Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Doctor's note

Who knew that doctors could be so cool?
This was from a time when Coco was obsessed with Maggie Moo's "blue" ice cream (Cotton Candy is the flavor's official name), in a cup, not a cone, and he was upset about being at the doctor's, so she wrote a perscription for
1 Blue Ice Cream/cup
I showed the perscription to the person at Maggie Moo's and she said (very quickly), after I asked whether they honor our insurance, "Yes, but you have a co-pay of $3.24."
I'm not sure I like being the straight man.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

All hail ginger ale

Blech. Spent last night housing the virus that Madge and Coco had previously.
I'm really tired of visiting the bathroom.
But, man, that ginger ale is miraculous. I've been hungry and thirsty all night, but every time I had water, it was about half an hour before I got rid of it again.
I just had some ginger ale, though. I repeat myself, yes, but, oh, I feel reborn.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Madge Monday

My youngest child sympathies surfaced again this morning. Man, it’s hard not to have that happen. Here’s the deal. Julie and the kids got party treats yesterday for Coco’s party this coming Saturday. The treats weren’t put away, yet, largely because with Christmas and Coco’s Birthday and Winter Clothes why have quickly run out of room in our apartment.
So this morning Madge goes snooping in the bags and plays with a Slinky. I tell her to put it away because it’s not for us, it’s for the party, blah blah – in other words, I sounded just like the parent I don’t want to be. She put the Slinky away. But of course Coco grabs one at that moment and she lays into him about it – and, to fill you in on the whole situation, she’s developed a nasty tone of voice recently, which, mixed with Coco’s morning whining is just music to anyone’s ears. The soundtrack to “The Exorcist” is a lullaby compared to it.
And, little brother that I am, I can’t help being mad at her about it. (I’m getting all riled up about it again, just writing about it. Because I know it’s wrong to blame her, but come on.)

On the plus side of the Madge and Daddy ledger: she really missed me while I was working yesterday – the German word for me is Sabbatschaender (Sabbath-defiler) – or at least she put on a good show about it when I came home. Not that this didn’t lead to sibling and pet jealousies, but still.

Finally, I am pleased to report that a devious parenting ploy of mine worked. I know that any recommendation from Daddy is met with distrust. But this was a large-scale subterfuge, and made it below her radar. I rented Oliver, the movie musical, through Netflix, and we watched it. The kids like some of the songs and now the plot is familiar to Madge (I don’t think Coco could follow it all, to him it’s “The kid finds a family” movie). Then I made a CD with their favorite songs from the musical by downloading them from iTunes. Finally, I went to the library and got the book (the unabridged version), “for myself.” Julie, of course, nosed around in it to see if it ends in the same way – love that Julie. And Madge, true to my plan, picked the book up, too, and started reading it. And when Julie asked her what’s happening right now (Madge is somewhere around page 50) she summarized it pretty well. Go, Madge!
Only problem for me is that I probably won’t be able to read it anytime soon. Still, I think he finds a family at the end – and I figured that out without skipping ahead, Julie.

My Excuse for Friday

For those of you wondering why there was no fable last Friday, it's not (just) because I can't finish anything I start but because it was Coco's Fourth Birthday!

The candles, by the way, were blown out by his school friends, to his dismay. So the candles were lit again, the song sung again, and the candles blown out by ... his friends, again. Of course I'm proud of Coco's patience, but c'mon, little guys, have some compassion - these are the same kids who would squeal like stuck pigs if it happened to them (not that I feel strongly about this or anything).

Crunch crunch

I'm rhymin' about tech stuff again. One of the best things about it, for me, is discovering how Bryce Durbin illustrates it. Always entertaining.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Back with Roy

The process of getting to Roy's posts has been getting more involved, which is why I neglected to find it last week. Here is this week's.
And here is the one from the week before, which ends with a great idea. Everyone seems to agree that a solution in Iraq is less military than political. So let's send them some politicians. We have lots left over from the last elections.
(But there are more goodies in there, so click and read).

Friday, January 26, 2007

Silly game update

I went back to the bookshelves of doom blog to check on the status of my comment there and to see if other people left book titles there. Children's books seem to work well (for example, "Pat the Bunny In My Pants").
But just now, telling you about it, I made the same "mistake" I made on yesterday's post: I changed the site's "your" to "my." In other words, their game is actually to say "In Your Pants."
Weird, huh?
I can't help it, but I find the whole thing much funnier as "my" instead of "your." It seems to me to be the difference between mocking yourself and picking on others. Let's use the subtitle of "Oliver Twist" as an example.
I'm simply more inclined to laugh when someone says, "The Parish Boy's Progress In My Pants."
Who's with me on this?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Silly games (read: Julie will be mighty annoyed with me soon)

I had a link to this blog in my inbox today. It got me, gasp, thinking.

