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I Want To Smell Like Charles Bronson February 19, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in General, Movies.
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Don’t you?

Extra points if you recognized Percy Helton as the redcap like I did. And I can’t confirm it, but this Japanese ad might be the last thing he ever did.

Wait, Charles Bronson PLUS Percy Helton???


Although thankfully, Percy doesn’t pop a pipe in his mouth and fling HIS shirt off with homoerotic glee like Bronson does.

So I’ll have to close my eyes and imagine that….. oooh yeah



I Remember My First Love February 17, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in General.
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How about you?

A Clean Blog Is A Happy Blog February 17, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in General, Writing.
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1188210727_1Relax, I don’t mean clean language. I’ll continue to be disgusting.

But I cleaned up the content a bit, deleted a ton of past-their-sell-by-date sports predictions that no one cared about anyway, even the people in Las Vegas who plan their kids’ college education based on my ability to pick football games.

In the future, I might make a separate tab for sports predictions so that people scrolling through the blog will only see content about TV, movies, recipes, cats, and assorted silly crap that I post from time to time. Regular sports-related posts, like the baseball cards and any comments on actual events, will still be part of the regular blog content. I’ll just move the gambling stuff elsewhere.

So if you’re new here or haven’t been here a while, scroll down and keep going, you might find something you like.

And yes, I still miss my kitty.

Presidential Gender Swapping February 16, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in General.
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Just found this while surfin’ around.

You couldn’t keep cool with THAT Coolidge.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do February 16, 2018

Posted by Jim Berkin in General.
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I’ve decided to post most of the crap I was posting on Facebook on here instead.

It’ll still repost on the Jim Berkin Facebook page, if you’re so inclined.

But I reached my limit with Facebook for various reasons today. I’ll still play a couple of games on it and use it as an easy way to private message some people I know, but that’s about it.

So let’s kick things off with a kitty. My posts will be more frequent than previously, albeit briefer and sillier. Set your RSS or whatever alerts you use.


What Are Dreams Made Of? June 27, 2017

Posted by Jim Berkin in General, Writing.
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A quick note relating to a dream I had last night.

Not a dream with some celebrity in it where the plotline gets surreal and bizarre…. sorry, I save those gems for the Wagstaff novels.

In this dream, I met a woman who complimented me on my hair out of the blue as I walked past an old now-gone drug store in a shopping center from my childhood. You’d think I’d’ve known I was dreaming at that point, but I simply stopped in my tracks and decided to talk to her.  Hell, overcoming my shyness and chatting about my haircut with her should have clued me in that I was in a dream.  But I guess I’m bolder in the dream universe, so I talked with her about getting my haircut and checked her out and see if I could get a date out of it.

Much like what I’d do in real life, I made a point of looking at her eyes while I talked, since I either revert to my “Hey, Jim must be on the spectrum!” behavior of looking away from people as I talk, or reverting to my “Hey, Jim is a friggin’ dirty old sod” behavior by looking, well, elsewhere.

So because of that focus on her eyes, I got to study this young woman’s face while I chatted with her.  The image of that face stuck with me when I woke out of the dream and saw 5:53am on the clock. I thought about the face for a moment and it mystified me.

For  the life of me, I have absolutely NO idea who it was. (more…)

Today’s Heartwarming Creepy Old Man Story June 16, 2017

Posted by Jim Berkin in Books, General.
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No, not me. This is ANOTHER creepy old man.

So today I had to drive down to some medical office and give my mom a ride home when her regular ride could not be reached due to telephone problems (long story, whatever). We made the most of it and swung by the best deli in LA for lunch since it wasn’t too far off, and then I dropped her off.

Then I figured since I wouldn’t be back in the Valley for a while, I’d swing by a big thrift store I liked over in North Hollywood to see their book selection.

Hell, yesterday between a YMCA fundraiser and a big dumpy thrift store in Reseda, I’d scored BIG – 9 total books between the 2 stops, with material on stolen art rings, history of food, old movies, and an autographed first edition of a Martin Yan cookbook, among some other items.

I hoped my luck would continue. So I took the long way back to the freeway which would swing me by a regular book hunting stop.

Unfortunately, pickings were thin. It looked like they’d been gleaned pretty well without replenishment from new donations. The only books worth getting were ones I already had (some Lidia Bastianich cookbooks) and ones I really didn’t need (even more cookbooks). Meh, whatever.

