The Road to Nowhere Mailbag

One of the most enjoyable things about writing on the Internet is the feedback you get. It is typically very open, honest, and immediate. I get letters almost every day about The Road to Nowhere. The selection below is representative of the kind of mail The Road to Nowhere usually gets. If you have thoughts, one way or the other about this book or other books in "The Library," I'd love to hear from you.

John Sealander

I very much enjoyed reading your web site regarding a dinner at Pyramid Place. I too enjoyed/endured such an evening, in fact several hundred times. I'm Rudy's nephew, his younger brother's son, and I had the pleasure of working with Rudy on the show and generally hanging around out there for many years. Your description was wonderfully crafted and caught the bizarre aspects of those evenings quite well. For the full effect, however, one had to experience "the show" on the road, which was my real duty in the scheme, organizing transportation and contracts, etc. Rudy did the show in all manner of venues, from the Queen Mary to a small gay nightclub in the industrial lower West Side of Manhattan. Each of these was a miniature safari of insanity, seldom covering expenses, but always full of strange characters and weird situations. I consider myself blessed to have had the opportunity to witness such goings-on first hand for about 10 years, just at the right time of life, 20s-30s. Someday I hope to write a book of these adventures though I believe it really will have to be characterized as fiction since no one would ever accept such stuff as reality. But we both know it was!!

    Bill Vallee

I just discovered your website and read all 7 stories at one time. I'm a fast reader. I've published small press zines, etc. for more than 18 years (both in print and online for the past couple of years) in various genres. I definitely enjoy your writing style. I would be pleased to include some of your writings on some of my websites (I have currently about 20 sites). Of course, there's no pay involved. Since I'm a small press publisher I operate on a shoe-string budget. If you know anything about the world of zines you're already aware of how it operates for the most part. I particularly enjoy essay, journal, and travel writing. I will definitely visit your site again to finish reading your stories.

    Lucinda MacGregor

I am extremely impressed with your abstract view of life and its amusing circumstances. I am looking forward to reading anything you write in the future. Your observations and opinions are incredibly accurate.

    Larry Rowlson

I discovered your site a year ago, read all the stories in 3 days, you wrote one more 2 weeks later, I wrote you 6 months later asking you when you would write again you said you were very busy but would probly do it soon. Well, it's been a year now, and not 1 new story. Come'on let's get that wicked mind of yours going again.

    Chris Oxford

Thank you for observing, thank you more for writing it.

    John L. Saboe

Thank you for your stories, they put a smile in my heart.

    Mavis Lukens

I have no idea how much e-mail you receive from this site. I just wanted to say that your articles were excellent and I can't read enough of them!!! Thank you for your insightful perspective about life--I happen to live in Vegas and came upon your site about "Christmas in Vegas"--that article was so eloquently written, I had to read all of the articles! Anyway, I would like to commend you on your writing ability and tell you that you have changed my life as a result, at least a little bit...


I was wondering if you still own the Vox Mark VI guitar that you talked about in your Rolling Stones writing. If so, I was wondering if you would be interested in selling it. I'll pay top price for it!!!

    Gerry Love

I've started reading "The Road to Nowhere" and it's great. I've really liked Walking the Dog, Hillbilly Haven, Neighbours, Mortaility, Object Lessons (I had origionally planned to study architecture too) and Redneck's Revenge.

I got a co-worker to read Redneck's Revenge and he loved it too. It's now circulating around our office. I work in the policy division of our provincial department of Economic Development and we could really appreciate this one. Imagine...I spent 7 yrs doing an Arts degree and a degree in Public Relations only to find out my uncle the carpenter is the one with the $!

    Michelle Raoul

I just read the essay about you mom. She seems like a really nice person. Did you ever look up any of your Jewish relatives. Are you still Lutheran. I was raised Catholic, but I come from a family that owned apartment buildings in Jewish area's of Chicago for three generations. Thus I grew up in a Jewish world. And am more or less Kosher by association. You may have alot of people, your moms family who would really like to meet you. I have read a bunch of your essays on the web and enjoy them a great deal.

    Larry McManus

Enjoyed your christmas story analogy; it was funny, insightful and right on the money.I have spent twenty years in the agency business in New York and Toronto, most of them with McCann Erickson and have been to more aquarium parties then I care to think about. Currently I operate film suport company in Toronto serving the commercial production houses in this city and throughout the north east. Company is called On Location Inc; so I still get to see all of these colorful fish in a working environment-----not really a pretty sight, but lots of fun.

    John Paterson

for what it's worth to you, i really liked your story. it spoke to me. a few years ago, my husband and i visited las vegas with friends and came up with a different but similar story. we didn't play the slots (the friends had their kids with them and it's strictly verboten to expose children to gambling. bill played a slot and the kids wanted to watch but were stopped by a guard), but the whole thing left me with an empty feeling about appearance being everything and this being the high point of someone's life.

it reminded me of the roman empire. people travelled from every- where to rome, the economic capital of the time. there were vomitoriums for folks to purge after binging (compared with the buffets at low prices to encourage folks to gamble). anything can be bought and sold and entertainment is at a premium.

i liked how you compared and contrasted feeding the slots with life and love. it sounds like you came away with a feeling of bitterness of reality, but also knowing there is no substitue for it.

    Asher Sarjent

I've been merrily playing with your web site for more than an hour now. And while at some point I read that you were wasting much time replying to friends on the net, I hope you will not think this message a waste of your time. Especially since we are not yet friends.

