Dave Cunix

Mar 192015



I guess that I should start with a disclaimer.  I have a bet with my friend Danny that Hillary Clinton won’t be the Democratic Party’s nominee in 2016.  It is for our usual amount – $1, but I would hate for anyone to think that my wager might color my opinion.

Clinton fatigue is sweeping the nation.  Don’t get me wrong.  I voted for Bill Clinton in both 1992 and 1996.  I worked on both campaigns.  And I voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primary.  But this isn’t 2008 and, in truth, this doesn’t even feel like a Democratic Party issue.  It has been the Republicans who have nominated tired politicians, long past their sell-by date, simply because it was their turn.  Think 2008.  Think 2012.

Why would the Democrats trip down this same path?

Experience?  Mrs. Clinton has that in spades.  She is the first First Lady to be elected to the U.S. Senate.  She is the first to serve as Secretary of State.  It is one Hell of a resume. But, there are the unending list of scandals, near-scandals, and worst of all, unforced errors that make any serious Clinton candidacy, much less another presidency, exhausting.

“1993 was the first year of the Clinton Crises Administration.  Every issue, budget, NAFTA, etc… will supposedly make or break the presidency.   So far he has won each fight, so thank G-d, the United States continues.  But, either these people like to walk on the edge of cliffs or someone is crying wolf.”

The above was part of the annual letter I sent my clients in 1993.  Twenty-one years later and nothing has changed.  We’re always moments away from the next battle royal.  And the Clintons, always just within the letter of the law but well outside the spirit of the law, win the battles as we lose the war.

Emails?  Please.  I’m already tired.

Feb 042015

Punta Cana Airport


I was sitting inside the airport in Punta Cana, feet up on top of my carry-on, smoking a Cuban cigar.  A tarmac worker had accidentally damaged our plane and we were waiting for Frontier to get a replacement to us from Florida.  We were already a full day into the delay.  I was taking a mental health break.

Some of our fellow passengers were totally detached, almost victim-like, waiting to be told when and how they would get to go home.  Some used technology to track the new plane as well as Frontier’s public statements.  And then there were the travelers who felt compelled to exemplify every stereotype of the Ugly American.  Loud.  Pushy.  Aggressive.  Bigger, taller, and older than the Dominican workers, they spent most of the last 24 hours berating, bullying, and demanding answers to questions that couldn’t be answered.

Me?  I was privately thanked for diffusing some of the tension and relaying info when available.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still very much the type A that I’ve always been.   But today, as I turn 60, I would like to believe that I have found a way to use my assertiveness more constructively.

One of the benefits of decades of published articles is the ability to check previous milestones.  In print at forty, I was spitting fire and taking no prisoners.  At fifty I was still searching for a smoother path, but there was an underlying sense of hope and optimism.  Even the run up to today, last year’s birthday post, is available to prove or disprove any argument for personal growth.

The last ten years have been my best.  Sure the travel was incredible.  I visited Israel (twice!), Australia, China, and vacationed in the Caribbean almost a dozen times. But changing my travel partner had significantly more impact than where I went.  Sally is positive.  She has neither the sense of entitlement nor the dark clouds that had for so long taken up additional space in my home.  Freed of that negativity we were allowed to have good experiences that seemed great and exceptional experiences that became phenomenal.  Where you start can have a huge impact on where you finish.

I did learn something from racing – Pole Position Matters.

Some of you may be quick to point out that 2005 and 2006 were pretty bumpy. Those were transitional years.  I learned to say NO in my 50’s and I finally learned the value of eliminating toxic people from my life.  As a natural problem solver and fixer, I have, metaphorically, jumped into the water to save people all of my life.  But how many times did the saved immediately choose to play in traffic?  It took a while, and I have had a set-back or two, but I slowly shed the unpleasant and the self-destructive.

My 50’s allowed me to pursue one of my ideals, transparency.  As I worked to eliminate any personal secrets, I accidently disarmed those whose weapon of choice is the whisper.  I’d like to claim that it was all part of a grand plan.  It wasn’t, just a happy accident.  It became increasingly easier to stare down bogus moral authorities and the rulers of miniature fiefdoms once they lost the power of rumor and innuendo.

