« Posts by Don

“LITTLE MAN ON THE COUCH”…On The Cat Formerly Known As The Colonel

Or how an orange furball played the “Tiny Tim” card to invade the premises.

TP: This is a surprise, Little Man. I thought you were taking the summer off. No more therapy until fall, you said.

LM: Yeah, well circumstances changed, doc. I need you to talk me down from the ledge.

TP: That’s heavy. What happened?

LM: They did it, doc. I just can’t believe they really did it! Again!

TP: Who did what?

LM: Mom and dad, that’s who, and another cat is what.

TP: Another cat? Living in your house? Since when? »Read More

“LITTLE MAN ON THE COUCH”…On Slippery Slopes, Cat Cafes & The Amish

Coming soon to a couch near you.

TP: Come on in, Little. Do I detect a bit of spring in your step?

LM: You do love your little clichés, don’t you, doc? Yes, spring has finally sprung. Chipmunk season is officially open. And yours truly is on the case.

TP: Yes, I saw a particularly sporty shot of you in hunt mode the other day. What was it, on Facebook? You looked feisty. Maybe even a bit trimmer?

LM: Nice try, doc. No. No trimmer. In fact, the last time dad and I visited the vet, ol’ Doctor Evan didn’t even bother to weigh me.

TP: No weigh-in?

LM: Nope. Evan and dad pretty much did a simultaneous he-looks-about-the-same-to-me shrug and sent me on my way. Think they’re finally gettin’ the message…I’m a big boy, and it suits me.

TP: It is true; some people just tend to be, how should I say, husky. And they look good that way.

LM: Right. Lots of famous fatties. Sydney Greenstreet, Jackie Gleason, Tony Soprano—big guys who knew how to carry it. Belushi was another one. That actor, John Goodman, the great W.C. Fields, Zach something-or-other from those Hangover movies…it’s quite a list. And how about the ladies—Aretha, the Queen of Soul. That’s a lot of woman! She wears her lbs with more than just a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T. »Read More

Been There, Done That… Nairobi, Kenya

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.

*  *  *

Nairobi, Kenya…December 1993. Sande and I had been living in London for just over a year when we decided to embark on the first of what would be many holiday adventures beyond Europe. Over the coming years, these would include the faraway wonders of China, India, South Africa, Mongolia, Nepal, Morocco, Russia, and Oman, among others. The fact that we started in Africa—or frankly, that we started at all—is noteworthy given that Sande’s idea of a “travel adventure” was being in a hotel without hairdryers and my previous experience with “roughing it” was to leave Boy Scout camp several days early with a bad case of stomach cramps owing to my inability to cross the threshold of the odious outhouse, much less take a seat inside. (Thousand leggers crawling, flies swarming, bats hanging, and the smell—ugh!) Nonetheless, at 4 a.m. on Christmas morning 1993, Sande and I landed in Nairobi to go “On Safari.”

Over the next twelve days, we would track big game in Samburu, straddle the equator atop Mt. Kenya, camp on the vast plains of the Masai Mara, and snorkel in the Indian Ocean off the coastal town of Mombasa—a town we were quite fortunate to reach alive! But that is a New Year’s Eve story. »Read More

“LITTLE MAN ON THE COUCH”…On Black Eyes, Celebrity Stalkers & Hunky Cops

I thought vacations were supposed to make you feel better.

TP: Little Man, you don’t look so good. What happened?

LM: Vacation, doc. That’s what.

TP: Your parents took you on another vacation?

LM: No, no! Once was enough. No, this was just the two of them. Me? I did the Home Alone routine. Alone, that is, except for the schizophrenic alternating pit stops of the “keep it moving, convict” former prison guard/slop server in the mornings and the idyllic “I can almost see the happy birds flying merrily about and hear the Seven Dwarfs whistling while they work” Disney lady in the evenings.

TP: Disney lady? Oh, Snow White.

LM: That’s what they call her. You think I look bad now…imagine if I didn’t have her coming by each day to buck me up and offer a little TLC.

TP: Well, your parents are back now, right?

LM: More or less. Mom walked in the other night with a black eye; Dad came limping in with some foot problem and moaning that he didn’t feel good.

TP: Black eye? »Read More

Been There, Done That… Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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.

*  *  *

Riyadh (& Jeddah), Saudi Arabia…1995-1997. Its culture diametrically opposed to my own and its appeal, well, there wasn’t much of that, despite my first-hand look at the opulence of life inside the walled residence of the scion of a family whose patriarch was a highly placed member of King Fahd’s Council of Ministers.

