Friday, September 25, 2015

Happy Hour

I spend Rosh Hashanah in the office and am prepared for more of the same when Yom Kippur rolls around. A completely non-observant friend remarks that despite a total lack of religiosity, she can't imagine going to work on the Day of Atonement. For a great deal of my adult life it would have been unfathomable to not be affiliated with a synagogue or attend services. It feels strange to be a free agent but after having chewed it around quite a bit, I can't say that I miss attending services. That said, observing Yom Kippur as a normal work day doesn't feel right either.

Our Jewish lives have dwindled now to eschewing pork and shellfish and celebrating with candles and a challah on Friday nights. A newer ritual that I observe though is an Internet site that promotes introspection during the Days of Awe called “10 Q” I receive a question each day during the high holidays. Some are personal and some are about the state of the universe. Each year I am able to revisit the previous year's responses before approaching the present. One of the questions pertains to remembering a spiritual experience from the last year. Having barely driven past a synagogue I realize that I am most moved by the ineffable during a long stretch of highway driving or in the presence of certain works of art. After making the decision about not working on Yom Kippur I scour the Internet but find no art that speaks to me.

I have been helping, in the long and complicated process of claiming Social Security benefits, for our former nanny, who is now completely disabled. She is not fit to travel, particularly by bus during a heatwave so I volunteer to take some documents to the Social Security office downtown for her. Maybe this atoning via suffering thing is something I've picked up by osmosis from Mr. Once a Catholic Always a Catholic. Nevertheless, a steamy Yom Kippur morning seems a fitting time to run this errand.

I arrive at the office as the police are removing a handcuffed man. There is a lot of signage about weapons and assaulting federal employees. I am sent through a metal detector and the guard discovers a few rather cunning pockets in my handbag that I will now make use of. The waiting room contains many people whom I would categorize as mentally ill or substance addled. Strong air conditioning is unable to mask the fetid aroma. The staff however is astoundingly gentle and respectful. I imagine that the police are called frequently to remove the profoundly disruptive but I am moved by the patience of the workers and feel guilty that my wait of less than an hour makes me feel so put upon.

Fasting on Yom Kippur feels as imperative as not working, Temple or no temple it has always astounded me about how much time there is to fill when you do not eat. In the absence of interesting art, after my social security sojourn we decide to hit the road. Neither of us have ever been to Sequoia National Park. Google Maps says it is about a three and a half hour drive which seems perfect to fill up the hours until the sun goes down and we break our fast.

Books on tape is an essential component of the on the road experience. The thirty plus hour audio version of Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch got me half way to New York this spring and didn't bore me for a single second. It pleases me when Himself decides to get our money's worth on this Audible purchase, particularly because he enjoys it as much as I do. Long time readers here know that misogyny is a major subset of Himself's general misanthropy and Tartt is on a very short list of female writers that he respects.

An audio version of Tartt's first novel, the equally lengthy The Secret History has been released with Tartt herself as the reader. While this can't be considered a spiritual book we both agree that it's an enjoyable soundtrack for our Yom Kippur sojourn. As we approach the park from Highway 99 the rural landscape, except for smatterings of eucalyptus and palms might as well be Indiana or Ohio. In The Secret History the kids at the fictional Hampton College are mostly East Coast Prep School grads. California is mythologized and the main character, who hails from a nondescript Central California suburb is assumed to have frequented the Polo Lounge and the La Brea Tar Pits with regularity. Tartt, without slipping into a facile “Valley Girl” patois shows incredible mastery of a California accent. As we drive through endless agricultural lands and small towns with water towers and fraternal orders I am reminded how much of the California mystique is germane only to the metropolitan.

We cruise the General's Highway through Sequoia National Park and then into Kings Canyon. It is a spectacular drive and in the future, when it isn't as late in the day and we have food in our stomachs, I hope we are able to further explore the parks on foot. There are three stars in the sky when we break our fast at a Roadhouse in Kingsburg. The menu is limited and the waitress wears hot pink cut offs and is befuddled that we should require cutlery for Himself's fish and chips and my own sandwich. The food, even on a very empty stomach, is less than mediocre but the beer is palatable.

