Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Kramer Vs. Kramer

My husband Eliot and I just received the seventh season of Seinfeld on DVD.

We ordered it long before Michael Richards went on his insane tirade at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood two weeks ago.

When we unwrapped the mailer it just wasn't the same thrill seeing Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer.

We examined Kramer's face just like Larry David scruitinizes those that he doubts on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

We looked closely at his photo.

Kramer, what have you done with Kramer?

You brought us years of endless laughs.

You were our comic relief after a whole tedious day at the office.

We lived vicariously through you and your antics.

The more we watched you, the more we laughed.

We all longed to live your independent lifestyle .

What have you done with our sweet, loveable, harmless Kramer ?

We spotted you more than 20 years ago on Fox's Friday Night.

You were a scream then as you were on Seinfeld...

Same mannerisms, same edgy walk.

Now you took liberties with your success.

We don't think you are a racist...

We think you are desperado.

You wanted attention after years of trying to climb out of hibernation.

The public is not buying it.

The more you apologize, the more desperate you seem.

Your facial expressions and body language are totally weird.

You are sending signals that you are distorted and a snob.

Wrong move hiring Howard Rubenstein.

You can't buy your way out of this.

Even though the Blacks and the Jews will probably greatly benefit from your big checks -

We want the real Kramer to come forward.

Invite Frank McBride and Kyle Doss to your home.

Smoke Cuban cigars and take a steam bath with them.

Feed them lobsters right off the boat, let them try on your Bro.

And demo a few golf swings.........let them get close to your real soul.

Stop the insanity.

If you give us one more Doe stare on TV...

We are going to climb inside that TV set and smack you in the head...

Or ask Jerry to forever lock his front door, Elaine to shove you down the stairs and

George to pee on you in the gym shower.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Good Things Happen To Bad People

I knew when I wrote that nasty Blog about Magnus Nicolin and Helena Wong of Essselte recently that some higher power would punish me. He/she did. It was awful. My 12-year-old Maltese, (her birthday is today—Sept 26th) went into congestive heart failure last week and nearly suffocated to death. On Monday morning the cardiologist at the Animal Medical Center called to say that Coco had an hour to live. Her lungs were filling with fluids and they were having a difficult time draining them. The meds weren’t working. Reluctantly, the doctors increased the diuretics and other drugs to dangerously high levels in order to see some positive reactions. They were very worried about the impact this was going to have on Coco’s other organs: help the heart, and possibly destroy her kidneys. She had been on oxygen for almost 24 hours. Eliot, my daughter Whitney and I held a vigil at the hospital till Coco showed signs of improvement.

Since Coco was in ICU we were only allowed to visit her every two hours. We waved, blew kisses and gave her the high sign to cheer her on. She was in a fog. The tear in her mitral valve that caused all this had turned this cute little fluff ball into an old lady over night. Coco looked exhausted and her breathing was very labored. She stared at us with those familiar round saucers that said, "Don’t count me out yet."

The three of us got the same vibes. Coco was sending a message that said, "Time out. Let me recoup. I still have a lot of living to do." I sobbed myself to sleep the first night she got sick. I was having a meltdown. Poor little helpless Coco. Poor little helpless me. There was nothing in the world that I could do for her. What a horrible feeling.

To complicate matters, Eliot and I were due in Miami 42 hours later for a business cocktail party we had organized to launch the audition casting calls for the new Dotster Dots, a search for company spokes models for our client, Dotster. Visit to learn about their suite of services involving domain registrations, web hosting and creating web sites.

On the third day of this nightmare, we received good news. Coco was 70 percent better. By the fourth day, while we were still in Miami, Coco was taken off of oxygen. The doctors were even talking about her going home! Everyone was celebrating. Our daughter Whitney called to tell us to get on the next flight home. I think Eliot and I flew without ever entering an airplane. We were floating on cloud 9.

Whitney was a tremendous help. She visited Coco regularly while we were away and sent us digital photos of the two of them from her telephone. Once Coco came off of oxygen, Whitney was allowed to take her into one of the examination rooms for a half hour playtime. During those precious minutes, Whitney took pictures of Coco and herself and emailed them to us so we could see the great progress our dog was making. Although the bandages on her legs that kept the intravenous needles in place were still visible, as well as shaved bald spots where other meds were injected, we were overjoyed at just being able to see Coco doing so well.

This Rosh Hashanah is a very happy one for us. Coco is back with the family and has returned to work with me. She is still a little fragile and her appetite is not quite what is should be. We are hopeful that she will get better everyday.

So what is the lesson that we learned here? Life can be worse than dealing with Magnus and Helena.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Dial 911 For Newell Rubbermaid

What an appropriate announcement on September 11, 2006. . . Newell Rubbermaid (NYSE: NWL), makers of Sharpie, Paper Mate, Waterman, EXPO, Rubbermaid, Calphalon, Graco, Goody, BernzOmatic, IRWIN and LENOX, announced today they hired Magnus Nicolin as President of Newell Rubbermaid Europe. As far as I am concerned, you can kiss all of these brands goodbye...or at least their business on the other side of the Ocean.

