EppsNet Archive: Marriage

Mutual Admiration

5 Oct 2015 /

Our boy is very handsome, his mom says. She says she can’t understand how that happened.

“You don’t think I’m handsome?” I ask.

“We’re average-looking people, let’s be honest about it. You don’t agree?”

“I think you’re very beautiful.”

“You’re very handsome,” she says, after a pause almost too short to notice.

The Perfect Murder, Revisited

21 Sep 2015 /


Man hanging on branch

I have long maintained that the best way to kill someone and get away with it is to push them off a cliff. It’s simple, clean. no need to dispose of evidence, and reasonable doubt is almost assured.

It’s not totally foolproof however. Let’s look at where the defendant in this case went wrong:

Harold Henthorn scouted the remote area of the popular park 75 miles north of Denver nine times before bringing his wife with him. He was searching for the “perfect place to murder someone,” where there would be no witnesses and no chance of her surviving, prosecutor Suneeta Hazra said.

Don’t make nine trips to reconnoiter the scene of the crime. Don’t even make one trip. It’s both unnecessary and highly suspect.

Prosecutors argued the fatal fall was reminiscent of the death of Henthorn’s first wife, Sandra Lynn Henthorn, who was crushed when a car slipped off a jack while they were changing a flat tire in 1995 — several months after their 12th wedding anniversary. Henthorn has not been charged in that case, but police reopened the investigation after Toni Henthorn’s death.

Details of the earlier case dominated the trial. A paramedic who responded to the 1995 accident testified that Henthorn didn’t seem upset by what had happened, and an investigator said a shoe print found on the vehicle suggested it might have been pushed.

There’s a reason magicians never repeat the same trick. Just count yourself lucky for getting away with killing the first wife. A shoe print?! No . . . don’t kill any more wives.

Why was the first wife under the car to change a tire? I’ll lift the tire, honey, and you get under there and help me pull it on from the back. I would not want to explain that in a court of law.


She inherited a million bucks and when she died it came to me
I can’t help it if I’m lucky

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of: People Married to Their Best Friend

20 Sep 2015 /
Rhett and Scarlett

It’s not very romantic, first of all. Did Romeo and Juliet marry their best friend? Did Liz and Dick marry their best friend? Did Scott and Zelda marry their best friend? Did Rhett and Scarlett marry their best friend?

A married person has to fill so many roles already: husband/wife, parent, sex partner, wage earner, handyman, cook, mental health professional, grammar coach, etc., etc., etc. A little help on the best friend front would be a welcome breath of fresh air.

I don’t know who my wife’s best friend is and I don’t care, as long as it’s not me. Men: if you need a best friend, buy a dog.

Lacking Presentation

27 Jun 2015 /


If You Love It So Much, Why Don’t You Marry It?

24 Jun 2015 /

Men and women can marry each other, men can marry men, women can marry women . . . someday it will be legal to marry the sound of your own voice because some people are really in love with the sound of their own voice.

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Do We Still Have to Lean In?

5 May 2015 /

Sheryl [Sandberg] has made her husband, Dave, the role model for the perfect husband. She has said many times that the most important factor in her success was the husband she chose. And as late a week ago, she was saying that men need to do more, they are not doing enough, they need to take more responsibility. And, again, she held up her husband as an example. . . .

So then, I would like to know why was he on vacation in Mexico without Sheryl and without the kids? What was it a vacation from? Who was he with?

Why was Sheryl in DC instead of going to get the body? Why was Sheryl in DC instead of home with her kids? Why does Dave take a vacation when Sheryl is scheduled to be gone?

I wouldn’t ask so many questions except that Sheryl keeps telling me to lean in, but she doesn’t tell me how she does it. I ended up spending my 401K on household help, scaling back my career, and taking my kids on business trips that were magical at first and a bore thereafter. . . .