We stop for gas next to a big van full of people and yapping chihuahuas. A young man approaches me and starts in on a story, that I know is bullshit from the get go, about a frozen gas card and a van full of family and dogs en route to a funeral. I fork over five bucks and I guess because it is the beginning of a new Jewish year Himself doesn't castigate me. When I go into pay for my gas the van occupants are purchasing donuts and burritos quite shamelessly in front of me. I give them a mild dirty look but I don't ask for my cash back.

It turns out that the Social Security office also needs to copy our nanny's ancient, hand typed and covered with official looking stamps, Salvadorean birth certificate. I decide to combine this errand with the library speakers series. I arrive at the Social Security office right before closing and am dealt with quite expeditiously, leaving me a couple hours to kill at the Central Library. There is an exhibit of old menus I've been eager to see called “To Dine in L.A.” I have wasted many hours perusing the library's menu collection on line. Unfortunately, the exhibit is a bit misguided. Some contemporary artists have been called into participate and this does nothing to enrich the theme. Furthermore, the menus are not particularly well chosen and a display about prison food is completely off topic. The attempt to make the room resemble a vintage restaurant using day-glo greens and yellows is off putting. Still, there are a couple of pleasant childhood memories like The Nickodell and Van de Camps but the whole thing requires less than fifteen minutes, leaving me with another hour to wander the library.

The populace is not that much different than that of the Social Security office. I notice that all of the study carrels have electric outlets and are mostly occupied by people charging phones. Others, surrounded by luggage, doze on sofas and in comfortable chairs. Most, I assume, will have nowhere to go when the library closes. I observe many more security guards than librarians in the gorgeous historic building. I am glad that at least during operating hours, that the library provides a refuge for so many homeless people. Perhaps there will some day be a better alternative. I struggle to channel compassion and think about the patient people at the library and the Social Security office who toil away in the midst of the sad parade.

I find an amazing photo collection about the development of Bunker Hills which required razing hundreds of Victorian homes. No matter how many times I go downtown I cannot get over how remarkably this city has transformed since my childhood. I feel how strongly I am planted here in this city and the weirdness that so much of what is now history has occurred during my lifetime.

I happen upon a photo exhibit in the basement. I'd never heard of Aggie Underwood but she was the city editor of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner until 1968. Before being promoted to editor, Underwood was a reporter with a crime beat. The lines were more blurred in those days and she interviewed murder suspects and then conveyed her suspicions of guilt or innocence to the police. She attended autopsies, executions, and rode on the bus with a group of felons to the woman’s prison at Tehachapi. The exhibit consists of a series of fantastic crime photos, very reminiscent of Weegee's or frames of film noir, accompanied by stories about some of the city's most sensational murders.

Walking over to meet my friend I am stopped on the street and asked by a young woman if I would like to appear in a You.Tube video about gratitude. I tell her that truthfully I do feel enormously grateful, but that I am on my way to Happy Hour. We drink cheap margaritas and bar snacks. I know my friend back from when our kids attended the same elementary school. She too has an empty nest. We drink and eat and chat. There is scarcely any mention of our kids. We attend the Aloud Series at the library. Critic David Ullin interviews memoirist Mary Karr. My expectations are low. I've only read Karr's The Liar's Club years ago and don't remember being impressed but Karr is surprisingly erudite and very entertaining. Most recently she's written The Art of Memoir which discusses the history and ramifications of the form.

I've completed all of my 10Q questions and reviewed my comments from last year. There is a thread of striving and dissatisfaction that runs through, although for the most part my self examination is, if not optimistic, hopeful. I've braved the Social Security office twice to help someone who has been exceedingly kind to me. Highway 99 takes us to the General's Highway and through the ancient Sequoias. I spend a few hours at the library pondering my place and my history in the city that I love. A writer speaks eloquently about the kind of writing that I play around with. Maybe next year's 10Q will reveal that I'm closer to adjusting to life post kids and less bitter about my lack of accomplishment. Maybe it's just due to cheap liquor and snacks but I start this new Jewish year upbeat and optimistic.   

Friday, September 18, 2015

Watching It All For You

This week's GOP debate drones on for so long that the TV threatens to switch into “power saving mode” and our guests begin to drowse on the couch. We even watch the “kids' table" debate. Lindsey Graham demonstrates a sense of humor and George Pataki some common sense. The main event reveals that apparently business people (Fiorina and Trump) lie with less abandon than even politicians. Fiorina's description of a doctored video which suggests that Planned Parenthood harvests organs from live fetuses is shockingly egregious. Sadly, no matter how thoroughly this is refuted, there will be many who will buy in.

