Sunday, November 30, 2008

Traffic slows down

Here’s a story that affects a frightening percentage of my acquaintance. (Frightening in the sense that, if the percentage is more than zero, those people frighten me.) But I’m sure there are reasons for being shocked by the story.
Who, for example, hasn’t been a little late to a flight – I don’t know, maybe because you had to repack because you decide you wanted to take your workout shoes after all and they didn’t fit in the smaller suitcase – and thought: skip the limo, I’ll just take a helicopter?
See? And now, in New York, in Manhattan of all places, you’re stuck. You’ll simply miss your flight because the city’s only helicopter shuttle service can’t seem to comply with TSA rules. It seems to me that this is code for “what with all the upcoming changes in DC, we didn’t know whom* to bribe.”
*That is, if people who bribe others were to use the objective form of the pronoun.
The story ends with a quote about how the helipad service is “safe and efficient.” At first I thought this was a dig at the TSA, because anything that complies with their rules is obviously not. But then it turns out that they still run sightseeing tours.
And there actually a small percentage of my acquaintance – relation, even – who has done this.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

the moth's signoff

The Moth has a podcast. It's worth listening to, especially since it's free - though I encourage you to donate, of course.
In case you're wondering what they do: each week they select a story from their various Moth stages and events and share it with the broader podcast audience. They are over in about ten minutes, so they tend to go from funny to poignant and sometimes back again.
Occasionally, they involve heartbreak and/or physical injury.
And especially when they have serious physical injury or the death of a loved one, I urge them to reconsider their signoff:
We hope you have a story-worthy week.

Maybe I should write them rather than blindly posting it here.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Yet another innocent person dies, defending the American way of life.
Only in a story like this do you get a link from "Walmart" to "Hobbesian frenzy," all in one short paragraph.
But then again, is there a scale of death from senseless to sensible? Does this rate higher than "friendly fire" and lower than "drunk driving accident" and "choking on a pretzel"?
Just wondering.

Gobble Day

It was nice, but we didn't have anyone over this time, which means we have more leftovers than ever.
And the whole festivities were topped off with an Avatar marathon on our part which was sad because we are now done with this amazing series.
Now the kids will be back to watching shows I don't like, or endless reruns of Avatar, which I probably won't partake in.
Instead, I'll be reading my "Big Book of the Winter," Bleak House. It's amazing how Dickens is endlessly inventive and still manages to put me to sleep.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Business report

From some newspaper:
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reports that the number of “problem” banks rose sharply in the third quarter.
The report issued Tuesday shows the number of firms on the agency’s so-called problem list grew to 171 during the third quarter -- the highest number since 1995. There were 117 banks on the list in the second quarter.

I have a theory about these numbers that is awaiting its final proof on the next release of these numbers. If the next number - which is entirely feasible - is 711, then it will have been proven that the FDIC uses the time-tested Dyslexo-Rectal Fiscal Calculator.

Coco Tuesday

Similarly belated.
These past few mornings, getting ready for school went more quickly because there was one less lunch to make and one less bag to pack. And on Tuesday the miracle happened: Coco was the first in his class. And he loved it. And wants to continue the trend.
So this morning we left in good time and he kept asking if we were early. When I said Yes, he seemed upset. And then he asked what "early" means.
And I'm not writing this in order for you to commiserate about the difficulty of explaining temporal concepts.
No, I'm writing this to feel sorry for my son, who apparently has no event in his past on which to affix the label "Early."
Or maybe he's just been living in denial because he slipped out of his mommy's belly three and a half weeks before his due date.

Madge Monday

Behind schedule, because Madge Monday was a Madge sick day when I was set to help out at a store as a holiday help-weenie.
She's still home, sick. But this morning she topped herself by asking me to go to her teacher and get the class- and home-work she's missed.
Whence does she get the sense of responsibility?
We'll have to have her DNA tested.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

more financial news

GM has cancelled the lease on two jets (out how many, I don't know) after the flak (ooh, punny) they got in response to their trip to beg from the government.
AIG has quit the business of leasing out jets to others.
See, everything's related.