She tells me she and her husband try to make sure one of them is home with the kids, but it’s not what we have seen in the last five days. She doesn’t tell us if she has nannies. She doesn’t tell us how often she is away from her kids. All she tells us is that leaning in depends on her husband.

So can she lean in now? Can you lean in if you don’t have the perfect husband? What if it’s too late to get the perfect husband? She doesn’t address that, but maybe she will now. I have a feeling that the spokesperson for high-flying careers is going to get a lot more informative and helpful now that she’s a single mom. All the money in the world can’t buy a substitute for a parent showing up to kiss a skinned knee.

More People I’m Sick Unto Death Of

3 May 2015 /
I'm a Smart Guy!

People who post love letters to their spouse on Facebook:

I’m a fairly smart guy. I’ve done smart things and dumb things. But by far, the smartest thing I ever did was 32 years ago today: I married [wife’s name]. I knew she was beautiful, smart, fun, and kind.

And pregnant. You left out “pregnant.” And that she has a father with a Sicilian code of ethics who was not going to let his daughter give birth out of wedlock.

What I’ve learned over the years is that she is all those and so much more. My wife is loyal, strong, persistent, faithful, courageous, generous . . .

Congratulations, you married a Boy Scout!

. . . and a person of great integrity. Additionally, she’s a gifted musician.

Oh come on, everyone knows that’s not true. She’s not even as good as me and I’m a complete phony.

At 24, I had no idea what a wonderful person I was going to spend my life with. Now at 56, I’m starting to get it . . . a little. Happy Anniversary, [wife’s name]. I love you!

Who is the target audience for this stuff? If you have something to say to your wife, say it to your wife.

Additional demerits if the love letter is a mishmash of trite sentiments that could have been written by anyone about anyone.

Learn How to Get a Man From a Woman With 14 Husbands

9 Apr 2015 /

Woman Married 14 Men

Bobbi Ann House

My first thought was that this woman should write a book. There are a lot of books out there about how to get a man, how to get a husband . . . how does one assess the credibility of the advice?

Normally a woman who’s markedly overweight and doesn’t have a single attractive feature can’t even get a date, let alone alone a husband, and yet this woman’s had 14 of them! How does she do it?! Who wouldn’t like to know her secret? I would!

Paste her grinning mug on the cover — the woman with 14 husbands! — and the book sells itself. Her upcoming jail term should give her plenty of time to write it.

The Last Straw

7 Apr 2015 /


It’s never just one thing. Incidents accumulate over time.

We’d all murder our spouses if we lived long enough . . .

Still Right on the Black Family After All These Years

12 Feb 2015 /

Next month marks the 50th anniversary of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report on the black family, the controversial document issued while he served as an assistant secretary in President Lyndon Johnson’s Labor Department. Moynihan highlighted troubling cultural trends among inner-city blacks, with a special focus on the increasing number of fatherless homes.

For his troubles, Moynihan was denounced as a victim-blaming racist bent on undermining the civil-rights movement. . . .

Later this year the nation also will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which some consider the most significant achievement of the modern-day civil-rights movement. . . .

Since 1970 the number of black elected officials in the U.S. has grown to more than 9,000 from fewer than 1,500 and has included big-city mayors, governors, senators and of course a president.

But even as we note this progress, the political gains have not redounded to the black underclass, which by several important measures—including income, academic achievement and employment—has stagnated or lost ground over the past half-century. And while the civil-rights establishment and black political leaders continue to deny it, family structure offers a much more plausible explanation of these outcomes than does residual white racism.

In 2012 the poverty rate for all blacks was more than 28%, but for married black couples it was 8.4% and has been in the single digits for two decades. Just 8% of children raised by married couples live in poverty, compared with 40% of children raised by single mothers.

One important lesson of the past half-century is that counterproductive cultural traits can hurt a group more than political clout can help it.