HWH worked for this guy in the United States along with his henchwoman Helena Wong at Esselte, the worldwide office products company, they managed to"let's just say the company is a shadow of its former self." We worked for Esselte long before Magnus and that little snot Helena showed up.

It probably won't be too long before Magnus hires his crony whom he met at P&G. He did that at Esselte. They like to work together as a team flashing their P&G backgrounds around because, in my opinion, they are totally clueless, socially and professionally.

Nicolin is very handsome, and his movie star good looks cover up for other weaknesses. The picture of Magnus here doesn't make him look like the debonair devil that he is. But trust me, he is very tall and distinguished looking. He is one of those people that make you stop and stare.

Helena is just the opposite. I don't know what her talents are but in my experience she had about as much authority being the Chief Marketing Officer for Esselte as I have being Miss USA. In all my years working (40 years this past Sept 9th), I have never met someone so condescending and misinformed than she.

One day she decided that Esselte needed a big idea to make the company famous. She asked HWH and two other agencies to present creative ideas. I don't know what happened at the other presentations, but during ours she spent the entire time telling us we were worthless. I have never experienced this before and the only reason why I didn't wipe the walls with her is because I thought I owed some respect to her two lieutenants, Chris Ang and Chris Curran.They applauded our ideas in a preview meeting but disassociated themselves when she mouthed off. I have never forgiven myself for not putting her in her place, especially when she announced that Samsung, one of our other clients, was not a good example of the great work we were doing. Samsung, as far as she was concerned, was an inferior brand stuck in a garage some place. The Chris' slid down in their chairs from embarrassment.

The meeting got even worse but I will save those details for anyone who wants a first hand account of the dragon lady. When I tried to contact Magnus to tell him that Helena was a disaster, he never returned phone calls. He was off globetrotting. Why sweat the small stuff and HWH obviously fell in that category. That's okay. We went on to bigger and better things while Esselte fell apart. Perhaps it was the big idea Helena fell in love with:

She selected an agency that told her to drop a sizeable paper plane branded with the name Esselte on it off the Empire State Building to generate big news.

Needless to say that idea was never executed but the company was.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Even the Men Don’t Believe Him

And I know just the person……me. The only person who believes him now is his lawyer. And Peter pays his lawyer to believe him. I thought it was touching yesterday when Cindy Adams of the Post wrote a front-page column that quoted Peter’s lawyer. "Peter wants Christie back. He is so sorry. He made a careless mistake."

I thought to myself "Okay, this is a honest statement and the guy came to his senses."

When I mentioned this to my husband Eliot he laughed and replied, "All he is doing is protecting his money. They have about $60 million in Hamptons real estate that he doesn’t want to part with."

I thought that was an interesting statement from my husband who is also my business partner. He must have given this subject some thought ……hmmmmm.

I qualify as the spin doctor because I hate bad cheats. I need to set this guy straight.

He knew he was going to get caught. He may have even planned it. No one goes parading around the Hamptons with another woman (and in this case, another girl) without getting caught.

Christie would have to be nuts to go back to him. I don’t care what kind of so-called bitch she may be. Not only did he cheat on her; he was a lousy cheat at that. She is so humiliated that the only retribution is getting Cook to cough up a lot of dough.

Cook, dough, get it?

The only answer for Peter is to call me. I don’t cook so I know how to cure this whole thing. But if you think I am going to spill (another pun) it out here you are nuts (here we go again).

Monday, April 24, 2006

Lois and Clark

It was quite the thrill to sit in an intimate setting with one of the most popular fiction writers ever, Mary Higgins Clark, and her successful daughter, Carol Higgins Clark. The two mystery storytellers were at the Mysterious Bookstore on Warren St. in Tribeca, NY for the debut of their new respective books, "Two Little Girls in Blue" and "Hitched".

The few fans who managed to show up, with the massive immigration demonstrations only a few blocks away, earned a real treat being able to converse with the authors practically one-on-one.

Mary said how she and Carol never actually read at these so-called "readings"; rather they enjoy sitting and talking with the audiences. A lot of behind-the-scenes material was discussed, but the one area that most people always want to talk about is how they get their plots. In mystery writing, Mary revealed there are only really seven plots that an author can extrapolate from.

Both writers build their stories from real life experiences. Whether going on a cruise, visiting friends, shopping, attending a party or simply watching television, something usually sparks a story idea.

That's one of the reasons why successful authors like Mary and Carol get sued so often. There is always that one reader claiming they stole his/her material or overheard a conversation and used it. "It costs a fortune to fight these false claims," Mary explained. "Most of these can never be substantiated and go away as fast as they surface, but they are nevertheless disturbing."

