Saturday, September 30, 2006

Diner Bust

For lunch today, we ate at a diner. Because the sign said "Grecian" we thought it might be like the place we frequented in Chicago's Hyde Park when we lived there, Valois, whose tag line was "See your food." (They're still fighting a lawsuit with the American Association of the Visually Impaired - bzzzzting!)

But no. This place was a disappointment in terms of food, quality of service (or even attitude that might make up for bad service), and price. The only redeeming thing was this old guy in the booth next to ours. Julie says he was teasing the waitresses and pulling on their apron strings. (How old to I have to be for that behavior to be okay?) But he left soon thereafter, so we were stuck with nothing but a learning experience. One more place we don't need to go back to.
Nevertheless, click on the photo to enlarge it. He really is cute.

Friday, September 29, 2006


Which one of these is a more worthwhile way to spend your time and energy: Making a replica of
San Francisco in Jell-O or going for the world’s record in wearing bees as clothing?
(Or finding this kind of thing on the web and commenting on it?)
You can’t help but love human beings and their indomitable spirit, drive, and vision.
I’m off to get some honey.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A link to be followed (rare, I know)

I'm really tired today. Not only did I stay up late for limericks (that's nothing new on a Wednesday night), but I got a tetanus shot and I have a feeling that is wearing my body out more than my brain will admit.
Luckily, I got the new Oxford American in the mail today.
And, as always, Roy Blount, jr., doesn't dissapoint. (So it's lengthier than the stuff you usually read here, but it's worth your while, believe me.)
I feel that a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I've never liked Bob Dylan's music (or lyrics, even). And whenever I've asked anyone to explain it's appeal to me, the answer seemed to boil down to: I was young and it was the first time I paid attention to someone using words in a creative way. -- Okay, I'm paraphrasing, but I defy you to prove me wrong.
But I don't mean to antagonize. I have come to realize that Dylan-ites are best treated with a bemused nod and, after they've talked themselves out, with a change of subject.
So, along similar lines:
What do you do when a pit bull humps your leg?
You fake an orgasm and slowly back away.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Home, Sick

This one needs to be a quickie, because Madge is home with me, sick. So she says.
Really, her voice is gone which is detrimental for school because, as a 7-year-old, it is mandatory to shout at the top of your lungs at all times – except when asked a direct question by an adult, at which point it becomes incumbent to mumble.

But her staying home reminds me of my past and my multiple, conveniently timed tummy aches.

To this day I don’t know whether my parents took me to the hospital (and made me stay until I could leave a stool sample, an activity which was stifled by the scariness of the situation) to call my bluff or because they were genuinely concerned.

Maybe they’ll tell me after they read this entry. Check the comments for the answer…

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Captions, please

My friend Markus took this picture and kindly allowed me to use it. He's a good photographer, mostly because he gets so much practice taking pictures of his ultra-cute family.

This rooster isn't, as far as I know, a member of his direct family, but he seems to have a grudge as if he were.

Markus obviously has a way with animals, as you can tell. If it weren't suggestive or crude, I'd call him "The [synonym for rooster, rhymes with "rock"] Whisperer." There you go, having my cake and eating it, too.

Feel free to submit a caption in the comments.

Here's some of mine (one of which was used before, the other one being a joke I've used somewhere else):

"Eh? The What Whisperer? Well, speak up, sonny, I can't hear you."

"Think you're smart, hunh? Look in your next omelette, Einstein, I may have left you a little surprise."

"If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times: No unapproved pictures of Suri."

"None of your business, pal. Why did YOU cross the road? For a piece of me?"

Monday, September 25, 2006

A little quiz

Someone took the time to make this quiz. It tells us something we already know: Computer programmers are as socially adaptable as serial killers, though the serial killers are better dressers. (Both live with their mommies, but serial killers still listen to maternal advice - which is what ultimately drives them around the bend.)
Enjoy. It's quick.
(And it saved me the time of whipping up a whole new blog entry, which would have meant that I'd get to work sooner, if Blogger hadn't been acting up and kept me working away at trying to get this published. Anyway, there's a biting incident I should relate...)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Anniversary in Chelsea

Cue the dirge: wom-wooooo, wom-waaaaa…
As I mentioned (parenthetically), we have now lived in NYC for a year. To celebrate, we went back to the neighborhood where we stayed in corporate housing to have lunch at the place we frequented, Toasties. The place is still good. In New York, it’s a miracle that it’s still there. So things were looking good for the place where I wanted to have dessert: Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
But, alas…

All you can see is the ghost of the sign. This place, however, was still there.