I learned in my 50’s that it is perfectly alright to have only one common interest with someone.  It is OK to be art show friends or to only agree on the CAVS.  I became better focused on where lives and interests intersected and less concerned about divergent paths.  I don’t really care if you are a Strenuously Conservative Evangelical or a Liberal Atheist as long as you are under no illusions that I can be sold your belief system.  Stay in your lane and we can share our common interests, even if the only interest is in the fun of a good philosophical conversation.  Fail to respect my personal space and you’ll be forced to find a new sparring partner.

I discovered that I no longer had the time to make excuses for ANYONE.

I enter my sixties surprisingly calm with the hope of health for myself, my family, and my readers.  I have good friends, wonderful children, and a business partner that keeps me grounded.   CUNIX Version 6.0 could be the best one yet.





Jan 212015


A Cure For Gravity

Is She Really Going Out With Him was ubiquitous in the early 1980’s.  I liked it, but what was not to like?  It was catchy, self-effacing, pure pop magic with just enough edge to hint at being something more.  Joe Jackson’s appearance on Saturday Night Live was far more interesting, both from a musical standpoint and, as was so relevant at that moment, for his attitude.  But I was not convinced.

My first real Joe Jackson moment came with the video for Steppin’ Out.  The words and piano came together for me.  There was a melancholy, a world-weariness that didn’t feel feigned, but endured.  There was also an optimism that everything would work itself out that wasn’t Pollyannaish, but that of a survivor able to share a hard-earned truth.  And I still kept my hands in my pocket, my money in my wallet.

I found the album Laughter and Lust at the library in the summer of 1992.  What did I hear?  Maybe it was The Other Me.  Perhaps it was Drowning.  I can’t say.  I returned the CD to the library and quickly purchased a copy at the store, a luxury at the time.  I played it endlessly, shared it evangelically, and enjoy it to this day.

My son, Phillip, purchased the double CD, Joe Jackson Live 1980-1986, for my following birthday.  I rediscovered the original songs and purchased all of the previous CD’s.  I have been fortunate to have been able to acquire all of the subsequent albums, often receiving an email from Joe Jackson’s website prior to their release.

Have I loved all of them?  Of course not!  Even if he had had a twin he wouldn’t have that kind of mindless fan.  Some days the Night Music CD is my favorite.  And there are days, much to my surprise, that what I really want to hear is Be My Number Two meld into Breaking Us In Two from the live CD.

I have about 9,500 songs on the computer on my desk.  I listen to ALL of them.  These songs were not downloaded.  I purchased the CD’s and meticulously added them to my collection.  And each song, whether it is I Don’t Wanna Know from Dr. John’s Anutha Zone or Rock N Roll covered by Mitch Ryder and Detroit (with Steve Hunter on guitar!) or the most recent release from Joe Bonamassa is greeted as a long lost friend.  Each represents a piece of a puzzle I don’t pretend to understand in an art form I am incapable of participation.

My beach book this vacation was Joe Jackson’s A Cure For Gravity.  Even after twenty plus years of seriously listening to his music, I was taken aback by the connection this book created.  I cannot sing.  I cannot play any instrument.  But I see myself as a writer and as a writer I felt a kinship with him that I had for so long sensed.  The fact that we are roughly the same age and had many of the same cultural references helped.  But it was the Why, not the How, that made the difference for me.

A Cure For Gravity was written by a self-aware man in his mid-forties.  It details the compromises he was willing to make and those he fought.  Moments of short-lived success and those victories that may be savored for a lifetime.  He was generous to his friends, even-handed to his antagonists, and merciful to his naïve younger self.  Without turning preachy he clearly showed how access to music and music education altered the trajectory of his life.

And why should we care?  Because every banker, every roofer, and yes, every insurance agent has had the opportunity to make compromises – some we were willing to make and, perhaps, some we fought.  We have all had our share of small victories and major moments.  And if we are lucky, we may even have had the chance to thank the people who helped us along the way and forgive those who seemed to impede our progress.

The weather in Punta Cana was wonderful.  The beach book was better.  I strongly recommend A Cure For Gravity.


