Thursday, August 31, 2006

The essential sincerity of falsehood (J. Conrad)

I’m sure this never happens to you.
You are telling the truth, but it sounds so outrageously like a lie that your facial expressions and tone of voice make everything even worse.
Consider what I told Madge this morning.
“It’s the weirdest thing. When I went to bed last night I finally found your tooth. [The one we lost during the day because Madge gave it to me while Coco and I were napping and my grip isn’t the most secure when I’m sleeping.] As I was moving the covers, I saw something move and there was the tooth. I tried to wake you when I put it under your pillow, but you were too fast asleep. And now there’s the dollar. Cool.”
This is all true. I’m better off lying.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Ah. Smells like family.

I just noticed, they're all blond. Weird. There's only two natural blondes left among the parents (sorry about outing you and your bottle of bleach, T.).


Went to the Strand bookstore. 18 miles of books – this is supposed to be impressive. But Coco proved they were understating their case. He took a book off the shelf and arranged the pages so that one book alone spread out over about 27 yards. (I’m kidding. Strand people, keep your hands off of Coco.)
But I did see a couple racks (of books – get your minds out of the gutter) that had the heading “Oversize History.”
This country is taking its obesity obsession a bit too far, I think.
But wouldn’t that be something? A book on oversize history, illustrated by Botero? I smell another book project that might not come to fruition.
Mental note: find illustrator and time. Subdivide into oversized bodies and oversized egos.
Or, better yet, make it all BS and just supersize the actors. I.e., Washington crossing the Delaware was such a big deal because the boat almost capsized five times, etc. I’m just thinking aloud here, feel free to add your ideas and requests for characters not to be ignored.
Julie, for example, might want Russian history rewritten. The Russian Revolution happened because Anastasia was put into hiding. Nicholas and Alexandra were ashamed of her size and stashed her in some pre-gulag weight-loss center. The peasants thought she should be proud to be her size and wanted her freed. Lenin was a shill.
Or maybe Marie Antoinette’s “let them eat cake” was a prescient self-help tool, way before its time, about an equality of the soul, and the French peasants preferred to have aristocratic ideals of ascetic deportment and bulimic execution. Just an idea. A sketch. Let me think it over.
Ideas welcome.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Fozzy Bear would be proud of me

Hee, hee. I amuse myself with the stupid puns that pop into my head.
Coco got some new pants from my parents. They’re leather shorts with suspenders, touristically-idealized-German-style. I tried to put them on him this morning. He seemed willing. They got stuck because we hadn’t unbuttoned them properly, so he didn’t want to anymore. At least not now. That’s why they’re called
The good thing about this blog thing is that you can’t physically punch me in the arm now.
There’s a second part. Not punny, therefore more funny.
My sister-in-law is in town. And when she saw them she accidentally called them Unterhosen (paging Dr. Freud). Unterhosen are underpants, in case you’re wondering.
Then she topped it by saying that the only place she’d been to in Germany was Unterhosen. While my jaw dropped and my mind reeled, the kids interrupted and I couldn’t find out what she meant.
I’m only wondering, who was her tour guide?
(See, K? I told you I’d blog about it.)

