Toupée Daze

I was in Penn Station last week, when a man walked by me wearing one of the most ridiculous toupées I had ever seen. Looked like a steel wool pad. Now I’m not talking Brillo or an SOS pad. I’m talking one of those industrial strength steel wool pads. Something like this:

Does this look like hair to you?

Does this look like hair to you?

Am I exaggerating?  Yes but not as much as you think. I honestly think I could have taken this guy’s hair piece home, put some dishwashing liquid on it and scrubbed a few pots and pans.

When it comes to hair, I’m lucky. Still got most of mine and what I’ve got is mostly brown.  Makes it easy for me to poke fun of those who are follickly challenged.  But if you know me, I could be completely bald and I’d still make fun of these people.

It’s not the going bald that’s so funny. It’s what people do to pretend that they are not going bald. Let’s explore the options.

First, we have the comb over. The comb over comes with 2 options:  First to third and home to second. Always fun in windy daze or when they come unglued (if that is being used). Nothing like seeing a bald man using this process when he comes undone. A dome on top with hair down to their ass coming out one side of their head.

Next we have plugs. The major problem here is sometimes plugs become unplugged. Than you are left with a dome with little holes in it. Shocking that the air doesn’t come leaking out of those people.

And now we come to the toupée, the hair piece, the rug, the lettuce leaf, a wig. Have you ever actually seen someone wearing one of these things that you couldn’t tell that it was topping on their snow cone? May as well put some whip cream and a cherry on that baby cause it’s not liking you are hiding the fact that you’ve gone bald!

For many man (and a few woman), going bald is a fact of life.  When I was younger and making fun of my prematurely balding friends, my mother used to tell me that her father was bald and that the balding gene came from the mother’s side of the pool. Luckily for me mom was wrong and lucky for her she didn’t put me into therapy over this (and a few other things).

My opinion is better to go bald proudly. Don’t try to cover it up. The results are usually worse and you never know what someone will think or do if you chose to wear one of those ridiculous toupées. You could end up in a kitchen somewhere with dish pan head.

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Anonymous Comment Daze

4 years ago, I started this blog and branded myself as IraSez. On twitter I’m IraSez, whenever I sign up to contribute to another person’s blog or website, I’m IraSez, and if I had signed up under a different name before I was IraSez (which always included Ira in some form), I changed it to IraSez whenever I could. If you want to know who IraSez is, it’s pretty easy to find out. Just google IraSez and see what comes up on the first page. Me, me and more me.

Go to my blog and there’s my bio. No hiding, no anonymous posts, no funny cutesie names. When I have something to say, I want everyone to know it’s me.  Hey, I’ve even got my own hat!

The first (and not quite official) @IraSez hat.

The first (and not quite official) @IraSez hat.

This was not done for ego. It was done for brand recognition just in case I became a big hit in the blogosphere (and beyond!); so that my comments, thoughts, ideas, etc., would be consistent throughout the digital world (and beyond!). I wasn’t going to hide from anyone. If you don’t agree with me, than let me know it. I love a good discussion.

But many people are not as forthcoming as I am. Could be a good thing, could be a bad thing. I guess people like to hide under their own veil of anonymity, especially in today’s blog crazy comment crazy world. Bloggers (like me) have found their platform and the amateur commentators have found a place to spew their digital venom.  It’s very easy to insult someone when you are doing it as “Art Vandelay” or “The Muffin Man” or “Egon Spengler” as I’ve seen seen when reading a recent online news article. At least these folks are trying to be clever with their online moniker. Some folks just say Bob9 or another nondescript. As far as I’m concerned, these guys are all weenies.

To quote Bill Maher…”New Rule!” If you want to comment on anything online – my blog, a news site, a sports site, whatever floats your boat – do it with your own name. Don’t be a chicken. Don’t hide from being controversial or creating a little adversity. Speak your mind but speak with your own name. It’s as simple as IraSez.

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Is The Earth Going To Drown?

If you believe everything you read in the Old Testament, there was once a great flood. If you believe just a little bit about what some scientists are saying today, the next great flood may not be so far away.

I’m not here to debate global warming or climate change or whatever you want to call it. Despite the fact that we had a pretty nasty winter here in New Jersey, the earth is getting warmer. That’s just a fact. Is it the natural cycle of things? Is it Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth?” and mankind’s wicked ways is overheating the planet. Is it the wrath of God coming down to smite the human species once again? Who’s to say but at some point real soon, we are going to face the consequences….if we aren’t already seeing some of those effects already.

The one area that many scientists are focusing on are the polar ice caps. This past Sunday on the HBO series “Vice” they did a segment on what is happening in Greenland. FYI, the average temperature in this section of the world above the Arctic Circle has risen 3.6 degrees in the past 50 years.

Watching Vice was an eye opener to say the least. Not only is Greenland (which is roughly 3x the size of Texas and is 80% covered in ice) in a state of major meltdown, it is happening way faster than anyone had predicted just 5 years ago. Some scientists are predicting that at the rate things are going, the effect of this meltdown could potentially raise sea levels by several feet in the next 50 to 100 years. For all of you worried about your beach houses…this is not good news.

