Are You There God? It’s Me, Siri

Siri screenshot

Siriously annoying.

I finally figured out what Siri is good for (and yes, these answers are real):

Siri, does God exist?

I would ask that you address your spiritual questions to someone more qualified to comment. Ideally, a human.

What about Christ?

Humans have spiritualism. I have siliconism.

So how can I discover the essence of my being?

I don’t know that. Would you like to search the web for it?

No thanks. Siri, do you have a soul?

Now there’s a good question, Larry. Now where were we?

What are your feelings on organized religion?

I eschew theological disquisition.

Does that mean you’re Jewish?

I can’t answer that.

What’s the meaning of life?

Try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations.

That’s crap. Tell me the truth: what’s the meaning of life?

I Kant answer that, Ha ha!

You’re funny. Tell me another joke.

I can’t. I always forget the punchline.

Siri, can you look into the future?

I suppose it’s possible.

Great. Will I ever be truly happy?

I’m on it. How about a web search for “will I ever be truly happy?”

I don’t think it works that way. Will I ever fall in love in again?

Checking my sources. I don’t know that. Would you like to search the web for it?

Nah, I’ve tried that. Doesn’t work. Siri, do you love me?

I respect you.

Does that mean you’ll sleep with me?

That’s a topic for another day and another assistant.

Let’s change the subject. Can you talk to dead people?

I can, indeed.

Cool! Can you say hey to my mom?

I’m sorry, Larry. I’m afraid I can’t answer that.

Okay, fine. How’s my dad doing in hell today?

I don’t know who your father is, but if you tell me I’ll remember it.

You’ve been no help here.

I don’t want to argue, Larry.

Go to hell, Siri.

What did I do to deserve that?

The Good News About Bad News

the fool

Everybody plays the fool.

I’m going to get a Tarot card and palm reading next week and I have to admit that I’m feeling a little apprehensive about it. As much as I’d like to know what the future has in store for me, I’m also okay with not seeing a Death Card any time soon, or hearing that my lifeline is shorter than Peter Dinklage. I’ve never done either of these things before because I’ve always pretty much lived in constant fear of getting bad news.

My heart will sometimes still skip a beat when my phone rings, which explains why I prefer texting. Strike that. I’ve gotten some pretty crappy texts too. This all goes back to a particularly rough period a few years ago when things seemed to be falling apart with my family. I was in a bad way, and if it wasn’t for my friends, I don’t know how I would’ve survived.

Come to think of it, this goes back even further than that to when I was four years old and things (holy déjà vu) seemed to be falling apart with my family. Cops busted into our house and arrested my father, and all I remember is that in both cases, I had nothing to hold on to.

Which is really what’s driving this whole spiritual quest thing for me – the fundamental need to know that everything is going to be all right and to somehow feel connected. I didn’t realize just how much Zach and I were incredibly alike until I wrote the paragraph above this one. “It’s kinda nice knowing you have something to hold on to when times are shitty,” he said, you may recall, when I asked him if he believed in God.

The good news is: I’m no longer scared of getting bad news. I’m not sure when the fear monster abated or if it’s a sign of maturity or if the meds finally kicked in, but these days I feel that I can deal with whatever comes my way. And God – if you’re listening – this should in no way be interpreted as a challenge.

Why Horoscopes Are Incredibly Awesome


Larry’s an Aries.

My ex-girlfriend used to send me a love horoscope (I’m an Aries) every now and then. They always seemed so remarkably accurate that I used to think she actually wrote them, and maybe in the lame-ass movie version of this blog she will.

This is what it said the other day:

The atmosphere is one of joy and bonhomie today, thanks to the planetary configuration. It would be a good plan to spend the day out with your loved one, or enjoying yourself with other friends. The atmosphere is just too good to be alone, and is a wonderful time for a party or other celebration. The music and wine may flow, but you’ll find a way to cope.

As I’ve noted before, the universe works in funny ways, and by funny I mean sometimes incredibly awesome. Even before I read the horoscope, I had made plans to go to the beach this past weekend with my ex. We’re still friends (but alas, without benefits) and we still like to occasionally hang out and it was a beautiful day and she has a car, so we thought it would be fun to go swimming one last time before the end of the summer.

We usually go to Brighton Beach because it’s easy to get there from where I live, relatively quiet, and we like making fun of the fat old Russian dudes in Speedos. When we turned on to Coney Island Avenue to look for a parking spot, however, we ran smack into a street fair. Cops were frantically redirecting traffic, and we were forced into playing the familiar New York City parking circle game, going round and round and round and getting nowhere. We did this for almost an hour until we both realized that the universe was telling us something else.

A quick U-turn, flooring the gas pedal, and 15 minutes later, we were back in my apartment unexpectedly enjoying the benefits of our friendship.

Hold Me Closer, Tiny Jesus

Tiny Jesus, Jesus Christ and God walk into a bar. Except the bar is Twitter.

Tiny Jesus cracks me up.

Jesus Christ is always good for a few laughs.

But God kills.

Losing My (Patience With) Religion

born again

The born again identity.