Unfortunately, their baking doesn’t measure up to their marketing, so I didn’t get any buns to sink my teeth into.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Felicie Translation

I got a great comment today. Green Clementine took the time to translate the Felicie text for me. This internet thing is great, no?
[My responses and comments will be in brackets, the rest is the text as it appears in the comments for that day]:

This video made me laugh so much! [It’s so good, it makes me laugh more every time. His face, when he has the audience sing the words for him, is priceless. There’s also
a book of photos of Fernandel in which he responds to a reporter’s questions only with facial expressions. – I say “also,” but actually the book is the reason I looked for him on YouTube in the first place.] Last time I heard it I was much too young to understand any of it. [Funny how good some of that old stuff really is. Especially the stuff about the sexes, particularly because it had to be indirect.] And as a special thanks to you, here is a rough translation [thank you]:

Felicie [Felicity is the English name, right?] too

It was in the corner of the Boulogne Woods*
Where I met Felicie
She came from the Bourgogne Region (= country girl)
And I came in a taxi
[The laugh in the video at this point might imply that he’s on the lookout for hookers – see the note on the Bois de Boulogne. But I think people are mostly laughing at his great timing.]
I soon found an opportunity
To start a conversation

The weather was wonderful
I sat on the grass
Felicie too [throughout, I think “Felicity did, too” brings out the double meanings most clearly]
I thought the trees are coming into bud
And mushrooms [snapdragons] are hatching/spreading [blossoming/breaking out]**
Felicie too [yes, zits and whatnot]
Next to us a bird was singing
The dew was dripping
Felicie too (= is sweating) [someone else even suggested drooling]
A bell tower was ringing
He had a funny bell
Felicie too (= weird face) [in German, the “cloche” (Glocke, bell) would refer to her nose, but funny face seems to be the consensus]

To seduce this pussy [cat]
I took her out at Chartier’s
As she is a fine lady
She ordered a roasted pork’s trotter [pig’s feet]
And while eating her trotter [actually, just “hers”]
I stroked her foot with mine.

I had lobster with tomato sauce
He [it] had hairy legs
Felicie too
Then I had some sort of pasta dish
Which looked like an andouille***
Felicie too [here I think it refers to her legs being like sausages, but entendres don’t always end at “double,” do they]
I had a gibelotte**** [my dictionary says “rabbit stew”]
Which smelt of shallot
Felicie too
Then a pear and a waffle
Only the pear was overripe
Felicie too [I think it’s still just the smell, but you never know how far the “overripeness” goes]

The Aramon wine was making her feeling dizzy
She whispered “when you’re ready”so
I took my trophy [conquest]
To the nearest hotel
It was the hotel of Abyssinia
And Calvados in one. (Calvados = part of Normandy) [I’m quite sure “reuniting Abyssinia with Calvados” implies some sort of joke, but it may just be that the hotel smelled like the liquor which carries the name of that region]

I thought the room was mundane [plain, ordinary]
It was very dusty
Felicie too [it may just be that she is dirty, but someone suggested that a disease is implied – I don’t know]
I quickly washed my hands
The sink had a leak
Felicie too [this one throws me for a loop. The writers may just be aiming at a funny image or incontinence, but I’m wondering what sort of disease she might have. And then I stop myself, since the song is from, what, the 40s?]
Under the wardrobe there was a chock [a shim, a wedge]
Coz it was very wonky [bow-legged]
Felicie too
There was also an armchair
Which was covered in fleas
Felicie too

The sheets were very flabby
And tickled [aroused] my legs
Felicie too [now, because this ends the song, my “comedio-poetic” mind tells me that it ought to mean as much as “makes me want to run away,” but no one else has suggested this yet. Nevertheless, I think it would make sense and a good ending for the song.]
[Thanks again, Green Clementine]