Regarding Barbara's failure to become a rock-n-roll star. The "Barbara" in my life was named "Mike," and although neither of us wanted to be rock stars, the theme of the story is strikingly similar. Amazingly enough I believed I was a unique story, destined for Oprah. Perhaps we should collaborate on the Oprah appearance theory. Or not. Anyway, I'd like to hear your philosophy on the wisdom gained, and the rest of the story, if you will share it.

    Judith A. Meininger

Cool stuff! I was out surfing the dallas ad agencies looking for a new home and have to tell ya that yours has been the most fun. If you ever decide that you must have more people than just the puppy, let me know! In the meantime, the quest for new knowledge and training continues....

    DeAnne DeWitt

I just read you "Walking the Dog" story and I think it is great. I am a huge fan of dogs. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate writings like these, that are so true, but never written. Great Job!

    Anne Donley

I just read "TIME" it is excellent and OH so true. I am going to pass your web to a local writer here in Pgh. I'm sure he will enjoy them alot. Keep up the good work.P,S. I have read all of your stories on the net. Do some more soon.

    Arlene Callithen

I am a student at Paul Smiths College up in the North Country of the Adirondack Mountains. I like your over all view on rednecks. I go to a school were about 70% of the population are rednecks. As a matter of fact we are holding the state college woodsmans competition. There can really be something said about men and women who chew plug tobacco and drink whiskey from the raw and find almost a motivational state about climbing trees with razor sharp axes. This is wet and slippery trees and extremely sharp axes. This of course can all be done after getting drunk. There is really a mindset that rednecks have. I am not really sure if its that they do not give a damn or if they just do not want others to know that they do. I have sat at lunch and heard rednecks talk about how great it is to not care about the environment. I for one am hellbent on saving the world. The majority of the rednecks that I know seem to trow trash out of thier window. Modify thier straight 8 board chevys so that they are loud enough to wake the dead.

The thing is that I am not really sure if its a good thing or not. I'm used to New York City. I am also after two years up here in the hills used to this mentality, but somewhat uneager to except it as my own. Its the Adirondacks that I rave about though. So if you become extremely tired of the suit and tie and want to get in touch with your primal side I suggest a trip to the North Country to dress in flannels, chew dip, and shoot down Jack Daniels, every rednecks hero. I can guarantee that if you do when you leave you will never be the same.

    Courtney Robinson

Just had to tell you how much I enjoyed your post about your concert-going history. I have never attended a Stones concert. *gasp* ..and I even admit to that!....but I felt a little better after being transported by your words.

As a high school student in the sixties, the Stones weren't even one of my favorites. but I find as I grow older - maybe the cynicism has much to do with it - their music is what's most often playing as I cruise to and from work.

Thanks for the vision.

    Donna Tschetter

Thank you for a most enjoyable visit. I must confess I am not familiar with your work, but will look for it at the bookstores from now on. If you are not published you should be. I hope that you add to your collection of essays from time to time. I plan on sharing this address with several friends.

I wish you well on the road through life. I don't believe you do this for ego or the accolades but you deserve them none the less.

    Philip Vassar

Hi. I'm a student at the University of Wisconsin in the Interior Design program. I just read your page on the web about Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. I was wondering how you could be in such awe of the house and it's environment, and still cut Frank down like that. I see him as an inspiration. I love all of the work that he has done. At least all of the stuff I've seen. I'm not saying you're wrong, because everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and maybe I'm a little biased because I have a background in Wisconsin and I go to UW, but I love the guys stuff. I just wonder why you cut him down and still are in awe of his work. You must respect him somehow...

I guess I was just wondering. I'd love to hear from you and learn more about FLW. If you know of any web pages that you think are good for viewing and reading about his work, would you let me know ??

The page is very good. Like I said, I see your opinion totally, I'm just wondering..."What the hell ??"

    Michael Jochmann

I read your reminiscence of visits with the Stones tonight. I couldn't have said it better myself. I tend to measure the years & my own growth by the many times i have seen them as well. my first time was in 1975 at the Los Angeles Coliseum. i was a single young man ready to tackle the world. My last time, I was a father of two, and climbing the corporate ladder. Boy, how things & thinking change. but The Foundation lives on. thanks for a great view of time!!!!

    Dan Sibley

i believe your statement about carpenters is unfair. i have been in this business for 21 years and i do everything i can to make my customers happy, especially about showing up on time and finishing the job in a very timely manner. don't put us all in the same boat until you know all the facts. i've worked hard to build my business with no college, just a lot of hard work.

    Robert Shields

Well. I'm impressed--you are one of the best writers I've encountered on the Internet. I'll be back to read more of your essays when I can see better (still recovering from PRK eye surgery).

    Robin Rogers

"Dogmark"seleced your wonderful site (Walking the Dog) for "Cool DOG Site of the Day" on August 5,1996

Thank you very much for your cool site information. Please visit my "Cool DOG Site of the Day"

    Takashi Ito

I've just finished reading about half of your short stories you published at your web page, and I thought I'd send you mail since I really enjoyed them. The stories I have read so far are superb. I actually came across your webpage by accident from the results to a totally unreleated websearch, and found the title 'road to nowhere' to be intriging, so I checked it out. From what I have read so far, I have found the two entitled 'quality control in the 90's' and 'Neighbors' to be my favorite so far. Your views and interpretations are very interesting, and I found myself thinking of similar situations I have faced when reading your material. Anyway, thanks for the great work!