Monday, August 28, 2006

We're baaaack

We have a lot of catching up to do, don’t we? I don’t know how to do it best. A week is a long time, when you’re on vacation. New experiences piled high on top of each other. Little do you know how easily those experiences can topple when you’re traveling with little kids. But we had very few of those, I think.
Give me another week and my overly censorious memory will make the entire trip a pastoral frolic in the land of the ancestors.
But for now I’ll still remember some chaos.
First things first. Jet lag. Eek.
It’s like the common cold. You know it’s coming, you know what it’s like, you know what causes it. And yet there’s nothing you can do about it.
An aside. I don’t remember the details accurately, and I’m not going to look them up, but some of what I write will be factually accurate. The rest is accurate in terms of remembered truth (cf. censorious memory, above).
Aside aside. Nicholson Baker’s U and I is a great book that works along these lines. He recounts his relation to John Updike’s books and the Updike he has created in his mind by reading them, but he consciously refuses to look up the exact locations and locutions of what he remembers, making it a personal account of himself, rather than a study of Updike. And yet. Awesome book, any way you slice it.
Back to the SPOILER. War of the Worlds. H.G. Wells. I saw the movie with the recently disgraced Tom Cruise. That is, I saw the movie with Julie, but Tom Cruise starred in it. Really, Spielberg’s camera motion starred in it, but that’s beside the point. The aggressive aliens get beaten, in the end, by some earthly bacteria (or virus?) which they weren’t prepared for. Sort of like the decimation of Native Americans by European invaders, but with poetic justice. Anyway, I don’t remember what the bacteria (or virus?) was, but in my memory it’s the common cold.
And here’s where jet lag comes in. To add to the terror, we never find out why the aliens attack in the first place.
But I think I know.
Space lag.
Think about it. They traveled for months in the dark. They probably came from a planet with a rotation period of 79.3 earth hours, have two suns, three moons, and six seasons. They get here, can’t see to get any sleep, are always hungry, toss and turn in bed, and get increasingly ticked off.
I, too, would have let loose with eerie tripods and OOOOMing noises, if they had been at my disposal.
Instead, I stuck to drinking beer to overcome my crankiness.
And I took the occasional nap.
Maybe aliens should learn about beer and naps.

Monday, August 21, 2006

lookit that

Here we are in Berlin, with a little reunification of our own.
The New Yorkers are exhausted, but now it's bathtime and things will be fine once people get to bed.
This was just to say we're okay. My mind is a little numb from the airplane whining. Meaning the children whining on the airplane.
Or, as the new horror flick might have it: Kids On a Plane!
Run away!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

off to the old stomping grounds

We’re off to Berlin tomorrow, so communication via blog will be very sporadic for a week.
Then we’ll be back. So don’t worry.
Madge is a very excitable traveler. Which means we always need to be as close as possible to the next leg of the trip. For example, when at the airport, she’s not comfortable until we’re at the gate, not loitering in shops and restaurants as her parents prefer. But then again, safety measures will probably preclude any relaxation anyway. Fun stuff.
Serenity now.

Friday, August 18, 2006

language manipulation

Some of Coco’s lines are better than anything you could make up.
It’s about 9:20pm, and he’s still awake.
Me: Coco, go to sleep.
Him: I’m tired of going to sleep; I’m gonna take a nap instead.

N fable

The Newborn and the Nipple

The nipple gave the newborn a sad look, “As much as you love me, some day we’ll have to put an end to this.”
The newborn didn’t open its eyes. “Why even bother to tell me?” Glug, gulp, gasp, gulp, glug.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

non-moving staircase

I’m at a bit of a loss tonight, because I’m tired. We should be getting ready for our week-long trip to Germany, but we’re still going to pool, fighting about computer privileges, and generally wasting time.
We had a good time-waster yesterday. Went to the Guitar Center and let the kids bang away in the percussion room. Ah. Good times.
They should feature that activity in New York with Kids. It’s free, and nobody gets hurt.
I almost did, of course. They’re working on the escalators, and therefore one of them is blocked off and the other functions as a staircase.
Nothing makes you feel stupid like tripping over something that’s neither unexpected nor moving.

It’s those lines, those grooves.
They make me think it moves.
But no. It stands in place.
And I fall on my face.

How to make your dad wet his pants, laughing

In three easy steps.
Step 1. Say, “I went poopoo.”
Fair enough. Dad will go check it out.
Step 2. Say, “I flush it self.”
Excellent. Good communication. This way Dad isn't at a loss to unflush the toilet to stop the screaming.
Step 3. Raise and lower the toilet lid, saying (in a cookie-monster-ish voice) “I like eat poopoo. MMmmmMM.”

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

old joke of mine

Limericks are going to keep me busy for a while, so I'll just give you a quickie.
Channeling Allan Allen (again):
Last night I had a weird dream. I dreamed I was having "relations" with Marilyn Monroe.
Let's just say she has not aged gracefully.