Liberals moan that American intelligence has declined and wring their hands over the heartland's stupid gullibility. Perhaps because I spend so much time looking at old film footage I am aware that hucksterism and hatefulness are not new phenomena on the U.S. political front. Donald Trump might as well be Father Couglin, Huey Long or Joe McCarthy. Margaret Thatcher might be the closest parallel to Carly Fiorina on the political front but from the realm of fiction, Cruella DeVille and Delores Umbridge come to mind.

For all of the hoi polloi's susceptibility, there is also a rich American tradition of political satire. The same box that brings us the GOP idiots, broadcasts a good deal of brilliant commentary right into my living room. It occurs to me that I can't think of any content that is smart and funny and represents a conservative point of view. Is there? Bill Maher is one of the liberal elder statesmen but I find him harsh and mean-spirited despite his left wing pedigree. The Daily Show had flashes of brilliance but, as I have noted here before, sometimes Jon Stewart's shrillness detracted from his wry observations. I'm looking forward to see what South African comedian Trevor Noah does with the show when he premieres as the new host on September 29.

I miss Colbert enormously. His buffoon character was a sublime insight into right wing mentality and show was consistently smart and subtle. I've watched a couple of Late Night's with Colbert and for the most part, it's a formulaic talk show and it just reminds me of how much I miss the Comedy Central half hour. Colbert's slot there has been filled by The Nightly Show, hosted by Larry Wilmore. This show swings wildly from cunning and hilarious to embarrassingly awkward and unfunny.

It's unfair to hold nightly shows to the same standard as the weekly HBO show Last Week Tonight. Winsome British comedian John Oliver became familiar in the U.S. for appearances on The Daily Show and his HBO show is just finishing up a second season. The longer format allows Oliver to tackle issues in depth and it provides exposés, ala 60 Minutes, minus the sanctimoniousness and plus brilliant humor. Glimpses into civil forfeitures, the availability of public defenders and the scarcity of quality sex education in American schools are shocking and revealing but so cheeky and irreverent that they're completely watchable and entertaining.

For one of Oliver's most remarkable episodes he traveled to Moscow for an interview with Edward Snowden. The actual interview was proceeded by man on the street materials which revealed many folks' general lack of awareness and minimal understanding of the ramifications of government surveillance. Oliver cleverly frames the conversation with a more accessible concept, the “dick pic.”

Another Last Week Tonight reveals that, post Jimmy Swaggart and Jim and Tammy Faye, televangelists still prey on viewers with promises of healing and prosperity. A dying woman who has sent off thousands of dollars to a tv ministry is profiled. Oliver chronicles the chain of correspondence that ensues when he makes a contribution to a television ministry. The show demonstrates the ease with which ostensibly religious organizations can obtain tax exempt status and culminates with Oliver establishing his own ministry “Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption.” MSNBC reports that since the broadcast the IRS is reevaluating the criteria for granting exemptions to religious organizations.

The Oliver report on high living sleazy televangelists appears to have actually made a difference. What bothers me however is that the all encompassing rejection of Christianity seems permanently etched on the liberal canon. Bill Maher is a militant atheist and frequently rails at the stupidity of Christians. Appearing on Larry Wilmore this week, when questioned, Salman Rushdie admits to believing that he is smarter than people who believe in God. Listening to the GOP debate or following the news about Kim Davis certainly validates this party line. It's these misguided Christians who throw their weight around to rally against things that they don't understand and control the behavior of others who get all the attention.

The disrespect for those who profess to believe in something higher is a knee jerk liberal response which widens the chasm between left and right. We forget about the Jimmy Carter type of Christian because they make so little noise. For the most part Christianity is associated with ignorance and backwardness. This is why I watch with interest the fictional Amazon series Hand of God with Ron Perlman and Dana Delaney. The first few episodes suggest that the series will be a predictable indictment of evangelicalism. There are a few occasions of wincingly bad writing and some problematic continuity gaps in the storytelling. Andre Royo, known for his brilliant portrayal of Bubbles, perhaps the most tragic character in the history of television, on The Wire is glaringly miscast as a corrupt mayor. In all fairness though, by the last few episodes Royo has eased into the part and is nearly convincing. What is fascinating is that without being syrupy or doctrinaire, the show remains open minded about the power of belief.

