Monthly Archives: December 2009

The Foundation for A Better Life

There is very little broadcast television that matters, but there is a lot of broadcast television that tears down morale and morality.

There is one ray of persistent sunshine – the one minute spots produced by The Foundation for A Better Life.  These are the most touching, moving, elevating, lovely video essays you can imagine. 

The one I saw in the middle of watching the 5:30AM morning news showed a ferocious scene of a very physical professional hockey game.  The scene then shifts to the locker room where all these sweaty, huge and muscular macho guys are getting ready for the next game.  One of them is on the telephone, trying to hide his face and voice from the rest of his buddies.  He’s clearly uncomfortable, but doing what the person on the other end of the phone is asking him to do:  sing the “itsy bitsy spider.”  The scene cuts to his little daughter giggling with delight as Daddy sings to her while Mommy holds her on her lap.  Daddy finishes the song, and tells his daughter he loves her.  He hangs up to find his buddies surrounding him and doing the hand motions of the itsy bitsy spider going up the water spout.  He says “Hey, it’s my girl – my daughter,” and all the guys smile like crazy.

It’s just so lovely.  The Foundation for A Better Life has a website – check it out at  Look at their archives.  Be touched and moved like me, and be elevated in your mood as you try to survive the moral decay of our society.  There is a light!

Gambling on Bad Behavior

Frankly, I’m fed up with excuses for out-of-control, bad behavior.  Excuses like:
          1) it’s an addiction
          2) it’s somebody else’s fault.

Nothing is going to change in anyone’s life until responsibility for choices, actions, or inactions is taken.

Here’s an example:  during a year-long gambling binge at the Caesar’s Palace and Rio casinos in Las Vegas in 2007, Terrence Watanabe managed to lose nearly $127 million (most of his personal fortune).  Watanabe – unmarried, no kids – who spent his adult life working around the clock for his father’s import novelty business, picked up gambling in Las Vegas and was treated like a king.

Apparently, he drank to excess, and is claiming that the casinos named in his lawsuit violated gambling regulations by not shutting off his ability to gamble when he was drunk – which is a state rule.

Mr. Watanabe is also a criminal defendant who faces 28 years in prison for “intent to defraud and steal from Harrah’s,” stemming from $14.7 million that the casino says it extended to him as credit and that he lost.

So, which is it?  Is Watanabe responsible for his debts, drunk or sober?  Or is Harrah’s responsible as they allegedly let him gamble and lose when he was drunk?

Well, it might be BOTH!

Watanabe may have a case if, indeed, Harrah’s broke the law about allowing drunks to gamble.

HOWEVER (and it is a BIG “however”), that argument might work for Watanabe for one tour of gambling, but when sober – sober, mind you – he made the choice…the choiceto go back to Harrah’s, drink, gamble, lose, ask for credit, and not pay the full amount he owed.

Watanabe is responsible for his bad behavior, bad habits and debts.  If Harrah’s employees kept him gambling when he was “fall-down drunk,” then they have to deal with the civil courts and the gaming commission of the state.  However, how drunk do you have to be before you are not responsible for deciding on a bet, physically pushing chips forward, and so on?  If you’re fall down drunk, you’re probably not able to do those things. 

He placed his bets; he lost.  He needs to pay up.

Presents from the Heart

This week, families are gathering to celebrate the holidays, and of course, gift-giving is a long-standing tradition at this time of year.  This year, I decided to make most of my gifts, and I decided to share with you my knitting “workshop” as well as some of my thoughts about how we bond with family and friends through giving.

Video: Presents from the Heart

Or watch other videos at

Read transcript here.

Alienation of Affection Law Could Help Tiger Woods’ Wife

I understand that the list is now at 14 distinct dalliances by Tiger Woods, and the count is likely to grow.  One of the reasons the legal types are interested in this situation is the precedent for “alienation of affection” suits, which can be filed when an “outsider” interferes in a marriage.  These suits are allowed in seven states:  Hawaii, Illinois, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Dakota and Utah.  Why these suits are disallowed in all the other states is a curiosity.  Perhaps lawmakers in those states were being pre-emptively self-protective.  Who knows?

However, it doesn’t matter that Woods lives in Florida, a state where alienation of affections suits aren’t allowed.  If any of Woods’ professed affairs took place in an alienation of affection state, Mrs. Tiger Woods could sue.  According to my research, the suits rarely make it to trial – usually the threat of such an embarrassing lawsuit is enough to have it end up in an out-of-court financial settlement.

On my radio program, when I discuss with the “wronged” spouse their pain and desire to get revenge with the “other woman or man,” I remind them that it is their spouse who breached vows.  The other individual was just the means to that sad end.  When people don’t wish to leave their marriages, they often focus their rage on that other person to protect their spouse from their rage.  However, I believe it ought to be common understanding that the vows include a warning to others:  “let no man turn asunder” means that no one should interfere with the married couple’s intimacy.  All society has really taken that vow.  Therefore, I believe it is fair that there be some consequence, and perhaps compensation, for the hurt caused.

I think all states should allow such lawsuits, as they respect the sanctity of marriage.

Quote of the Week

Kindle the taper like the steadfast star
Ablaze on evening’s forehead o’er the earth,
And add each night a lustre till afar
An eightfold splendor shine above thy hearth.
               – Emma Lazarus
                  American poet
                  From “The Feast of Lights”

Happy Hanukkah!



Tiger Woods

My comments today are short and to the point.

With respect to Tiger Woods:

He is the best golfer ever.

He is a philandering spouse of major proportions.

Should that matter?

It was posited to me that what a celebrity does outside of his or her “famous” activity should not matter to anyone.

I thought about that for about an hour, and then decided this:

That statement is correct, unless that celebrity makes hay (or money) on the issue of TRUST, which Tiger Woods does by using his name and image as a “nice guy” to sell products.  He is untrustworthy…plain and simple, and therefore, should not be representing anything or anyone, because his word means nothing.

He is a great golfer.

So what.

He is not a great man/father/husband.

End of commentary.

Using the Web to Get Revenge

In a recent radio interview, I discussed the issue of “webtribution,” a term coined by Elizabeth Bernstein in The Wall Street Journal to describe people who use the Internet to get revenge – i.e., publicly to hurt another human being with whom they are not happy.

The Internet is anonymous, immediate, and gratifying in the moment.  In human history, vengeance is not unfamiliar – people haven’t changed that much.  Their means of delivering pain has evolved from poison, duels, clever rumors, and Machiavellian manipulation to the world wide web.  In some ways, damaging someone’s reputation is akin to murdering them, as their reputation is devastated world-wide and forever, making it difficult for them to function in private relationships as well as in the community and at work.

To quote The Wall Street Journal:  “Most of us have heard of someone posting naked photos of an ‘ex’ online.  Or writing nasty reviews for a restaurant or book, not because they dislike the product, but because they dislike the person who created it.  Or signing up an acquaintance for [unwanted] e-mail advertising lists.” 

My opinion is that it should be illegal, as it is immoral, to post information or opinion about people without identifying yourself.  Obviously, it is also cowardly.  Google and all other such carriers should not permit anonymity.  That would immediately change the complexion of what is posted, and I don’t think they’d lose business, except from those who use the Internet for evil (terrorists of the international and interpersonal kind).