Civil Rights Symmetry

27 Jan 2015 /

Why does a Civil Rights Bill forbid me to apply racial criteria when I choose an employee but allow me to apply racial criteria when I choose an employer? If I turn down a job offer, should I be required to prove that my motives were not discriminatory? … Why am I permitted to apply racial criteria when I select a spouse but not when I select a personal assistant?

— Steven Landsburg, The Armchair Economist

We Save Things Around Here

5 Dec 2014 /

What do I mean by “save things”? My wife was tidying up the garage and found this checkbook. The date (Dec. 19, 1991, the month after we got married) and the check number (101) tells me that it’s the first check we ever wrote on the first joint checking account we ever had.

First check

Martial Artist, Self-Taught

25 Oct 2014 /

“I’m taking a self-defense workshop for women this weekend.”

“My wife knows martial arts.”

“What kind of martial arts does she know?”

“I’m not sure. She’s self-taught. She’s Asian, she thinks she’s good at everything Asians are supposed to be good at: martial arts, badminton . . . some people might say she doesn’t know martial arts at all, she’s just violent and crazy.”

As every married person here knows, love is a rotten substitute for respect. — Kurt Vonnegut

How I Identified the Impostor

5 Jul 2014 /

Capgras Syndrome – The patient believes that a friend, spouse, parent, or other close family member has been replaced by an identical-looking impostor.

We’re going on an overnight trip out of town. Whenever we do that, my wife packs a bag the size of a steamer trunk full of clothes and god-knows-what for all eventualities.

This morning, when I went to carry the giant bag downstairs, I realized it was only half full. It was too light.

And that is how I identified the impostor.

Small Obstinacies and a Few Proverbs

18 May 2014 /

They have dragged out their life in stupor and semi-sleep, they have married hastily, they have made children at random. They have met other men in cafes, at weddings and funerals. Sometimes, caught in the tide, they have struggled against it without understanding what was happening to them. All that has happened around them has eluded them; long, obscure shapes, events from afar, brushed by them rapidly and when they turned to look all had vanished. And then, around forty, they christen their small obstinacies and a few proverbs with the name of experience, they begin to simulate slot machines: put a coin in the left hand slot and you get tales wrapped in silver paper, put a coin in the slot on the right and you get precious bits of advice that stick to your teeth like caramels.

— Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

EppsNet Book Reviews: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

29 Mar 2014 /

Richard Yates poses the question of how much reality people can stand, and the answer he comes up with is “not very much.” Alternatives to facing reality head-on are explored in Revolutionary Road: avoidance, denial, alcoholism, insanity and death.

Some excerpts:

“You want to play house you got to have a job. You want to play very nice house, very sweet house, you got to have a job you don’t like. Great. This is the way ninety-eight-point-nine per cent of the people work things out, so believe me buddy you’ve got nothing to apologize for. Anybody comes along and says ‘Whaddya do it for?’ you can be pretty sure he’s on a four-hour pass from the State funny-farm; all agreed.”


And all because, in a sentimentally lonely time long ago, she had found it easy and agreeable to believe whatever this one particular boy felt like saying, and to repay him for that pleasure by telling easy, agreeable lies of her own, until each was saying what the other most wanted to hear — until he was saying “I love you” and she was saying “Really, I mean it; you’re the most interesting person I’ve ever met.”

People’s inability to absorb large, unfiltered doses of reality probably explains why New Yorker fiction editor Roger Angell wrote to Yates’s agent in 1981, “It seems clearer and clearer that his kind of fiction is not what we’re looking for. I wonder if it wouldn’t save a lot of time and disappointment in the end if you and he could come to the same conclusion.”

And why at the time of his death in 1992, all of Yates’ books were out of print.

Rating: 5 stars

I Am the Bath Day Messenger

22 Mar 2014 /
Lightning and his Bear

Lightning and his Bear

My wife is preparing to give the dog a bath in the kitchen sink . . .

I say, “Lightning says be sure to warm up the water before you start spraying him with it.”

“I always do that.”