To make matters even more interesting, many climatologists are saying there’s pretty much nothing we can about it. If we were to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80% in the next 10 to 20 years, the best we could hope for is to stabilize the current rate of the meltdown, which appears to be accelerating every year.

For the hard left side environmentalists, this is a global catastrophe about to happen and issue numero uno. For the ignore the environment crowd on the right, the price tag to take on this issue is way too big. After all, who’s going to pay for this? In the end, I think we all are in same way.

As always, I look for a common sense answer to all of this. My brand of common sense tells me the earth is getting warmer, some of it is us and some of it is Ma Nature doing her thing. Common sense tells me the oceans are going to rise and their will be flooding more often and more damaging. Common sense tells me we can do something about it but I’m not so smart as to know what that is.

Later this week, the movie “Noah” opens in theaters. At this point, I’m beginning to wonder if we should consider it entertainment or a users manual on how to build an ark (cue Bill Cosby).


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Profile Picture Daze

Earlier today I was surfing linkedin to see what folks had to share. Also went looking through the “People You May Know” section and I came across a recurring theme. The people I may know haven’t aged in years. As a matter of fact some of them look better than when I first met them. “How can this be?” you ask. Well, I will tell you. It’s because their profile pictures were taken before I knew them.

I’m not talking about a picture that’s a year or two old. In a couple of cases, we are talking decades. In case you are wondering, my linkedin profile picture is from 2010 but that doesn’t count because I haven’t aged since then. Look for yourself:

IraSez circa 2010.

IraSez circa 2010.

Pretty much the same way I look today. As for that double chin, it’s an optical illusion. Always has been…always will be.

But I digress.  As for who some of the folks whose profile pictures could use updating, example numero uno is a cousin of a friend of mine. He’s probably in his early 60s and what’s left of his hair is completely grey. As for his profile picture, balding yes, grey…no way. I’ve know this guy for 15 years and his picture was taken way, way before I knew him.

Example dos is a woman I met at our tennis club many moons ago. She had a successful business career before taking up tennis full time. She’s probably 10 years older than me (which would make her at least 64) and her photo looks like she’s 10 years younger than me, which would make her 44.

But my favorite example is actually an ad I saw recently in a publication for a local real estate broker. First off lady, you shouldn’t be putting your picture in the paper to begin with. Secondly, you were using that same photo when I moved to New Jersey 23 years ago, and even than it was a few years old. It’s like those people who have too much plastic surgery. Do they think we can’t tell what they’ve done to their face when their lips are moving but the rest of their faces are completely starched? Does Mrs. Real Estate Lady circa think she’s fooling anyone with that picture from the last century? Let me tell you, you’re not fooling anyone…only yourself.

My opinion is people should stop denying their age. Aging is a fact of life. One of my favorite TV quotes comes the show Nip/Tuck. I’ve used it before and I will use it again. When the character played by Joely Richardson is asked by the 2 lead characters (who are plastic surgeons) if she’d like a few of her facial lines removed, she responds (and I’m paraphrasing a bit) “I like my wrinkles…they remind me of where I’ve been.” Good words for a common sense life.

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Birthdays and Social Media

Yesterday was my birthday. At 54, I choose to do my best to treat my birthday pretty much like every other day. My birthday celebration consisted of normal day at work, an hour at the gym followed by wings, pizza and beer at The Landmark Tavern with Linda. To top it off, I watched my favorite basketball team win another game. After the game, well you can use your imagination. Was a good day.

If you look at my facebook profile, my birthday is not listed. I like to keep it private, sort of a social media experiment. I know that someone is going to out me by wishing me a happy birthday.  I just like to see who it is and than watch the chain reaction.

Sure enough, yesterday afternoon around 2:50, the big event went public thanks to  a facebook post by non-other than Allie Berkowitz.  Yes, I was outed by my own child. About 2 minutes later, my phone starts buzzing as the good news had spread to twitter thanks to the master of all things Orange in Social Media, the loverly Kim Brown (a.k.a. @kimincuse).  The well wishers from near and far came out in force. New new friends, some not so new friends, old friends and digital friends, proving that you really can’t keep a secret for too long in today’s instant information world.

Actually, my birthday celebration this year is going to be very special, if a couple of days after the actual date of my birth. The aforementioned Allie is hours away from hoping on a red-eye from LA to Newark. Linda and I will pick her up in the morning, pick-up her little sister from TriDelt along the way, and head north to the frozen tundra that is Syracuse, which means my family will be together for the weekend (at least the part where Allie and Zach aren’t sleeping). Dinner tomorrow at Phoebe’s with my friend of 40+ years Caryl Shapiro (it’s a whole Great Neck, Syracuse thing) and her family. Saturday will be a day with friends, Middle Ages and Dinosaurs. The big game Saturday where I will be one of 35,000+ in The Dome to witness the historic SU v Duke basketball game. Throw in some drinks at Faegen’s, maybe a slice at the Varsity, possibly a THB and you’ve got one hell of a birthday weekend.