The more famous authors become, the more they attract people with too much time on their hands, one example being the guy who often writes to Mary and corrects her grammar. He claims she still doesn’t know the difference between "take" and "bring" in the construction of her sentences. "That's why I have a publisher and editor, but sometimes they don't catch it either."

Thursday, April 20, 2006


What is the story with the New York Times? They have no respect for the dead.

I’ve been meaning to complain about this for weeks. They recently redesigned their website, I believe, to make it more user friendly…not. I hate people and companies who make changes for the sake of it. The former NY Times website was just fine.

The new design gives me a headache, and I am suspicious of what they are trying to hide. In the past I could easily find the Obit section, which was prominently displayed above the fold on links to the left of my computer screen -- everything was easy to read. Now the Times only gives homage to World News, United States, New York, Business, Technology, Sports, Science, Health, Education, Opinion. The Obits have been banished to a shady plot under the classified section.

I don’t want to have to scroll so far down every morning to see if I am still alive. If my name is not listed there, I figure I better get dressed and get to work. I am not alone. I talk to so many people who check the Obits first thing everyday before they read anything else. It is like taking your pulse.

Reading the Obits is a great way to start the day. You read about the lives of prominent people and quickly decide if it was all worth it. It sets your tone for the day. If I read about someone who died of cancer after spending his or her entire career in cancer research, I feel like someone spiked the punch and I don’t work so hard. If I read about a young person who died just after he or she wrote a successful Broadway musical, I kick myself for being totally useless and unproductive because I am 20 years older. And if I read about someone who was philanthropic but divorced several spouses, I feel like I don’t have to be so generous just as long as I stay married to my present husband.

I always wanted to be an Obits writer but I think I would cry every time a death was called in. I would be so busy yenta-ing about who, what, why, I would never meet the deadline.

I love reading Obits but I don’t wish death on anyone. It is so final, so mysterious, so scary. No wonder the Times really buried it once and for all.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

One Is A Lonely Number

Sometimes when I have to work late and no one is around I get the willies. The willies are something like the creeps. I am alone with my thoughts, which always get steered to "Why am I still working so hard at 58?" The answer is always the same: "I spend a lot of money and I have to keep the cash flowing." That is what I say when I am feeling sorry for myself. When I get past that I realize that without work, I would probably have no identity. But my identity is nothing compared to Cindy Adams and Liz Smith, both in their '80s. I am not anywhere near as famous, talented and driven. What makes these dames tick? Everyday, like mailmen, they deliver their columns filled with new and fascinating material. Day after day, year after year, they have been alive with copy. I like to think about them and then I don't feel so lonely at the computer when everyone else is asleep. Maybe if I work harder, I can be just like them at 80-plus.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Kitchen at The Gilt...

Guest Writer
Tara M. O'Donnell
Corporate Communications Senior Manager
Samsung Electronics North America HQ

Stephen O'Donnell Surrounded By The Gilt Chefs

My husband built the kitchen at The Gilt and that’s the only way we would have even considered going there for dinner. We’re simple folk. I’m from the suburbs of NYC and I love food but spent most of my childhood eating liver. And my husband Stephen is from Donegal, Ireland. He’s a real mountain man who hadn’t tried most ethnic foods until about 5 years ago. Stephen’s company, JBS, has been working on the kitchen at The Gilt for a while, which is located in the former Le Cirque 2000 space in the Palace Hotel. Every night for months I heard about how Chef Paul, an Englishman with a sense of humor but a stubborn streak, fought with the hotel chef over where spice racks and pots should be hung. But until a few weeks ago, when I read the New York Times food review about The Gilt, I had no idea that Chef Paul was Paul Liebrandt, an infamous artist in the world of cooking. When we arrived, the very elegant setting made us feel a bit like two fish out of water. But the servers were overwhelmingly hospitable and it wasn’t long before we were settling in and sipping champagne. The Maitre’d suggested the tasting menu which sounded like the best way to experience the restaurant. There was something that Frank Bruni wrote in his NY Times article that came to mind as soon as the first course was served. He wrote that one of his dinner companions said, “I feel like I'm in my first class of organic chemistry." I felt like the servers were speaking Greek. Every new dish that came out was a surprise, even after the server carefully explained what it was. My husband doesn’t eat fish so that was a tricky obstacle for the kitchen to overcome. I think they truly earned their keep that night since they couldn’t give him the set tasting dishes found on the menu. They were very inventive….substituting beats for salmon and offering quail instead of sole. When I saw the size of the first dish, I expected to leave the restaurant and head straight to a pizza place. But, I was pleasantly surprised by my full stomach when I left. They paired each dish with the appropriate wine. That was amazing. But when they poured the first glass, or drop, my reaction was the same as the food. I won’t even get tipsy from these drops of wine. But, after several drops, I felt warm and cozy. My favorite dishes turned out to be food that I normally would never eat and in some cases, don’t even like. There was a small shell fish appetizer with one diver scallop and a craw fish that had peas on the side. The shell fish were tasty but the peas, which were infused with cilantro (I think), were delicious. I haven’t eaten peas in 20 years. There was a delicious foie gras served with bread and truffle butter. It melted in my mouth. I also really enjoyed the hare which when the server described , didn’t sound all that good, but it tasted wonderful. My husband really enjoyed the veal short sweetbreads. I was glad he didn’t know or ask what sweetbreads actually are. Talking about bread, the bread was to die for. There were many types infused with different ingredients such as chestnuts, olives and ham. As with anything, there are always a few items that didn’t impress me. The first appetizer was a poached quail egg with a thin, crisp slice of chorizo. It tasted a bit like taking a bite of a bacon and egg sandwich but the texture turned me off. A sorbet made of wasabi, green apples and salt was served before the main course. I wasn’t a fan. But I suppose it was just there to clean our palates, and it did the job. Overall the experience was an extraordinary one. We go out a lot but not to places like The Gilt. It was a little more formal than I would normally like (every time you go to the rest room, they “serve” you a new napkin with two forks – as if it were bread) but it was a rare treat for us to get to experience such a place. One of the best parts of the evening was getting to meet the team of hard working sous-chefs that put all of these intricate dishes together. My husband spends most of his days in the kitchen of The Gilt but he was amazed at how it transformed in the evening when all of the masters are at work. I would recommend checking out The Gilt for a very special occasion. But consider who you invite. It’s not a place my parents would have enjoyed. They would have felt gypped by the small portions and large price tag.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