When I first lived in Minnesota, there was a guy, Dan, in my program, who was quite funny. At least he seemed so me at the time, though I think he has the kind of personality that I would still consider funny. He’s the person who turned me on to Letterman (I was new to the States at the time). He also had eyes that couldn’t seem to decide what they were looking at – or, rather, which made it hard for a conversational partner to focus on. And, one more aside, for some reason I remember his name as Dan Brown – although he couldn’t possibly be THAT Dan Brown.
He had this line he’d say, which I thought terribly funny (at the time). At any moment, he might respond to someone’s statement with, “That’s what SHE said,” with a Groucho Marx inflection. Harmless statements would get the (to me, at the time) funniest reinterpretations.
“It’s dark in here. Let’s turn on the light.” “That’s what SHE said.”
“Hey, can you lend a hand?” “That’s what SHE said.”
Etc. ad nauseam, except, of course that there was no way the nauseam level would be reached for me (at the time).

(I'm trying to let you know I've outgrown the impulse to say it out loud, though I often still think it.)

Later, in Chicago, I heard the same concept applied in a different way, from my friend Tom (I forgot his last name, sorry). His version was to add “in bed” to whatever someone said. I never liked it as much as “that’s what SHE said,” probably because the concept wasn’t new to me anymore (“in bed”), but also because it’s not quite as flexible (“in bed”).
You get the idea.

So on this blog they have this game in which they add the words “in my pants” to any book title. Same idea, but it links the prurient and infantile to stuff that ought to be above such matters, and all of a sudden I’m hooked again.
The best example of theirs (I think) is, “Everything That Rises Must Converge In My Pants.”
For example, I am currently reading “Just Enough Liebling In My Pants.”
I recently finished “Housekeeping Vs. The Dirt In My Pants.”
But I have other goodies on my shelf, like
Last Night’s Fun In My Pants
This Is a Bad Time In My Pants
Love Trouble In My Pants
Max Shulman’s Large Economy Size In My Pants
The Human Stain In My Pants
I’m a Stranger Here Myself – In My Pants
And one of Coco’s favorite books is “Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog In My Pants.”

Tell me this isn’t a fun game.

Nash-y stuff

The next best thing to coming up with stuff on my own? Quoting others.
Here’s Ogden Nash, from “The Strange Case of the Girl O’ Mr. Sponsoon’s Dreams”

One day he was driving along the street when he saw a beautiful girl.
My, what a beautiful girl, said Mr. Sponsoon. I wish I knew her name.
If I asked her name, said Mr. Sponsoon, she might think me a brazen cad.
But if I don’t know her name, she will go out of my life forever.
Mr. Sponsoon thought and thought.
Suppose I run over her gently, he thought at last.
With one wheel, say.
Certainly with no more than two.
Then I can read her name in the morning paper and all will be hotsy-totsy.

That’s exactly how Julie and I met. (I still have a slight limp from the incident.)

Home life

In case you're wondering why there wasn't anything new today, it's because we spent the time between 1 am and 4 am doing laundry because of various pediatric digestive incidents and then spent the day at home recuperating and fighting about using the computer. Not using it, that is.
To lead by example, I refrained from blogging.
But tomorrow they ought to be off to school again and then we'll see.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Coco Tuesday

The two sides of Coco

Yesterday might have gone better if a liveried butler had shown up at my door bearing a silver tablet with a note on it reading, “Meet me today in the living room. Choose your second wisely. We shall meet at two paces. The weapons will be fingernails and screams. The use of reason results in an immediate disqualification. You shall know me by the secret message, ‘I want Power Rangers.’”
That’s really what started it, the Power Ranger request. But the peak of the duel was the following.
C (Coco): I want apple juice.
PIV (Poor Innocent Victim): Okay [pours juice into cup]
C: That’s too much!
PIV (not heeding the warning signs): Okay. [pours some into sink]
C: Noooo!
PIV (really not too bright): Okay. [pours it all out and rinses cup]
C: Noo! Not water!
PIV (really ought to renamed to Ignorant Dumb-A**): Okay [wiped cup]
C: Nooo! I do it with tissue!
IDA (proving that old dogs can’t learn any tricks at all and also forget old tricks rather frequently: Okay. [re-wets cup and hands it to C]
C: Nooo! [Throws cup]
IDA (raising voice): Look. Do you want apple juice or don’t you?!?!!!
C: Noooo! [runs into room, slams door]
Game, Set, Match.
Post-game analysis reveals that PIV/IDA ought to have thrown himself on the ground after C’s second sally. Fist-pounding may have gotten him some points. But really, the play was too far on C’s side after the brilliant opening non-thirsty apple-juice request.