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's Probably Everywhere By Now

But here it is anyway,

Whoa! Apparently this is the post-turkey-pardon interview. If you don't want to watch, the gist is this:
Palin pardons turkey.
Palin gives interview - very cogently, of course.
In background of interview, guy unlifes* turkey.
* "Slaughter" is the word that seems to show up most often in articles relating to the matter, but look how humane the whole thing is. There's no blood until the camera stops rolling and Palin demonstrates what the word GEEK used to mean in the good old days.

Can't you just see what would have happened in a McCain/Palin administration right after they might have closed down Gitmo?

a more fun post than last night's

Coco, this morning:
I like science with Joe and music with Joe because I'm a good scientist and good, uh, musictist.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tired Day

Last night we had a game night, which is always fun.
But it also meant that limericks got started late and with some wine as inspirational fuel instead of the usual coffee, so I was up until three.
Oh, well. I figured I'd drop off the kids and come home to take a nap, only to realize I had signed up to help out with the art teacher in Coco's class.
And then it was a half day followed by a playdate and parent-teacher conferences and TaeKwonDo.
But I'm okay now, thanks.

Oh, is there someone else in the room?

I liked this better as the Daily Show's "Moment of Zen" a couple of nights ago because it was shown without comment, but then again I guess the Daily Show's audience is more intelligent than that of CNN.

"Does I understand
why no one shakes my hand?
Oh, yes. - heh, heh - it's planned.
It shows I'm in command."
- The Leader of the Banned

Coco Tuesday

It's not really Tuesday. That's okay, though, because Coco isn't always aware of the day of the week.
Actually that's not fair. He is. He is learning a lot in school and is more aware of how time passes and how things work. All the stereotypcal little kid things are disappearing.
Good thing they have been replaced by endless fart sounds.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


From Nov. 14:
Sun [Microsystems] shares were trading at $4.11 at mid-day, putting the market value of the company at about $3 billion, a little less than what Sun has in cash on hand.

Is this only mindblowing to someone as naive as I (am) [I have to do that to check my grammar.]?
On the one hand it might mean that you could make a "little" profit if you were to get a loan (hahahaaa! flaw number one) and buy the operation, take the cash on hand and run off to, uh, well, to flaw number two.
On the other hand it points out that the problems here and now are beyond the merely monetary otherwise Sun's board could do just that: take all the cash on hand and give all the assets to Goodwill. Don't forget to get a receipt.

Along those lines I have an ad campaign for J&B (or whatever your preferred midprice brand might be): A Holiday Gift that is 40% recession-proof/Vol.

Thanksgiving Week

If you're not too busy (and not already living there) fly over to Germany in order to catch the network premiere of this awesome movie starring* my friend Florian Luehnsdorf. Nov. 26, 20:15, ARD.

* I'm not exactly sure, but it seems from the poster that they have a masterful costume and makeup department and he's doing some magical Eddie Murphy Norbit thing and playing all the parts. If not, he might just be one of the greyish guys in the background. But I think you'll see what kind of a pivotal role he plays. I think it's his seasickness that starts off a crucial plot twist.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Madge Monday

A sample of Madge's work as a photographer. Not bad, I say.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Playing Tourist

I've been playing tourist in NYC for part of the past two days because we have a visitor, and tomorrow we will try to take the train to Philadelphia to be true tourists. It'll just be a day trip so we're unsure about what to pack. iPods, of course. But other than that? I don't think we'll be making snacks to take.
But we're trying to meet some friends who live there. I'm excited. I've never been.
Let's hope the weather cooperates and that I'll be able to sneak in a cheesesteak even though I'm the only one in our group who wants one.
I have read, though about onions topped with cheezwhizz (or however you spell it). But I'm not sure they'll mix with any sort of travel. Or, for that manner, any sort of social life. Eek.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Picture Day

It's picture week at the kids' school, so on different days you see other kids in getups you wouldn't see the rest of the year. One kid in Coco's class wore a red bow tie yesterday.
Today was Madge's turn. It was also gym day and because of the confluence of fancy dress and gym class some kids were allowed to sit it out. Madge hadn't overdressed, but sat it out, too.
Crafty. She didn't actually say anything about her clothes, just sat down with the others.
Hee, hee.
I'm glad she can improvise on the fly like that, but I'm also glad she still feels that she can tell me about it.