Jan 092015


One of the great joys of taking a COSTA cruise was the international flavor of passengers.  All of the ship-board announcements were made in five languages – Italian, French, Spanish, German, and English.  My last time aboard a COSTA ship was in February 2008.  There were a few more Americans than I had seen previously and there was a large group from France, approximately 300 people.  The French lived down to all of the usual stereotypes.  They were rude.  They were pushy.  And even though they spoke and understood English, they often forced the crew and other passengers to speak to them in only French.  You know, the usual.  It also turns out that they were Jewish.  They had arranged separate, Kosher, dining and I attended services with them on Saturday morning.

There is a gunman in a Kosher meat market in Paris as I type this.  Shots have been fired.  Hostages have been taken.  These things seldom end well.  And I thought of my fellow passengers.  On the ship they were just French, not Americans or British, just French.  But in Paris, at this moment, they aren’t French.  They are Jews.  And today it is dangerous to be Jewish in Paris.

And not just Paris.  We have seen another uptick in violence.  We have seen armed gunmen invade a synagogue in Jerusalem and murder men at prayer.  We had a knife wielding man in Chabad World Headquarters in Crown Heights last month.  And other attacks around the world.

We are getting used to being under siege.  It is not unusual to have bomb-sniffing dogs visit our synagogues prior to major holidays.  There is a policeman on duty every Saturday morning outside our Solon building.  And now we lock the doors during our 7 AM morning services.

The attack in Jerusalem, guns, knives, and hatchets, against men wearing Tefillin was particularly shocking.  I think that we all know how vulnerable we are while wrapped in Tefillin and a Tallis.  But the doors were never locked and we entered and left as we wished.  Now guys take turns watching the door to make sure stragglers like me can access the building.

I know that a lot of my readers aren’t Jewish.  And I know that many of you feel that we (Americans, society, the civilized world) are way past such old issues as anti-Semitism and racism.  WE ARE NOT.

The guys watching the door don’t think that anti-Semitism is old news.  And those people being held hostage in a Paris Kosher market know how real the danger still is.

Dec 242014


Today is the last day of Hanukkah and, coincidentally, the day before Christmas.  Many of my friends are either completing their annual family celebrations or just about to start.  Some, like my friend George, will observe Christmas, per the Greek Orthodox Church, on January 7th.  But in truth, there are any number of other reasons to celebrate with friends and family in December whether you are a Believer or not.  So to all of you of any Faith or of no Faith at all, Happy December.  Enjoy your time with your loved ones.

I had dinner last night with my daughter.  At 33 she is an articulate woman, successful businesswoman, and all-around good person.  I’m a big fan.  I would want her as a friend if I wasn’t already lucky enough to have her as my daughter.  And I thought that what I should do for today is to post something particularly family-friendly, something appropriate for today.  Below is an article that was first published in February 1991.


The Ideal Macaroni Company


Ideal Macaroni Company

Promotions Department

6001 Richmond Road

Bedford Hts., Ohio 44146 

January 4, 1991 

Dear Sir: 

I purchased a package of your “Choo Choo Wheel” pasta several months ago at my local Acme grocery store. It was on sale. Sometimes I buy your product. Sometimes I buy the store brand. As I placed the box in the cart, I noticed a coloring contest on the back of the package. It occurred to me that one of my children might color the picture. 

My daughter Jennifer noticed the picture while I was cooking dinner. I had forgotten about it. She read the instructions and asked if she could color the picture and enter it in the contest. I said “why not” and she excitedly began. She got a little done that night and I figured that by the next day it would be forgotten, but I was wrong. As she had time that week, after school, that Saturday, Jenny completed your picture. She agonized over the color selection. She cleared the final colors with her older brother and sisters. “There’s not too much brown is there? Could this be blue, too?” She was very serious, the way only a nine year old can really be. And when it was done, it was excellent. She is not the neatest of children. She is not the neatest of my children. But there it was. One super picture. I wanted to save it, but she wouldn’t hear of it. This was for the Ideal Macaroni Company. This was HER entry. We prepared the envelope together. And I mailed it the next day. 

The UPS man arrived at my house today at 4:45. I wasn’t expecting anything. I looked at the label and told my son to have Jenny come into the living room. She dragged herself away from Mario 3 and came upstairs. I told her the box was for her. She didn’t understand until she saw that it had come from the Ideal Macaroni Company. We removed the packing tape together and then she opened the box. “I WON. I WON. I FINALLY WON SOMETHING!” She was so excited. She knew that a trip for four to Washington D.C. wasn’t packed in this box, but… Inside the box was a little brown bear. A stuffed animal with soft huggable fur. No notes. No letters. A bear. It was perfect. 