We light candles on Fridays but otherwise there's no religious ritual. I am smarter than someone who believes that Jesus would rebuke two people of the same gender who fall in love and wish to marry. Perhaps I'm not as smart as Salman Rushdie though, because I do believe in things unseen and ineffable and for which I have no explanation. And God is my best shorthand.  

Friday, September 11, 2015


I play hooky once in a while for outings made with a couple of art loving retired friends. Venues are less crowded on weekdays and I am wired into the office and can monitor business via my phone. My father would be appalled at this. Ironically, there is a power outage on the day we plan to visit a David Hockney show in Venice so I wouldn't have stayed at the office anyway. One of the most fantastic exhibits I've ever seen was a gigantic retrospective of Hockney's work at San Francisco's De Young Museum in 2013. I am astounded by Hockney's adventurousness with different media and his amazing work ethic.

The current show, at the Louver Gallery in Venice, shows clearly, that despite his seventy eight years and having suffered a stroke, Hockney is turning out some of the most groundbreaking work of his career. Always fascinated by perspective, via digital micro-photography and paint, Hockney has created a large body of work in 2014 and 2015. He further tests the potential of digital photography, with seamless pieces that contain multiple vanishing points and appear nearly three dimensional. In addition to the extraordinary photographic drawings, there are a number of oil portraits of friends and associates which showcase Hockney's affection for the Southern California color palette. While Hockney's embrace of technology is certainly cutting edge, both the photographic drawings and the traditional portraits seem to have in common an interiority. The setting for most of these new works is inside Hockney's own studio. Chairs figure predominantly. A number of the photo works pose men seated at a table playing cards or Scrabble with the same oil portraits that are displayed in the gallery. and in one piece, Hockney's landmark photo mosaic “Pearblossom Highway,” in the background. Hockney, at age 78, despite his fearless embrace of new technology also seems to be reflecting on his life's work, advanced age and mortality.

Whereas my typical days consists of walking, working, Judy Judy watching and popcorn eating, dinner preparing and culminating in more TV, after the delightful Hockney exhibit, Himself and I drag ourselves downtown to the Central Library to hear Salman Rushdie in conversation. We are not surprised that security is tight. My handbag is carefully inspected. I guess one advantage of my own advanced age is no tampons. About a dozen uniformed LAPD officers circulate.  I observe men in cheap dress shirts, more attentive to their cellphones than Rushdie's reflections, seated, scattered in the auditorium, who I presume are plain clothes security.

I confess that I spent the first few minutes distracted by a pair of gorgeous dark blue suede mules worn by a woman seated across the aisle. It occurs to me however that these would be too much shoe for my ample calves and I am able to shift my focus back to the guest speaker. While we are not in the front rows, I notice immediately that Rushdie's characteristic droopy eyelids are less so. I discover later that Rushdie suffered a medical condition and his eyes were un-drooped in a surgical procedure in order to prevent their completely succumbing to gravity. But, perhaps the most egregious evidence of my shallowness is that with the exception of an excerpt from Rushdie's memoir about the fatwah and a single short story, I have read none of his work. I suspect however, that despite the zillions of copies that were sold, Himself is one of the few people on the planet who has actually READ The Satanic Verses (and has pronounced it “uneven.”)

My excuse for not reading Rushdie is that I am not an aficionado of magic realism. For art and literature I'm a representational gal. Rushdie muses in his interview that his style of imaginative fiction has become quite unfashionable, the current preference being for work more akin to memoir. He sites the popularity of Elena Ferrante who has set the literary world on fire with three lengthy and ostensibly autobiographical novels. I guess I'm a sucker myself, as I've been clamoring for the Ferrante trilogy, and even after hearing Rushdie read an excerpt from his own new novel Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-eight Nights I still vote Ferrante. While I am unlikely to become a devoted reader, I find Rushdie, or perhaps the circumstances of Rushdie's life, fascinating. While writing his second novel, Midnight's Children, Rushdie worked as copywriter at Olgivy Mather and was responsible for the Aero candy bar “irresistibubble” campaign.

