Tuesday, September 29, 2009

shirts or skins

After dinner the kids and I went to the "fake grass" to throw a baseball around. There was a soccer game going on and Madge noticed how longingly I was staring in its direction, so she said, "Why don't you just ask if you can play?"
I said, "But what about you guys?"
"We don't mind, do we Coco?"
Coco didn't respond but finally agreed.
Problem was, they had teamed up dark shirts against light shirts and I was wearing a dark shirt, but the dark shirts were already outnumbering the light shirts.
So I went shirtless.
My general rule of thumb with shirts v. skins is to go with skins if you want to win, shirts if you want to have more fun. See, shirts tends to have all the girls and skins are people who like to show off their upper bodies, so their either buff or not smart or both.
But that was not the case here - except for the not smart bit - and after the game Madge said I ought to exercise my chest more because it was bouncing around a lot.
pffffffff [that's the sound of a deflated dad]

Friday, September 25, 2009


"People laugh at metal detectorists," is my favorite quote by Terry Herbert, who apparently now can thumb his nose at all of us laugherists.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

who's the kidder?

Madge has been around me too long, in the sense that it's hard for me to shock her anymore.
The first instance was back in San Francisco, when some aria that's a bit too high for my limited aging baritone - let's say Nessun Dorma - was playing in a restaurant but I decided "what the hell" and just pushed a little harder as I belted out "Vin-eh-CEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE-ro!" in my best Prosciutto Pavarotti imitation. Neither of the kids even looked up from their meals.
Then, yesterday, we were walking home from school and Madge was complaining about lower back pains, a stomach pain and a slight queasiness, as well as a headache and irritability. I think they all come from the flu we're sharing (as a family is prone to do), but I said,
"Maybe you're pregnant."
Hoping, of course, for a shocked, "Dad-deeeeee-uh!"
Instead, she nonchalantly said,
"But I don't know how that would have happened."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I finally see the irony

It always bugs me when the kids, especially Madge, freak out about stuff that is super-unlikely to happen. Scorpions, black widows, tarantulas, thunder (not lightning, thunder) come to mind.
And I finally realized why it bugs me so much: they don't understand statistics.
While she's worrying, for example, about black widow spiders, she'll be chewing on her backpack's string which has been God-knows-where and not looking both ways before crossing the street because there's still plenty of time once the light turns red.
Meanwhile, how can I be sure there's not a great white shark in the sewers?

Checkers Speech

Gotta look it up now.
Apparently it has to do with finance and ethics, obviously the GOP's strong suit, but, judging by the campaign button, this is when they got the "ironic gay vote."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

tough times

Poor Coco. Yesterday the girls stayed home, sick. Coco tried to talk his way into staying home, too, or at least into coming home early, but I'm a little more experienced as a parent and it's too early in the year for me to say "*&%! it, let's go kite flying instead."
It was tough going, though. He refused to hold my hand the whole way. One of the regular benefits of the stay-at-home world is that, in ten years now, not a single day has passed when I haven't held a smaller hand in mine. (It's only a downside on really hot, sweaty days.)
But after school he held my hand later and apologized for the morning and told me that he almost cried at school because he missed me. He didn't, though, don't get the wrong idea. Apparently, he rubbed his eyes and sniffed and it went away.
Then, this morning, after we had our goodbye smoochie and I turned around, I was hug-tackled around my thighs and there he was again, with his eyes a little redder and bulgier than usual. I bucked up and gave him another hug and off he went. Brave dude.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

the shirt

With the change of seasons comes a change in clothing. I feel like I ought to get a flannel shirt soon, but can't decide on one. I know, this is a problem and it really concerns you.
I did notice, though, that my closet - or rather, the closet I share with the kids because real estate is so precious in Bklyn - holds quite a few button-down shirts. And I also noticed that, the more expensive a shirt was, the less likely I am to wear it. So today I wore a shirt that is currently at about $39.97 1/2 per wear. Gotta get that rate down.
I have T-shirts that weigh in at less than a penny per wear.

Putting on Pants

When people say that someone is just like you and puts on pants one leg at a time, I wonder.
Do they know how perilous an endeavor it is when I put on pants? How I really stake my all on whether or not my foot will proceed through the hole without a snag?
I'm just saying. The last time I was at the pool and changed into my regular clothes I had one of those moments. The floor was wet, obviously, so I was trying to be careful about not letting the pants touch the ground. On the other foot (seems more appropriate than "hand" here) I still had to commit fully to getting the ungrounded limb through the opening. And when I reached that point of no return, there was that moment of weakness and doubt when I wasn't sure I'd be reenacting oh-so-many slapstick scenes, especially because it took quite a few hops to regain my balance. Luckily I was able to run into a locker rather than a person, though the person would probably have been softer. Still better than the floor, though.