Man, I didn’t even want to blog about the hot dog prices yet. Reading Tristram Shandy (awesome birthday present from an even more awesome wife) is getting to me already.
We went to the Museum of Natural History today, where you get to set your own price. You have to have a ticket to get in, but the ticket “price” is a “suggested donation” and you can (really) just give what you find appropriate. You just need to have the nerve to do so. I try to do some quick triangulation on potential food purchases, crowdedness discomfort, and gift-shop distraction to figure what I think is fair. It’s better still when Julie’s along because the corporate membership lets you skip the longer lines.
Anyway, we’re at the museum and it turns out things are no longer so easy with the two young’uns because Coco no longer does everything Madge says. He wants to see skeletons and she wants to see stuffed animals.
Now what.
We go home early. Yay.
But we run into a hot dog stand on the way to the subway.


Here’s my guess. As the summer progresses, the hot dog vendors get increasingly frustrated with the tourists (and other customers). The heat doesn’t help. So now a hot dog that used to be a dollar is two (I posted something about this before). But here’s where it starts to get ugly.
The kids have “special” appetites.
Coco likes the sausage with mustard (no bun), while Madeleine likes the bun with ketchup (no sausage). Sounds easy, right? Well, you may not have been to a Sabrett’s stand recently.
There’s a language barrier.
And a willingness barrier.
And a rip-off hurdle.
What used to be two bucks and a smile is now four and a shifty grunt.
I swear I need to start taking pictures of these guys to remember who has been trying to rip me off and who hasn’t. Today’s guy looked familiar, is all I’m saying. And the last time he tried to rip me off with drink prices. But I lingered and called him on it and got a refund, but then the kids were still hungry and I had to spend the money right there again. Boy, did that grate.

On the other hand, there’s a corner store a couple blocks from our house which has the advantage of being open 24 hours, in a row. They manage to make everything an even dollar amount. They’ve got a great grasp of the tax laws, I believe. That, and their register never actually rings up an amount.
Because of the linguistic barrier, I checked the register the last time I got ice cream there. I thought I heard the guy say “ten” and couldn’t believe my ears. The register read 1,149.00 (really). So I said, “pardon?” and the guy behind the register said, “Seven. Uh. Six.”
A similar price reduction after clarification had happened there before when we got lollipops. Somehow, I love that about the place.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

birthday, evidence

I polished off the remainder of this masterpiece tonight.

Did I detect a hint of lemon?
That's how they got the cake to be so shiny. (Whereof do I speak? See the second picture)

Monday, August 14, 2006

birthday, 2

Occasionally, I check out what historical figures share my birthday and what they've been up to.
And guess what?
I'm way behind.


Sometimes I check to see
whose birthday and mine match up.
There's a few. And guess what?
I've got a lot to catch up.


My birthday was today, as it is every year around this time. No need to congratulate or send gifts, but there are some highlights of the day.
First off, I think I managed to keep the sugar high under control, which made for a fairly calm day.
But my two planned events (by planned I mean that I thought of them five minutes before we left the house) didn’t go quite as (see beginning of sentence).
I thought we’d have a Thai lunch special at the place where the proprietress is in love with Coco (who calls her the Cookie Lady – I wonder why). They’re closed Mondays. So we had bagels. That is, I had a bagel while the kids fed theirs (after I made them lick off the cream cheese first) to the swans, geese, and ducks on the lake where we were going to rent a pedal boat. But (see Thai place). Maybe the Cookie Lady chartered all the pedal boats for an outing. Instead, I had a nice walk, while the kids dozed.
I know everyone’s curious, so I’ll go ahead and say it: the loot was great. I got some guitar music (I got a guitar for father’s day – turns out some people appreciate my efforts), but I didn’t get to play much because Buzz Lightyear had to patrol the fretboard to make sure my intonation and wobbly fingering posed to danger to the galaxy.
When Julie came home we dug into the cake, which had a musical candle. (Really the candle HOLDER is musical, but they market is as a musical candle.) Coco confiscated the holder and candle right after it was used. First he licked off the frosting. Then he wanted it relit, so we could do it again using other names. No problem. Then he wanted it relit to make Buzz Lightyear fly just like Sid.
So we explained to him that Sid was a bad kid and …
Coco went straight to his room and wrote some stuff in a notebook entitled “Material for Analyst or Memoir.”
And I went to the blog.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

wake-up call

I'll tell you what'll wake you up in a hurry:
Having your preschooler rub a balloon on your stubble until it pops.
(It doesn't take long, trust me.)

