Month: June 2008

Seven Words


When I was growing up, my parents had a stereo system in our living room. It was made up of a record player, that was white and light blue — to coordinate with my mother’s carpet and sofa — and two speakers. These sat on a little stone shelf that came out from a fireplace in which she kept dried flowers. The fireplace itself was never used, which is good because the bricks had been painted white — to coordinate with my mother’s color scheme.

I remember several records that my parents had and that I used to listen to all the time. One was “Peter and the Wolf” together with the “Young Person’s Introduction to the Orchestra,” and three were humor recordings. Of these, there was Paul Allen’s collection of humorous songs including “Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh,” which was our favorite — I actually made my brother write down and mail me the lyrics the summer I went away to sleepaway camp — as well as a catchy tune about Louis the XVI’s beheading. Another was a recording of Don Imus calling a drive through to order 500 hamburgers. Ok…

And the third was a recording by George Carlin that featured a piece known as “The Seven Words You Can’t Say On Television” as well as some great material about being the class clown in Catholic school and how many sins were rolled into the one sin of wanted to “feel up” a girl in his Catholic school class. “It was a sin to think about it feeling her up, it was a sin to feel her up, etc.” (I can hear that one in my mind but can’t recall how it went exactly.)

I don’t know if I loved George Carlin because of the brilliant musicality of his content and delivery, because of his unequaled timing and insight, because of his playful yet pointed mocking of authority. In fact, I can’t even begin – at least not at 11:30pm — to express why he was such a genius for me. But I knew that he was. In the last few years, I have continued to marvel at how smart he was and how talented he was to write and deliver those long, musical patter-like sets.

Recently, I was fortunate enough to see George Carlin perform at the Beacon Theatre here in New York. I regretted at the time and still regret that my friend and I were a few minutes late because we ran long at a Turkish restaurant nearby. But still I was fortunate enough to see him perform live. The show was themed around suicide, something that few people could pull off, and which, of course, he made hilarious. The most memorable part was the section where he suggested a reality show of people who would like to kill themselves on TV. I think he could have successfully pitched it to a television producer.

I miss him and wonder what he had been working on since I last saw him perform.

FaceBooking the Truth


Social Networking is like going to the gym. The more you put in, the more you get out. And if you don’t go regularly, you don’t make progress. Now that I’ve reached critical mass with LinkedIn and have pretty much abandoned the way too vast and, dare I say mass, MySpace, I’ve decided to spend some time on FaceBook. After all, work colleagues and classmates are joining en masse, and although I’ve been on for 2 1/2 years, I haven’t made much use of it. (I’m being leapfrogged!)

While FaceBook seems to have all kinds of interesting functionality, I actually find it quite cluttered and not completely intuitive. While this may be sacrilege to say, here is a quick case in point.

When I joined in 2006, I used my post college e-mail address to gain membership. At the time, I was one of two people in my class who were members. This put me into a “Harvard” network and, because I listed NY as my home, I was included in a NY network. This seemed advantageous because it meant that people could not contact me unless they had some kind of connection. However, because I had chosen to use my college e-mail, I could not figure out a way to join the Wharton Network, which was somewhat disappointing. And, of course, at the time, high school affiliation was not an option.

Well, over time, FaceBook found a way for me to list these other affiliations, but adding networks is a bit more time consuming and complicated. I’ll get back to you when I’ve mastered that.

In the meantime, I decided to take control and create some groups. One for my college class, one for my B-School cohort, and one for the 7 classes who were at at Ossining High School when I was there. Well, the college one was well-received by classmates, who were excited to join. HOWEVER, because I had checked the Harvard Network when I created the group, classmates who had not registered for that network when they signed up for FaceBook… could not join my group. (It took me a few frustrating days and some reading of the fine print to figure this out.)

So… I’ve created a new group. Instead of Harvard 1988, which still exists, this one is Harvard Class of 1988 and is not restricted to members of the Harvard Network. I now have three members… I lost a few in the changeover. Once I’m confident there are no other major glitches, I’ll start to promote it. After all, the more I put in, the more I’ll get out.