Two guys going through the books discussed how the store had been “going downhill” and how there wasn’t as much to pick from. Then one of ’em told a story I eavesdropped on as I browsed about buying some big box of English lace at an auction. I kept hoping he’d discuss wearing it so the story would really get interesting, but he only mentioned it since he had found a book about British lace at this store shortly after that where he discovered that some of the stuff he had was evidently worth quite a lot. Who knew?

And then there was the creepy old dude. (more…)

I Will Miss Her June 4, 2017

Posted by Jim Berkin in Cat Thoughts, General.
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Sad news: my 8 year old Siamese, the star of “Cat Thoughts” on this blog,  lost her year and a half long battle with cancer.

I had her seven years, adopting her as a rescue momcat who had been abandoned along with her kittens. Someone found her, brought her & her family to Kitten Rescue. They let her wean her kittens & spayed her, adopting all of them out. They assumed from her small size that it had been her first litter, and she was probably a little more than a year old.

She was a shy one with strangers, and took a few days to get used to me. For those first few days, she’d hide during daylight hours and suddenly get brave at night, coming out to explore everywhere while meowing nonstop orders at me to open more doors, lift her up to more shelves, and the like. Next morning? Terrified kitty, back hiding under the bed. I thought about naming her Vampirella.

Eventually she did what all cats do, took over my house and declared herself the boss. Over time I figured out what sorts of toys she liked and what sorts she’d ignore. (more…)

A Heartwarming Saturday Tale April 22, 2017

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Every now and then, I’m in some public venue and become witness to some poor bastard’s domestic hell as it plays out in front of me and everyone else within earshot.

In the past, it’s been both wife and kids screaming and nagging dad that he’s buying the WRONG BRAND, DAMMIT!  at Target. Or perhaps the “Kill me, now!” face of some poor schmuck trying to control a genuine sue-that-condom-company brood of uncontrollable little bastards at a BBQ restaurant while his food got cold.

Today it was a mommy melt-down at a local deli.

A local deli? In Santa Clarita? The very heart of Goyville?

Yeah, there’s a local deli with two locations. Dink’s Deli. Their bagels have always been decent, their sandwiches okay, and since they came under new management some time back, their service and general demeanor have improved somewhat.

When I’m in the mood for some serious Jew-deli-ing, I’ll trek to Brent’s, but today I had to grocery shop as well.

And it’s Saturday.  I felt like some time out after going back to work this week, and after spending what seemed like too much time online at home (ahem) drumming up interest in my new book. (Reviews will be forthcoming on the Amazon page, but it’s taking FOREVER).

So I figured I’d have me a sammich while I did the crossword and took my time before hitting the supermarket. And as a bonus, they had the Blues/Wild game on with the sound off.

Then they entered, took the tables one down from mine. First mom, then the two kids. They took their places while dad ordered at the counter.

Then dad showed up at the table and the arguments started. Over nothing. Absolutely nothing. Over which kid would sit where, over which table to sit at, that sort of thing. It wasn’t the kids whining and bitching about it either, it was mom. Mom’s voice got louder, dad kept playing peacemaker inbetween guilting his kids over getting mom angry. One kid storms out. Other kid follows. Mom starts in on dad. Dad asks why this happens every weekend anytime they go someplace.  Mom snaps that the kids are mad at dad and that “everyone is looking at us!”

Naw, I’m just listening. Carry on.

Kids return.  Then mom storms out, says she’s going to the car. Dad doesn’t go after her.  The kids ask dad where mom is going. He says they’ll get her later. The kids follow outside, but return a moment later when the food arrives.

I kept thinking “Every weekend this guy deals with this? Jesus…”

It could not have been over where the kids were sitting, which was what it sounded like from the arguments going back and forth. Clearly, these people walked into the deli with the baggage of numerous previous arguments, or just plain bottled up anger/spite/whatever over something much bigger.

I couldn’t deduce any piece of a backstory from any possible clue. And to be honest, I didn’t really want to.

I’d like to think mom & dad were both having an affair with the same person. It’s the romantic in me.

Anyway, they finished eating and left. Mom never returned, so she either sat in a hot car in today’s near 100 degree heat, or she wandered somewhere else and maxed out the ol’ credit card.

I heard no gunshots.

So what does it all mean? Well, I’d like to thank them all for making me feel so good about not being married. That goes for the people in Target, at the BBQ place, and the countless other times I got to be juxtaposed with someone else’s tedious domestic squabbling.  It’s greatly outnumbered the times I witnessed someone’s marriage and/or family and fell into a deep depression because I felt like I was missing out on life by not having the same set up. It’s easy to outnumber zero.