While Satanic Verses” is responsible for Rushdie's notoriety, his previous Midnight's Children earned him the super prestigious Mann Booker award. I take enormous exception to people opining about things they haven't read. But still, with regard to The Satanic Verses, it seems to me that Rushdie, a history major and knowledgeable about Islam, and not living in a cave, must have had an inkling that the publication would cause a shit storm. I presume that he couldn't have anticipated the how dire his situation would become but I can't imagine that he was completely naive about any potential for controversy and repercussions. If Rushdie had skipped “The Satanic Verses” I suspect he would be relegated to the category of “writer's writer,” like William Vollman or Don DeLillo, well respected but mostly read by elite eggheads like Himself.

By having a price put on his head and all the attenuate hoopla, Rushdie has ascended from mere novelist into the stratosphere of public personality. He appears in the film Bridget Jones' Diary and plays Helen Hunt's gynecologist in Then She Found Me. He's appears on stage with U2 and shares a writing credit on their song “The Ground Beneath Her Feet.” Many names are dropped during the library conversation. Rushdie dines with Robin Williams who shows him a Picasso painting received as a gift from Disney, as recompense for underpaying him for his voice-work on Aladdin. Rushdie's stuck in an airport lounge with politician Bob Dole who he characterizes as “the most boring person alive.” Rushdie describes being charmed by Bill Clinton and lists him as one of the few politicians he generally likes. He notes that the exposure to a variety of people that an “ordinary” writer wouldn't have access to has informed and enriched his writing.

Rushdie is clearly social and enjoys hobnobbing. His command of history and culture extends from ancient philosophy to I Dream of Jeannie. I tell Himself that Rushdie would be fun at a party. Probably more fun than a lot of the other inaccessible (to me) authors Himself pours over. But, despite his gadfly proclivities, Rushdie is a serious working writer and remains at the forefront of the free speech movement. Before the event starts I tell Himself that it's fine to leave when the question and answer period begins. These sessions almost always embarrass me. People grab the microphone and whatever they have to say is usually about themselves and/or stupidly rambling. The library crowd however actually asks a couple of interesting questions and give Rushdie a chance to comment about political correctness and the state of the publishing industry. I am about to breathe a sigh of relief when a woman grabs the mike in order to ask a “personal” question, inquiring as to whether, in view of his past experience, does Rushdie now feel “safe.” I wince. Despite the many years that have passed, Rushdie is certainly not below the radar. What can he possibly say? His writerly response is, “I'm chill.” Despite all that I haven't read, I question some of his choices. Still, I like the guy and am happy for his chillness.  

Friday, September 4, 2015

Labor Daze

I (stupidly) remained in the Inland Empire after college in 1977 to stay with a (stupid) boyfriend who had another year of college (but dropped out.) My father gleefully presented me with a card upon graduation which contained a $50 bill and the words, “No more pencils. No more books. No more checks from home.” The only job I could get was handing out samples at a supermarket, of, what at the time, was a new product--turkey ham, After a brief training session and instructions to bring a folding table, tablecloth, knife, toothpicks and serving platter from home and then pick up the ersatz pork product and some parsley garnish from the market, I was assigned to a Stater Brothers in Riverside. The butcher directed me to the turkey ham but the produce man informed me that the parsley was the property of Mr. Stater and he had no liberty provide it to me gratis. I don't remember whether I sprang for the parsley or not but I do recall struggling to create, with my dull knife, the neat cubes that had been demonstrated. My platter was full of irregular shards of hot pink meat which I was literally unable to give away. This gig lasted less than a week.

There was a federal job subsidy program called CETA (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act) that I presume had not been created for white liberal arts majors like myself. Nevertheless, I landed a counseling job at a San Bernardino drug diversion counseling center by virtue of pure bullshit. I cringe to think about my twenty year old self who had never even taken a psychology class functioning in an ostensibly therapeutic modality. My memories are very faint. Most of the clientele had been busted for about the same amount of marijuana I would smoke when I returned home from a day's work. I hope I did no harm.

This job lead to another counseling job at an L.A. methadone clinic where the workday began at 5:30 a.m. After this I taught adult school part time while working full time for my dad. After the first kid I took over the business almost entirely and stopped teaching. I am enormously grateful to my pop and I've found a lot of satisfaction running a business. But I never really feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing unless I am writing. I have never worked as hard as my dad and feel guilty that I have accomplished less than I probably should have in running a business or being a writer. Yet, I have a distaste for the salesmanship and glad handing, likely apt to increase business. I am weary from decades of rejections and it is hard for me to focus on writing other than the satisfying work I do here. I am resigned that partially due to my own laziness and in fairness to myself, also by dint of luck, career fulfillment is likely not in the cards for me. Fortunately the downright abundance in other areas reminds me resoundingly that I haven't wasted my life. Except for about twenty pounds, there is really nothing I have that I would trade to be more widely acknowledged as a writer.