Mister Manners

I was picking up Madge from school. Coco had fallen asleep on the way, and, since our small stroller broke, I was holding him in my arms. Coco weighs about 35 lbs. by now, so he’s quite a big Thanksgiving Turkey. Though uncomfortable, I was trying to suffer silently because waking him up would only mean trouble – in this case trouble would come in the shape of wanting to go home to watch a movie.
(Lately he tries to keep himself from falling asleep by obsessing about something and then he drifts off mid-obsession and picks up where he left off the moment he wakes up. For example – this happened last night – he can’t possibly fall asleep right now because he wants a chocolate chip cookie. So we set off for the store and on the way he falls asleep, which means that we get the bare minimum of groceries because all of a sudden there’s a lot more to carry. Then we get home and the first thing out of his mouth when he wakes up is, “Chocolate Chip Cookies!”)
So a parent/friend comes by and says, “I’ve been there.”
A harmless comment, really. But my lower back is cramping up while he is momentarily child-free and, I can sense, wants to have a conversation until the kids come out – usually a nice way to pass the time (unless some kid is tugging at you trying to get your attention for more important matters like a game of peek-a-boo behind a tree that’s perilously close to traffic).
Anyway, conversations tend to wake up anybody I’m holding – physics being what they are and my resonating chest cavity being close to whomever I’m holding. But Julie has taught me enough social graces to keep me from just snorting. So I said the third or fourth thing that came to my mind.
I said, “I’m there now.”
In my world, this qualifies as not rude.
What do you think? On a rudeness scale of 1 (Dale Carnegie) to 10 (Don Rickles when he’s not Mr. Potatohead), how do you rate it?

You're Welcome

This should help get your weekend off to a good start.

Pictures like this are like Midnight, GMT, for biological clocks.

Those eyes...

Lookie here

Photography credits: Madge G., 2006
Okay, so picture doesn’t really show it, but the most amazing thing happened to me.
It’s never happened before.
Women are talking to me. Some of them even look at me.
And this is without my having the kids about, mind you. Talking to me. Me.
Usually I get the warmest smiles from women because I happen to have really cute kids. But when the kids are no longer around, I just smile at averted heads. But no more.
It appears that, with my new haircut, I am no longer a hideous beast. All you pretty or otherwise normal people might not find this at all unusual. It is a surprise to me, though. I’m having real conversations, with smiles and everything. I now know four first names to faces I’ve known for almost a year. (Btw., as of this week, we’ve lived in NY for a year.)
I haven’t gotten this many friendly looks since I’ve strolled through the Castro after forgetting to zip up my pants.
Now I just need to lose some weight and I’ll be unstoppable.

No. Wait. That's not the right word; I just looked it up.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

My pay-off

Thinking about yesterday’s post, I realized that I do wheedle some sort of payment for letting other people’s kids play with us (suck out my energy is what they do, those little ghouls). It goes something like this (“five-six-seh-veneight”):
The set-up:
“We gotta go soon. Time for dinner. When do you guys eat?”
“What do you eat?”
“When do you go to bed?”
“Where do you sleep?”
“What time do you get up?”
The punch:
“Which one of your parents smells worse in the morning?”
“Which one of your parents gets cranky sooner?”
“Do they just yell, or what do they do?”
And the kids are off and running, as is my digital voice recorder.

Honestly, the set-up questions really are the ones that get the kids to spill the beans. The trick is to find a topic that is something they fight about with their parents (bedtime, TV, candy, getting dressed, going places on time, etc), then make sure they know you’re on their side. The dirt on the parents surfaces on its own. Well worth your while sometimes.

Especially when the moms are cute, but stuck up.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Down Time

Sometimes I’m a smart-ass. Sometimes I’m not so smart.
Here’s the story.

Madge is taking ballet class again. Once a week. Forty-five minutes, really, but the whole afternoon is used up getting a snack, getting things together, walking there (or taking a bus when it rains) – all fairly quickly because it’s “only” an hour after she gets out of school; waiting for class to be over; packing up again, getting a snack on the way home, and finally detoxing and making dinner and doing homework and getting ready for bed.
The middle part is the toughest: waiting for class to be over. I figure I deserve a little break; but Coco figures he deserves to be entertained. We’re both right, of course.

The first time we went, I tried walking around the neighborhood, but there’s nothing entertaining for a three-year-old within walking distance that can be taken care of in the 45 minutes (walking there + activity + walking back = longer than you think). No good. But, in the ballet school’s waiting room, there was a kid with some cars, and luckily he shared with Coco, and we were good.
So this time I figured I’ll buy Coco new toy and he’ll just play in the waiting room while I read. Not a bad plan, really.
Coco’s not good at sharing new toys and there are a whole lot of other bored kids in the waiting room – waiting for five minutes is excruciating when you’re younger than ten, if memory and evidence serve. So right away there’s a problem. And Coco isn’t good at communicating an unwillingness to share. I think because he knows he ought to.
So I helped him out a few times, but got a bit tired of it.