The chauffeur-driven limousine picked me up at my hotel at about seven that evening for the twenty-minute drive to the residence. Surrounded by desert and twelve-foot-high walls the color of sand, the house itself came into view only when guards opened the heavy wooden gates to a courtyard where several more men stood. Even then, with few exterior lights suggesting grandeur, I was not overly impressed. Then I stepped inside.

The foyer was massive; its polished marble floors seeming to rise up to meet the moonlight filtering through a sky-high stained glass cupola as impressive as many I’d seen in European cathedrals. Ahead to my left, a doublewide marble stairway curved itself to a higher floor, while straightaway beyond was the Library where I would meet my reason for being there. I tried to act like this was all normal fare for me. Yeah, right! »Read More

“LITTLE MAN ON THE COUCH”…On Bachelor Weekends, Footmen & Dr. Seuss

The window washer did what?

TP: Morning, Little Man. You look happy!

LM: Big weekend coming up, doc. Bach’n it with Dad.

TP: Bachelor’s quarters, eh? Where’s mom going?

LM: Headin’ out west…her and Mr. Leo have a photo session with some big wrestler-type.

TP: Wrestler?

LM: Well, actually, he’s one of those M&M guys. Mixed martial arts, I think it’s called. Or Maximum Mayhem Administrator…I don’t know, something like that. Basically, a big badass!

TP: For the Soft Side animal thing, I assume.

LM: You got it. Guy’s out there training for his next big match in April. Anyway, dad and I’ll have the place to ourselves for the weekend. Woohoo! »Read More

“LITTLE MAN ON THE COUCH”…On Henny Youngman, Romeo & Nighttime Crying

Rolling in on a suitcase.

TP: Hey, Little Man. Sorry we got snowed out last week.

LM: Aw, probably just as well, doc. Gave me time to cool down.

TP: Something happen?

LM: Nothing huge, just the usual petty annoyances that’ve been ramping up lately, thanks to my increasing presence on social media. You might have noticed the picture mom recently posted of me catching Z’s on my custom-made suitcase bed?

TP: No, I think I missed that, Little. What’s a suitcase bed? »Read More

Been There, Done That… Krakow, Poland

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.

*  *  *

Krakow, Poland…February 1996. I don’t handle cold weather very well. Poor circulation is undoubtedly to blame. That, and the fact that I never seem to have (or remember to bring) the proper cold weather gear, made my client’s desire to “take some air” on a brutally cold February night on the Eastern Front a real pain in the ass.

I was in Krakow with one of my client counterparts from British Petroleum. Michel, a Belgian with a heavy French accent and a ready wit, was the Marketing Manager for BP Europe—a position akin to herding cats, given the European mindset that our country’s problems and needs are different from all the others. For that reason, it was important to periodically visit with the local country managers and discuss their particular issues.

BP Europe was just one piece in my agency’s BP Global portfolio, but it was a crucial piece and Michel was, in turn, an important client contact. Exactly why he cared to put himself through the trials and tribulations of “herding cats” was a mystery to me, as I had it on good authority that Michel was quite wealthy, owing to his family’s success in various Northern European business ventures. A refined and charming bachelor with a penchant for collecting and restoring vintage automobiles, Michel was a delightful travelling companion and, on this particular night when the thermometer was falling precipitously toward single digits, was far better ward-robed for taking some air than was I. Put simply, Michel was dressed like a Russian Cossack, whereas I looked like I belonged in a Miami Vice episode with Crockett and Tubbs. »Read More

“LITTLE MAN ON THE COUCH”…On Award Shows, Wingnuts & Omaha

Back where he belongs

TP: Come on in, Little Man. I missed you.

LM: Oh, really? Well maybe you shouldn’t take such long holidays, doc. It’s been a rough few weeks.

TP: You seem a bit edgy, Little. Tell me about it.

LM: Okay. Let’s start with props and slights.

TP: Props and slights? (Chuckles.) Sounds like you’ve arrived with quite the organized agenda today.

LM: I’m glad you find this humorous, Mr.I think I’ll take most of January off this year. Thanks to you being MIA, I’ve had plenty of time to work up an agenda. »Read More

Thirty Super Bowls Ago

“It was January 22, 1984 and I was lying on the couch in my girlfriend’s apartment watching the Washington Redskins get creamed by the Los Angeles Raiders in Super Bowl XVIII. One of the announcers had just commented about the bad back that was affecting the performance of one of the Redskins premier offensive players, to which my girlfriend, lying alongside me, retorted, “Bullshit. There wasn’t anything wrong with his back the other night!” I was undoubtedly mulling that comment when an hypnotic humming sound came from the television and an athletic young woman, looking hot and sweaty in a white tank top and orange shorts, suddenly appeared full screen carrying a large brass hammer, running »Read More