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Met G and S in NYC

This picture is my homage to one of our great friends in San Francisco. We met him (he always reminds me of a young Frank Sinatra, only cooler and with a better sense of humor) and his husband (who looks like a model, but with character – really, you’d have to hate them both if they weren’t so darn nice) today at Union Square and had a great time.
I did, at least.
Enough sugary stuff.
Here’s why I love this thing. First off, it IS a cute way to get rid of the icky dish-soap bottle that usually clutters the sink. But the best part (for me) is that when I saw him use it in his house and commented on it, he said, “Oh, that thing? [snort (his laugh/snort is a national treasure)] Martha Stewart. I’m sure EVERY fag in the city has it.”
Of course his bottle is better looking than mine. He takes the time for details, so I’m sure he’d scrape off the tacky labels. But, hey, what can I say – I can only take the metro thing so far and then my laziness kicks in.

Food names

To the chagrin of some of our friends in San Francisco who like their food terms clear and unsullied, Coco has now finished the triple crown of egg-dish renaming.
Madge coined “yellow egg.” It stuck.
Coco added “spoon egg” (though now I’m not sure if Madge didn’t make that one up, too).
Today, he added “puddle egg.”
It took me a while to figure out what he meant. But once you see him eat, you’ll know why the term is apt.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Where's my supersuit?

For the sake of domestic tranquility I’ll change the names of the innocent in the following vignette.

Queen Bee: Have you seen my [uh, um] polyester jump suit?
Half-dozing Drone: No. I think it’s on the floor by the bed.
Queen Bee: It’s not there. Help me look.
Half-dozing Drone: Hmph.
[Half-dozing drone, to the sound of a plaintive Purcell lament, drags his sorry stinger-less behind out of the comfy hive and buzzes ineffectively around the apartment – I mean, uh, tree]
Queen Bee: Oh. I found it.
Half-dozing Drone: Where was it? On the floor? By the bed?
Queen Bee: Yes, but it was hidden –
Half-dozing Drone: - under that clear, see-through plastic toy?
Queen Bee: Yes.
[Queen Bee finishes dressing.]
Queen Bee: Wait. Was that supposed to be funny?
Dozing Drone: Sorry.

You had no idea who it was, right? I’m a master of disguise, like Inspector Clouseau.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

fitness company

My sister-in-law is starting a fitness company. Good for her. She’s got the mind and dedication to do it.
She asked me to come up with a name. Hm.
The first thing that came to mind was the easy
Booty Camp. We sweat the details while you sweat your tails off.
But the name is already in use (too easy, as I said), so I went to the Thesaurus for inspiration and found some choice words that would make a great Dickensian character: Eupepsia Fettle.
Can’t you just see her? In a dusty old gym, using medicine balls and those bowling pin juggling pin dealies – what are they called when used for a workout? Indian clubs (I looked it up). She probably has a son lost at sea and overcomes her misery by keeping a fit attitude toward life – of course he returns and is almost shipwrecked off the coast but she is strong enough to haul the boat to shore.
Anyway, names:
Can I Get a Fitness?
Saturated Slims
Burn up, not out.
Toned and honed, not big-boned.
Let the workout raise your heart rate, not the billing.
Okay, here’s a serious one:
Personal Best

As a matter of fact, I think it's so good that unless you're my sister-in-law you might as well call your company I-had-a-great-name-but-got-sued-by-some-schmo-blogger-from-Brooklyn-who-claims-to-have-thought-it-up-first Fitness Co.


Here's a downside to having a playground just across the street.
I was nodding off (don't tell Julie or she'll think my job is easy) and jumped up because I heard a kid crying.
Not mine, false alarm. But now I'm awake.