“Hey, kid. Could you please ask him before you grab his new toy?”
[Can I? – No.] “Hey, kid. He said No. Don’t play with his new toy.” [?] “Put it down.”

“Hey, kid. His toy is really new and he’s not ready to share it yet. I’m sure you know what it feels like.” [Yeah.] “Hey, kid. Put down the toy.”

“Hey, kid. Don’t crowd him, either. He’ll share when he’s ready.” [?] “Put down the toy.”

And in my mind I’m thinking, “Where the *&$!! are the mothers and nannies?” I hate it when kids congregate around me because I’m the only guy around and they know: Adult Male = Energetic Physical Fun. (Unless, of course, the mothers or nannies are particularly cute, but that has to be in some sort of proportion to my effort and tiredness – it’s a complicated formula.) But I’m not always that kind of Adult Male, because I stay at home and I’ve learned to pace myself. And this, dammit, was my down time.

Next came a group of girls Madge’s age and Coco really didn’t know what to do. They’re smarter than the previous batch of little weasels, see? And he knows how she plays and they did exactly what she does. The picked up the pieces he wasn’t touching at the moment and said, “But he’s not playing with these. But we’re only looking.” They think I’m an idiot. And then they did the persuasive thing with him, showing him how he might play with his toy more efficiently or more imaginatively (read: their way).
So Coco lowered his head and slumped in that dejected Charlie-Brown way he has.

Meanwhile, I’ve reread the same paragraph three times and still didn’t know what was going on in my book. And there are still no other caretakers interfering.
I should present them with a bill next time. [Ooooh. That’s actually a great idea, next time I’m at the playground. “Here, lady, I ran around the playground three times with your kid and played tag for 10 minutes, while sat on your ass and talked on your cell phone. You now owe me $15.” See how that goes over.] Anyway, I shooed the pink gaggle away from him.

Finally, there was a kid who had just come out of his dance class. He grabbed a car that was laying around and drove it through the pieces of Coco’s toy. Coco growled, “Aaaaaargh.” The kid drove the car around some more and through the pieces of Coco’s toy. Coco growled, “Aaaaaargh.” The kid drove the car around some more…
So I placed down my book in my rehearsed exasperated eye-rolling manner and said, “Do it again, kid. See if he likes it this time. It’ll be great.” Sometimes I forget that not all kids are fluent in sarcasm.
So, for the first time all afternoon, a mother comes over. Doesn’t look at me, of course, or Coco, but talks to her kid (loudly) about the guy not being happy with the way he’s driving through the toys and maybe if he wants to play he should introduce himself and then she asks Coco his name.

So I’m involved in dealing with someone else’s kid again! Because of course I feel guilty, especially since finally this kid may be learning something. But Coco’s speech still needs translating, especially for a bully kid who doesn’t really give a wet diaper about the whole proceedings. Luckily, I kept the “smart” part of my smart-assiness in check, and she figured it was time they went home.

Writing about it, I’m all worked up again. Grrr. Grrr-grrr-grrrrrrr!
Here’s a rule: Just because you see me interacting with my kids, don’t try to foist yours off on me.
And, as sub-clause: If you see me relaxing around my kids because they are somehow otherwise occupied, stay the hell away. I think I’ve earned it. And I’ll bite.
Unless, of course, you can claim the Cuteness Exemption.

I still haven’t finished that paragraph.

"Later" Hosen Update

I got him to wear them, briefly. Looks like Pinocchio, doesn't he?
"I got no strings
To hold me down..."
This kind of pants, btw., is ideal for absorbing spankings. But terrible for quick trips to the bathroom - that flap is really quite unmanageable.
So the lesson is, make sure you go potty before you get kinky.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Speaking of things you do in restaurants.
Women seem to have an aversion to going to the bathroom alone. (To the location - I assume they split up to use separate stalls.) So they go in groups.
No problem.
But then they return and complain about the long line at the ladies' room.
Is that one of them "internal contradictions of late capitalism" you read about in People magazine?
Or just human nature?


