be for naught. The
end result may confirm that Russia was an
innocent bystander. That allocating hush
money from campaign funds is perfectly
acceptable. Or any misuse of fifty million
facebook user's personal data was simply
a modern glitch. And that infidelity and
untoward sexual advances are but locker
room fodder. Given that nothing could be
further from the truth chances are karma
will kick in very soon. And when it does
I'm confident that the naysayers will have
little to nothing left to say in their defense.
Off the record
There is a method to said madness. The louder
they yell or act out, the easier it is to shift our
focus from what's really going on. Fortunately
all this shall soon pass. There are only so many
who Donald Trump can fire via tweets. Soon
even the reddest of representatives will take it
on the chin one time too many and come back
with a vengeance. Hence for now one can only
wait for the inevitable to happen. Hopefully all
too soon this manic state of America will come
to a bitter end. Freedom, justice, and truth will
have their day. And when that happens, I can't
help but wonder who we'll talk about next...

Friday, March 23, 2018


Missed opportunities
Every time I forget something I can't help but
think of my father. Post about ten years into
retirement he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's
disease. Eighteen long years later, Dad finally
succumbed to the decay of this most numbing
of mind disorders. In essence he was robbed.
Not only of his ability to love life to it's fullest.
But rather, to enjoy a lifetime of memories both
good and bad. Not too long into his long illness,
Dad's mind became a melange of disconnected
threads of then and now. His loss was no body's
gain given for anyone who knew him well, said
process was all too painful and sad to watch.
Deja vu
Given I'm adopted, chances of sharing in my
father's fate are slim at best. However almost
everybody starts to "lose it" at some point in
the aging process. For me that means things
like remembering where I placed my glasses.
And while beyond frustrating, I'm thankful
that misplacing something is the least of my
problems. The fact is that at this point in life
I feel more than blessed. But even more so,
humbled. All because even the rockiest of
times ended up yielding redemptive results.
So win or lose, I've gained in the process.
Thus a new challenge should be quite easy.
Not older... but wiser
But is anything ever easy? Any phase of life is
challenging in different ways which are new
yet all too familiar. When I last launched a new
business I was in my late twenties. Now I find
myself struggling with the same challenges that
I overcame decades ago. The difference being
that youthful naivete has been replaced by my
jaded perspective. For reasons I can't explain
it seems much harder the second time around.
Frank and I are suddenly shop keepers. Which
in today's economy requires a willingness to
gamble away one's future. Is it possible that
we're simply too old to do it all over again?!
There's a first time for everything
In theory we've been there, done that. Yet
past success may be hindering potential
growth. My latest challenge is to embrace
the concept that gratification isn't always
guaranteed. When you're young, you work
for what you want and every day is a new
experience. As the years go by it becomes
easier given you leverage your knowledge
and experience. Unfortunately that only
works in familiar territory. So now that we
are "hands on retailers" rather than rest on
our laurels,  we are now deep in the weeds.
The question is are we digging a big hole?
Bigger and better
How can I be so foolish? To be honest we've
got little to be worried about. I've ready for
anything given I know how to fiscal issues
while navigating political mine fields. Thus
the only thing I have to fear is fear itself. My
own angst is my biggest enemy. But in life
I've learned worrying is not worth the effort.
Somehow I must now regain at least some of
my youthful verve given I'm an ingenue in a
new realm. Can I embrace innovation while
leveraging historical precedence? And rather
than second guess - can I move onward and
upward? After all, the BEST is yet to come!

Thursday, March 22, 2018


In the eighteenth century George, then
Prince of Wales built a Chinoise manse
on the sea in Brighton. It's faux bamboo
staircase an architectural triumph. Wit
is an key element in any room. Take the
space above. Designed by Elsie de Wolfe
in the thirties it was home to Marlene
Dietrich. Elsie's mix of mirrors, art deco,
and wallpaper remain chic today. Yet it's
the bamboo trim that finishes it all off...

Click on the link below to read the rest
of the latest C+V HOME blog -

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Word of mouth
In this age of "reality," it seems
that no secrets are left unshared.
Prior generations held it inside.
Preferring to reveal next to nada.
Call it decorum, propriety or
restraint - secrets were best left
unsaid. As boomers boomed our
culture shifted from confidential
to candid confession. Most of us
sit at the shrink sifting through
our lives trying to make sense
of it all. Few finding answers.
No wonder we're still talking...
Spin doctor
I'm not sure that dwelling on the
past with a paid stranger gets us
anywhere. Putting together the
pieces is a natural process often
best accomplished with a close
friend and a bottle of Cabernet.
For me writing this blog helps
me travel life's journey. Some
of you have cautioned me about
true confessions. While this blog
is personal it often inspires others
worldwide. So right or wrong, it
feels right. And so I write on...
Path not taken
How did our parents navigate life
without spilling their guts? They
opted to keep their secrets hidden
rather than bare their souls to all.
As a child any action happened
behind closed doors. Rather than
air their dirty laundry Mom and
Dad kept to themselves. None of
my business meant I knew nothing.
While I'll never know all the details
I have slowly put the secret pieces
together. Now I finally understand
why they were who they were.