Happy End?

Stories for kids are mean. Why? you ask. Because their aim for your soft spots is so true. Well, maybe “true” is a cheeky choice of words on my part.
This was supposed to be an entry about watching the movie of A Little Princess with Madge and Coco this morning, but I think I must begin with a digression.
In order to properly talk about our movie-watching experience, I must warn that I’ll be giving away crucial information about the movie’s ending. Or, as other blogs seem to put it: SPOILER ALERT (the caps, apparently, are needed, in order to catch skimmers – those who are most likely to “spoil” books for themselves anyway – but I’ll write about my favorite skimmer some other time)!
I’ve been inadvertently caught by a SPOILER before, because I wasn’t alerted properly. We were reading Anne of Green Gables aloud (get out your hankies); in the midst of this I was doing some internet research, reading about kids’-book editors. In an interview, one of these editors talked about how she still cries when BLANK dies in Anne of Green Gables, only she said BLANK’s name! I’m getting choked up right now. This news struck, as they say, like a lightning bolt. I was so mad I called Julie at work. This was almost like the time when we read Charlotte’s Web aloud (it was my first time – I didn’t grow up here) and E.B. White was describing the autumn and I realized that death was in the air for a certain character and I refused to read the book any further. (Well, after a few days I did manage to move on.) The Anne of Green Gables thing was worse, though, because it wasn’t the book’s foreshadowing that did it, it was some uncouth editor in an interview. (I tried finding the interview again and giving the lady a piece of my mind, but I couldn't find it. I think I'm going crazy. I couldn't have imagined it, could I? My foreshadowing nose isn't that good. I would have guessed someone else dies.)
So, back to the movie SPOILER. We were watching the movie. Coco had tuned out long ago. It’s a little advanced and plotty (read: non-cartoony and slow) for him. Madge had read the book a few days before (223 pages the first day – she kills me) and was up to speed, enjoying putting faces to the names. Cute. Asking me, as the people appeared, was this so-and-so? I didn’t know. I hadn’t read the book. I still haven't, but she's urging me to do so. Soon.
Apparently the movie changes the plot. The father doesn’t die (told you there was a big SPOILER) but it only taken for dead while suffering from some kind of amnesia and blindness, gets mistaken for another soldier (the actual corpse) and sent to the dead soldier’s father’s house, which happens to be next to Sara’s (his daughter’s) boarding school, in which Sara has borne her suffering as only a heroine in a kid’s story can. The details escape me because I was busy with Coco and the internet and the dishes and breakfast and …
Anyway, there’s a big climax at the end, with Sara escaping from the mean Miss (I think she’s a Miss, she has to be in a world like that because she can’t form attachments) Minchin in a thunderstorm, across a rickety board, from one building to another. She’s hiding there, dodging from room to room trying to escape Minchin and the police, who are about to arrest her because her friends stole back her locket from Minchin and Minchin thinks Sara did it. Hooo. During this escape, Sara’s Dad regains his sight, but not his memory, and she slips into the room where he is. She sees him and cries out Daddy, but he doesn’t recognize her.
The cops come and try to pry her away as she is shouting for her Dad and
I’m rolling my eyes because it’s A MOVIE and there’s no way it’s going to end badly (badly in the sense of good people not getting rewarded and bad people not getting punished, not badly in the sense of what I was witnessing) and I’m thinking, jeez, what other emotional screw are they going to turn
When I hear a howl and sniffly-slurf from Madge and I’m brought back to a seven-year-old’s reality and realize that having your Daddy not recognize you as you’re being dragged off by the police (she stressed the police part when talking about it) must be horrific
And now I’m crying, too, trying to soothe Madge while keeping Coco quiet between us.
Oh, it was a mess.

Like I said, Stories for kids are mean.

Madge’s verdict of the movie, by the way, was that it’s not as good as the book and that the ending is too scary.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Fables are back

Okay, I’m back on the Fable track again. You've missed them, haven't you. Basically, I’m doing it because of Lessing’s book of fables. Specifically this one (pardon the stiff translation).

