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Archive for April, 2015

“They never mentioned it would be glued to my head.”

Posted by >>>>> on April 13, 2015



Excerpt, interviews, and author Q&A available.


Lorna Garano, lornagarano@gmail.com, 510-280-5397

Peter Handel, peterlhandel@gmail.com, 510-280-5327


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00022]As he hit his 30th birthday, MITCH FRIEDMAN, writer, improv comic and fledgling musician, felt he needed a boost—something that would make him feel better (much, much better)—about himself. Having once proudly possessed a full head of hair—a glorious “Jew fro” that had essentially vanished in a few short years, Mitch decided to get a “hair replacement” otherwise known as a hair system.

In HELL TOUPEE: MY RIDICULOUS YEAR WEARING A HAIR REPLACEMENT, (December, 2014, Paperback, $14.99) Friedman describes in detail – sometimes excruciating detail—how his life changed during the year he sported this new head of “hair.” As his story moves back and forth through time, it’s clear that his childhood, with two parents who came to hate each other, and divorced while he was a child wasn’t exactly a recipe for healthy self-esteem. Having a girlfriend, feeling confident among his peers—these things eluded him, and once he lost his full head of hair, his balding dome became a symbol of all that was wrong.

He signed on with a well-known company in New York City and started the $1500 process. Little did he know what he was getting into. “…a clump of wet, dark brown hair…had been expertly adjoined to the top side of an oval-shaped piece of vinyl mesh, bearing a resemblance to canvas one might do needlepoint on. Flipping it over to reveal its seedy underbelly, one could see that the mesh template was fortified with a solid strip of…one-inch wide plastic around its perimeter.”

It goes downhill after that. The color and texture of the system doesn’t match his remaining hair, and the daily struggle to wash and style it is an ongoing trial. “Well, now, not only did I have to wash my hair, but I also had to wash under my hair—and when I say under my hair, I mean under someone else’s.”

This frequently hilarious and vividly candid memoir, takes us from the 60s through the 90s and is set against the backdrop of the always difficult odyssey of growing up, from his childhood in a troubled family on Long Island to an early adulthood shaped by a litany of bad hair, bad jobs, clueless friends and a single girlfriend he loved…and lost.



High School Yearbook with "Jew Fro" --1981

High School Yearbook with “Jew Fro” — 1981











On stage with the "system" -- July 1993

On stage with the “system” — July 1993
















MitchFriedmanAUTHORb&wMITCH FRIEDMAN has been telling humorous stories for five decades, whether it has been as a funny kid, a comedy performer/monologist, exhibited ironic street photographer, award-winning quirky pop songwriter of five albums, or on the job as a film/video editor for the likes of Howard Stern and Ellen DeGeneres. Hell Toupee is his first book. He lives in Brooklyn. For more, including photos, audio and video, visit him at mitchfriedman-author.com.





by Mitch Friedman | December 2014 | 308 pages

ISBN: 978-0-9863008-0-6 | Paperback $14.99 | ebook $4.99 |

mitchfriedman-author.com | Facebook.com/MitchFriedmanAuthor | @mitch_friedman


  1. You had a full head of hair when you were a teenager, and lost it in your 20s. Did baldness run in your family?
  1. What prompted you to sign on with Head Restart for Men? Convincing ads? The only game in town?
  1. Once you realized the process was going to be uncomfortable and the pay-off would call attention to your hair more than simply your regular appearance, did you consider stopping?
  1. What is it with men and hair? Why do men think a full head of hair makes them look more virile, or more desirable?
  1. Since toupees, and hair transplants are relatively easy to spot, and thus stand out because the viewer knows they are fake, why do intelligent, active men persist in wearing them?
  1. Do you think your love life – and lack thereof during the year you wore the “system”—might have been different without the toupee?
  1. Did your life change after you stopped wearing it and came to terms with your appearance?
  1. Any advice for a thirty-something considering a similar scenario?

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Posted by >>>>> on April 8, 2015



Lorna Garano, lornagarano@gmail.com, 510-280-5397

Peter Handel, peterlhandel@gmail.com, 510-280-5327

Elder mistreatment—ranging from physical abuse and neglect to financial fraud—is a silent epidemic in the US.

In THE CON GAME: A FAILURE OF TRUST, T.S. Laham exposes it and shows you how to protect yourself and your loved ones.

9781483417233_COVER.inddThe numbers are staggering. Experts estimate that between 1 and 2 million Americans age 65 and older have been mistreated by someone in a trust relationship with them and that they often fall prey to financial abuse—only one in 25 cases of which are ever reported to authorities. Just as alarming, guardianships and conservatorships designed to help elders who can no longer look after their affairs are often poorly regulated and give unscrupulous actors the opportunity to fleece and abuse those in their care. In THE CON GAME: A FAILURE OF TRUST (paperback, November 2014) T.S. Laham presents an exhaustively researched and unsparing look at this quiet crisis and offers a primer on everything you need to protect yourself, your property, and your loved ones.