Ring leader
Everybody liked Dad especially
my Mother. Her knight in shining
armor, he could be a bit of a wimp
when it came to her. Ethel ruled
the roost and I resented it. Later
on I figured out why each played
a role. And it all made sense. My
father was a child of divorce. His
father was a bigamist. Later my
grandmother was a kept woman.
His grandmother raised him in a
house full of females. And so my
father let my mother run the show.
Maid in Manhattan
Ethel was a child of privilege until
the crash of 1929. A year later her
Dad left to visit his home in London.
And never came back. Ethel and
her mother moved into a tiny maid's
room in her grandmother's apartment
and slept in a shared single bed. One
can imagine their shame. After Mom
was gone, I traced her Father's life
via the web. Only to discover that he
had married another woman without
ever divorcing my grandmother. NO
wonder he never came home again.
Love lost
We were never were home for Easter.
Years later I figured out why. You see
my parents lost a beloved daughter at
age fourteen shortly after Easter. We
never discussed how she died nor any
details. All I knew was that Pam was
gone and my job was to fill the void.
In truth she never left. Her pictures
were everywhere. And randomly my
Mother would suddenly start to cry.
But nobody ever said a word. So we
never had a ham, nor jelly beans, nor
bonnets. Hence I now adore Easter.
Altered state
I saw my birth certificate for the
first time at age fifteen. Oddly it
showed that I was born outside
of Philadelphia. When I queried
Ethel as to why, she got choked
up. Joking I asked "What, am I
adopted" to which she replied
"Yes, you are!" Suddenly all
changed and yet nothing ever
changed. I was theirs and they
were mine. That's because they
needed me as much as I needed
them. Oh how I loved them!
Nature lesson
It took a failed marriage and four
children before I figured out what
was right for me. When I shared
my truth - my conservative parents
were not pleased. However they
freely loved me unconditionally.
After I met Frank, Ethel finally
understood that being gay is all
about LOVE. And while we rarely
spoke about my "lifestyle" I knew
that she understood. Yet we rarely
broached the subject. Thus in this
case... the less said... the better.
Another round
While blabbing on about personal
things is obviously personal, most
of the time it's helpful. When one
hurts sharing a secret can help them
heal. I'm happy to share the lessons
I've learned. If for no other reason
than that sharing them seems to give
the pain of my process some sense
of noble purpose. You see, there's a
reason for everything. So rather than
keep it a quiet, I prefer to speak up
and make things a little bit better.
No wonder I spill my guts!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Truth or consequences
Timing is everything. Hence there are times
when it's best to keep one's mouth shut. But
many of us struggle with embracing silence.
It's all too easy to spout rather than to contain
oneself. Particularly if they assume they only
know what's best. Even if most others disagree.
Luckily the school of hard knocks offers adult
education in the art of minding one's business.
Enabling even the most vociferous of talkers
to wait for the right time to make their voices
heard. Or better yet, to quietly step back and
hold our tongues. A stealth skillset that this
blogger has yet to master. Talk about tough...

Free speech
Try as I might I can't hold back. Meaning that
like many a teacher's pet I constantly try to
convince others that I'm smarter than they are.
Good intentions aside, sharing one's opinion
with a forced audience rarely gets applause.
Inevitably unwelcome spewing alienates all
within earshot. So why can't some of us keep
our mouths shut? Even the best of us tend to
be highly opinionated. Add more than a dash
of arrogance and one easily adds fuel to said
fire. Causing those who only want to help to
actually hurt those they love. Therefore by
saying it like it is we may end up burnt out.

Command performance
Obviously there are times when one must at
least try to go there. Any revelation requires
an audience that is receptive to considering
alternative perspectives. Many of us have to
hit rock bottom prior to listening up. While
others seek a shoulder upon which to cry
when challenged. No matter the situation,
a potential recipient of sage advice must
open the door. Providing easy access to all
who are ready to play devil's advocate. Hence
an open flow of ideas requires acquiescence.
Sans such surrender, unwelcome feedback
only falls on deaf ears. So why go there?