Bk.I, Nr. 9, The Steed
Upon a fiery steed proudly fled an impertinent boy. Thereupon a wild steer cried to the steed: Shame! I would not let myself be ruled by a boy!
But I, replied the steed. For what sort of honor would it bring me to throw off a boy?

It haunts me, especially since I run into this dilemma every day with the kids. On the one hand, I feel that they run all over me. On the other hand, I would feel terrible to really let loose on them. I’m pretty mean already, sometimes.
To both sides I can only say, “But…”

So that’s what I’m hoping to achieve in my fables. Two equally compelling sides, with the seemingly incorrect one emerging triumphant. Or is it better to be a wild steer than a fiery steed?

Suppose, for example, that your country’s infantile elected leader were riding the country like a madman. Would it be shameful to topple him, because, after all, he’s just an idiot?

Or does the image not apply to that specific situation because there is someone with a shotgun (pardon the cheap shot) ready to take control of the steed one the boy is thrown?

M Fable

The Mouse and the Moral

A mouse ran into a moral and complained. “You always manipulate me, just to make your point. First I’m typecast as something small and timid and then I’m set to do something extraordinary like help a huge animal in distress. Can’t you just leave me alone?”
To which the moral answered, “I wish I could. At least you have a variety of roles. Predictable, sure, but usually you come out looking good or upstaging the larger creatures. I have no choice. I always get trotted out to make a tale more palatable for those who like to assign readings.”
“I understand,” the mouse said. “But couldn’t you just let me be myself?”
“I’ll try,” answered the moral.
Just then a cat came along, trapped the mouse, toyed with it for a while, and, tired of that activity, ate it.
The moral hung its head and sighed.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Tristram Shandy

Originally I wanted to blog about the movie I saw last night, Tristram Shandy.
It's awesome. I loved it. All I will say for now is that it's well worth seeing, if only for the out-of-body laugh you get from the hot-chestnut-in-my-pants slapstick.
That made no sense. What I mean is that the whole movie is so "clever" and "smart" in the way those words are supposed to mean that witnessing genuine slapstick is a true relief, and yet you can't watch the scene without being aware that you're being put on and manipulated with cheap, low-common-denomiator humor.
Let me say it again. I loved it.

the mailbag

I get comments, occasionally. Yay! Here’s one:
you could take up running as a kid-free activity, but i'm not sure if something that's just for your own betterment (not the family's) would feel as 'productive'...

Actually, if you parse it right for yourself, running is a selfless activity. The logic goes like this: I’m getting older, as are the kids. For them it means they’re getting bigger and stronger. For me it means I’m getting bigger and weaker. Therefore, in order to keep up and be a physically entertaining Dad (kids can’t always work out with ironies and Beta versions of jokes-to-be), I need to keep in shape. See? I run for them.
I have a double-wide running stroller. So it’s not really a kid-free activity. Sure, with the iPod in my ears and the kids in front of me, either sleeping or reading or genially admiring the landscape, it is almost a solitary activity.
On a tangent here, but related. One of the reasons I doubt I’d make a good stand-up (aside from the obvious lack of time and, gulp, hard-hitting humor talent) is that I don’t like repeating my jokes.
Yet, when I go running, the following two set-ups always present themselves, and I’m running out of varieties of the same punch lines.
Situation 1:
Me: Excuse me. Coming through!
Pedestrians: Watch out. A double-wide.
Me (patting my hips as I pass): Aw, c’mon. I’m working on it.
Situation 2 (when running with only Coco in the double stroller):
Pedestrian (almost always a male): You lost one.
Me (screeching to a halt, slapping forehead): Oh, crap! Where?
There are other standard lines I hear for which I still need to come up with short answers:
Shouldn’t they be pushing you?
Soon they’ll be pushing you?
Ah, that’s the life. [addressed to the kids]
The time goes by faster than you think.
But in none of these do the speakers really open themselves to a quick comeback. They need to be pried open a little to expose the laziness inherent in the comment and probed to see if they see it as well and have a sense of humor about it.
So my witty response is: “Yeah.”
(Except for the last one. If anyone uses the phrasing, “IT goes by so fast,” I can say, “Why, thank you. Just wait till I really pick up the speed.”
But I’m usually stuck with “yeah.”

doctor's office

We just came back. It's always a bad sign when someone opens a box lunch as you step into the waiting room.
A Bento box.
And someone else is in the middle of a tea ceremony.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

We did it

Fresh Direct.
I suspect
Their marketers are shrewd.