And with all weekends at SU, my body maybe 54 years old but will feel 35 years younger. At least until Monday morning when I wake up and my first thought will be “what the hell was I thinking?”

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Do Over AC

The weekend after Christmas, Linda and I took the kids on an overnight down to the Revel Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City. Very nice rooms, very nice views, very nice restaurant and and very bankrupt at the moment. Just seems to be the way things are going in AC these daze. Despite it’s breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, most of Atlantic City seems to be lost in some sort of post-depression time warp…but it wasn’t supposed to be this way anymore.

On May 26, 1978, Resorts International opened in Atlantic City bringing legalized gambling to New Jersey and the hope of renewal to a once bustling beach community that had fallen on hard times. Today there are 11 casino hotels in AC, 5 of which some form of bankruptcy. The Atlantic Club Casino Hotel (formerly the AC Hilton) closed up shop last week.  Instead of becoming Las Vegas meets South Beach, AC has become a cruel version of broken down slum where the magic fairy dust inside the casinos never reaches the ground or catches the breeze of the ocean nearby.

Some of the hotel casinos are nice places to visit, especially the newer ones such as the Borgata and Revel. Unfortunately for AC, the world outside the casino doors remains the same. Boarded up buildings, empty lots, honky tonk stores line the boardwalk, homelessness and poverty. In Vegas you can walk The Strip at all hours of the day and night. In AC, there is no strip to walk on…only dimly lit, deserted streets where you can’t help but feel that this might not be the safest place to take a walk.

The irony is that much of this can be blamed on the game that made Atlantic City famous…monopoly. Not the game itself but the fact that for many years, AC had a monopoly on east coast gambling. Other than going to Las Vegas, there was nowhere else in the US that offered legalized casino gambling. If you build it, they will come and come they did. Into the shiny, bright and lavish casino hotels came the gamblers, the partyers and those looking for a bit of excitement. They walked through the doors one day and out another never seeing the real AC. And what did the powers that be do to AC to make it more attractive on the outside? They did nothing because they had a monopoly and when you have monopoly, you do nothing except count your winnings.

But the monopoly didn’t last forever. First came the Indian casinos, some closer to NYC than AC was. Those were followed by legalized gambling in other states, including our next door neighbor Pennsylvania, which actually has more casinos than New Jersey. Now other states want a piece of the pie and the monopoly, and the opportunity it offered to truly re-invent AC, is gone, quite probably forever.

It’s really too bad. AC could have been Las Vegas by the ocean, our version of Monte Carlo.  A world class beachside resort where the beautiful come to play and lose their money. When you are in AC these days, you run the risk of losing your money outside the casino almost as much as inside, only it’s not by playing a game of chance.

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Dysfunction Junction

Anyone seen August: Osage County? Talk about your dysfunctional families. I would love to meet the folks who were the inspiration for Tracy Letts who wrote the screenplay as well as the original Broadway show. These people are totally fucked up!

I have stated loudly and frequently that I believe that every family operates at some level of dysfunction, which brings me to one of my most favorite IraSez moments (before I even called them that), which I am happy to share with you. About 10 or 11 years ago, Zach was playing little league and I was one of those idiots who was a little league coach. I could write a whole bunch of blog posts about those years but let’s stick with this one moment.

One afternoon, I was chatting with some of the ladies at the snack bar in Gero Park, where we play our little league games here in Millburn/Short Hills. Someone mentioned that they had just seen Home For The Holidays, another movie that delves deeply into dysfunctional families. When one of the snack bar ladies asked what the movie was about I responded “It’s about dysfunctional families in America and I believe that all families operate at some level of dysfunction.”

Listening in on this conversation was Lily von Mayflower (not her real name in case you can’t figure that one out). Lily is so named for her oh so pink and green Lily Pulitzer outfits and the fact that she can probably trace her roots back to the Mayflower (and her other roots to some expensive salon in NYC). In her mind, she’s a Native American. Lily’s family life consists of her money mongering…I mean managing hubby, 4 perfect little cherubs, 2 dogs, 2 Volvos and ye big ass house in Old Short Hills – where there are no blacks, no Jews and no gays…at least on her block. She lives in her perfect little WASPY world, just like her ancestors hoped life would be.

Upon hearing my thoughts on family life in America, her reaction was “Ira, I don’t know why you say that. My family is perfectly functional.”
And I, without missing a beat, calmly responded “And that’s what makes you so dysfunctional.”

At which point, Lily turned a perfect shade of Pulitzer pink (more like a bright red), pirouetted and pranced away, leaving the snack bar ladies and I to quietly chuckle. When one of the ladies asked me why I would say such a thing to Madam Mayflower, my response was typical me, “Because it’s my job to say what other people are thinking but don’t have the nerve to say out loud.”

Despite the fact that I coached her son the rest of that season and the one after that, Lily never spoke to me again. I don’t even think she could look at me without turning all pink. Not that I missed her.  After all, I’ve always gotten bad reactions to insect stings and wasps are no exception.

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