“He says that in his experience, the water is sometimes too cold . . . I’m just telling you what he said. Don’t shoot the messenger.”

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What is Love?

17 Feb 2014 /

Los Angeles County Museum of Art

My wife tells me that LACMA has free admission today for Presidents’ Day, and if I want to go, she’ll come along as my arm candy.

I enjoy art museums; my wife doesn’t. If she had clammed up about the free admission, I would never have known about it.

That’s what love is . . .

Japan, Day 1: Osaka Castle, Todai-ji Temple, Kiyomizu Temple

22 Dec 2013 /

Osaka Castle

The main tower of Osaka Castle is situated on a plot of land roughly one square kilometer. It is built on two raised platforms of landfill supported by sheer walls of cut rock, using a technique called Burdock piling, each overlooking a moat. The central castle building is five stories on the outside and eight stories on the inside, and built atop a tall stone foundation to protect its occupants from attackers.

The Castle grounds, which cover approximately 60,000 square meters (15 acres) contain thirteen structures which have been designated as Important Cultural Assets by the Japanese government.

In 1583 Toyotomi Hideyoshi commenced construction on the site of the Ikko-ikki temple of Ishiyama Hongan-ji. The basic plan was modeled after Azuchi Castle, the headquarters of Oda Nobunaga. Toyotomi wanted to build a castle that mirrored Oda’s, but surpassed it in every way: the plan featured a five-story main tower, with three extra stories underground, and gold leaf on the sides of the tower to impress visitors.

Osaka Castle: Otemon and Main Tower

Osaka Castle: Otemon and Main Tower

My son asks me, “Couldn’t invaders cross the moat on this bridge, just like we’re doing?”

“I’m going to go out on a limb here and speculate that the bridge was added in modern times, not as part of the original construction.”

Osaka Castle: Moat

Osaka Castle: Moat

We entered the castle through the Otemon Gate:

Osaka Castle: Otemon (Western) Gate

Osaka Castle: Main Tower

Osaka Castle: Main Tower

Osaka Castle: Main Tower

Osaka Castle: Main Tower

There was a gentleman at the castle with a large supply of something or other that birds like to eat, so the birds followed him around:

Osaka Castle: The Birdman

Osaka Castle: The Birdman

He didn’t speak English but he kindly shared some of his bird food with us:

Osaka Castle: Feeding the birds

Osaka Castle: Feeding the birds

Todai-ji Temple

Todai-ji (Todai-ji, Eastern Great Temple), is a Buddhist temple complex located in the city of Nara, Japan. Its Great Buddha Hall (Daibutsuden), houses the world’s largest bronze statue of the Buddha Vairocana, known in Japanese simply as Daibutsu. The temple also serves as the Japanese headquarters of the Kegon school of Buddhism. The temple is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site as “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara“, together with seven other sites including temples, shrines and places in the city of Nara. Sika deer, regarded as messengers of the gods in the Shinto religion, roam the grounds freely.

We entered Todai-ji Temple through Nandaimon, the Great Southern Gate. In the photo below, the stand on the left sells biscuits you can buy and feed to the deer. More on that later . . .

Todai-ji Temple: Nandaimon, the Great Southern Gate

Todai-ji Temple: Nandaimon, the Great Southern Gate

Todai-ji Temple: Nandaimon, the Great Southern Gate

Todai-ji Temple: Nandaimon, the Great Southern Gate

Todai-ji Temple

Todai-ji Temple: Chumon Gate

Todai-ji Temple

Todai-ji Temple: Chumon Gate

Great Buddha Hall

According to records kept by Todai-ji, more than 2,600,000 people in total helped construct the Great Buddha and its Hall. The 16 m (52 ft) high statue was built through eight castings over three years, the head and neck being cast together as a separate element. The making of the statue was started first in Shigaraki. After enduring multiple fires and earthquakes, the construction was eventually resumed in Nara in 745,[8] and the Buddha was finally completed in 751. A year later, in 752, the eye-opening ceremony was held with an attendance of 10,000 people to celebrate the completion of the Buddha. The Indian priest Bodhisena performed the eye-opening for Emperor Shomu. The project nearly bankrupted Japan’s economy, consuming most of the available bronze of the time.