I feel grown up now. I got a pair of boots this weekend. Sure, they’re new boots, but the term “new boots” would be misleading; it would make readers assume I already had a pair of boots. I have had boots before, of course. But these are real boots. The ones I’ve had before were either rubber, lace-up, or moon. These are the real deal.
I’d feel tough now, but the weather turned warm again, and I haven’t had a chance to wear them yet.
Should I wish for bad weather?
I feel fairly proud about the whole thing because I don’t know if I’m a boot person or not. It feels like a change of attitude. Buying them was a chore. Well, the buying part was easy, thanks to the magic of credit cards, but the shopping part. Ick.
Luckily, though, it turns out that I have the New York Average Display size – Men’s 8 ½ - so I only need a store clerk to help me if I want the mate to the shoe (or boot) on display. That sure saves me a lot of hassle.
And now I’m the proud owner of the boots you see in the picture. You’re thinking of me in a different light now, aren’t you?

I went shopping for the boots with a friend – I needed moral shopping support for this step. And he liked the boots, too, but didn’t want to copy me. Silly, but understandable.
It’s like going to a restaurant and not wanting to order the same meal as the person you’re with. You see it in movies all the time – someone doesn’t really look at the menu, says, “I’ll have the same,” and folds the thing up to hand it, nonchalantly, to the waitperson. But there seems to be a taboo about doing this in real life. In real life it tends to be – “What are you ordering? Oh. How about we share that and I’ll order [this other thing I don’t really want] as well?”
Anyway, he didn’t try on the same boots. But I made him go back and try them on anyway, because he became increasingly jealous of these great boots. He asked for a size that was too small, couldn’t get his feet in them, and we went to eat instead of trying some more. (He doesn’t have kids, so he could, theoretically, go shopping anytime – I really just needed him for moral and style support. – Thank, P.!)
Here’s what I’m getting to. I went online to tease him with pictures of the boot and found other great ones as well.

I also nosed through the company’s “history” and found this bit of writing. I include it here for the kids in my SAT Prep class on writing. It should be easy to fix. Send me an email about it:

Frye products have a long and illustrious history; Frye boots were worn by soldiers for both sides of America's Civil War, soldiers in the Spanish- American war, and for Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders.

Really. That’s what it says. Now, do I feel less proud of my boots? No – boot manufacturers don’t need no grammar. If it were the Kenneth Cole site, I’d be crying now. But I’m – sniff – okay with this.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Laughing in a foreign language

You'll be glad to hear I have a new song obsession.
It's "Felicie Aussi" as sung by Fernandel. I found it while playing around in YouTube, so here's the initial encounter:

Weird thing, laughter. I know this song is funny because the audience laughs and because one of the band members in the background cracks up. I know enough French to get by. (Enough, even, to get a hotel room with a TV rather than a bathroom during the World Cup in France - in Nantes, to be specific - while telling my wife-to-be that this was the best I could do; we had one of our better fights after she found out -- and the biggest irony of the incident: the concierge spoke perfect English.) Where was I? Yes, I can understand some of what's going on, but not really. Only because the people were laughing did I know something else was going on. And, after the third listen or so, I got clued in to the double entendres. And what did it? The puce toward the end. (See, lore has it that puce is the color developed by the French court to hide fleas - camouflaging their presence by making the draperies the same color.) So I figured, "Hey, the couch has fleas, Felicie aussi (too)? That's funny! I wonder what the rest of the song is about?"

So I got the song off iTunes and found the lyrics on-line, too. Here they are.

Felicie aussi

C'est dans un coin du bois d'Boulogne

Que j'ai rencontré Félicie
Elle arrivait de la Bourgogne
Et moi j'arrivai en Taxi
Je trouvai vite une occasion
D'engager la conversation

Il faisait un temps superbe
Je me suis assis sur l'herbe
Félicie aussi
J'pensais les arbres bourgeonnent
Et les gueules de loup boutonnent
Félicie aussi
Près de nous sifflait un merle
La rosée faisait des perles
Félicie aussi
Un clocher sonnait tout proche
Il avait une drôle de cloche
Félicie aussi

Afin d'séduire la petite chatte
Je l'emmenai dîner chez Chartier
Comme elle est fine et délicate
Elle prit un pied d'cochon grillé
Et pendant qu'elle mangeait le sien
J'lui fit du pied avec le mien

J'pris un homard sauce tomates
Il avait du poil au pattes
Félicie aussi
Puis une sorte de plat aux nouilles
On aurait dit une andouille
Félicie aussi
Je m'offris une gibelotte
Elle embaumait l'échalotte
Félicie aussi
Puis une poire et des gaufrettes
Seulement la poire était blette
Félicie aussi