Same child, the previous day. Playing with Darth Tater - Hasbro’s brilliant name for Mr. Potatohead in his Darth Vader costume – (using a 3-yr-old’s “deep voice” which in itself is already super-cute): “I am your father.”
Then: Boing. [Darth Tater flies up the chair] Tickle, tickle.

I’m guessing the latter is what people have in mind when they say they wish the kids could stay that age forever.

Monday, January 22, 2007

I almost forgot

My week in review for CrunchGear.
Please follow the link and comment on the post - if you're so inclined. If you're otherwise inclined, which, I guess, is declining, do it anyway. C'mon. For me.

Esther Phillips, part 2

For those of you able to see the Esther Phillips thing on YouTube that I linked to, here’s another thing that grabbed me about it. (For the others, too, but you might not have the visual image required to make sense of the following statement.) Watching her, you know she’s just bursting to move and shout. Just look at it again and watch her arms. She’s just ready to explode, but the song won’t let her.
So, do yourselves a favor. Go to iTunes, type “Try Me Esther Phillips,” and buy the song.
Here are the lyrics (quite frankly, I was at a loss how to punctuate the thing. Most words needed a sort of exclamation mark after them):

Try Me

If you really wanna know if I can stand your brand of love,
Try me.
Why don’t you try me?
If you wanna know if I’m affected by the moon above,
Then try me.
Come on and try me.
Don’t you know my heart feels a strong desire
When I’m thrilled by the warmth of your touch?
Baby, don’t you know my soul’s on fire,
And I need your lovin’ so much.

If you really wanna know if I am longing for your kiss,
Then try me.
Why won’t you try me.
If you think that I’ll get weak in a cozy spot like this,
Please try me.
I beg you, try me.
If you’re wondrin’ ‘bout the magic in stars and soft caresses
There’s only one way to know if it’s right:
Just take me in your arms, baby, and try, try me tonight.

[sax solo]*

Don’t you know my heart feels a strong desire
When I’m thrilled by the warmth of your touch?
Baby, don’t you know my soul’s on fire,
And I need your lovin’ so much.
Just take me your arms and try me tonight
I want you to take me in your arms, and come on, and try me tonight
I beg you, try me, try me, try me, try me tonight.

* Poor guy, having to follow that. The solo’s a bit of a letdown. But what can you do in such little time to match that? Wouldn’t it be great to have a solo start for a few bars and then have the guy put down the horn and say, “[Expletive,] Esther, you’ve got to give me more [expletive] room than that.”

Madge Monday and the "Mouse"

Funny how some lines live on. This morning I was trying to get the kids ready and Coco got distracted while getting dressed, meaning he was running around chasing the cat, naked. The cat was wearing his fur, of course.
Madge said, “Coco. It’s time to put the mouse in the house.”
I said, “What?”
She said, “He needs to put the mouse [pointing at his you-know] in the house [holding up the Superman underwear].”
The missing link in this story is, of course, Julie, who considers that line from “Friends” immortal and is doing her best to make it live on.
I wonder when Madge will use this line in public.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Esther Phillips

Just a quick post because I've got to run. I was looking for her version of "Try Me" on YouTube but found this instead.

There are two things I love about it. First, of course, the introduction by John Lennon. As much as I like Esther Phillips, I'm not sure this is the song I'd choose to showcase her talents. But, hey, you take what you can get. And, second, the choreography. You can totally tell that the producers told her to stand on the X and "Don't move!" Until the instrumental break where she gets to wander to a point where the shadows seem to cut off her head. Weird.

Friday, January 19, 2007

X Fable

The Ox and the Exception

The Exception spoke to the Ox. “Look. There’s nothing remarkable about you, so you really shouldn’t be in this kids’ book on the alphabet. But, other than the xylophone, there’s not much to offer at this end of the letters we use, so you can be like me for now.”
The Ox answered, “Am I supposed to thank you for this? What if I don’t want to be in a book?”
“But…” stammered the Exception. “Okay, you can go.”
The Ox wandered off and the Exception got to stay on alone.
So the Exception said, “How about this:
The Ex and the X
The Ex sighed happily. ‘Ironic, isn’t it, dear X, how I’ve come to depend on you. First, the kisses you represent got me into a long-distance relationship I should have shied away from, but then my signature next to you on the prenup made everything dandy.’”

Thursday, January 18, 2007

pediatric dentistry

Yesterday we had a dentistry double whammy. Madge at 4, Coco at 4:30, and we got home around 6. Julie got to participate vicariously because we have new cell phones and I can now send pictures. So she received an image of Coco with shades on (to guard him from the light which he called “the fire” – so you can already guess how he felt about the whole event) and Mr. Thirsty in his mouth (which the kids get to operate themselves).
Madge has a good attitude towards the whole thing. Perhaps it helps that the first time she had a filling (on a tooth that has since fallen out) they gassed her up with laughing gas and the whole room was bluish to her and, well, she was high for a while. But now she loves going.
Coco, not so much. As far as he’s concerned, a doctor is a doctor, and no matter how friendly they appear, their sole purpose, the thing they get paid to do, is to invade your privacy if not cause actual pain. But he’s brave and wills himself to sit still. And after a while he realized that, while uncomfortable and intrusive, it’s not necessarily painful.