I don’t know if my daughter has won first prize for December’s entries or a consolation prize, or what. It really doesn’t matter today. What’s important is how good my Jenny feels tonight. We all try as parents to give our children all of the love and support they will ever need, and yet it’s not enough. Sometimes it is the outside validation and recognition that means the most. Whether it is their peers, their teachers, or some contest judge in Bedford Heights doesn’t matter. What is important is that someone has found their work to be good and wants to reward their effort. 

Long after her picture becomes frayed and faded, my daughter will remember the day she opened the brown box and removed her bear. The kids are still trying to determine whether she’s still in the running for the Grand Prize. I think she already got it. Thank you. 



David Cunix


Nov 252014



To every season Turn, Turn Turn

Relationships, born of hope and faith, flourish, thrive, and sometimes seem to live forever.  But many such connections have a very specific beginning, middle, and, ultimately, an ending.  Such is my relationship with my Blackberry.  The end is near.

I was walking around the Freedom Tower in New York City.  I took a picture or two with my phone and set off to see the Memorial.  It is breathtaking.  Subtle.  Dramatic.  Tasteful.  I’d share a picture with you had my Blackberry not failed.  Even though it had been on the charger overnight, two pictures zapped the battery and I was stuck with an expensive paper weight in my pocket.


I had not brought a charger with me.  I began walking up Broadway.  There had to be a T-Mobile store where I could get my phone resurrected.  I had plenty of time.  Dinner was more than six hours and 55 blocks away.  We are so used to being accessible that I found this experience of being disconnected disconcerting.  I couldn’t contact my office.  I was alone in the City and I couldn’t find a T-Mobile.

I wandered into a Verizon store in SOHO.  I detailed my predicament to one of the employees who explained why they couldn’t help.  They weren’t allowed to risk someone claiming that their phone became damaged by the store’s equipment.  Then with a wink she directed me to a display where I could disconnect a speaker and charge my phone.  None of my readers will be surprised to learn that I disconnected the wrong plug and set off the store’s alarm.  The store’s manager quickly assessed the situation and decided to offer assistance.  It took 40 minutes to get the phone sufficiently charged.  I left Verizon in 2006 after a minor service issue.  My current contract ends in February.  I will take a serious look at Verizon this next time around.  If I lived in New York, I know where I’d go for my next phone and contract.

I bumped into a T-Mobile store about an hour later.  The employees had no interest in helping me, but they were the exception.  My trip to New York, like all such trips, was marked by witnessing people at their best and meeting interesting characters.

I was sitting on a bench at the entrance to Central Park enjoying an excellent cigar.  Ten feet away from me was a guy, on blocks, dressed as the Statue of Liberty.  All green.  Green face point.  Plastic torch.  He stood there, his tip box by his feet, and waited for tourists and children.  Lots of people took his picture.  Some posed for pictures with him.  He mugged for the cameras and put his arms around a gaggle of Japanese tourists.  The children were captivated by him.  I wish that I could have taken pictures of the little kids who squealed with delight when they first focused on him in the dim early dusk.  The Statue-guy was incredibly patient and generous, even when the tips weren’t forthcoming.  I finished my cigar, put some money in his box, and said, “Nice job with the kids”.   He smiled and waved as I walked away.

The flight home was on Southwest.  There were no assigned seats.  We were advised that it was a sold-out flight.  I boarded the plane in search of an aisle seat.  Half way back was a young African-American woman seated by the window.  The other two seats were empty.  She was wearing a surgical mask.  I verified that the aisle seat was empty and sat down.  No one ever sat between us.  We introduced ourselves once the plane achieved cruising altitude.  We celebrated the extra room.  She laughed at the fear some must have had of catching Ebola or some other dread disease had they sat in our middle seat.  In truth, she was the one at risk.  She was on her second liver.  We had a lovely conversation and my common sense was rewarded by the opportunity to meet an interesting person.