By the way, in case your wondering who I am, you don't know me, and I don't know you. I just stumbled across this page by accident. :)

    Bruce Dean

I finally got around to surfing for the Stones and found your article, which I liked very much. I guess I liked it because I found myself reliving my own "life with the Stones"

My first Stones concert was probably in 1974 or 5, in Toronto. I was living in a student highrise at this time, which overlooked Maple Leaf Gardens, where the Stones played 2 consecutive nights. Some freinds and I went the first night - we had mediocre seats directly beside the stage, a little to the back (this was the lotus flower stage tour). That was alright tho, Mick danced and pranced his way around back lots.

It had rained just before we got to the Gardens, and I remeber the streets being very slick and reflective, and the whole scene being like a sea of blue - everyone was dressed in denim. The air was thick with pot smoke.

The concert was great and I was smitten. The next night I sat staring out the 20th floor window, watching the crowds of kids lining up to go in to the Gardens, wishing I too was going in! Instead, we played our Rolling Stones albums and reread the program.

My next Stones concert was in 1980 or so, in Buffalo, NY. My boyfriend and I managed to get tickets and drove down to Shea Stadium from Toronto. This has to have been the largest collection of people I have ever experienced - easily 90,000 people. We were a little late getting across the border, so the seats we got were terrible. The band members were miniscule specks on the stage - the giant mouth! But hey - this was the Stones - and we were there!

After the concert, this mass of flesh tried to leave the parking lot all at once and the grid lock that resulted took hours to clear. So there we sat people watching. There wasone guy, an "entrepreneur", who accidently let go of a bunch of blotter acid that was swept up and away by the wind. A crowd collected around him, scurrying to pick up these tiny bits of paper. I was studying photography at the time, and was delighted to catch the look of total confoundedness on his face!

Another summer I went to New York City and came this close to buying a print of Mick Jagger by Andy Warhol, signed, no less, by BOTH. But I didn't.

My last Rolling Stones concert was about 2 years ago, again in Toronto. This I attended with my neighbours son. He had been able to get a braclet, which enabled him to line up for the priviledge of purchasing tickets. For fifty bucks each we were in!

The concert was held this time at the Exhibition Stadium, surrounded by the midway. Before the concert, we check out the "Official Rolling Stones merchandize", discussed the merits of buying authorized T-shirts, and gasped at the $400 price tag on the official Stones leather jacket.

Yes, the Stone are most certainly a big business these days, and, one senses that their marketing is just a little too handled - they arrive on stage prepackaged. Maybe it has always been so, and I have have just been too niave to see, looking with the eyes of a true believer, or perhaps I'm just getting too crusty, too faded and jade!

I enjoyed the concert - it was great to hear the old tunes (and okay some of the new too), and great to watch the "old guys" - even Bobby Keyes on sax, talk about old home week! I mean, gee, I might even consider going to see the Stones again if they should ever tour.

But I ask myself why. Is it for what they are? Or is it for what they were? Does it really matter?

I know! It's only rock and roll, but I like it.

Thank you for helping me to relive some fond memories. Perhaps the teenages who flash anger in their eyes these days will one day be able to look back on these times through the rose coloured filter that time so kindly supplies.

    Jude Marion

Your story was a delight.

Last December my husband and I moved to a retirement community in New Hampshire. We live in a small cottage and have a very large (85 pound) Airedale that is the friendliest dog we have ever known. Every morning and every evening my husband takes our dog on a 2 mile walk and, for variety, changes from paths through the woods, where my husband can let Salty off the leash, to country neighborhoods. Salty, has made friends with people, old and young; with dogs, large and small; with horses, llamas and cats. The walks are social, healthful, companionable and fun. Without them my husbands life would be have far less purpose.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

    Jane Toumanoff

Believe it or not, I found this to be an interesting website. I still ask "Who are you"? I might have a girlfriend you would like to meet.


Enjoyed your tale about the Unicorn shoot... been there... done that... gave up on the big city ad game and settled into doing freelance talent work and only regret it on payday!

The reason I happened on to your tale is that I use a unicorn for my logo... you can't imagine why I'll bet! (...and my daughter collects them!)

    Allan Horn

Enjoyed "Quality Control in the 90s" -- it is right up our alley. You might like to check out the proceedings of The Why Things Don't Work Institute at

    Michael Finley

Just writing to say I enjoyed your story about the East Broad Top Railroad in Orbisonia, Pa. I grew up in Saxton, Pa. and we often took school or family trips to "Orby" to ride the train. I didn't relize at the time how lucky we were to be able to do this anytime we wanted. Your story brought back some interesting memories.

    Donnie Hoover

I just happened to come upon your story about walking your Dalmatian and I enjoyed it very much. I, too, walk my dog, Nova, a mix of a chow and who knows what, on a daily basis unless I'm off on vacation or the wind chill goes below 20 which it felt like it did today.

I share many of the same observations that you mentioned in your story from people watching televisions to the quality of lawns. It seems that most people spend a great amount of time watching television instead of doing other activities. I wish that for the most part, people would discover other wonderful qualities about themselves by doing other types of leisure activities instead of watching it all on television. I always find the people who haven't the time to watch t.v. to be of great interest.

One question, if you have the time to respond, what prompted you to write stories for others in the Internet world to read? It was a great idea. Thank you for your story.


