Chuck Warn

Chuck Warn

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A.E. Neuman

A.E. Neuman
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friend of dogs and fan of baseball

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Sorry Mom...

Friday, July 31 marks the 12th Anny of my Mom's death.
As I count down the days until that landmark of my life, memories from that last spring I spent with her come flooding back. As with most time spent lamenting past life lessons that ended badly, the images in my mind bring back regrets that never fade.
In February 2003 when Mom called me at my Oscar PR production office with the news she had esophageal cancer, my friend across the hall legendary writer Hal Kantor counseled me not to follow my gut and "get very drunk" but I did anyway. It did not help.
This Friday, July 31 is the 12th Anny of the day my Mom died.
In February, 2003 she called me at my Oscar PR production office to give me the news that the doctor had diagnosed her with esophageal cancer. My pal across the hall was legendary writer Hal Kanter and he counseled me against my gut reaction which was to "get very drunk" but I did anyway. It did not help.
My Mom was going to die and all I could do about it was drive home to Toledo from LA after the Oscar telecast to help out. Which I did.
It was my third road trip to Toledo in one year, all with my two dogs and two cats in my leased Jeep Cherokee. After round the clock driving punctuated only by truck stop interludes to walk the dogs and stop for gas, coffee and naps, my first stop in Toledo was to visit Mom at her medical rehab facility before setting up HQ for me and the animals at Mom's house near South and Broadway.
She was happy to see me and we had a good talk about what she was facing. I agreed to take her to her chemo treatment the next day and thus began ten weeks of her final days during which we spent more time together than we had since 1967 when I moved away from Toledo.
The thing about my relationship with my Mom is that despite our unconditional love for each other, we always found something to argue about!
Her final days were no exception. We spent hours every day in her hospice room arguing over the who,when and where of hundreds of family photos. Arguing in our good way during that time remains one of my fondest memories.
But there was also a dark side. Much like what happened during the 1960s, my own angst and frustration got the best of me by the 4th of July and I acted on my perceived need to get back to LA and find a job. Mom was being sent home from the hospice after one month there so I announced my intention to leave Toledo again.
I drove a personal best cross country time of 42 hours door to door from Mom's house in Toledo to my house in Van Nuys.
Big mistake. I shoulda stayed with Mom in Toledo until the end but spoke with her often by phone until her neighbor Sarah called me with the news she had passed on July 31.
Guilt is a complex and confusing emotion.
I will always believe I let my Mom down when she needed me most.
Sorry Mom.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Life's Biggest Regret?

Yesterday was July 24.
Thus begins my personal countdown to July 24, 2016.
364 days until the 50thAnny of meeting the girl who would become the love of my life, Karen Lee Shinn of Toledo, Ohio. She was 15 years old then and it was love at first sight for me. I was 16 and would enter my senior year at Woodward High School in  September.
Karen was beautiful at 5'9" and 115 with long bare legs beneath gold short shorts. My opening line to her asked when the band would start playing ( it already was) which she luckily took as me being funny and the rest is history: high school sweetheart until June 1967 then girlfriend then wife December 28, 1967 until September 13, 1977.
Messing up my first marriage is the biggest regret of my life.

I am sorry Karen.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

TRUMP, for real?

It is the season of TRUMP, God help us!
Presidential campaigns attract all kinds of nuts and this year is no exception.
In our social media world, it has become easier than ever to be outrageous with the "line that must NOT be crossed" appearing more and more ephemeral.
But this guy has given us a whole new understanding of what it means to not play well with others.
Donald Trump has found an audience (for the moment) for his brand of super-sized jingoistic blather with his rivals flummoxed about how to exist in the arena with him.
Interesting for sure. But is it healthy for the electoral process?
How many TRUMP imitators are even now staring at their reflected images and seeing a populist force for freedom as candidates for office?
That can't be a good thing.
For starters, will some of them choose to follow their leader into a world with long unkempt hair?
The barber's union better get on the case about that right quick!
So how does the TRUMP phenomenon play out?
In my opinion, IOWA will once again weed out the ribbon clerks for 2016 and TRUMP will be among those reduced to gadfly status.
In the meantime, get your popcorn and enjoy the show!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Where were you on July 20, 1969?

I remember that day vividly when Armstrong walked on the moon.
I watched it on TV with the rest of the world from my wife's grandparents apartment in Margate, New Jersey. Walter Cronkite made it official then Nixon called our heroes on the moon after the kid from Ohio told us all  about "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind"

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Tiger Woods now just history...

The Open from St Andrews once again giving me my annual four day visit to the UK for golf the way it was meant to be played (btw, what would a TRUMP designed links course look like?) if only as a TV experience starting each day in LA at one o'clock in the morning.
Tiger Woods is now a tragic figure in golf's pantheon  and Jordan Speith is the new improved model we are all rooting for today. Will Dustin Johnson win this time? Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

BOOMERALERT: KnowThyScreenSelf

I was born in 1949 or in a time before the era of screens.
Screens have invaded our lives in this century so massively as to now warrant national TV news (remember that?) stories about kids whose parents have been forced to deny all screens cold turkey before reintroducing them with time limits.
Yeah, like that's gonna work on our nation of fat kids who can't spell N-O.

But I digress.... As to my own screen addiction, it has grown by leaps and bounds.
Initially resistant as an old curmudgeon at their introduction some years ago, I whispered rhapsodies to the smell and feel of books, exuding an innate hostility at the notion of tech supplanting old school.
Oh, how my times have changed as the 21st Century enters its teenage years!

Kindle, iPad, laptop, HDTV, multiple TVs, and more...the beat goes on.

Midsummer dreamzzzzzzzzzzz.....annual visit by Dr Blues

My Mom died on July 31, 2003.
Ever since then, my 4th of July celebration signals the start of a month long visit from  what Mr. Lincoln called the black dog of despair.
My black dog barks softly at first but now in mid July he is getting more needy and full of fear of the unknowable.

 I hear ya Ma...miss you too.