L'Aramon lui tournant la tête
Elle murmura " quand tu voudras "
Alors j'emmenai ma conquête
Dans un hôtel tout près de là
C'était l'hotêl d'Abyssinie
Et du Calvados réuni

J'trouvai la chambre ordinaire
Elle était pleine de poussière
Félicie aussi
Je m'lavai les mains bien vite
L'lavabo avait une fuite
Félicie aussi
Sous l'armoire y avait une cale
Car elle était toute bancale
Félice aussi
Y avait un fauteuil en plus
Mais il était rempli d'puce
Félicie aussi

Et des draps de toiles molles
Me chatouillaient les guiboles
Félicie aussi

Now I just have to find out what they mean and why these people are laughing. I'm working on it. And I'm enlisting the help of anyone who speaks French and has a dirty mind.
When I obsess, I obsess.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Song Sticking

When I worked at a coffee shop, we had an unofficial game. Let’s call it Song Sticking.
The rules are simple. Hum or sing a song. If one of your colleagues picks up the melody, you can score a point for yourself. If the same colleague (or a different one) sings the song five minutes later, you can gloat. If the colleague gets cranky because the song isn’t leaving the colleague’s head, make yourself a Mocha Steamer and go home.
The point system is vague, of course. In the case of Julie and “Buttercup,” I could at least gloat now, if not make her take out the trash or something.
Obviously, certain techniques work better than others. Tailing off after an antecedent phrase, for example, makes your colleagues want to supply the consequent.
And some songs work better than others. Beatles’ songs get stuck easily, for example, but people aren’t usually upset about this.
There are also secret weapons, of course. I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard, “Dammit. Now I can’t get ‘Christ lag in Todesbanden’ (BWV 4) out of my head.”

Friday, September 15, 2006

Happy day

Julie called.
She's upset.
It turns out she was about to do something at work and started singing to herself.
What did she sing? you ask.
"WHAA do you build me up (build me up), Buttercup, ..."
Hee, hee.
And she hates the song.
Essay question:
"Buttercup" is a better song to have stuck in your head than "My Sharona."
Make sure to cite at least three historical sources.

gmail psychics

I couldn't make this up, mostly because I'm not that tasteless.
I just got an email from someone with the last name Goldblatt who forwarded an email from someone with the last name Goldstein.
Gmail, in its infinite wisdom, linked (you know how it links articles that might relate to a part of the message you're reading? - well, you know now) a story from CNN titled "Sources: Five Palestinian intlligence officers killed in Gaza."
Is Gmail claiming that the Goldblatt and -stein combo doesn't have an alibi?
I think the Gold[blank]s should sue.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


In case you're keeping track.
Madge now loves gym. Of all the reasons why, here's hers: Because they got to play dodge-ball.
There go all the stereotypes.

That's my girl.

Letting go

When you walk around our neighborhood, you often see books the used book stores won't buy (should that be "used-book store"?).

Looks like someone's been weaned.

Judging by the antiquated book cover design (nice vaseline on the lens - slightly more current than a wood-cut), it happened just in time to send the kid to college.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Toe-tapping depression

One of the things that linger from my musical education is that I still, occasionally, get obsessed with a song.
Thanks to Liam McEneaney’s blog, I’m now obsessed with “Buttercup.” Just ask Julie, she doesn’t like the song, so she just rolls her eyes whenever I bust out with “WHAA do you build me up (build me up), Buttercup, baby just to let me down (let me down) mess me around…mumble, mumble…I need you (I need you) more than anyone, darlin’” etc.
Liam posted a YouTube video of The Foundations doing this song and defied me (anyone, really) to not smile and tap some toes.
True enough.
But this, it turns out, is one of those songs that has messed up my relationships with females for a long time. (Which is just another way of saying what Julie says about the song: the words are stupid.)
So here’s a first, I’ll try to link a YouTube thingie for a similar song – for me. The Supremes (bad Diana-Ross-posture and all – I don’t know if Ed Sullivan or Diana Ross has the worse hunchback here) doing The Happening.

See, Motown songs have this weird knack of linking the most uplifting tunes with lyrics of people getting dumped or let down or stood up* or dying of a terminal illnes. "Dip-dip-de-doo, Brain-cancer. Dum-boo-wee, only ten more weeks."
As a result, I was never happy in a relationship until I could snap my fingers, bop my head, go “whoo-ooo” and be thrilled about being alone on a weekend, waiting by the telephone, ooo-ooo (ooo-ooo) WHAA do you build me up...