Wow, did you just get written up somewhere? I'm getting more than twice the load on my server than I've ever seen, even at a peak. I don't think I've ever seen 10 objects in my server queue at the same time -- but in the last few minutes, I've watched it climb as high as 17! And it looks like most of the hits are on your site. I can't *wait* to see your weekly report -- Thursday's activity should be amazing!

This isn't a complaint, BTW -- my server seems to be handling it just fine. In fact, I'm kinda glad it happened, because I've always been curious to know how the server (and, especially, my bandwidth) would handle an increased load. I typically operate at only about 15% of my capacity, so doubling my traffic should not be a problem.

    Hank Mishkoff

I was rumaging through your files. Sampling here and there. Enjoying your capsule autobiography and its brutal honesty. The dog walk story. Some others.

I like your tales. I understand exactly what you are saying. I love to work, it is just that no one wants to pay me for the work I want to do, that is, sit around write some, surf the Internet, cook a nice meal, read a book, flesh out some far-fetched idea, think about things I'll never get around to, paint some, play music. Maybe a grant?

But as for being a good little cog, I don't have that talent. I am better when people pay me to just fuck around. I am not ambitious, I realized just the other day, but I AM oportunistic. So someday, I will seize some oppotunity to be paid to screw around.

Lately, I have been lucky. A job that is like a one-man R&D department. And some people who came to me and said, "We don't have any ideas. Do you have ideas? Would you be willing to implement them?"

The Internet is good for that -- you can pull ideas out of the air and make them breathe with just the resources you have in your head. That's gotta be worth something.

"Sure," I said. "Of course."

The Spoon is just this idea some of us had. This idea of a safe place where we could share our stories. One day, it's an idea and the next it is a reality. I like that. How many things exceed your expectations? I tend to have high expectations, so surprises like this are surprises indeed.

Keep writing. Drop by if you get a chance.

    Wes Modes

Your website has been chosen as Cool Site of the Day for Jan 23rd. Congratulations! If possible, could you announce this award on your page and link back to us at

I'm also including a copy of our trophy graphic for placement on your page as proof of the award.

    Richard Grimes

As I surfed the net tonight, awake again with nightmares about the local town "planning committee" zoning me and my sadly indifferent or frightened neighbors out of our farmlands and open spaces, our fresher air and almost quiet, starfilled nights, I happened upon your essay -- the one on helicopter perspectives. It has helped me to understand a mindset I have been, until tonight, totally unable to grasp. People with neither the interest in nor concern for my part of town (Lancaster Texas, right on the Dallas-Ellis county line) have descended like locust, drawing posterboard plans of 6 lane highways and industrial parks right through pasture land, with never a thought for the people (much less the livestock and wildlife) who live here. Now I understand what allows them to do such things without even blinking an eye -- it's distance. They don't live here, in this neighborhood, on this street. They don't care about the simple beauty that they plan to destroy because they're so far removed from it they don't even see it. They've not smelled the sweet warm air as it blows over the neighbors south grassland, they've not looked up to see the stars unencumbered by Dallas' glare or spent hours hanging over the fence talking to neighbors and feeding their horses. I thought they were dreadfully stupid and unfeeling (which they might also be -- I can't rule that out). But I understand now that they were also blind. I guess, from where they stand, it all _must_ look like little plastic cows and horses and monopoly houses, easily brushed away with the careless wave of a hand.

And, while understanding doesn't make it easier, and I probably still won't get much sleep tonight, wondering how the "progress of development" might be halted, your essay has given me a different perspective. It still doesn't make paving over every last trace of prairie and open field any more tolerable, but I guess I can appreciate how distance makes the job of destruction easier. You just don't have to think much when you imagine the world from 100 or 1000 or 10,000 feet. I guess it all looks pretty much the same. Maybe these boys really do need to get their heads out of the clouds. But that will never happen. It's not someone's DREAMS to them -- just little plots of land for the taking. It seems to be a question of whose dreams win.

    Eric Trapp

I want to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your unicorn story and I also want to tell you that I haven't met anyone so truthful to themeselves like you in a while.

So keep up the good work 'cause you kick ass!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I just read your short story on "dog walking" on the internet. We have a one year old chocolate lab-KaLa and the "walk" has become a daily part of my routine. When reading your story...I knew exactly what you were talking about..the sights, sounds, etc. It is an enjoyable experience and exercise for the both os us.

    Kathy Dietzel

I happened, as i'm sure fortunate others have, to come upon your site by accident. The 1st time I spent one and a half hours there. I now have your home page as one of my programmed sites., Thank you for your wonderful essays and your writings.

Your site and those like it are truly what makes the Internet a special place.

    Larry Archambault

I love your almost-lost art form. I found them via a Fallingwater page. My wife and I went there for the first time last summer. Took the grand tour. I'd read a lot about it, but it still blew me away. The guide takes you down the trail, then stops when it first comes into view. I snuffled a bit, and I'm not an emotional man. Anyhow, keep it up. On any subject of your choosing.

    George Hall

John, I feel like I know you......your web site is extrodinary.....your writing is so "REAL".......thanks for the journey

    Trudy Wescott

I feel really fortunate to have stumbled onto your website. I'm on my fifth story, (I read one whenever I'm feeling bored) it's kind of weird but they really lift my spirits. It's like I feel like I've experienced so much of what you're expressing. That sounds stuped doesn't it?....allright, lets just say I can relate.