I have dinner on the table when Joe Workforce returns from his full time job. Again, my memories of post college work life have faded but I suspect my own experience was quite different than the boy's. To some extent I am still (disillusionally?) waiting to accomplish my life's work. The kid however studies film in college and secures a good entry level job in the industry less than three months after graduation. It is frequently more wistfully than optimistically that he muses about remaining with this same company until he retires. He alludes to missing what he now realizes was the relative freedom of a college student. I feel sort of guilty, as if he is silently accusing me of bringing him into this world to work eight hour days with one week a year of paid vacation.

My father was the hardest worker I have ever known but could only accomplish work by being physically present at the office which was open for business forty hours a week. He would check in by telephone every few days while he was on vacation but when he was not actually at work, all he could really do would stew about it. I have busy spates and idle periods but in order to be attentive to an international clientele, I need constantly monitor e-mail so while I might be drooling on the couch I have to be ready to shift into work mode for about 16 hours of each day, seven days a week. Certainly, because I work from anywhere, I have a lot more freedom than my old man did but the price of this is never being able to turn it completely off.

When I started at the film library there were over 20,000 films available for rental. Each film had its own calendar page in a huge book to indicate when it was scheduled to be shipped, shown and returned. Popular films required complicated booking plans to insure that each print was available for as many rentals as possible. Invoices for each unique order were five part carbons. Two x'ed out typos per invoice barely passed muster but if there were three errors you had to start all over again. Dad always reminded us to be grateful for our electric typewriters. He never mastered the Selectic and banged out everything on an ancient manual Smith Corona. In addition to an invoice, each individual film required a shipping label, which could be created three at a time, using squares of black carbon paper. When a film was booked, the customer would receive a yellow confirmation copy of the invoice by mail. Then the invoices were filed into huge bins by shipping date. The green copy of the invoice was used by the shipping department to ship the film and then check it back in when returned. UPS returned huge stacks of film every morning and then returned in the afternoon to pick up a dozen hand-trucks full of outgoing. When a film was shipped, the two top copies of the invoice were mailed to the customer. One was used to send back with remittance and the other was for the client's records. When a film was returned from a rental it needed to be inspected and then checked in by the shipping department and then checked in again by the film bookers. There was also a pink invoice that was the red flag used to signify either the late return of a print or past due payment.

Towards the end of the rental years, it was still possible to rent a short film for $7.50 plus shipping. Even this rental required a hand typed invoice, shipping labels, mailing confirmation and then invoices, shipping, check in, and inspection. We haven't rented prints for over twenty years. We keep our films in a vault now but deal mostly these days with digital files. All of our licensing, invoicing and communication is done via Internet. The office is pretty much paper free and the entire business exists nearly entirely in the cloud. Wherever that is.

Who knows what will transpire vocationally for any of us. The definition of work has changed radically in my forty years of working life. My father would never believe how the business has evolved in just the eight years since his death. I wonder about the nature of my kids' working lives. Joe Workforce, in his entry level position is required to be present at the office and attend to duties in the laboratory. If he advances in his current position will his physical presence be required less? Will my kids be able to work away from exotic beaches or chi chi coffee houses or in some other milieu I can't possibly imagine? How will the ever increasing leanness of the workplace play out for them? Will they be worked to death, like so many other Americans? With the help of my mom I was able, in my twenties, to buy a tiny cottage which in my thirties, I was able to parlay into a larger, family sized house. Will the only real estate my own children are able to acquire be inherited, mortgage and all?

Like all moms, I hope my kids find work that's satisfying and pray that they don't resent our having conceived them for a life of drudgery and student debt. I bitch and moan myself about having to monitor the business during all of my waking hours. But, I would not give this up for a life of typing invoices and scrubbing my hands with Lava Soap every few hours to get rid of black carbon paper stains. Maybe the sonic advancement of technology bodes well for my boys. Perhaps the world will grow so automated that the only labor for real poeple will be of the sort that requires a gentle or comforting human touch or creative imagination. I know that at least they won't be typing invoices and whatever it is they do end up doing is likely far beyond their mom and grandpa's wildest dreams.