Here, though, is why I even started writing this. While I know it’s not right of me to instinctively side with Coco in their disagreements, I know why I do it. Like him, I was the youngest, more specifically the younger brother of big sisters.
So I hope you’ll be proud of me for not interfering when I overheard the following (about the toys they got at the dentist’s) from Madge.
“Let me see that [toy fairy that you’ve been playing with while I was reading]. No. That one’s mine. Yours is the one with the broken sword. But don’t worry. It’s not broken much. Bring it to daddy. He can fix it.”

cheese again

Rocastin, that's the name of the sheep's brie I had. Full name: Le Berger de Rocastin. (Fromage d'Affinois)
Verdict: sure, why not. But I'm not sure I'd go out of my way for it. Mostly because I tend to overeat on bries (the flavor is just fine, a hint of sheep wrapped in brie creaminess). I have a feeling I'm not the only one.
The problem, of course, is that this kind of cheese doesn't agree with my latent obsessive compulsiveness. In other words, the mere fact that it's a bit runny makes me want to leave the sides neat when I'm done. And, since this is impossible, I'm not truly done until the cheese is gone.
Sometimes I have that problem with ice cream, too, but (un)fortunately it's easier to leave a flat surface in a thing of Ben and Jerry's than it is with a wedge of brie.
A hard cheese, on the other hand, is easier to "manage" in that sense.
There, now you can rest at ease.

Mpls. memory

Apropos of nothing, I remembered today that, when we saw this painting (Monet, in case you didn't know) in the museum in Mineeapolis where it lives, Madge said, "Why do they have a picture of a muffin?"

I'm sure she wasn't the first to make that observation.

Of course I then explained to her that the Impressionists were just a bunch of nearsighted Frenchmen who were too vain to bring their glasses with them when they painted outdoors.

I know for a fact I'm not the first to make that observation, either.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

getting ready

Can it be that I’ve got nothing to show for my efforts today?
Let’s just say that even if there were, I’d be in denial.
Saw Glenn again yesterday, and it was fun, though, as always, too short. There are some people that make you feel happy just by being near. Number one, of course, is Julie. The kids, well, they make you feel about ten-thousand things at once. But Glenn, it’s just nice to be around him. Let’s start a fan club. Who’s with me?
But that was yesterday. Today we’re dealing with cold weather. Which means the skies are clear and I feel the kids are going to get ripped off as far as upcoming snows are concerned. Once it clouds over it’ll be warmer again. And I – I mean, the kids – really wanted to have some snowball fights and get a sled and… Oh, well.
Got some new cheese today that I’m excited about, only because I’m branching out. I tend not to get the runny soft ones, but today I got a sheep’s milk brie, so we’ll see. I’ll report on it later. I know you’ll be losing sleep if you don’t hear about it soon.
The cold is new to us, in a way, since the kids’ sensory memory doesn’t extend to the last winter. Therefore it’s a surprise to everyone that cold weather translates into an unwillingness to crawl out from under the warm snuggly covers in the morning.
“Why are we late?” asked Madge.
Of course I blamed them. It sure was a struggle. Topped off by Coco’s insistence on wearing his finger gloves, which are too big and which he wants to put on himself but which he can’t, especially when he puts the left one on the right hand like this morning.
But, really, that only accounted for about four minutes of our lateness. Still, four minutes of screaming and struggle and forced self-restraint. (And some shouting on Madge’s part.) Ah, yes, tranquil family life.
As people with older children tend to say, “Oh, that’s the best age.”
What they’re really saying is, “It gets worse.”

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Keeping up with me

And, finally, one of the reasons I've been behind with my postings is that I'm teaching SAT prep stuff again on Sundays. In Long Island (or "on?").
Anyway, this weekend had a bit of a surprise for me. I knew I was going to do a double shift. But I was quite certain that I'd be teaching all Writing. Turned out I was teaching Reading on the second shift. Eeek!
So I stalled for a while and then, boom, my best lecture ever. Not really, but it went just fine, I think.
I even came up with a dumb pun that I can't help but share.
See, one of the ways I like to remember new words (Reading in SAT exam terms often means knowing vocabulary) is to dissect them. For example, the word "dissect" which we pronounce as "die-sect" and therefore often misspell. But the word doesn't refer to sectioning in two (di); rather, it's sectioning apart (dis).
I still misspell it all the time, but at least I know why I'm wrong.
So I shared my favorite root:
It goes with:
con, in, sub, de, re, and, of course, the one that gets the giggles, pro.
And then I said that prostitution is just a way of making, heh, heh ends meet. Not realizing until the middle of the word "ends" that I was making a pun.
But these kids are smart. They actually got it and had the typical pun-appreciation response.
A groan and a smile.
That's really all I can ask for.
(And it sounds like drink order: a shot of whiskey with a champagne chaser.)

