Doctor Eclectic

Doctor Eclectic
Doctor Eclectic

Saturday, October 30, 2010

OMG! Not Another Birthday?

I recently celebrated a birthday and was reflecting on how some things have changed over the years. For instance I got 13 electronic wishes, 11 of them from Facebook friends. Of course I also got many cards, most of them from relatives with one from Southwest Airlines and a smattering from other commercial enterprises.

None from the firm I do consulting for, or even from any of my fellow employees, which is not surprising since my face time at work is extremely limited. But the 11 from Facebook is what got my attention. These are all what I would call close friends, but I probably haven’t seen any of them in months and maybe years. However, they are people I have had closer contact with in times past and, if the greeting are any indication, are friends with whom I share mutual respect.

My wife, Mary sends birthday cards to close to 40 people. Real cards, sent with special birthday stamps. When her birthday comes around she receives more than 25 cards in kind and her display on the mantle of the fireplace wraps around both corners. Mine cuddles protectively in the center and toward the edges. When their display time runs out Mary dutifully collects them so I can have one more look before recycling them to the paper section.

As I complete my reflection, I find that maybe one of the better presents I now treasure from my birthday is seeing how great is the circle of friendship that I now have. Interestingly it has not required that I send greetings to ten of my friends. Life is indeed good.

Feel free to share your comments on whether this experience of mine is unique. BTW my Facebook address is Dee FitzGerald…and they will remind you next year of my birthday.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Who Says “Never Discuss Politics”?

With only one week left before we cast ballots in what has been described as the most important mid-year election ever, I find myself reminiscing about some political minutia I have gathered over the years. Some, like California’s proposition that essentially forces a portion of any tax increase into education, or the controversial Prop 13, probably fall into the title restriction.

Others, such as California’s ballot initiative process might be of interest, especially since my research today corrected some misconceptions I’ve held for years. I had heard that California started the process of direct initiative in the mid-1850’s because the Southern Pacific Railroad so controlled the legislature that the electorate worried they had lost their governmental voice and worried that the state capital, Benicia was becoming a railroad town. Nice story, but the timeline doesn’t work.

For instance, Benicia was the capital for only 13 months during 1853-54. The Southern Pacific wasn’t founded until 1865 and the initiative process concept came south from Oregon in 1898, and probably didn’t arrive by rail.

The impetus behind the concept of getting signatures in support of legislation probably did come from a general feeling that the state legislative process moves too slowly for the public’s taste. It originally was a European national concept coming, not surprisingly from Switzerland. The U. S. never embraced it as a national process, but half the states have either a direct or indirect initiative alternative to legislation.

My conservative nature says initiatives as a general principle are not as well-thought out as the hundreds of laws proposed in the California Senate and Assembly, as poorly structured as most of those are. Consequently I generally vote negative. This will probably be true with the Proposition 19 initiative regarding marijuana use. But I certainly recognize the value of bringing those type issues to the attention of state government.

BTW one previous impression did seem legitimate; the Railroads got into some serious sidelines. For instance Southern Pacific founded several major hospitals, many of which are still in use in such cities as San Francisco and Tucson.

Feel free to post your opinion of the initiative process, including how you feel about Prop 19.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sometimes You Get Side-tracked

I had the best of intentions to get to work on Chapter Three of my edited book this week, but I ran into diversions.

For the most part, I submit for about four auditions a week through LA Casting. Most of the time I don’t hear anything from anyone, but this week I was scheduled for two auditions, which included a featured role in an Acura commercial and background in a reality TV series. Although I went to both, I didn’t get notice of a call-back or a booking.

What I did get was a call to be in a featured film, a sort of dark thriller about weird cabals in the Catholic Church. The working title is "Killer Priests" and the Director has only one film listed on IMDb. He is, however a joy to work with and has scheduled another day for my group of 20 men to work on location. Pay is deferred and only amounts to $50/day, but it is exposure which in this town can often lead to future work.

If you want to follow my theater work (and eventually read some of my book when it is published) you should join me at .

I would be interested if any of you who see this are in the industry. Please post a comment if this is so.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Working Through the First Professional Edit

Set aside the fact that you spent a year writing it and the editor spent three weeks reviewing it. Set aside the fact that three of the eight page comment centered on a lesson in how to use commas and semicolons. Concentrate then on the five pages; pages that have three major concrete improvements (include fewer of the facts that the reader might know or could find elsewhere and more on facts that describe your friends and your experiences...).