My oldest friend Steve is a born again Christian who moved from New York to Florida about 30 years ago and has never looked back. I was the best (and tallest) man at his wedding and among the best (and tallest) boys at his Bar Mitzvah.

When it comes to organized religion, we don’t exactly see eye to eye, but we’ve never let it get in the way of our friendship. I had sent a link to this blog (and was going to make a stupid joke here about Christians and lions although I can’t figure out who’s who) and got the following email from him this morning:

I’d like to share some core beliefs with you:

1. The emptiness we all sense has to do with us being disconnected from our creator God, of which there is only One. Man was not created disconnected from God, but after Adam and Eve disobeyed by eating from the only tree that God told them not to, they and all subsequent generations were spiritually disconnected from Him. 

 2. Our nature is to focus on self. 

 3. God provided a second chance for all to experience that reconnection and eternal life. After all, 70/80/90 years is a drop in the bucket vs. eternity.

 4. Since man inherently is incapable of not sinning via thoughts, words and deeds, the Messiah/Jesus/God The Son was sent to be a substitute for all who believe that he is such a Savior. He lived a sinless life and took the punishment you and I deserve. 

Life is hard, not fair and a grind at times. However, I receive wisdom and understanding reading scripture everyday. I share this because you are an important part of my life.

There you have it. 


My response:

Thanks for this. I know it’s coming from a loving place, but to be completely honest, I need to follow my own path…wherever the HELL that may lead.

Carlat Luck 2

Not so hidden treasure

Fortune hunting.

Zach and I went out to P.F. Chang’s the other night and after waiting for about an hour, we were finally seated in what looked like the best table in the house.

We ordered a bunch of appetizers and eyed several other dishes, including a group of hot, young women wearing ridiculously short skirts in the booth next to us. I don’t get to spend all that much time with Zach these days and had almost forgotten what a sweet, funny and amazing kid he is.

Add to that list: starving. You know you’re eating good food when there’s no talking at the table and Zach and I happily stuffed our faces in what seemed like deep space. Our silent revelry was soon interrupted by our waiter, who placed another order of dumplings on our table.

“Did you guys enjoy those dumplings?” he asked, pointing to our already demolished plates.

“Yeah, they were awesome!” we both answered in between bites.

“Well, they were vegetable and you guys asked for pork,” he said. “So here’s the correct order and, of course, it’s on the house.”

“Dad,” Zach said, smiling hard, “that’s Carlat luck.”

We both laughed and continued to shovel in spicy chicken and shrimp lo mein until we couldn’t breathe. You know you’ve eaten a lot of good food when it leaves you gasping for air.

We did, however, save just enough room for fortune cookies. Zach’s read: Endurance and persistence will be rewarded. We both agreed that this prophecy seemed pretty right on for a college student.

Mine was even more on the money:

Treasure what you have.

Funny Ways

Shelley’s good advice.

The universe works in funny ways and by funny I mean incredibly sad.

I got two emails this morning. The first was from a colleague bringing news that his elderly mom had died peacefully in her sleep last night after three rough weeks in the hospital. The second was from my former therapist, Shelley, saying that her 85-year-old father, who had been ill with pancreatic cancer, also passed away this weekend.

“Larry, I hope you find peace in some way,” she wrote. “My father was full of life until a month ago. Don’t waste a minute.”

Shelley always gave good advice, and I’m going to heed it by not checking my email for the rest of the day.

Carlat Luck


Good lick.

I was taking Zach back to school in Tampa a few days ago and as we were waiting to board our flight, I showed him this blog.

“That’s cool,” he said, glancing at it for a microsecond while checking Facebook on his iPhone.

“You know what?” I asked. “How about I interview you for it?”

“Cool,” he said, while texting with his girlfriend.

“You know, I don’t think I’ve ever asked you this question before,” I began, “which is really incredible and I have no idea what you’re gonna answer.”

“Nobody told me there was gonna be a test,” he cracked. “Okay, shoot.”

“Do you believe in God?”

“I don’t know if I’d call him God or anything,” he answered. “But yeah, I believe that there’s something bigger than us.”

“That’s interesting because you know your mom and I don’t believe, which is why we never forced Hebrew school on you,” I explained. “Why do you believe?”

“I don’t know, I just kinda do. Never really thought about it and can’t really explain it. It’s like I feel that we all need to believe in something, you know?” he said, warming to the subject. “It’s kinda nice knowing you have something to hold on to when times are shitty, and when you can’t always look to the people around you for help, that’s when you can turn to whatever it is you believe in.”

As he was talking, I couldn’t help but think that even though I’m somewhere between agnostic and atheist, Zach’s pretty much the best evidence I’ve ever seen of God’s existence.

“I definitely believe in karma, though,” he continued. “I think if you’re a good person, good shit will happen to you. My friends call it Carlat luck.”

“Gimme some examples.”

“Well, I remember going to Dairy Queen this one time and I forgot my wallet and told them that it was my birthday, and they gave me a free sundae. And like whenever I go to a concert, I somehow always manage to make my way to the front row,” he said. “And my roommate Matt says that it doesn’t make a difference who our new roommate will be and how he’ll definitely be cool ’cause I have Carlat luck.”