I believe that it was Sigmund Freud who once observed that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Nov 052014

Mayfield Heights-20141105-00424

Well, that was ugly. I won’t pretend that I enjoyed last night.  Neither the election results nor the CAV’s game were anything I wanted to watch.  And yet I did.  I flipped back and forth from the various television news outlets, including PBS which was pretty good, to the game in hopes of seeing anything that I would find positive.  I didn’t.  Tough night.  So congratulations to those who won last night, the Portland Trailblazers and darn near anyone with an (R) next to his/her name, and let’s move on to the annual election wrap-up.

Ohio – One more time, with feeling…

Bob Hagan, is a Youngstown Democrat.  There is no backing down.  He doesn’t need to be pretend to be anything he’s not.  And so if he asks a question on Facebook such as today’s “What went wrong?  Why did our voters stay home?” It is to elicit real answers from the community that he represents.  At last count there were over 140 responses.  Some were thoughtful.  Some were constructive.

Elections have winners and losers. If the losers don’t learn anything from the election than they will lose again.  But both winners and losers can take the wrong lessons from an election.  That’s one of the reasons we get to do this all again every couple of years.

John Kasich won Tuesday evening. Well, the win was codified Tuesday, but it really happened months ago.   Why?  Weak candidate?  A media vendetta?  An unpopular president?  Take your pick.  What it wasn’t was an outbreak of Kasich fever.  Hundreds of thousands of Ohio voters, people who cast their ballots four years ago for Ted Strickland, didn’t cross over to the Kasich fan club.  There was no love fest.  The Democrats stayed home.

2010 Kasich votes – 1,889,186                                                      Strickland votes – 1,812, 059

2014 Kasich votes – 1,922,241                                                      Fitzgerald votes –     989,117

Kasich received 33,055 (unofficial vote tally) more in 2014 than he did four years ago, one percent of the total votes cast this year.  Ohio didn’t excitedly vote for Kasich.  We dumped Fitzgerald.  It may be a little too early to play Hail to the Chief.

Goodbye Harry Reid

I was reviewing the client’s health insurance renewal. As has been the case several times already, he and his family, staunch Republicans, are big winners under Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He reluctantly admitted that there might be some good to the law but he was anxious to change the subject.  He excitedly talked about the defeat of Harry Reid.  “He is a bad man, a very bad man.  Have you read anything about him?”  “Well yes I have,” I told my client.  And I wouldn’t vote for either Mitch McConnell or Harry Reid.  That surprised him.  If you only watch FOX or MSNBC you wouldn’t realize that Mitch and Harry are two sides of a worthless coin.

My little corner of the world is filled with the concerns, mine and my clients’, about health insurance. As noted in my recent insurance post, there has been an amazing lack of intellectual honesty about Obamacare.  I want to know how yesterday will affect my clients.  I’m still guessing that it won’t.  It is just hard to accept how cynical politics can be.

We bemoan, each election, our pathetic voter turnout. The American public chooses to not participate.  By the time Election Day arrives we know just enough about the candidates to disqualify them.  The policeman smiling next to the politician is probably an actor, or worse, a cut and paste job.  There is little truth and nothing positive.  Proud news organizations have sullied their reputations.

Over 800,000 Ohioans, people who had voted four years ago, skipped this year’s contest. Those aren’t 800,000 votes for Kasich.  That is close to a million people who were too fed up to participate in what turned out to be a one percent landslide.

Oct 122014

Mayfield Heights-20141012-00413


Regular readers know that I aggressively pursue moderation. Politics?  I am a centrist Democrat, have been since high school.  I have, however, friends up and down the political spectrum.  Religion?  Jewish.  Happily, intentionally, Jewish.  And I have friends who are ritualistically more observant than me and plenty of friends who define themselves as culturally or socially Jewish.

My needle is stuck in the middle.

I met Roger (name changed) for coffee last week. He chose Panera, the essence of moderation.  Roger would hate for anyone to mistake him for a moderate anything.

Roger is a well-educated young man. He and his wife have a house full of children out in the suburbs.  He is politically to the right of almost everyone choosing to have coffee with me.  And his faith, proudly worn on his sleeve, is a Jesus-focused Christianity.

We danced around politics and healthcare for a while, but all along I could tell that there was something else on his mind. Finally he asked if I was open to a personal question.  Me?  The Prince of Transparency?  Sure.  He wanted to know my thoughts about Jesus.