When I did that I was ready to rewrite the 13 Chapters and ready them for resubmission. It gets a little difficult because I had to combine the 13 chapters into one 35,000 word Word document and now I have to parse them back-but it is doable. Biggest problem is keeping the same flow when I go back and add delete some of the text. I figure I have about two weeks before I can submit for interior editing.

Hopefully I can have a book by November 9 when I have my first tv interview.

Is my experience helpful?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Appreciating the Unexpected

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Did you ever have the experience of going on a trip for one reason and finding that the joy of the trip was for an entirely different, unexpected reason?

I just got back from a week’s trip that I thought was going to accomplish three things: give condolence support to a sister-in-law, visit a professional meeting and catch-up on new elements in my field (dentistry), and keep my wife company on a long-delayed Memorial Service for a distant relative.

What I experienced was entirely different: an unexpected visit to a Major League Baseball Playoff game at the only remaining fully-covered stadium, a memorable dinner with friends from forty five years ago with an invite to visit them again at their elegant Chicago home, and a chance to learn about a fascinating relative I had never met- an Architect of world reputation who gave life-long influence to dozens of his students.

It strikes me that too often we limit our enjoyment by anticipation. Whether it is a book, a movie, a concert, a new acquaintance, or travel, we could probably enhance the experience by remaining open to the unexpected.

Any of you have a similar experience?

Next time I’ll share with you my reception of the first edit on my book…

Monday, October 4, 2010

Life in the City

Monday, October 4, 2010

Sometimes we forget there are advantages to living in a metropolitan area. When Mary and I first moved to Orange County we used to drive into Los Angeles to see a play or hear a concert, or even go to some trendy restaurant. That was in the late ‘70s and the traffic has changed so much that we now have Rush Hour from about 6:00 AM until 9:30 PM. Luckily, and probably predictably, OC Theater has improved dramatically (pun definitely intended) and we probably see more good shows now than we did then.

But, it still is nice to pick some things to do that can only be done in a major city. Last week we took advantage of a Member exclusive event at LACMA, where they were dedicating a new building in the complex, called The Resnik Building for the couple who donated $43 million to its construction. We went on a weeknight and were lost in the crowd of 2,000 who bellied up to one of several bars and food stations for wine, POM drinks, Fuji water (all of which came from Resnik enterprises) and Sloppy Joes and Barbequed Chicken.

The nicest thing about the social part of the event was striking a conversation with a couple who shared their passion for film, vinyl records, objects d’art and sincerity in people.

The nicest part of touring the exhibits (I accused the Resniks of needing a place to put all the stuff they collected, like Olmec statuary, so they moved it into LACMA) was the Fashion exhibit which covered all manner of interesting items from 1750 through the Victorian Period, magnificently displayed on striking mannequins.

Does anybody out there share my enthusiasm for meeting new people and seeing new? Leave a comment.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

LBGT and Other Acronyms I Knew Nothing About

Saturday, October 2, 2010

With attribution to Ellen DeGeneres

Although I share everyone’s concern over the tragic death of Tyler Clementi and the invasion of his privacy by a roommate’s secret webcam filming, I find some humor in how quickly the acronym LBGT (Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender) made it on to so many news reports within 24 hours of his suicide jump off the George Washington Bridge. It was as if everyone got the lexicon update but me.

I attribute it to the Facebook and Twitter people, one of whom is my niece.

She caught me a few days ago with IMHO, which I think I correctly deciphered to be “In My Humble Opinion” and tripled my knowledge of the genre, which previously included only OMG and CUS. Don’t get me wrong. Once I figured out that Long Beach GT would need an O or replace the T with a P to be anything I even recognized, I conceded I needed help.

What puzzles me is what the four groups have in common, except that they may be innocent victims of hate crimes; but in that case shouldn’t we add C for Catholics, J for Jews, M for Mormons or even R for Republicans? And if then the resultant LBGTCJMR would get together to commiserate their misfortunes, they would quickly note the absence of any Muslims and would discover the group was too big to find a good venue and too diverse to have much in common.

I thought the whole concept of having college roommates at Rutgers or any other university was to develop tolerance so we could be better mates to our wives, husbands, or significant others. I know that is what helped Mary and me through fifty years of marriage which culminated in yesterday’s 50-year wedding celebration.