*This, incidentally, seems like the beginning to a Country Song, "Stand me up or let me down, just don't leave me hanging in the balance."

Fashion woes

It’s bugging me, so I’m blogging it. That’s the logic of these things.
My pants. A while ago, I lost some weight. (Some of it found me again, but that’s a different story.) And, as I lost said ballast, I noticed I was stepping on the hems of my pants with the heels of my shoes.
No problem, says adaptable me, when I get new pants, I’ll get them thinner and shorter.
But inseams only come in 2-inch-increments. And now (this has taken a few years, I’m a little dense when it comes to clothing) I’m noticing that my ankles get exposed more than would be acceptable for an 1890’s gal. And that’s just not cool.
So last week I got the longer inseam again. And I’m stepping on my pants again! (The exclamation is not one of joy, but one of frustration.) Does anyone make a 31-inch inseam? Would that help me? I can’t wear shorts all winter, can I? Skirts, then.
Leggings. I’ll bring back leggings. Watch me go.

Two sides of a coin

On the one hand,
dropping kids off late and showing up to a meeting in full swing

Don’t worry,
It was just a parent orientation at Coco’s school so there was no real need to hurry

sweating from the trip there is a cause for Daddy to be stressed.
On the other hand,
our friend Coco refused any help in getting himself dressed.
(More or lessed.)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Paren't

I really shouldn’t be spending so much time on this blogging thing, but the coffee just kicked in and I’m buzzing with - let’s call them ideas.
I initially had a typo in the title of the last post. It read: A paren’t life.
Not one to pass up a Freudian slip when it is showing (badum-bum), I’ve worked up this little ditty:

When you reproduce
You know “yes” has no use.
Saying “No!” to your kids is inherent.
Don’t be obtuse.
There is no excuse.
It’s apparent that you are a paren’t.

A parent's life

As a parent, I don’t think you can help projecting things onto your child’s personality. And new evidence always upsets the image.
Breaking news: Madge hates gym class.
Or so she said this morning.
I’m working on it.
But see, you can’t help doing it either, can you? Now, to you, she’s the kind of girl who loves to read, wants to have long hair, loves all things “beautiful” (read: Barbie-esque), and hates gym.
Like I said, I’m working on it.

Dear Frustration,
It appears you and I have been set up on a blind date. What will you be wearing? I will have a crushed pansy in my hatband. I have a feeling we’ve met before, but I’m willing to give this relationship a fresh chance.
Cautiously yours,

NY Primaries

Dropped Madge off at her school this morning. Nothing new there. But today is the day of the primaries here and there were people passing out flyers.
What confidence these politicians have in the workings of the democratic electoral system as we have it here.
I’m not sure, if I were a politician, that I’d want my constituents to be the kind of people that show up at the polls undecided and are swayed by the force of a leaflet, a t-shirt with a slogan, and several very persuasive pins.
Maybe that’s why I’m not a politician.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Ausstieg ueberall

The S-Bahn in Berlin does a weird thing. Well, it probably does many, but only one came to my attention this time. After the train has pulled into the station and the doors have opened, an announcement tells you where the exit is. “Ausstieg rechts,” or “Ausstieg links.”
This would only be useful – or entertaining – if both doors opened at every station and the riders were blind.
But as it is, most people tune out, and those who aren’t able to merely roll their eyes.

Working in Long Island

I started teaching again, helping kids beat the SAT system. All this stuff I worked out painstakingly during the exam itself has been collated by others in their own way, put into a formula, and wrapped up for sale. And I’m a bit of the bow tie on the package, which is why I dress up. (Madge, on seeing me, made a purring “rrrrr” sound and then, after saying I look handsome, said I look “rich.” – That girl knows how to give a compliment.)
Now I just need to put The Perfect Score on my list of Netflix movies.

The place I’m teaching this time around is Great Neck. Which, in itself, is a pretty funny name if you think about it, though not as smirkily funny as Flatbush – snicker snicker. Before you get funny ideas, let me tell you that I had the same thought – in what universe is “Flatbush” a good thing, something to name a street or a district after? – but it’s just an awkward transliteration of some Dutch word (Vlackebos or some such creature) which means wooded plain. Our silly thoughts were better, no?
Anyway, when you ride the LIRR out of Great Neck, you hear these stations announced: “Great Neck,” “Little Neck,” “Double Chin.”
Well, the sign at the station read “Douglaston,” but I swear I heard the other.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

an out-and-out rumor

There’s a blog that’s part of the Huffington Post that posted this article.