Coco Tuesday (told you I'm cheating)

Coco's got some new work in "The Gallery" too.
What you see here is his impression of Mommy's week away. She told him that she and one of her West-coast work friends cried when they said goodbye.
And what child can't tell you about how odd it is to see your parents crying.
(Just wait a few days and my mom will leave a comment about me, a certain Heintje song, and her brief stay at the hospital.)

Madge Monday (cheating, sort of)

Okay, so I'm not making witty observations about what we've done in the past week, though I can tell you that this weekend has been heavily weighted on the girly side. (Ballet and American Girl Store - yay, us.)
But Madge also started drawing and writing a dictionary. She's gotten to the letter "H" but hasn't written anything for that entry yet. Feel free to view the dictionary as it stands in "the Gallery." I'll be updating it whenever she does more. And I'll keep trying to persuade her to let me publish them here. I think they rock.
If you need help deciphering the texts, let me know via a comment here or in Flickr, where the gallery lives, or via email.
I don't you be telling me I'm not available for you. Communicatively, I mean, not emotionally.

Review rhymes

I reviewed another week at CrunchGear and here it is.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Weasel tidbit.

Something I found when doing "research" for my W Fable:
The company that makes those overprices but well-packed and oh-so-sweet-smelling baby-care products (shampoos, lotions, etc.) has the name of the genus that weasels belong to.
It's Mustela.
Weird, huh? You can look up "weasel" in the dictionary, if you want to.
I can just hear new dads using this in a store. "They're charging what for a bottle of shampoo?! Well, you know what "mustela" means, don't you? Look it up. They're weasels."

Friday, January 12, 2007

Note on today's fable

Odd thing, this alphabet we have. I was so preoccupied trying to come up with something for X that it took me completely by surprise that the letter after V is something else entirely.
So I hastily assembled what I have. I hope it makes sense.

W Fable

The Weasel and the Worm

A weasel and a worm were moving about together (“walking” is shorter, but it’s a worm, so…) and talking about their ancestry and the bad rap they’ve gotten because someone at sometime may have done something lowly and why are they still being stereotyped…
“And anyway,” said the weasel, “it makes sense for people to look down on you. You burrow in the ground. And you’re slimy.”
“Oh,” answered the worm, “like you don’t actually pride yourself in getting out of tricky situa-“
Just then they happened upon a bear trap which snapped shut on both of them.
“Oops,” they both said.
“Bad luck,” said the weasel.
“Yeah, well,” answered the worm. “Being a weasel only gets you so far, huh?”
And with that he/she split in half and continued the conversation on his/her new dual own.
(Can a worm be diagnosed as schizophrenic?)

Thursday, January 11, 2007


A group art project. We added some color to John Shaft.

But now that I write that, it doesn't make much sense.

Anyway, guess who got to hem and haw his way through explaining the plot?

The oddest part was that I realized I hardly remember any of the plot at all. Julie, is this the movie with the immortal line, "Close it yourself, shitty?" If not, which one is? Now I'm giggling at that line all over again.

commentary in a sweater

The tag in my sweater sums up the neighborhood where we used to live.

SF: Made in Hong Kong.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Partial disclosure

Here’s one of the reasons I love doing this blog.
On Monday, Julie, who is out of town for the week, calls.
Julie: So, were you going to tell me that Madge is sick?
Me: What do you mean?
J: I read about it on the blog.
M: Oh. Didn’t you see I put quotation marks around the word “sick”? J: -
M: To answer your question, no, I guess not.

I also wouldn’t ordinarily tell her about Coco and the ketchup. It’s really too routine of an event for me to remember at the end of the day, and it doesn’t warrant a phone call.
The biggest mystery about Coco and the ketchup, by the way, is that yes, there was ketchup on the sock, and yes, there was ketchup on the floor (which I cleaned up), but the ketchup bottle was in the fridge where it belongs. So there’s a whole chain of events I never found out about.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

A "better" Coco Tuesday

Here's a Coco entry that's more to my, well, "liking" isn't quite the word, but it's more what I anticipate a Coco Tuesday to be.

I was practicing guitar in the kids' room while they were enjoying the use of the computer. Fair trade, I figure.
Coco came in and said, "Can you help me take off my sock?"
I ask, "What happened to your socks?" figuring that his pee-pee aim was off again. It happens to the best of us.
But no, his anwer was, "I got ketchup on it."
I guess I was done practicing anyway.