I know. Very extravagant, going to the circus in the middle of the week. And trust me, I have a feeling we will all pay a bit of a price for it tomorrow - a bit was already paid tonight at the belated bedtime.
But it may have been worth it all just to see the joy on the face of the elderly nun sitting next to Madge.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Coco Tuesday

The BYOBama party at Coco's friend's house was fun.
I am pleased to report that I was able to make someone snort red wine out his mouth and nose onto a white, I repeat: white, coffee table. Heh, heh. I didn't even think the comment was that funny, which is probably why the delivery went over so well.
But enough about me; this is a Coco post.
Coco's friend lives in a big house and they have a banister which the kids are allowed to slide down. This blew Coco's mind and he spend a considerable amount of time climbing stairs and sliding down the handrail. So much so that he rubbed his chest sore and now has a little scab on it.
Logical minds might wonder about other damage. The other stuff was taken care of with a warm soak after we got home that night. He says it's all better.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Madge Monday

Madge has been under the weather over the weekend and today was no different. So she stayed home while Coco went to school. Not a bad day, really.
Mind you, she wasn't too sick to go to the movies this weekend, or to an improv theater thingie - at which she and Coco performed admirably when they got to be on stage. Just sick enough to stay home from school.
See? Sometimes I can be a nice dad.
What's a trifle more disconcerting is that she seems to have been having nightmares recently and won't tell us their content. How are we to help? Is she saying she can handle this on her own? I don't want her to handle this on her own, since it'll tell me something about her.
I want her to handle cleaning up after herself and getting her own food and drink on her own, since that holds no surprises for me, I think.

Friday, November 07, 2008

vegetable as adjective

Now that the election is over, spare time can be allocated in different ways again.
And once more I notice how I'm behind in glancing at poetry.
Yesterday I found one with lines that seem familiar. Andrew Marvell is the poet, though that sure seems like a magician's stage name, if you ask me.
Anyway, the lines are (from "To His Coy Mistress"):

Had we but world enough, and time
Now let us sport us while we may

Both seem worth remembering and dropping knowingly - that is, if you enjoy having people stuff you in gym lockers.
There are a few in between that are quite jolly, too, of which my favorite is (speaking of having but enough time and world):

My vegetable love should grow
Vaster than empires, and more slow.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Friends of ours invited us to a party to celebrate the outcome of the election and the party is entitled B.Y.O.B.ama. See? Punny.
I told Madge about it and she asked what byob stands for.
So I told her and she said, "Why? Didn't they want Obama to win?"
(This one may take a while so SOUND OUT what byob stands for, especially the last "b".)
I was confused about this and started explaining that people don't just drink alcohol when they're unhappy. In a roundabout way I thought she might have gotten that impression because I occasionally play and/or sing country songs around the apartment.
But then it finally surfaces that she didn't know the word "booze" and didn't relate it to the idea of alcohol.
She thought I had said "Boo's."

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Oh boy.
And now, if I understand the message correctly, it's up to us to make something of ourselves.

we can.

Coco Tuesday

We went to vote this morning. Fun stuff. Lines. Cranky voting booth "helpers." But at least the crowd was cheerful.
Then we had a long day hanging out since school was closed. Coco was busy spelling whatever he could on his day off and assembling letters out of pens, marveling that a capital I turned on its side becomes and H.
Just wait till he figures out that they're adjacent in the alphabet. It'll blow his mind.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Madge Monday

Madge was extra tired and cranky today. It's amazing what a one-hour time change will do for little people's schedules. She, of course, wants the benefits on both ends. She wants to be able to stay up extra late and still get up at the same crack of dawn as before, in order to watch more morning cartoons.
And tomorrow we have the day off in order to fret all day long about the election. Part of her homework is to watch some of it on TV. We'll see how that goes.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Halloween Highlights

One of the best moments was when we were at a party and the kids were handing out candy and ran out. Coco went to his bucket to try to "sell" some more. (He called it selling. He has much to learn about capitalism.)
Today, though, he's not sharing a single morsel.

Another great moment was when we went by a house with some slightly tipsy treaters, one of whom was a lawyer who all of a sudden got obsessed with asking the kids about "any known peanut allergies."