To his shock and amazement, I wanted to know his thoughts about Mohammed. I predicted that he doesn’t spend any time contemplating the Koran and Islam.  And I spend just as much time on the New Testament and the various forms of Christianity.  Again and again he returned to the story of the Resurrection and asked me to determine whether it was fact or a hoax, as if those extremes were the only choices.  And more importantly, as if I really cared.

I don’t.

My friend Heidi is an atheist. She doesn’t care what you believe as long as you don’t try to impose your faith on anyone else.  From her perspective and mine, Bill Maher and the Jehovah Witnesses have more in common than either have with us.   Proselytizing is proselytizing. Roger wasn’t recruiting.  He was just unprepared for someone failing to embrace his “Truth”.

Our conversation ended as it began. No one changed teams.  No one lost was saved.  No one saved was lost.  But I learned how someone else thinks.  And Roger learned how someone else who thinks asks questions.  What a country!



Sep 282014

Sunday Night Dinner

I had two recipe requests last week. One I could ignore or put off until after open enrollment.  Two?  With two you get dinner.


Fake Meat & Low Carb Pasta = Great Meal

¼ teaspoon Garlic Salt

1/3 cup + 1 teaspoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1 ½ cup uncooked Dreamfield’s Low Carb Pasta

Florets of one stalk of Broccoli

5 ounces Vegan Chicken

6 cloves Garlic, minced

¼ Roasted Red Pepper, sliced into small strips

1 Button Mushroom, sliced

Parmesan Cheese (real or fake), optional


Add Garlic Salt and a teaspoon of the oil to a large pot of cold water. Bring to a boil.  Blanch the Broccoli for two minutes and remove.  Bring the water back to a rolling boil and add pasta.  Cook, stirring occasionally, for 9 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, warm the oil and then add the Broccoli, Garlic, Red Pepper, and Mushroom. Cook slowly for 5 minutes.  Add the Chicken.  Continue until the Garlic softens and turns golden and the Chicken is warmed all the way through.

Drain the Pasta and return to the pot. Slice the Chicken into strips and mix everything together in the pot.  Divide into two dishes, sprinkle a little cheese on top, and serve with a tossed salad.

Feel free to change ALL of this. I would like to hear what you do to make this even better.


Sep 232014

White Kipah


I have been looking for a white kippah for the holidays. Some Jewish men always have their heads covered.  Some never.  Many of us wear a kippah or yarmulke when engaged in prayer, when in synagogue, and whenever it seems appropriate.

I found my black knit kippah in the street markets of Tel Aviv. Not too big and not too small, with enough heft that it would stay on without a clip, I deemed my new kippah as windproof and wore it throughout both of my trips in 2008.  A few years ago Sally suggested that I should switch to a grey knit version to better match my hair.  And that is fine for every day, but what I really wanted was a white kippah for the holidays.

Rosh Hashanah begins this Wednesday at sundown. Jews around the world are preparing for the holidays.  Some of these preparations are spiritual in nature.  Others are more focused on family and tradition.  My friend Lisa drove almost 45 minutes just to get to a store that sold the special cheese she needed to make her family’s traditional recipe for blintzes.  Another friend should be dropping off her incredible honey cake to my office any day now.  Cards will be mailed.  Dinners planned.

My memories of the holidays always begin with the color white. The Rabbi and Cantor wore white kittels or white robes.  Some of the synagogues of my youth had choirs, also dressed in white.  I remember chairs on the Bimah covered in white and even white tablecloths at home.  Against this backdrop, a white knit kippah seemed perfectly reasonable to me.

Easier said than done. I have been looking for the white version of my black kippah for over five years.  The local purveyors of such goods were of no help.  I purchased a really big, Jerusalem kippah several years ago.  I searched the New York religious book stores with no success or satisfaction.  One store owner let me know how foolish I was to expect his store to have so popular an item outside of Israel.  But I never gave up hope.

It wasn’t my first online search, nor even my second. It was on my third attempt that I found the kippah.  The company is in London, England.  I ordered one white knit kippah.  The standard shipping was almost half the final price.  It was promised by the 29th, but arrived yesterday, a week early!

Here is wishing those of you about to celebrate the High Holidays a Healthy and Happy New Year filled with family, tradition, and joy.