I'm a 38 year old girl from Iowa, I left a town of 30,000 in my 65 Riviera and drove to Las Vegas, by myself, about a culture shock! I wouldn't change a thing though, if I had to. Anyway, I've always been into a "good lead guitar," When I was twelve I wanted to be the worlds greatest female guitarist, I use to envision myself as a female Satriani. (my idol) Jeez can he play! I use to have a 55 Gibson Melody Maker...I could kick myself for selling it for $150.00 to get to Vegas!

So anyway, the more I read your stories, the more I think it's the rock&roll thing that ties it all in.. It's only rock&roll ...but I like it! Thanks

    Lori Glattfelder

I stumbled upon your website while doing some research at work the other day...your "Road to Nowhere" essay was great (loved the graphics too), ditto the "Creativity" page, and I loved your personal ad page. I was going to attempt my own "road trip", but my nutty family alone would take up at least 20 chapters. So here's my current career path, road, whatever you want to call it. Need your advice, hope you'll listen...

Chapter 1--Going Grey

I started off as a journalism major in college but switched to advertising when I heard that was where the money was. The lady at the employment agency said that Grey Advertising was a great way to start off my career. (This was before I knew what a bad creative reputation they had). I lasted 10 months at Grey. I hated being a secretary. I didn't give a damn about paying dues. Besides, I had found, through word of mouth, a job at a small trade magazine in Greenwich Village. This was my big break.

Chapter 2--Dream Job

The magazine was called "Retail Driven Technology" and it was all about video's new influence in the retail market. (Note: this was 1987). I was just a year out of college and having the time of my life. Working in New York City, working till all hours of the morning and loving it. I was interviewing people, editing, transcribing, answering phones, writing, everything. My official job title was "editorial assistant" but by the time I left I got upgraded to "staff writer/editor." Unfortunately, the magazine folded after 10 months. I was devastated.

Chapter 3--Cartoon Heaven

After a couple of months of looking, I was depressed. All the jobs in publishing paid lousy. Besides, they were all secretarial. After tasting the thrill of doing real writing and editing, the last thing I wanted to do was answer phones. So I took a job at United Feature Syndicate, the people responsible for licensing and syndicating some of the world's most famous cartoons. I still got to write--only this time it was PR. I wrote tons of press releases, developed press kits, worked with artists (both known and unknown), got A LOT of freebies (e.g. Garfield underwear from Australia), managed retail events/trade shows. It was interesting, stimulating, very diverse. But eventually, writing took up less and less of my time so I quit.

Chapter 4--Free What?

I just wanted to write. So I did, only I didn't get paid all that much for it. I freelanced for nine months. Did a little of everything. Press releases, newsletters, a bit of graphic design work too. But I quickly got discouraged. It seemed like I was doing a lot of nothing and had nothing to show for it. There was no focus, and certainly not enough to keep me interested.

Chapter 5--The Job From Hell

That Human Resources person really knew how to sell this job. It was a copywriter position at a major magazine/publishing giant. One of the perks (besides a huge salary increase) was an annual, week-long creative meeting in the Caribbean, all expenses paid. Tell this to any 20-something and how could they resist? But all was not well in paradise: the first two years we went to St. Maarten, the third year it was Greenwich, CT and after that, the meetings were relegated to our own offices. It gets worse. After the first two years, I decided I hated advertising. I felt I was denying my journalistic roots (let alone not even letting them grow). But my boyfriend worked there and we were totally in love and I just couldn't bear to leave him/the company. I ended up staying seven years total. We broke up after five. The remaining two were, at best, pathetic. My turning point came when I found out my ex-boyfriend remarried his ex-wife (the one he told me he never loved).

Chapter 6--Temporary Sanity

Oh who cares about him, anyway. This is about me. Today I work at a small agency that does advertising, graphic design, websites, package design and publishing (one of the bosses is a writer of children's books). I came here to reclaim my sanity. It is a temporary place, as far as I am concerned. I don't know where I will go from here...and my diverse background seems to be both a curse and a blessing (depending upon who I ask).

I'm young, single and "free enough" to make a major life change for the right opportunity...only I have no idea what that is! Sometimes I just want to pack up my clothes, drive cross country and see what the west coast has to offer. Sometimes I miss the city and think I should go back (I'm in the 'burbs now). Sometimes I want to start my own website, but I'm not sure I could make any money off it. Sometimes I think I should just stay put and meditate on it all for a while.

    Magdalin Leonardo

I can't tell you what intrigued me about your particular submission on the web. I guess just because most of the stuff you link to is normally a bunch of crap! I bookmarked your ROAD TO NOWHERE table of contents and plan to go back and read the rest of it. Dinner With Rudy was precious...

    Susan Blakey

Absolutely delightful!!! So many thoughts that I have had myself. I just love your Neighbor story. If fact love them all. Your writing ability makes one feel, instantly, as if he/she has known you for years. Probably because we have all had similar thoughts.

    Norma Wilcox

For a long time, I was convinced that the Internet was just another vast wasteland of meglomaniacal, blithering idiots screaming to be heard over the din of more and less important "issues". No more. Your page (and a few others) have convinced me that the computer is more than an obese paperwieght, mildly handy for keeping in touch w/ friends in other states. I'm now positive that there is Actual Life on the 'Net and more importantly, there is Soul. Thank you.

    s.e. reed

Enjoyed your writing. I sampled two. I'm saving the rest for when I have more time. Have to get back to work. Are you still in Dallas? Hope to meet you someday. Sounds like you're doing what many of us journalists-turned-corporate flacks/frustrated writers would like to do. My ramblings are often confined to emails and notes to my wife, but you've shown there is a way. Thanks.