News about the state of Gov. George Pataki gives me the willies

Forty-one years ago, my cousin Eddie Guskind died of peritonitis. He was 32 years old. I have been watching the reports about our Governor and I am starting to get a little nervous. His hospital stay keeps getting longer and longer. Patients who usually have an appendectomy are out of the hospital in two or three days. The last time I saw the Governor on TV from his hospital bed he looked very pasty, drawn, sickly and weak.

Once peritonitis sets in anything can happen. From what I can remember, my cousin complained one weekend of a stomach ache, and went to his doctor twice. Each time the doctor gave him medicine and told him to go home to rest. When the pain become intolerable, his young wife (who is my first cousin) rushed him to the hospital only to find out that his appendix burst and this horrible poison set in. Irene was a few years younger than Eddie, had a daughter who was just three and was several months pregnant.

Eddie died three days later. The family went nuts. The funeral was horrible and my cousin Irene was in shock for many years. She gave birth to a son, named him after his father and now my little cousin Eddie (41 years old) is married, the father of two fabulous sons, but has to be somewhat haunted that he never met his father.

We all are. How can this happen? Now turn the clock to today and I am watching this horror unfold again. This time to a political figure who has all the wherewithal, the money and the power not to let this happen. I truly believe Gov Pataki will be okay, but at this point I am sure the doctors are freaking because this serious infection can run amok.

I am picturing Gov Pataki standing next to then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani during the World Trade Center turmoil. He looked like the pillar of strength. I can't wait to see him like that again.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Lois in the Far East - Part 1

Hello from the South Asian Seas. I am aboard one of the ships in the Oceania Cruise Line -- the Nautica -- sailing from Singapore to Hong Kong with stops in Cambodia, Bangkok, Saigon, Hanoi and Canton. This is the first time in 29 years of business that I dared to be physically away from the office for so long. The “what will be, will be” attitude was involuntarily casted on me after several close friends and dear family members died all too early in 2004-2005. The final straw was losing my mother last June. Still trying to put the pieces together after that.

I fear airplanes and boats so naturally my husband Eliot and I, along with two friends, Ruth and Howard Greenberg, decided to fly 24 hours to our first destination, Singapore, spend a few days and then board the ship. Most people on the cruise are 60 plus. While at first I thought I entered Del Boca Vista (Seinfeld’s parents condo in Boca Raton), it turns out that this crowd defines the new meaning of Active Adults. I imagine that most of the 450 people aboard the ship are very accomplished, and I would love to know what they do. I will probably find out more as the days go by. Most of the passengers are from the west coast of United States, a big group from Ft. Lauderdale, and lots from England, Australia and Canada.

I am just starting to get used to not being on email 24/7. I am paying 60 cents a minute for email so I am typing fast. I also have an expensive satellite phone with me so if you hear from me I will be talking fast.

I want to write often because I would like some of my impression logged somewhere so I guess this blog is the best place. My next installment will be my thoughts about the journey here and my impressions of Singapore. We stayed at the Singapore Oriental for four days before cruising so I am going to go backwards before I go forward. The story of my life.