Coco Tuesday

As you may or may not know, Coco is off his seizure medicine.
When he had his epileptic seizures last March, he started out with “drop” seizures (atonic seizures which make the muscles give out, resulting in a fall) which (we think) accumulated to make his brain overload and give him a generalized tonic-clonic seizure (previously known as “Grand Mal” but we just call it “big seizure” for short).
He had the first big seizure in their bathroom.
My point is this. The other day he and I were in the bathroom and he was standing in the place where he was then, and I thought, “My, he’s gotten big.”
Because, see, I’ve got this snapshot of him writhing on the floor burned in my brain and his current self is quite a lot bigger.
[If that depressed you, I’m sorry for not living up to my Facetiae code. I promise I’ll be silly again soon.]
But back to him being off the medicine. Of course we need to be extra-vigilant now. Okay, it’s a price I’m willing to pay. But ever since he’s seen Home Alone he thinks one of the coolest things to do is run and then plonk to his knees and slide on the floor. And when you’re not looking, the “plonk” sounds a lot like a drop seizure.
I need a pacemaker.
Also, epileptics often get an aura, which you can think of, I guess, as either a small seizure or as a warning feeling. He’s almost four, so getting him to understand that this is something to be aware of is, well, impossible. So I try to second-guess. The other day (when he had the fever), he said he heard Santa Claus – meaning a ringing in his ears. If you are like me, you’re thinking “aura.” If you’re a lot smarter, you’re thinking windchimes, and you’d be right.
Can you blame me for wanting a “normal” week?

Madge Monday postscript

Now that I’ve had some sleep, I’m not nearly as frustrated with the kids as yesterday.
In other words, now I find Madge’s post-nap statement amusing. Yesterday I felt like calling a lawyer and getting her to sign an affidavit saying, “Daddy was right. Again.”
After her nap – which was quite a struggle to initiate, but happen it did, around 3:30 pm – she said, without sarcasm, “Wow. Sleeping sure makes you feel a lot better.”
I take it back. Anybody know a good lawyer?

Question answered

And the annoying pop-up-like feature is taken off.
Trent voiced what I felt about the first few times I encountered that feature (go to if you want to find out more). I have since figured out how to avoid it showing up, but he's right. In general, the thing is annoying and not really helpful.
Thanks, T-Bone!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Quick question

I've added a little technological gimmick to my blog, but I'm not sure how people feel about it.
So, hey, please tell me.
Now, when you move your cursor over a link, a preview of the link ought to show up.
As in this example of a link to WWDTM's site.
Do you find this feature,
A) Cool and useful?
B) Annoying?
I am
C) not sure of its use but I can see how some people might enjoy the gimmick, yet I'm not sold on it so I might take it off unless people tell me they like it.
Please respond in the comments (or in an email to me). Your vote counts (and the process is easy, all you have to write is A or B - or C). And if you feel strongly, vote more than once, then your voice counts even more.

Madge Monday

Poor Madge. Julie is out of town for a week, and it’s really getting to Madge. The fact that Julie left early Saturday bothered her more than anything, I think.
On top of it all, she now has a fever (I believe it’s Coco’s from last week which is probably GrandJohn’s from the week before, but don’t tell or he’ll just feel guilty). So she’s home now, as is Coco because I don’t really know how to get him to school in the rain with a sick Madge in tow. She resents his being home, so everything is wonderful right now, thanks for asking.
It should get better soon, though. When the fever goes away, she’ll be more herself, I think. Of course I don’t know what came first, missing mommy or getting sick. Let’s just be optimistic and say it’s the sickness. (Is there a special ring in hell for parents who think that the better solution is a sick child? As the saying goes, a child in bed is worth two climbing the walls. Or some such thing.) Now I’ve got another problem. Should I give her some medicine and have her become more active (and demanding) or withhold the medicine and leave her a bit whiny, yet lethargic?
Oh don’t tell me, fellow parents, that you haven’t relished having a sick child on your hands who stays in bed and out of your hair.
But, oh, the guilt.
Medicine it is.

Me on Crunch again

Here I am again, rhyming about tech stuff.

Sunday, January 07, 2007


Aphoristic observations:

People who seem arrogant may just be shy.
People who seem aloof may just be hiding their slow wit.
People who write aphorisms are overcompensating.