Waiting room
All of the above said, there are times when one
must make their voice heard. Doing so demands
the ability to suffer the consequences. Stating
what may be obvious to you doesn't guarantee
immediate applause from one's audience. Often
the "victim" of circumstances doesn't appreciate
being shown the error of their ways. Nor do they
treasure coming face to face with the brutal truth.
However slowly they come to their senses. And
assuming that all you said was true, will thank
you for said bitch slap of reality. However until
then be prepared to get the silent treatment. And
most important... think before for you speak.

Monday, March 19, 2018

PG: Parental guidance suggested

A night to remember
During much of my career I had the pleasure
of meeting many luminaries. Said celebrities
were human at best. Among the few who truly
stand out was Madeline L'Engle the author of
"A Wrinkle In Time". She was if nothing else
a total class act. Innately chic, the literary lady
carried herself with dignity and aplomb. Yet
what I found most appealing was her ability
to inspire others. A skill shared with Oprah
Winfrey, one of many stars in the new motion
picture based on her Newberry Medal winning
classic. Post much anticipation we finally saw
it Saturday night. Well... at least we tried to...
Reserved seats
It's rare that our local movie theater runs a film
that appeals to Frank or I. Whatever is listed on
the marquee tends to be either an action flick or
children's movie. We purposefully chose Saint
Patrick's night assuming that the theater would
be ours alone. Post stopping by the concessions
we walked into an empty theater. Which while
quite lovely also felt a bit lonely. Quickly about
a dozen folks joined us. Then shortly after the
previews started, a familial horde of at least ten
straggled in. While there were plenty of empty
seats available, they ambled down the aisle and
settled into the seats directly behind us.
The children's hour
Before I continue let me reinforce that I adore
children. As a father of four and grandfather
of five I've obviously had more than my share
of hands on experience rearing tots. Even if
some of my children might argue that I wasn't
the best of dads - I'm confident that when my
kids were in public they behaved themselves.
In part because both their mother and I (and
later Frank) did our best to teach them manners.
And the importance of behaving appropriately
in a public setting. Hence with a few random
exceptions, my kids almost always behaved
themselves. And treated others with respect.
Snap, crackle, pop
Once quite ensconced, the kiddies proceeded
to unwrap what can only be described as the
noisiest of repasts. While I'm not certain of
what they were nibbling, I'm certain that it
was encased in an armor of cellophane. Thus
in order to ingest their mess, the entire theater
was subjected to their crackling cacophony.
So loud that this definitely deaf dad had quite
a hard time understanding what the actors on
screen were saying. In between the kids slurped
soda, kicked our seat backs, and did everything
possible to insure that we did NOT enjoy the
movie. However said hooligans were not alone.
Restless foot syndrome
At least one of the kids seemed to be suffering
from some sort of bladder ailment. Hence every
ten minutes or so she literally dragged her feet
down the aisle to the exit. Her return heralded
by the clump of her snow boots upon every step.
Leaving me to wonder where were her parents?!
Had they dropped off the kids and left to dine?
Or decided to watch the action flick in theater
one? Obviously these children not only lacked
any semblance of manners but also any form of
adult supervision. Left to their own devices they
were quite skilled at making us squirm. Insuring
that it was impossible for us to watch the movie!
Speaking of personal devices, meanwhile there
was a woman two rows ahead who obviously
wasn't aware of or was unwilling to obey the
theater rules. Keeping her phone on - her cell
phone frequently lit up like a bright beacon as
she received message after message. At least
she had to decency to leave the auditorium to
answer her calls. While we all have problems,
we wondered what her problem was. Then we
realized that those children sitting behind us
were hers. And that any lack of supervision
was obviously due to the fact that she was too
busy socializing to tend to her tyrannical tots.
Pest control
Sadly a child's development depends on those
who raise them. Obviously this family didn't
have a clue. Post the film's end and inspecting
the perpetrators it was obvious that attempting
to educate them would have fallen on deaf ears.
So rather than protest our treatment we quietly
went home. However Frank and I did learn a
valuable lesson. Which is to NEVER go to a
movie that is even slightly family oriented or
has broad appeal. Therefore feel free to give
your kids the run of the joint as we won't be
in attendance. Rather we'll just stay at home
and binge watch some adult films on Netflix.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

7th Day Surprise: O.M.G.


Every Sunday morning I still miss going to church.
However for reasons known only to me, 
I simply can't go there.

And yet I'm confident that