    Tom Kleckner

On your scale of 1 - 10 you should add "fun" as an option. I stumbled upon you web page (searching Republic Bank, whom I will be accepting a new position with in the next 30 days). I enjoyed your page and would have selected "fun", had it been an option. Thanks for entertaining me.

    Liz Armstrong

I've just read your story about your Dad and I laughed out loud at the end. Wonderful! My mother died suddenly very recently and I remember how upset I was at the time and I couldn't laugh.But reading the story I was in your dads shoes. About 3 years ago I had heart bypass surgery and I remembered my Mum, my wife and my daughters faces after I woke up. I kept thinking I wish they would laugh or tell a joke and stop looking so bloody solemn. I think it depends on where you're sitting as to whats funny. Your Dad despite his John Wayne attitudes at least has a sense of humour. Thank you for making me laugh. Everybody should laugh more often and especially when in hospitals!

    Pierre Lenzi

I'd tell you how much I enjoyed your web site, but you're too into getting those kinds of strokes. I am approximately your age and education and too am a writer. I briefly put up a web page much like yours.. not quite as well organized, but soon had a major paranoia attack when I considered the implications if any bosses, co-workers, or former girlfiends ever actually looked at it. It's probably just as well that my essays such as "How Hitler Saved the World From Germany," or "Racial Differences Do Exist," or "The Problem I Have with Mother's Day" do not get transmitted any farther than my local PC. The liks in my on line resume to the catalog of "Jobs I Have Been Fired From," and the graphics I use to accompany some of my my more memorable dates from Dallas Observer personal ads, (that is how I stumbled on to your web site) might not be as appreciated by others as they are by me. So my web site exists hidden safely on drive D:

Anyway, I most enjoyed your ephiany in Las Vegas demonstrating how lack of need brings more... money, women, jobs, and how it relates to when you quit. Fantastic. Thank you.

We have something in common. When I was in college I discovered that my father is Jewish. It floored me. I had grown up in an upscale suburban, completely WASP world. My father worked for the Bell Telephone for 20 years before he supernovaed on Wall Street in the early 80's. As he put it; "Jews weren't particularly rampant in the Phone System even after the war." His sister Truti, a spectacularly gorgeous woman who looked a lot like Sophia Loren, suffered severe depression and eventually killed herself. To this day my father does not explicitly admit that he's a Jew, but talking about aunt Truti he once said. "Well, it was tough being a Jew during the Holocaust."

To be a Jew your mother has to be a Jew. Children of 'Chicksas' (blonde women who marry Jews) are not considered real Jews. { This happens to be currently a very big political issue in Israel and Miami }. The reason, by the way, that the Jewish people have survived so many centuries despite incomparable adversity is one; Jewish women. Jewish women have a preference, if not an imperative for Jewish men. You can see it in the Romance ad pages. Jewish women most often will not have anything to do with Gentile men (whereas Jewish men are as notorious as black men when it comes to favoring Gentile women [ask the Germans]) Your mother is an historical exception, and apparently (possibly) a victim of this imperative.

    Curtis Rhodes

I found your stories while looking for dalmatian web sites. I found your stories to have such insite into peoples lives facinating. I will definately return to your site to finish the list and I look forward to more. You're a very lucky man to have such a job that takes you to such wonderous places on this planet. I too own and love a Dalmatian. Best wishes on Spot's recovery.

    Donna Sylvia

You are something else! Like to have meet you thirty years ago. What a team we could have been!

    Wayne A Caldwell

I enjoyed the article. By any chance did you ever hear of the LEBRUN SISTERS? They were a trio out of Rochester NY. They sang with Rudy Vallee and had several recordings. There is only one remaining sister. Their brother, in his 80's would love to find a recording. Do you have any idea where I could find one for him? Thanks

    Sharon Gagliano

Was looking up Fallingwater yesterday, have not stopped reading your stuff past 12 business hours, will probably get fired, do not care. I think you should write about: Anything you write is super.

    Dave Dunstan

The phrase "Re-establishing core competencies" broke me up. Do all CEOs attend the same seminars. I heard the exact words many times in the last year. I enjoy your work.

    Tom Morrison

While surfing and browsing through some of the sites sent to me by friends and family I came across your site. First "Bitterness" then "Nowhere." Wonderful, amusing and for a reader who never gets enough a gift. I was delighted to be thrown back to my youth when I used to faithfully watch "The Millionaire." That 1/2 show in black and white where anyone could have their dreams come true but only if they were morally sound! I now have a definition of paradigm. I may be a reader but I don't carry a dictionary in my pocket and need examples for my memory to toggle on. Just like the school days of ....write the word ten times....write the definition 3 times...make up three sentences using your new word...Voila!!! own it. Well your amusing and well written story has imprinted paradigm into my mind in a much more pleasing and entertaining way. Learn and be entertained at the same time...what is this? Thanks!