The other day I was walking with Coco on my shoulders (again – my spine has been compacted by at least 3/8ths of an inch by now) and we passed a mother of a friend of his, a school friend. Now, it was school time and Coco wasn’t at school so a question about his well-being, I think, was in order.
But no, she looked ahead and ignored us completely. She’s been “aloof” before, but in other contexts and I’ve always figured it was because we don’t speak Spanish with Coco even though he’s in the Spanish class and she speaks Spanish with her kid.
That day, though, I was able to see her face better and she had a bit of nervousness about her and I realized that my previous evaluation may have been wrong.
This reminded me of times I was at a pool when I still took out my contacts to go swimming rather than wear goggles and later got confronted by friends who were at the pool, claiming I ignored them. I never ignored anyone I recognized, I swear. But everyone turns into a flesh-colored blur at the pool and I put on a vaguely friendly, yet blank, smile when I can’t see anything. So there.
Then I thought of another mom at the school who, well, let’s face it, she’s kind of pretty so she knows people do things for her, and she covers for everything with a quick, sprite-like laugh, and she’s always preoccupied with her kids, so her reluctance to engage in conversation always seemed like a bit of aloofness. Obviously I’m not even in the same league as the average bus-driver, so I figure it’s justified arrogance on her part an leave it at that. Then one day I did have a conversation with her, and, oops, I realized that the nearsightedness she’s adjusting for is intellectual.
But I’m just projecting now because I’m on a caffeine jolt and sugar high. Give me a half-hour and I’ll be assured it’s all because they hate me. Who wouldn’t?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

No Parking Mo-Su

This article about parking in SF includes some choice nuggets.
Let’s get the ugle part out of the way first. Someone got killed saving a parking space for a friend. And assaults on meter butlers and maids have risen from 17 in 2005 to 28 in 2006. So something is obviously wrong. Still – and I guess the threat of violence makes it bizarrely funny to me – there’s this:
That frustration extends all the way to people like George Anderson, president of the American Association of Anger Management Providers, a mental health group, who said the parking problems here were so notorious that he had stopped holding paid lectures here.
“They’d be angry when they walked in,” said Mr. Anderson, a clinical social worker who lives in Los Angeles. “I’d spend half my time defending why I couldn’t include parking in the fee.”
Actually, they should hold the classes in a bus in congested traffic merging onto one of the bridges, only to have the tollbooth close right as they get there. Better yet, whenever someone feels ready to quit the anger-management course, that individual should be made to drive the class bus for a week, and the final exam is finding a place to park, downtown.

Then there’s this,
Nationally, parking is a $20 billion industry, experts say, with revenues divided almost equally between public and private entities.

Which reminds me of an idea I had while running. (You might notice that I develop most of my lame-brained ideas while exercising. That’s because I think they’re great precisely because I can’t write them down to look at and evaluate.)
Simply combine two problems for a lovely solution. Problem A: parking is impossible. Problem B: renting cars is way too expensive.
Solution: the department of transportation should rent cars. Simply take cars that have been impounded and not picked up in, say, a week, fix them up (the police department has its own mechanics, I think) and let them loose. Parking penalties should be much stricter, of course, resulting in impounds almost immediately in order increase the amount of cars available. And, finally, as special gimmick, a car rented from the department of transportation/the police comes with it’s own “free parking” certificate, for a fee, of course.
You’d probably end up with a crappy car, but you could double-park anywhere.
In order to avoid traffic congestion, the meter butlers and maids would ride in teams and double as valets. You’d get contacted on your cell phone and given a number to call for the car to be returned.
I’m sure the legislation could be arranged as long as there’s a proper bribery-scheme in place.
Just think of all the jobs it would create.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Roy, with quote

This time I'll link to Roy's Friday blog with a quote. Speaking of watching Saddam's hanging on YouTube, he says,

Didn't it make you wonder how you would behave on the gallows? It's a real test for a funny person. I would do all I could to keep it light, but I don't know — I hope I'd be up to that. I'll bet the President would be — that chuckle of his comes out at the darnedest times. He'd be nicknaming the hangman "Stretch."

Coco Quickie

Today Madge had a playdate and they always start rockily because Coco really wants her attention when she gets out of school. Or if not hers, then that of whichever friend she's playing with.
At one point this afternoon, in the midst of a Baci-jealousy-battle, Coco started going, "Waah, waah," and ran to his room. It's really "their" room, but once one of them claims it as a sanctuary for tears, tiredness, or a time out, it becomes that kid's room I figure.
Anyway, I followed him and sat with him and he said, "How I cry?"
I didn't know what to say.
Then he said, "I can't make water."
In other words, he's working out how to perfect his fake crying.

V Fable

The Vulture and the Violinist

A vulture was waiting for the subway and heard a violinist.
He lurched over and camped out expectantly, for the busking violinist was in bad shape.
The vulture loved it. The clothes were ragged, so his beak would be able to nibble without wrestling with fabric, the body was lean, sure, but musicians tend not to be wiry but soft and supple, as they rarely get any exercise.
In short, this was a meal to be savored, and the pre-dinner entertainment wasn’t too bad, either.
For some reason, though, the violinist wouldn’t keel over and the vulture got to listening to the music.
Sure enough – it must have been Bach’s suites for solo violin that did it – the vulture soon lost his fleshly appetite and yearned for more spiritual things. (I was a music major for a reason, after all.)
So the vulture went and brought the violinist some lunch.
“I can always come back later,” he said.