Todai-ji Temple: Great Buddha Hall

Todai-ji Temple: Great Buddha Hall

Todai-ji Temple: Great Buddha Hall

Todai-ji Temple: Great Buddha Hall

Todai-ji Temple: Great Buddha (Daibutsu)

Todai-ji Temple: Great Buddha (Daibutsu)

Todai-ji Temple: Great Buddha (Daibutsiu)

Todai-ji Temple: Great Buddha (Daibutsu)

Todai-ji Temple: Buddha

Todai-ji Temple: Buddha

Nara Deer Park

According to the legendary history of Kasuga Shrine, a mythological god Takemikazuchi arrived in Nara on a white deer to guard the newly built capital of Heijo-kyo. Since then the deer have been regarded as heavenly animals, protecting the city and the country.

Tame Sika Deer roam through the town, especially in Nara Park. Snack vendors sell “shika sembei” (deer biscuits) to visitors so they can feed the deer.

Nara Deer Park

Nara Deer Park: Deer are not naturally aggressive

Nara Deer Park

Nara Deer Park: Deer are not naturally aggressive

Nara Deer Park

Nara Deer Park: Deer are not naturally aggressive

“Deer are not naturally aggressive if you’re not aggressive with them,” our tour guide says.

In other news, grass is green and water flows downhill. What would an aggressive deer do anyway? What sort of aggressive deer behavior should we be on the lookout for?

OK, I’ll tell you: You can buy shika sembei (deer biscuits) to feed the deer. Deer really like the deer biscuits. If you have biscuits, the deer will surround you and nibble on you. While you’re feeding the ones in front of you, the deer who couldn’t find room in front will nibble you from behind so they don’t get left out.

In fact, if the deer are not sure if you have biscuits or not, they may nibble on you anyway, usually in the area of your pockets, which would be an ideal place to conceal deer biscuits.

A good thing to know is that the deer do recognize and respect an open-handed, “See I don’t have any deer biscuits” gesture and will acknowledge it by not nibbling you.

These deer, sika deer, are regarded as messengers of the gods in the Shinto religion. If that is true, the message the gods are sending us is “More biscuits, please.”

Nara Deer Park

Nara Deer Park: “More biscuits, please.”

Nara Deer Park

Nara Deer Park

Nara Deer Park

Nara Deer Park

Kiyomizu Temple

Kiyomizu-dera, officially Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera is an independent Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto.

Kiyomizu-dera was founded in the early Heian period. The temple was founded in 798, and its present buildings were constructed in 1633, ordered by the Tokugawa Iemitsu. There is not a single nail used in the entire structure. It takes its name from the waterfall within the complex, which runs off the nearby hills. Kiyomizu means clear water, or pure water.

Kiyomizu Temple: Main Veranda

Kiyomizu Temple: Main Veranda

Kiyomizu Temple: Nio-mon Gate and Pagoda

Kiyomizu Temple: Nio-mon Gate and Pagoda

Kiyomizu Temple: Nio-mon  Gate and Pagoda

Kiyomizu Temple: Nio-mon Gate and Pagoda

The temple complex contains several shrines, including the Jishu-jinja Shrine, known as the dwelling place of the god of love and matchmaking. Praying there is said to help one succeed in finding an appropriate love match.

Kiyomizu Temple: Jishu-Jinja Shrine

Kiyomizu Temple: Jishu-Jinja Shrine

The temple is popular with young people looking for good fortune in love.

Kiyomizu Temple: Kimono Girls

Kiyomizu Temple: Kimono Girls

Japanese Lanterns

Japanese Lanterns

Kiyomizu Temple: Pagoda

Kiyomizu Temple: Pagoda

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