They reflect.
Then deflect
With “It’s about the food.”

I’ll inject
By claiming they are crazy.

I expect
I’m correct
With “It’s about the lazy.”

Yep, we ordered out groceries to be delivered to the house. But, because I waited for the kids to be asleep before I finalized the order - and because I read and played guitar and surfed the web and procrastinated in any other way I could think of - I missed the 11pm deadline for the next day's delivery.
Net result: Coco was better and we could have gone out but now had to stay in the apartment to wait for the truck to arrive.
Irony is a busy god.
The kids didn't care, though, they'd gotten used to staying home and watching movies. Something it's been hard to break this weekend. Wish me luck for the coming week.
I have mixed feelings about my Fresh Direct order. It worked fabulously, of course. And after a few orders, I’m sure I’ll be able to figure out which items are a good value and which aren’t and how to maximize what they do. Clearly, since we don’t have a car, I’ll do best to have them schlep the heavy (drinks, watermelon) and the bulky (toilet paper) things. Fresh items I’ll order by phone from Union Market or even pick up myself.
See, here’s where the mixed feelings come in. There are a few activities that let me feel productive and yet let me get away from the kids. One of them used to be washing dishes, which I didn’t mind because of this fact, but now that we have a dishwasher, I’m not going back. The other is going shopping when the kids don’t want to (which seems to be more frequent of late), which means that I wait until Julie gets home, strap on the iPod and set out into the wild to forage.
If I could substitute these activities with other child-free things I’d give them up without qualms, but as it is, I just don’t know. Still, I think the indulgences are winning.
Next step, tattoo. What do you say?Then I’ll figure out how to flush a twenty down the toilet without breaking out in tears.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Marco Polo

We’ve been going to the pool more, lately (discounting, of course, the chicken pox break). And every day there’s kids there, playing “Marco Polo,” the game where one kid has his or her eyes closed (sure they do) and the others help him or her along by answering “Polo” every time the one who is it (the voluntarily self-blinded one) says “Marco.”
Ah, good times.
Remember them? Remember cheating by going underwater? Or out of the pool? Or by not answering because the nominated “Marco” was getting too close and he’d listen for your panting breath like some Hitchcock thriller? It’s an inane game, and yet you’d try to “beat the system” because, really, the house (Marco) always wins.
All the kids except for the blinded one are moving backwards in order to keep an eye out for potential cheating and for last-minute evasive maneuvers. And they’re continually backing into innocent bystanders and their kids – the smarter innocent bystanders circulate in the lap lane. Let me tell you, I hadn’t noticed the obesity thing as much until recently. Some of those Polo-ists are bulky.
How, by the way, did that game develop? How does adding water to a game of “blind man’s buff” equal shouting the name of a Venetian explorer? Where’s the link? And if the one who is “it” is “Marco” why is he shouting his own first name only to hear his surname in response? Was he supposedly senile? Or an egomaniac? If I were a descendant of the Polo line (the Venetians, not the nasty Florentines or Ralph Laurentians), I’d sue.
It’s become automatic for me to expect a resounding “Polo” every time I hear some kid shout “Marco.” So it was quite a surprise today when I heard a kid shout “Marco” and nobody answered. I thought, “Oh, man. Poor kid. They told him they’d play and then all left him alone when his eyes were closed.”
But the kid kept shouting “Marco” at regular intervals and his eyes were open.
Finally he found his friend.
I think if my name were Marco I’d look for a nickname before I went to the pool. That kid must be going nuts when the games are in full swing.

It: Marco!
Marco: What?
Kids: Polo!
Marco: Oh.
Ca Capo al Pool Closing.