Just re-heard some great Hank Williams lyrics and happened to be online, so I'm sharing:

No matter how I struggle and strive,
I'll never get out of this world alive.

Draw your own conclusions.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Compare and contrast

When people say, “Don’t you wish they’d stay like this forever?” they’re just commenting on how lovely the moment is. But one family has taken it one step further.
Sure, there are plenty of other factors involved. In essence, though, is it that much different from
creating blue dogs just for the fun of it?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Presidential plans

The Daily News had this cover (which won't upload, for some reason, sorry. check back later. Something about Presidential Plans Left in Hotel Room), which struck my eye at the grocery store this afternoon. The New York Times has this headline somewhere in the paper: Political Paper Stolen, Giuliani Camp Says.
Okay, reply the Daily News people, so maybe it was left in a hotel room that Giuliani never stayed in, and maybe it was left by people we paid to bring us said papers, but our headline is 100% true.
When I read the headline, I didn’t think it was big news that Giuliani was going to try for a presidential bid. Silly me. And, because of my assumptions, I was wondering what might be in the document. Plan A: get the most votes. Plan B: swing an electoral college thing, maybe combined with Supreme Court support.
Turns out the plan is 140 pages long. Of course I forgot the most important plan. Raise funds. Raise more funds and raise some funds and just for kicks, raise some funds. That runs on for about 139 pages. Then comes the stuff about winning votes.
Oh, yeah, and something about the ex-wife and the former aide. So maybe just a paragraph about winning some votes, hopefully the majority. But if not, that’s not a problem, as history has shown.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The cheese

You never know what people find funny. My favorite cheese guy in the neighborhood, Juan, from Union Market, found this funny.
I asked him where the Vigneron was and he told me that the last piece was on the shelf and he’d reorder some soon. Vigneron, you’ve got to try it if you haven’t. It’s a Swiss cheese. Mild. Good flavor. Nothing biting to it. The marketing sticker says something about a winemaker’s cheese, rubbed in herbs and wine or some such. But not as strongly oenic (winely?) as a drunken goat cheese – more like a happy cow’s cheese (but not la vache qui rit). Anyway, it’s great and I mourn its absence from the cheese-monger’s shelves, though I’m happy I’m the one who caused its absence.
Get it if you can.
I told him that mine was gone because I put too much wine in our New Year’s fondue and had to compensate with whatever was in the fridge (and would match, of course – no string cheese or cheddar). I had planned a lovely Gruyere/Emmental with a touch of Appenzeller, but then I had to use the rest of the Gruyere and more of the Appenzeller and when I was out I had to touch my stash of Vigneron.
Juan thought funny. Perhaps it was in the way I reenacted my cheese panic and ensuing reluctance to part with my baby – I was at the store when his shipment came and he let me and Coco taste it fresh from the box. Even Coco liked it.
I’d have a piece now, but it doesn’t go with one of my resolutions – don’t you love the fresh beginnings of a new year?
I was at the gym tonight, and there was a guy who was one-upping me: he was pedaling a stationary bike AND reading Proust.
But only in English.
And, hah, I’ve just added another resolution. I’ll only do one thing at a time.
If possible.

More of me

And then, of course, there's my weekly techie poem.

Madge Monday

Madge managed to stay up all the way to 11:30 pm on New Year’s Eve. Not bad. (Julie had fallen asleep before then, but pssssst don’t tell.)
I tried to get her to make some resolutions for herself and for me. She got the idea, but rather than focusing on things to improve about herself, she said her resolution was to play on the computer more. I believe that she is resolved to do so. Grrr.
But, when pressed, she said she wanted to be less of a baby. Poor thing.
Here’s what I noticed, though. Some of my resolutions involve trying to improve the kids. A natural impulse as a parent, I think. But, really, shouldn’t I leave that up to them if they want to be less baby-ish. Ah, the many conundrums.
Madge was generous about the resolutions, though. She said they didn’t start until people went back to work and to school.
So guess who had extra helpings of apple pie?

Coco Tuesday

I hope to catch up soon with a regular schedule. First, a quick Coco Tuesday.

This morning the cat threw up. Not a big deal, really. He’d just eaten and Coco chased him around the apartment for a while and the cat’s little tummy couldn’t handle the extra work-load, I think.
Seeing it, though, Coco came up with an exclamation I hadn’t heard him use before. And, quite frankly, I think I’ll start using it, too, instead of the tired copulative, excretory, and religious ones I ordinarily employ.
He said, “Oh, barnacles!”

Maybe we’ve been letting him watch Pirates of the Caribbean too often.