    Gerald Godard

Although our paths surely must've crossed, and though I have seen your name before, I can't remember meeting you. I'm Robert Renfrow. I worked at Tele-Image and Pyramid between 1986 and 1993 first building Gary French's SMPTE-striped sound effects-on-CD database, then as the bookkeeper, and finally, when they put the computer-based scheduling in (remember THE BOOK?), as the enterprise's LAN administrator. Spent most of my time upstairs, but still felt a part of the great family that was there, especially in the Tele-Image years. I was not aware that Blue Cactus was no more, as I'm now in the business of selling wire hangers and poly bags to your corner dry-cleaner. However, your tale was both enlightening and touching. I always wondered if our customers had the fondness we as employees held for that facility. The people and that lobby (before the palm trees all died). Those were the best. I hope you don't mind if I forward a link to your story to a few of the old gang. BTW, I've only poked around a little, but your site looks great!

    Robert Renfrow

OK so now I know. There is another human being somewhere in the world who builds houses and then has them topple..and builds..and then has a post-mortem going on inside his head to see if he did the 'right' thing. There's a dilhemma like that going on right now in some little corner of my maybe I'm human after all and it does happen to other people. But then if I'm human...why can't I come up with a better solution?

    Jean Brynen

I enjoy your writing. I am a photographer who has also been writing consistently since I was 7 years old, but have never had the nerve to try to publish anything because I've never had any "formal" training or schooling in writing. I guess I'd like your advice on getting a photojournal type ecclectic, unique book published, or how much it would cost me to publish it myself?

    Stacey Allen

Just a note to say I enjoy your stories from "The Road to Nowhere". One in particular had a line that says "People who council others on relationships while failing at their own are riding in helicopters." That is so true. And most psychologists that I know went into the field of counseling people because they have their own deep dark problems that they are trying to deal with. Isn't life backwards. Your insights are right on track. A lot of us feel this way but do not have the talent to put it into words. I like your book!

    Peggy Rittmann

I was just surfing around the net today and came across your story. I just wanted to drop you a note to tell you not to be so hard on yourself. I'm just finishing my second year of vet school, and one of my interests is veterinary emergency medicine. I worked at an emergency clinic this past summer, and I've seen many, much worse, situations.

It is neither ethically wrong nor unkind to make the choice you did; rather, you actually took the time to care about an animal that was in need, and put yourself at risk of getting bitten by it in order to help it. Many people don't care enough to do any of that.

Also, you mention that the dog might have healed eventually; this might be possible, but it's unlikely, especially with that degree of injury. Also, he would have been in excruciating pain while doing so, and if his pelvis had healed in a bad conformation, it would have caused serious problems. What probably would have happened is that he would have hid under a bush, too weak to get up, and starved to death. You did the kind thing by sparing him that, and giving him an escape from his pain.

Please don't feel bad about your decision; all decisions about euthanasia are personal. I'm grateful to you for taking the time to help the poor dog out.

    Michael J. Dark

I just read your wonderful story. It is amazing what you can learn from a few minutes of reading between programming. I can relate to each and every sentence. Is Spot still alive? He is quite a cute dog. I have a Schnauzer myself and can truly attest to taking his presence for granted. Everyday, it is the same scenario, yet I have never taken the time to stop and wonder if it is ever going to end. Thanks for providing such a wonderful reading material for dog lovers.

    Yana Levitasov-Diab

First, let me tell you that I read it all in three sittings. Your writing is good and I hope you continue to write and get it published someday. And even though our superficial circumstances are quite different, so many of the things that you write about have a very first hand familiarity for me. Your insight is, at times, uncanny.

However, as I read more and more of the stories, I came to realize that there is a fundamental difference between us. I just can't be that cynical. The world that you describe doesn't have much joy in it. Some, but it appears only as scraps or leftovers. Also, there is such an absence of purpose and fulfilment. At the risk of coming across as some narrowminded fundamentalist, I feel compelled to tell you that God changed me from your world to mine, or really, to his. And even if our external circumstances were identical, I believe I would still perceive the world (and myself) as having more purpose and meaning and deep down happiness.

I don't usually do this (the evangelistic thing).

Anyway, let me caution you that I'm not talking about religion, or church, or any of the other trappings. I'm talking about the core truth. Yes. There really is a God. He's not dead, and in fact, hasn't even been sick. I can't prove that and you can't disprove it, so I won't go there. But I'm pretty rational and logical in most ways and I'm still totally convinced. Church and religion have their place in giving form to the relationship, but they are not ends in themselves.

Just assume for a moment that I'm correct and that there is an omnipotent and omniscient God who made everything including you and me. If you read the owner's manual, you'll discover that this life is going to be a difficult one for everyone. It's the most ironclad guarantee you'll ever get. Fortunately, in the grand scheme of things, it's exceedingly short. The next life will be the new improved model. _All_ the problems with this one will be fixed. I don't mean to imply that this life is meaningless, or that it's ok to not fix things now.

But once you understand the why and the how and know the end of the story, the plot makes so much more sense.

The surprising thing to me, is that getting to heaven has very little to do with being a nice person. It has everything to do with understanding that God really is in charge, and you have to accept his rules. And his rules are really very simple. You have to admit that you can't do it and his son Jesus is the only one who can.

Admitedly, once you cross that bridge, you want to get to know the guy better. And many people become "nice" afterward, in the sense that they try to do a better job now in this life because that what's shows gratitude. But the actual acts of goodness and kindness and purity never count for squat at actually getting you in. So many people have this all backwards.

Never underestimate God. He would have sacrificed his son, even if you were the only one getting saved. He loves you that much.

    Troy Rhodes

I have printed all of your stories posted here. I am the Assistant Director of Nursing in a long term care facility. Our patients enjoy having your stories read to them.