freakin' awesome

stick with it, it gets really good
(if you're really impatient, skip to the 2 minute mark)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

the kids

What's up with the kids, you may wonder.
Well, they're in school now, getting acclamated to the hard life. Madge is a pro, it seems, and is taking it in stride even though she's got a cold and is a little extra tired. But she likes her teacher a lot and has described her as McGonagall from Harry Potter. She's still waiting for her Transfigurations lesson. Little does she know that Transfiguration in the real world is called Puberty.
Coco is a First-grader now. Hoo-boy. He walks in on his own, very proudly. And when he comes out I wait by the fence and he comes to me. This is hard. For me. Because he's so darn cute and comes running at me but gets upset if I hold out my arms or run to him, too.
Madge often comes speeding towards me as well but catches herself as she approaches, just in time to remember to be a bit surly as I try to hug her. Sometimes I can squeeze a little kiss under the radar, but I pay the price later. Oh, well; it's worth the price.
Coco's biggest difficulty - or rather my biggest difficulty - is that people talk to me because that's part of social convention. But it tends to interrupt his stream of thought.
As a matter of fact, if you want to update A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, I think all you have to do is tell a 6-year-old boy that it's time to go to school and have him launch into ramblings that go from bending the four elements to "the reason Germany is so big is because it's so far away, let's go to Paris for my birthday." Take that Proust; and Coco only has six years of memories to fall back on.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


So it's more than 9 minutes, deal with it. Think of how the bass player feels.
Pour Some Water On Me!

Monday, September 14, 2009


USDJ Rakoff (I think he's a district judge, not a disk jockey, but who knows, maybe he's both) ruled against the penalties for BofA in the Merrill Lynch bonuses thingie.
See, they were going to pay out $5.8 billion of shareholders' money to themselves as a bonus, but meanies decided it was unjustified and wrong.
So they agreed to pay $33 million of shareholders' money as a fine, but now a judge, obviously also a meany, decided it is unjustified and wrong.
Apparently he cited Wilde's line of a cynic being someone "who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." Pretty cool.
Except, of course, that an Elightened Being knows the price of Everything and the value of Nothing.

I don't even know what to say

How did...?
What the...?
Who could...?
And yet: Oh, soooo perfect!

Friday, September 11, 2009


The kids had their first swimming class of the fall. They've had them sporadically in different places we've lived, but never consistently and they've not really learned strokes in a structured way.
Which is a roundabout way of introducing my fatherly pride in Madge. We had signed them up in the basic pollywog 1 class. Doing one of the exercises, the teacher asked Madge if she could do it without the noodle and she said yes and did and was moved to pollywog 2 (in a different lane). While doing the pollywog 2 exercises, specifically doing the freestyle with proper breathing (which she has never done for me, I might add), the teacher of that group said said, "Stay here after class."
After class they ran her through some more paces. These were: "Can you do the backwards frog?" "I don't know, what is it?" Teacher shows, Madge does. "Do you know breaststroke?" "I don't know, what is it?" Teacher shows, Madge does.
So now she's in guppy.
Coco should probably be in pollywog 2, but was super proud since he was able to show the rest of the class how he can float on his back.
Okay. I'm done bragging.
Getting them there after school and getting them to bed tonight was a pain in the ---

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

back to school

I'm a bit slow on the uptake.
This afternoon Coco told me that if I'm sad and lonely and miss the kids it's okay.
It's around midnight now and I just realized (thanks to the andante movement of Mozart's 18th piano concerto) that he missed me today.
(Listen to it and you'll feel it, too):

If you've listened this far, you might have noticed that it's not quite done. Here you go:

Thursday, September 03, 2009

"like" on facebook

Facebook allows you to comment on posts, as you know. And, for the extra-lazy who still want to be heard, you can just click "like" to show your approval.
Oddly enough, though, if you follow something like an NPR newsfeed, you get something along the lines of "Wildfires Kill Thousands" with a link to the story.
What exactly are you saying when you click "like"?

reruns can be good

In case you missed Flo Luehnsdorf on your TV the first time around, you can catch him again! And if you've seen it already, I'm sure you'll tune in again, because, let's face it, who doesn't want a snootful of Flo?

First rerun of "Feuerschiff"!
Donnerstag, September 10th, 9:45 p.m. in NDR

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

more on movies

An anonymous contributor has asked that I point out that I squealed like a little girl during District 9.

I squealed like a little girl during District 9.

And it was very weird to be in a full theater (not an empty matinee) with only adults. At least adults in age; some of us were, as mentioned, squealing like little girls.

Madge Monday

We went to the Prospect Park zoo yesterday. It was a milestone of sorts because it was our first time going there without packing anything. All we did was go. No picnic lunches, no extra snacks, no special treats. Just: out the door, up the slope and whee.
Of course the trip home was filled with a lot of "I'm tired of walking" - alternating with bursts of running through the grass.
The trip was fun. Madge, though, has been weepy lately for, I'm guessing, hormonal reasons. ("Why are you crying?" "I don't kno-ho-ho-hooow, sniff.") So, the more tired she got, the more breaks we had to take to calm her down. In a way it's nice because it's not something I did to upset her - I seem to upset her a lot - and I look like a good guy for trying to cheer her up. We'll see how this turns out.

I take requests

I have been asked by an anonymous contributor to blog about how great the movie "District 9" is and what a genius Julie is for suggesting we go see it.
The movie "District 9" is great.
Julie is a genius for suggesting we go see it.