Laham is available for interview. She can also provide excerpts and a Q and A to run on your site or publication. Here is just some of what she can discuss:


The trouble with conservatorships and guardianships for elders who can no longer manage their own affairs:

  • These programs are subject to no federal oversight and state laws vary.
  • Conservatorship is the most restrictive form of court intervention and it may deny you all, or some, of your freedoms indefinitely.
  • No particular qualifications are required to become a conservator or a guardian. In most states the only prerequisite is that you are mentally competent.
  • Courts usually appoint a family member as conservator, but they are often ill-equipped to carry out their responsibilities. One study found that fewer than 20 percent of courts furnished guardians with sufficient direction.
  • Just a handful of states prohibit convicted felons from becoming guardians.
  • Families and friends are often helpless to protect loved ones from an abusive guardian.
  • Few restrictions protect an elderly ward from an unscrupulous guardian, according to a report titled “Abuses in Guardianship of the Elderly and Infirm: A National Disgrace” produced by the US House Permanent Select Committee on Aging.

Act now to protect yourself later:

  • Understand alternatives to conservatorship/guardianship and make a smart decision about which options are the best for you.
  • Learn what you need to ensure that you remain in control of your medical decisions and your wishes are respected should you lose the ability to communicate them.
  • Discover estate planning musts.

What to do if an elderly loved one becomes a victim:

  • How best to work with Adult Protective Services (APS) and what you can expect if you file a complaint with them.
  • Understand which elders are greatest risk for abuse and exploitation.
  • Discover the critical agencies involved in intervening in and prosecuting elder abuse.
  • Learn about state laws that cover elder abuse.
  • Recognize the signs: Spin doctoring, isolating an elder, enhancing dependency are just a few of the typical tactics of an abuser.
  • Understand why elder abuse is often difficult to detect and learn the warning signs.

Scam detection 101: How to recognize some of the most common scams against the elderly:

  • Learn about rolling lab schemes, telemarketing fraud, charity contribution scams and other frauds commonly perpetrated against the elderly.
  • According to the National Center on Elder Abuse Bureau of Justice Statistics, financial exploitation represented 12.3 percent of reported elder abuse cases in 2012.
  • One in four seniors living in the US was a victim of elder financial exploitation at a total annual cost of more than $3 billion annually, according the Professional Fiduciary Association of California.
  • Over half of reported cases of elder financial exploitation were perpetrated by strangers, followed by family, friends, and neighbors.


Excerpt 1: “Perpetrators and victims.” 1,570 words. Offers a concise description of who is most likely to perpetrate crimes against the elderly, their most common tactics, and which seniors are most vulnerable to them.

Excerpt 2“Pros and Cons of Conservatorship.” 663 words. Offers a bullet list of pros and cons regarding conservatorship.

Excerpt 3: “Detecting and reporting elder mistreatment.” 2,543 words. Shows you how to recognize the signs of elder mistreatment and offers guidance for reporting it.


The Con Game: A Failure of Trust

by T.S. Laham | November 2014 | 267 pages

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4834-1723-3 | $24.95 | Paperback | Kindle | $7.99




Laham PhotoT.S. Laham is a writer, professor, and consultant. She has authored books and instructional resources and scripted audio and video products for commercial publishers. She teaches business at Diablo Valley College in the San Francisco Bay Area and lives in Oakland, CA.







  1. Why did you decide to write The Con Game: A Failure of Trust?
  1. You talk about both physical abuse and neglect and financial abuse in The Con Game. How widespread is each?
  1. Why it is so hard to detect abuse against the elderly and who is often responsible for it?
  1. Which older Americans are mostly likely to fall prey to abuse or financial fraud?
  1. Much of The Con Game is dedicated to exposing the problems associated with conservatorship (also called “guardianship”). First, tell us what purpose conservatorship is supposed to serve?
  1. Now, explain why conservatorship can lead to abuse and exploitation.
  1. In The Con Game you profile the Lyon family whose matriarch, Selma, was allegedly abused by family members. Can you tell us about this case and how typical is it of elder abuse cases?
  1. What is the “protection industry” and why do you say it has a dark side?
  1. You say that a conservatorship can strip people of their basic freedoms. So how can a person avoid a conservatorship and what are some of the alternatives to it?
  1. One of the major problems with end-of-life care is that so many people don’t prepare for the later years or the possibility of becoming unable to communicate their wishes. Why do you think this is, and what are a few things that you think everyone should do when they are young to lessen the chances that they will be vulnerable to abuse and exploitation in later years and to ensure that their wishes are respected?


“T.S. Laham gives us a powerful step-by-step examination of conservatorship.”

Gwen Boozé and Karen Anderson, Congress of California Seniors

“This book is an asset for anyone involved with or interested in elder mistreatment, or the practical legal resources solutions available to assist and protect the elder.”

Susan A. Katzen, Elder law and estate planning attorney

“A compassionate and true-life story that provides perspectives of an aging America and presents the formalities of estate planning and conservatorships. A must-read if you have or will have an elder adult under the care of family members or others.”

Tim Murphy, CPA, attorney, professor

“…I would recommend this book as a primer to other physicians and health care professionals who care for the elderly population.”

Mark Adlard, MD, Family practice physician

“Anyone who has an interest professionally or personally with the complexities of senior abuse and issues will find this book to be a great resource.”

Cliff H. Oilar, President, Back Home Senior Care

“You had me at the table of contents!”

Deborah Wright, Financial advisor

“The content of The Con Game is invaluable.”

Dr. Natalie Gelman, Clinical Psychologist

The Con Game is an eye-opener.”

Shana Yi, Marriage and family therapist

“T. S. Laham’s The Con Game is a testament to her comprehensive level of understanding on the subject matters addressed regarding elder care coupled by her compassion for underserved societies.”

Karla Garcia, Commercial banker and community volunteer

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