I leisurely finished the crossword & my sandwich, and got in my car.

I had to go to the supermarket, but on a whim stopped at an estate sale to see if anything good was left. Nope. But it turned out that the estate was of someone who had owned race horses. Some memorabilia remained, but they told me the family had already claimed most of the good stuff, so I came up empty there. And all the books were lesser celebrity bios and chicklit. Meh. So I drove my car to the supermarket, bought whatever the hell I wanted without someone telling me otherwise, and came home to watch sports and pamper the cat.

I’ll cook up some wonderful pasta calamari later. Maybe I’ll read a little. Maybe I’ll work more on the beginning outline for Wagstaff book 3.

Sound boring? Beats hell out of what that dad deals with.

What Makes Some People Lucky – An Interesting Study August 2, 2014

Posted by Jim Berkin in General, Writing.
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gladstoneYou gotta give action to get action.

That’s what the luckiest person I know said to me about gambling.

And evidently, a similar idea is now backed up by some very interesting research. A British psychologist named Richard Wiseman has identified numerous behavior & personality patterns of people who one would consider “lucky” as well as traits of people one would consider “unlucky.” He also believes you can teach yourself to be luckier.

An interesting idea – go read the article, and then come back here.

Done? Good! I gotta be honest – Wiseman’s theories involving being open to random happenings & observations certainly jibes with the entire M.O. of the Wagstaff novel series I’m working on.  As much as a lot of the material in them (and yes, the second installment is well on the way) is semi-autobiographical, I’m thinking I ought to reduce that “semi” somewhat if I want to improve my luck.

I certainly could have used more yesterday going after a 1.1 million Pick 6 pool at Del Mar. Got wiped out…. so much for that nine bucks.

The winning horse in the final race? The one I didn’t bet? His name was Jimmy’s Date.

A date I shoulda gone on, although believe me, I didn’t miss the Pick 6 by only one race. Del Mar is a BASTARD to bet compared to Santa Anita, at least to me.

But  still – shoulda gone with my gut on that one, even if his past performances were, well… lackluster. And then he won. Figures.

It’s been a while since I’ve been to Vegas – the high cost of table games and the legality of advanced deposit horse wagering have kept me from caring about it as much as I used to. I also don’t have a cat sitter I can trust, and the star of Cat Thoughts is somewhat high maintenance. But the last time I was there, like so many times before, I went with a friend of mine who frequents the place much more than I ever would, as well as card clubs and the like. Yes, he enjoys gambling a great deal, and why not?

He practically wins all the time.

Well, at least he seems to win all the time. He certainly hit some big wins whenever I was along for the Vegas ride, which meant getting treated to some nice dinners (thank YOU, gamblin’ Gods!)

He’s the luckiest person I know. I’ve seen restaurants screw up his order & comp the bill or provide free dessert. I’ve heard stories of his airplane flights running out of seats and bumping him into first class. I picked a slot machine at random for him to play and he hit a thousand dollar pull within ten minutes.

And he told me that he thought he’d win a lot simply because he’d play a lot – “You gotta give action to get action,” he said.

Then he signed me up for the club card at the Wynn. He borrowed the card long enough to plug it into a slot machine and load $100 onto it, something he & I knew I’d NEVER do in all my cheapness – and he played the thing for maybe half an hour.

At the end of the half an hour, there was enough playtime on that club card to be registered for some freebies from the Wynn as well as a spin of their comp prize wheel. I spun it & won free buffet brunch for the both of us. And the Wynn has an excellent buffet.

Oh, and his slot play?After that half an hour he was up about two hundred dollars.

You gotta give action to get action. Gladstone Gander might agree. Ron Jeremy would certainly agree, but that’s another story (although I bet he’d love to win that Wynn buffet as well).

Richard Wiseman definitely would agree – but extrapolating his theories beyond gambling and towards opportunity in general, his ideas are quite fascinating. I always remember the line from Robert Evans’ The Kid Stays In The Picture – Luck is when preparation meets opportunity. Wiseman has demonstrated how to prepare yourself to find many more opportunities, hence, increase your luck.

And now, back to the racing form…. there must be a horse named Bet On Me You Pathetic Male Crazy Cat Lady or something like that, you know, something to go straight for my gut.

My SMALLER gut, too! Scroll down & read about my no-carb success!