Friday, August 04, 2006


It's a proud American heritage, why not embrace it?
I'm kidding, of course. My only encounter with "No Irish Need Apply" is from Mark Twain's Roughing It, in which it appears as a brainless slogan shouted out in order to pick a fight. Or put one's dukes up or whatever. It's so archaic, though, that I wish someone would try it and see what sort of response it engenders. Not me, of course.
As to "others of the same kidney," I'm still not sure that can be beat. But I welcome suggestions.
Boring, common alternatives, are:
others of the same cloth
others of the same ilk
others of the same persuasion
color? is that one?
How about:
others of the same tax bracket
others of the same pant size
others of the same I.Q.
others of the same hair colorist
others of the same dietary restrictions
ah, the possibilities are seemingly endless. It seems to be something that needs to be tailored to the situation.
Generically, however, I still vote for kidney.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Archaic phrase

Every once in a while I run across an older phrase I wish I could incorporate in my daily speech without confusing listeners. (No Irish Need Apply is one of them, though I don't have the physical strength to back it up in case someone actually gets it.) The phrase I ran across tonight (while reading to Madge - she's letting me read to her again, yay! Now that she can read "inside her head" my "funny voices" aren't so appealing anymore) is, "others of the same kidney."
Say that a few times. Isn't it great?
Now go use it and tell me how it worked for you.

I'll be in my office

I got this in an email that was entitled “Employee of the Month.” Clearly that title was given by an optimistic manager type.
What, really, is this person (I’m guessing it’s a woman) doing?

Taking advantage of a space that is more private and larger than her cubicle.
Updating her blog.
Checking if there really is “Wi-Fi access throughout the entire building.”
Trying to avoid electronic eavesdropping. (Unclear on the concept, obviously.)
Figuring out how to fix her “blocked progress” on WebMD.

But really, what I don’t get is why – other than for photographic purposes – the laptop isn’t actually on her lap? Wouldn’t that be more comfortable AND less obvious?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Is it stealing

to appropriate someone else's blog photo? (I'm quite sure they got the picture from some other source, themselves.)
I found this picture on the
jawboneradio blog.

It's part of a caption contest there. My caption would be too personal for broader acceptance, so I didn't post it there.

It would be something along the lines of,

"No, really, honey. There's a princess in movie and furry animals. All the little girls love it. Now can we watch Star Wars?"

or, "What?! A light-saber is phallic, you say? Well, I never!"

One of the Greats retires

One of the great things about Indian restaurants is the lunchtime (all you can eat) buffet. You get to sample foods you might not otherwise be able to recognize by what’s written on the menu, and you get to eat all you want. (I write “want,” but I still view the “can” as a challenge.)
Unfortunately, the Indian restaurants in Park Slope don’t offer this fun option.
Last week, there was a
news story with the headline, “India’s ‘monster eater’ retires.” I wrote this limerick for Wait W. which (for obvious reasons) didn’t air.

There was a big man in Kizhakkumpattukara,
an all-you-can-eat buffet wizhakkumpattukara.
But nothing could squelch
his post-lunchtime belch.
No seltzer has got enough fizzhakkumpattukara.

Then, today, I see a sign at Star India that announces an all-you-can-eat buffet brunch.
Hm. Coincidence?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

among my issues, you'll find

There are some things for which I am too stubbornly middle class or something. By “or something” I mean not affluent enough.
I can’t really get myself to do the following, mostly because of the cost, but sometimes because of the social hierarchy implied in the transaction:
Get a tattoo.
Get a pedicure.
Have my shoes shined.
Have a maid.
Have a nanny.
Have groceries delivered to the house.
Literally flush a $20 bill down the toilet. (I have the feeling this would be very liberating, though.)

But I have done the following, even though it either took some convincing or it took someone else footing the bill:
Have movers pack, move, and unpack our things.
Get a manicure (Julie couldn’t make it to the appointment, so I took it).
Get a massage (it was paid for, though).
Pay for a cart at the airport.
I’m sure there’s more, but I’ve probably blocked them from my memory somehow.

In other words, I appreciate the suggestion, but I don’t know if I’ll take advantage of it.