    John Woofie

I've been reading your essays.  Had me a few giggles, some aha moments and quite afew moments to stop and think about what you had written.  I especially read with interest the story about the dog who had been hit by a car and you suffered wondering what to do about his future/medical care.  Speaking from experience you did the right thing.  Me, when I was faced with something similar I spent $1,300 saving the dogs life only to wish he had died as he turned out to be a dog from hell and a terrible pet!  The creature got into the garbage EVERYDAY, bit me on numerous occasions and never got along with anyone in the family.  He even killed a few chickens that belonged to a neighbor and terrorized kids getting off the school bus.  We eventually found someone with lots of land in the country who agreed to take him and I suppose he's still living the good life running free on 1,000 acres.  I sure was NEVER able to train him to stay inside our back fence.  Oh, and the story about the unicorn was hilarious. A great reminder that things are often NOT what they seem.
Mr. Sealander, I have 3 sons and I hope all of them read your essays.  Not because they tell us what is right or wrong but because they make us think.  Your stories tell me that "stuff" happens, life isn't always pretty and often what we think we know when we are 20 turns into the reality that we don't know diddly in our 40's.  I thank you very much for sharing part of your life.  I find it amazing that your essays were put on the net over 10 years ago and yet when I was searching for Christmas activities in Las Vegas for a possible vacation your stories were among the 1st one listed.  I have a feeling that even today people are reading your words and enjoying them.
Thank you again and I hope that the MRI thingie turned out all right and that you are in great health today.

Sherrie Allen

(I'm misusing this space to say how much I admire your writing--not just as a dog lover & Dal owner, but also as a former journalist and magazine editor. I know it's tough getting published on paper these days, but your Spot tales are superior to much of the canine-themed literature in print I've read. Why? Because you balance several elements--dog: human; reportage/ humor/ epiphanic moments--with great delicacy, yet a total lack of literary pomp or preciousness. I'd love to see your ebooks between covers.)



I just read your piece on Rudy Vallee.  I enjoyed it very much.

I didn't know Vallee very well nor very long but came to admire his wit, candor, honesty and remarkable memory.  He was a fascinating raconteur, though he could be overwhelming at times, and his stories about himself and others he knew or had known were always rich in detail and humor.

I'd often read or heard him characterized as self-centered, mean and uncharitable and was surprised to discover him to be open, friendly and quite willing to put himself out for others.

We once met in the parking garage in Century City East where my office was located.  He arrived in that station wagon you described in your article and greeted me and everyone else in that cavernous substructure with a blast on the air horn atop the station wagon. He came to deliver some material I'd requested as a courtesy to me. We both had other appointments, his in Beverly Hills and mine in downtown LA, but got to talking standing next to his wagon.  It seemed a very short interlude but before we knew it, two hours had passed.

I was public relations director, western division, continental operations, economic development administration, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico (Forgive me. That's the longest title I've ever had and just love see it, say it or write it.)

We were planning a gala in San Diego under the aegis of The Rums of Puerto Rico in conjunction with the Retail Liquor Dealers Association of California, which we dubbed "An Evening With the Stars."  We also structured it as a fund raiser for two charitable organizations. A part of my role was to recruit the stars. A friend, Ray Noval, then a prominent society band leader in Southern California, offered to introduce me to Vallee and did.

Rudy agreed to appear and offered to help recruit others.

We met several times and I was invited to his home on Triangle a few times - where I suspect you dined with him - including a day-long celebration of his 72 birthday on a sweltering, hot July weekend.  There was quite a crowd and Rudy played fast sets of tennis while sipping iced tumblers filled with champagne - a favorite beverage of his.  He was also an aficionado of rum, one of the reasons, I suppose, for his agreeing to work with us.

Well, I could write much more about my experience with this extraordinary guy who set up annuities for his servants and their children, all of whom lived on the premises, and probably launched as many or possibly more show biz careers than Steve Allen and Johnny Carson.

There is a central point to my story and here it is. 

As we approached the date of our San Diego event, I called Rudy, whom I'd not talked with in several weeks.  The housekeeper referred me to a friend of Vallee, whom I'd met, who served as his unofficial agent/manager.  He laughed when I told him the purpose of my call, and informed me that Vallee had a gig at a New Jersey club and couldn't possibly make our event.  I was disappointed and angry and later surprised and delighted when I received a call from Vallee the day we were to fly our celebs to San Diego. (Would you believe 43 agreed to participate?  Yes, they did and only four failed to show.) Rudy said he and Eleanor had just landed at Burbank and wanted to know where I wanted them.  He actually took three days off from his performance commitment to keep his promise to me. The morning after the "Evening with the Stars," he and Eleanor flew back to New Jersey! 

I hope you found this an interesting sidebar.

Jim Nugent

Your writing is very funny, enlightening, candid, boring, nowhere: all of the above. Plus rather self absorbed and whiney, too. You remind me of Dave Barry, who's made a career out of complaining. Except when he does it, he's absurd and inventive and always very entertaining. These endearing qualities are not often found here. On the other hand, your voice is compelling and powerful presicely because it is so startlingly candid. You say just what's on your mind and I believe you. There is much truth in what you write. But these truths often seemed diminished by the "poor me" tone you take. You think you got it rough pal, let me tell you about my life! I think you should write about: somebody other than yourself or another person who becomes important only because they're impacting you.


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