« Archives in April, 2013

“LITTLE MAN ON THE COUCH”…On Vocabulary, Facebook & Mid-Night Snacks

Not just another cat.

TP: Come on in, Little Man. What are you chuckling about?

LM: Oh, I was just sitting there in the waiting room thinking about mom’s latest project.

TP: Regarding you?

LM: Yeah. She’s tracking my vocabulary…what words I know. Can you believe it? I swear, doc, sometimes she acts like I’m just another cat.

TP: Hmm. What did she come up with so far?

LM: Well, predictably, the word “NO” tops her list. That, by itself, tells you the list has no basis in reality. I mean, she writes that word down like it’s some grand accomplishment…like, when I say NO to Little Man, he knows I mean business.

TP: You don’t see it that way?

LM: PLEASE, doc! When she says NO to me, it means, just a minute…soon…I’ll need a hug first—conditionals rather than absolutes. Know what I mean?

TP: In other words, you’re going to get what you want, it just might require a bit more provocation on your part?

LM: Right, doc. Knowing NO is not the same as accepting NO as anything other than the first, and may I say, very tenuous stage of a volley that will quickly evolve to OK, just this one time.

TP: Sounds like she’s spoiled you, Little Man.

LM: I prefer to think she finds my persuasive charms irresistible.

TP: Uh-huh. What else is on the vocabulary list? »Read More


I have had the good fortune to travel all over the world—for both business and pleasure, not that those are mutually exclusive. This blog is about my unique experiences around the globe. It is not intended as a paean to the wonders of the locales themselves, as there already exist volumes that more than do justice to the magnificence of virtually every corner of this earth.  Here, I simply recount small, personal moments of surprise, embarrassment, stupidity, excitement, fear, heroics, and other stuff like that.

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Rovaniemi, Finland…December 1994. One of several travel routines that Sande and I established while we were living in London was an early December weekend in one of Europe’s wintry wonderlands. Someplace cold, cozy, snowy, and full of the Christmas spirit. This particular year, we decided on Lapland, the unofficial “hometown” of the jolly fat man in the bright red suit, and a place where, in early December, the days provide little more than a dusky gray light from maybe 10 in the morning to around 3 in the afternoon. Everything else is nighttime, in no uncertain terms. Laplanders have, of course, adapted well to these conditions—the prodigious consumption of alcohol and a virtual disregard for the clock being the pillars of their assimilation.

For geographic perspective, Roveniemi is just three miles from the Arctic Circle, and over 400 miles north of Helsinki, a city to which I traveled often during my London-based tenure, and before. In fact, my first trip to Helsinki was in 1991, the year before Sande and I relocated. One of my agency associates and I traveled there from Baltimore to meet with Nokia Communications, at the time one of the most dynamic multinational players in the mobile technology market, headquartered just outside Helsinki. It was a fascinating experience, noteworthy for the deadly serious characters we met at the meeting, the mouth-watering dinner of Bambi steaks we consumed that evening, the money I lost in one of the city’s casinos that night, the vodka I subsequently consumed because of the money I lost, the plane I missed the next morning because of the vodka I consumed, the business meeting I punted in London the next afternoon because of the plane I missed, and the fact that I felt like crap as I then scrambled to reconnect the dots of my binge-busted itinerary. But that’s a different “travel” story. Please pardon the riff. »Read More

“LITTLE MAN ON THE COUCH”…On Springtime, Icons & Levitation

The chipmunks are coming. The chipmunks are coming.

TP: Do I note a bit of a bounce in your step today, Little?

LM: I believe you do, doc. It is April, you know.

TP: Yes, the greening of spring has begun.

LM: And the chipmunks will soon be on the run!

TP: Hmm. Looking forward to the chase, are you?

LM: The chase, the culinary rewards and, of course, going for a new personal best. You know, last fall, I had two (count ‘em) hat trick days…three chippies captured on the same day and carefully laid out for dad’s admiration. The old guy was downright giddy about it. Imagine what he’d do if I hit a foursome?

TP: Well, good luck with that. But I’d keep that trick under your hat unless you want to alienate that “Snow White” lady friend of yours. I recall getting a concerned letter from her after she read about your hunting escapades last year.  Asked if I was running some sort of Hannibal Lecter apprenticeship here.

LM: Yeh, she’s a bit over the top, that one. Fails to acknowledge the beneficial exercise involved for yours truly, and that we only have about two hundred of the little Chip & Dales running around the property. Somebody’s gotta cull the herd.

TP: Yes, well, just sayin’. Anyway, how was Easter?

LM: Pretty good, but I can’t help wondering how the rabbits got that gig. I mean, Easter’s about religion, candy, and eggs. What do rabbits have to do with any of that? Still, each year, everybody hops down the bunny trail. Kittens are just as cute and bouncy. And you know I could do a What’s up, doc? as good as that carrot-chompin’ Bugs Dummy character.

TP: Is that what bugs, sorry, bothers you? That cats don’t have an iconic role model?

LM: Icons? We’ve got my boy, Garfield. He’s cool.  But Sylvester–always getting outwitted by a bird named Tweety. Tweety!!! And Tom, who’s been chasing the same stupid mouse for, what, 75 years. Loser. And that Dr. Seuss—best he could come up with was to put a cat in a floppy hat, spoutin’ rhymes? Ugh. Yeah, I think we’re a little thin for icons. So it goes. »Read More