Monday, November 30, 2009

Cold Turkey

I'm having turkey again. Who knew?
See, what happened was that I ordered turkey breast but it didn't have the bone in, so I got a turkey at the store. And, as you know, the later you get a bird, the bigger it is, so we got one that was around 16 pounds. It was great. Still is, that's the point.
And thanks to enlisting the friend who was over (and brought awesome pecan pie), we now call gravy "Yummy Steve Sauce." Email me and I can give you the recipe for "Yummy Steve Sauce." Heh, heh.
Anyway, it seems odd that "going cold turkey" means abstaining entirely from the addictive substance, when in real life cold turkey seems to last forever and translates to a kind of overdose.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

stars, I tell you, stars

Go to (or wait for) the 50 second mark (and, briefly, 1:31).

Monday, November 23, 2009


The oddest thing. When we go to baseball games, Madge tunes out.
But the basketball we saw this weekend was right up her alley. The noise, the excitement, and the Newcastle on tap.
Wait. The last one was me.
Conrad was not as sold on the event, but I think that's because we timed the cotton candy intake badly. He had his face sticky by the end of the first quarter and the game went into overtime. Or, in sugar-high terms: 23 minutes into The Crash.
Still fun, though. Now if only the local team were any good...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


By now I think you know I fall behind on posting when we have guests or we are on vacation or the kids are sick - basically when I don't have a prolonged period of alone time.
Today was one of the first days in a while that I've been able to sit here and type and now, of course, I'm not sure what to write about.
We had swimming again today and it was the first time of the new session that both kids were fit to swim. Jeez, what a day. While I was able to schedule both on the same day, there's a 45-minute gap between the classes, so we don't get home from 8:20am to 6pm. Which can be a lot. Especially if one of us is still recuperating from a week of fever and cough.
But we made it.
In different news, I've decided to try to learn a few more things by heart, partly because I get bored on solo walks around the neighborhood and partly because my lengthy ear-popping cold has gotten me off the iPod for a while.
I've learned all of Burns' "To a Mouse" - with accent and all - and was starting on Arnold's "Dover Beach" when I realized that "Dover Beach" doesn't flow off the tongue as well. I like it, but I can't figure out how to say it right.
You can't prove it (other from my mangled punctuation), but this is the last verse from memory:

Ah, love, let us be true
to one another. For the world which seems
to lie before us in a land of dreams
so various, so beautiful, so new
hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
and we are here as on a darkling plain
swept by confused alarms of struggle and flight,
where ignorant armies clash by night.

I also learned - perhaps you sense a theme - the beginning of Yeats' "Second Coming":

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
the falcon cannot hear the falconer.
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world;
the blood-dimmed tide is loosed; and everywhere
the ceremony of innocence is drowned;
the best lack all conviction; while the worst
are full of passionate intensity.

I should go back to Pippa's Song, no?
I welcome suggestions what to learn next. I might be going on a fifth-grade field trip to Gettysburg, so I'm thinking of learning Lincoln's speech.

By the way, if you don't mind talking to yourself as you walk, I recommend this. It is quite fun to learn lines while wandering about. "To a Mouse" took me more than a week, I think.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I'm not talking about the old news of Papa Phillips here.
I was just listening to this song (at random) and realized that, thanks to a Hal Leonard Jazz Pak, I still know that %$#!!#$! flute solo by heart.
It starts at 1:18

Saturday, November 07, 2009

nerdy, I know

This poem doesn't look like much on the page, but I challenge you to read it aloud and not get chills while speaking the last line.
Oh, it's by Robert Browning (jr., the star of the upcoming Sherlock Holmes movie - not!)
You can also take it to the next level and learn it by heart. It's short. You can impress people in the early morning hours. Give them chills, too. But, remember, saying it aloud is the trick.
[Pippa's Song]

The year's at the spring;
The day's at the morn,
Morning's at seven;
The hill-side's dew-pearled;

The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn;
God's in His heaven -
All's right with the world.

Of course the cynic in me (and, having read some of Browning's other poems, I think the cynic in him, too) points out that it won't and can't last.
And yet, that not-lasting-ness off the moment is what makes it so poignant. (Also, Greek story style, things are only right with the world when the gods butt out of human affairs.)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

you ask, we deliver

All Hallow's Eve with warm fuzzies:

yard sale with entertainment

Today was a day off because the elections are held in the schools. In SF and Mpls, they were just in seemingly random homes and garages. In Chicago, we voted in the old people's residence across the street, but I have the feeling in retrospect that it was just another version of "random homes and garages." It smelled more official, though.
So I was home with the kids. Coco didn't want to leave or change out of his pjs until he had the idea to have a yard sale. So we had one. Not that I'm a big fan or that we were very successful, but it got him out of the house and got us to clean a little. Win/win.
And I got to play guitar outside to lure in the customers. Coco kept insisting I put out the case to earn some money for myself but I didn't want to distract from him. Also, it would have meant playing complete songs rather than playing songs I sort of know up to the point where I forget things or mess up and blame a passing squirrel or car for my fudging. Or, put another way, it would have meant playing two songs over and over again rather than playing an aggregate of 6.2883 songs.
Coco earned 6 bucks, mostly because he pulled a bait-and-switch. All toys for one dollar, except for some - was his motto.

Monday, November 02, 2009


In a sense, Julie and I got lucky and Madge and Coco didn't get jealous.
Because, man, in our Bert and Ernie costumes, we were celebrities.
"Look, it's Bert and Ernie!" "Hey, Bert!" "Ernieeee!" Over and over again.
Highlights include:
A group of Asians had their picture taken with us. Various kids had their pictures taken with us, too, but the Asian group was in their twenties.
Kids ran up and hugged us. One kid, while Coco and I were in line for a haunted house, just held my hand for a while.
And one kid, believing a bit too much, asked me, "Bert, what are you going as?"
We, of course, played it up and waved to anyone who recognized us.
Individually, we didn't get as much attention. When Julie was out on her own or when I was off doing something, we didn't get as many shouts. But the one-two combination of America's favorite same-sex couple was always a hit.
Warms the heart.