As a result, there’s this limerick,

Karl Rove would prefer not to play
And Ken Mehlman will hotly not say
In that game of Trebek's
When the answer is "sex"
And the topic is "men who are – "
Ans: gay

which obviously didn’t make it on WWDTM because it is way too conjectural.

The evidence, briefly stated, is this. Karl Rove remembers his first encounter with GWB as follows. "I can literally remember what he was wearing: an Air National Guard flight jacket, cowboy boots, complete with the - in Texas you see it a lot - one of the back pockets will have a circle worn in the pocket from where you carry your tin of snuff, your tin of tobacco. He was exuding more charisma than any one individual should be allowed to have."
There was also some stuff in the article about Karl Rove’s stepfather divorcing Karl’s mom in order to come out of the closet, but that doesn’t do much to the argument. It’s more of a matter of not “wasting” any research, no matter how much it might muddy the main point.
And Ken Mehlman’s charge is that he wants to avoid Eric Resnick’s question of his gayness rather than denying it. "You have asked a question no one should have to answer."
Aren’t rumors fun?

Friday, September 08, 2006

What kids do while people get hitched

Some pictures from the wedding. The vows were spoken over the tranquil rush of the neighboring freeway. But that didn't detract from the loveliness of the whole thing.

And, interesing fact--it was a Philippino wedding - yet another colonial cruelty to begin the name of a country with a sound the indigenous people can't pronounce - man, is Tristram Shandy ever rubbing off on me: the barong (I hope I'm spelling it correctly - it's their ceremonial shirt), while made of pineapple, still tastes like a shirt when you soak it in water.

Behind on blogs

The kids are back in school and I need to get used to being behind again.
See, during the break I'd let them watch the occasional (read: daily - but with a healthy portion of guilt) movie, while I could catch up on correspondence and various surfing activities.
Now all that has changed again and I need to figure out when to do what.

Brief parenting dilemma, choices:
a) let Coco swallow his gum
b) play "where might the gum be which is no longer in his mouth"?
(yesterday's answer to b) was "spread out over the carpet" - but don't tell Julie)

Or I could think outside the box and refuse his request for gum when his sister has a piece.
(That, as an explanation for the non-parents among you, is the true joke of this post.)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Name that tune

I didn't hear the first of the two lines too well. The sounds came from a car passing by.
[female voice]
Mmmm, mmmm, you know I want some.
Chewin' on my p***y like a piece of bubble gum.
Here's the problem. This was right by a playground.
I know, censorship versus discretion.
But the problem is that the line makes me laugh, and when I laugh, Madge invariably asks, "What's funny?"
ha, haah!
Madge is in school.
does anybody know what song this is?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Wedding on the Weekend

We trekked to New Jersey to attend a friend's wedding.
It was lovely. Yay, L & O!
But I realized that Madge has been to three weddings with five grooms between them.
And the sole bride is the one who wears the proverbial pants in that relationship.

Another New Yorker thought

I got to finish another New Yorker article. Yay, me. This one was by Hilton Als and it was on stage fright. Stephen Fry in particular, though I think all anyone will take from the article is the superfluous bit Als threw in at the end about Carly Simon overcoming her stage fright by having her band spank her.
Oddly enough, I figure anyone under thirty who knows who Carly Simon is probably doesn't know what a spanking is, and vice versa (anyone under thirty who knows what a spanking is hasn't a clue as to Carly Simon's identity or profession).
Just a thought.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Curious Reader Department

I’m having little contact with people lately, mostly because the kids are still recuperating from the trip and would rather remain in the safety of the home. So I actually got to read some of the words in The New Yorker (not just skim the cartoons, or “jokes” – the old-school term for those things).
The New Yorker, aside from articles, reviews, and “jokes,” also has little snarky asides where they print editorial slips (from other publications, of course) in small print in a corner of the page. They call it “From the/In the/The [BLANK] department.” There’s one on page 125 in this week’s New Yorker. Then, on page 129, an article on Bob Dylan has the following:
“The first time Dylan heard the Beatles, he was in a car somewhere and they came on the radio. He almost fell out the window.”
Would it be “The Trailer Park Department” or “The Unsafe at Any Speed Department”?