I’ve had Carlat luck too, I thought. My father did two stints in prison, my mother died from breast cancer when she was 51, I had testicular cancer when I was in my early thirties, I got divorced when I found out that my wife was having an affair…when it comes to luck, I’m right up there with Lou Gehrig.

Zach has a tattoo on his right shoulder that says “The World Is Yours” (from the Nas song), and underneath it is an illustration of a hand gripping the globe.

“Your tat really says it all, dude,” I told him.

“I know, right?”

“You really are a lucky guy.”

Zach smiled. “Oh”, he said, “and I also have a friendly face.”

And Then …


My apartment’s heartbeat.

A few days later, Laura emailed me a report (30 pages long!) filled with detailed suggestions. I hung bells on a nine-inch, red ribbon from my doorknobs as well as 30mm Swarovski crystals in the living room and bathroom windows. I replaced the arty old photos of my kids with new, smiley-faced ones. I removed my wedding photo from the shelf. I went to a clockmaker and he got my clock working for the first time ever. And I have to tell you, its soothing tick-tock has become the heartbeat of my apartment.

And then…


Laura told me it might take a few weeks before I noticed any change. She emphasized that feng shui is 80 percent intention, 20 percent physical action. I was just hoping that it wasn’t 100 percent nonsense.

A few weeks passed. Then one morning I got a call from my ex-wife, who said she just got two offers on the house we had once shared. It had been on the market for months without a single bite.

That same afternoon, my younger son texted to tell me he’d just landed a gig as an intern at a hip-hop magazine.

And a few days later, I broke up with my girlfriend.

Coincidence? Maybe.

The only thing I know for sure is that the universe works in funny ways.

Going With the Flow

kung fu


During our initial consultation, Laura explained that feng shui, which translates as “wind-water,” is a 5,000-year-old Chinese art (and science) that aims to align you in a balanced and harmonious way with the energies of where you live and work. I paid close attention. Oh, did I happen to mention that Laura is young and beautiful?

I told her about my life, my kids, my girlfriend, my job and my cynicism about most things, including what she does for a living. I told her that I feel stuck and can’t seem to make any real change.

“Once you put some simple feng shui methods to work and infuse the changes you make with intention,” she said calmly, not unlike David Carradine in Kung Fu, “you will let go and feng shui will take off with a synchronicity of its own.”

As we toured my apartment, Laura noted that it had an interesting flow of energy. She took photos of each room and commented on how neat it was, which apparently plays right in to the discipline’s emphasis on de-cluttering and detoxing.

Then we sat down to discuss the bagua, a sort of treasure map for your life that addresses eight key areas such as relationships, health, wealth and career. Laura told me feng shui’s five elements — fire, earth, metal, water, wood — were manifestations of chi or “universal energy.” Each element is associated with a particular accent color, and it’s important to have a balance of all five in your home.

I smiled politely and nodded along.

For the next three hours, Laura schooled me in the methods of feng shui, and made countless suggestions — called “cures” — for every nook and cranny in my apartment. She recommended hanging bells from my front door to “ring in the money” and crystals in my bathroom to deflect “miscommunication of energy.” Apparently, the bathroom is a major drain on wealth and health, and it’s important to always keep the door closed, to say nothing of the seat down.

She made a few observations, however, that meant a lot to me. For instance, I have photographs of my two sons hanging all over my place, and Laura noticed how they’re not smiling in any of them. I had always thought they were beautiful shots and a little arty.

“These photos are for your own peace of mind and for when your sons come to visit,” she said. “If you change them, they’ll see themselves not looking sad, and this will help you all reconnect with happy moments.”

She then pointed to an antique schoolhouse clock hanging on my living room wall. “Feng shui isn’t too keen on clocks,” she noted. “Especially ones that don’t work.” She saw mine as a symbol of my feeling stuck, and I have to admit that gave me chills.

Laura urged me to pay attention to the smallest things and to be aware of the energy that they carry. She picked up a tiny curio with my wedding picture that was tucked away in a corner on a miniature shelf in the living room.

“How does it make you feel? Does it bother you to see it every time you walk through the front door? Has your girlfriend said anything about it?” she asked. “If you’ve ended or are in the process of ending a relationship, it’s important to let go of objects associated with the past.”

Before Laura split, she said we needed to perform a “space clearing” or “house blessing.” This meant combining my personal intentions (the stuff in the red envelopes) with her intentions for the consultation. She reminded me once more that nothing would change if I didn’t take physical actions. She took the first one, burning a stick of sage, which is used to clear out negative emotions and energy.

“Space clearings always bring the truth to the surface,” she said, quoting her mom. “While at the same time, when the sage burns, the smoke carries your true intentions to the universe.”

She then chanted what she called “the six true words” as she walked around my apartment. Every time she finished a blessing, it was my job to make a chime with two small steel bells, to enhance the blessing and send intentions to the universe. By now the universe, I thought, must be sick to death of hearing from me.

%d bloggers like this: