Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Truth in Advertising - Christmas edition

Sarah designed and created a wonderful Christmas menu for today:

Horseradish crusted beef tenderloin with a mild horseradish cream sauce. The beef was certified grass fed Black Angus from a local farmer.
A Gratin of Yukon Gold & Russett Potatoes with gruyere cheese.
Haricot verts
Oatmeal crusted Apple Pie

I overheard Grace on the phone with someone tonight, who asked what our meal was.
Her answer: "Meat and Potatoes."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

More on the Clintons

I'm trying to put my thoughts about the Clinton campaign of late into some sort of coherence.

What I have witnessed the past week and a half is that they have been skating on the thin end of the pond. Allowing the NH Co_Chair to innocently suggest the GOP would wonder if Obama was a drug dealer, followed by her top strategist the next day trying to play nice by saying the word cocaine twice in one minute.

Along comes Bill on Charlie Rose, who damns Obama with faint praise. His "performance" was one for the ages, where I saw the Clinton charm offense become offensive.

Then on Sunday, Bob Kerrey refers to obama's "Muslim father" and "Muslim paternal grandfather" in the same sentence. He claims to be praising Obama, but mentioning Obama repeatedly in the same breath as Islam was an extremely conscious choice of words. Then yesterday, clarifying his sunday remarks, he refers to the "secular madrassa" that Obama attended when he was a little boy, again attempting to insinuate he had attended a muslim school, when in fact it was a public school, nothing of the sort.

I point this out not as sour grapes necessarily, but as an example of what is obviously an extremely orchestrated effort by the campaign to plant these little weeds in the public mind. This is nothing but dirty politics, which brings me to my observation.
As someone who supported the first Clinton administration I was obviously attuned to the whole "right wing conspiracy" that followed the Clintons from Arkansas to DC. So what I see now is the right wing conspiracy turned on its head. All of the tactics they rightly decried they are now using on someone from their own party and it made me upset to see it, especially the former President on Charlie Rose.

My question is will this sort of campaigning leave people with a bad taste in their mouths especially because it is coming from the Clintons, who had cried foul (wolf?) on this sort of thing? Or will they see it simply as hardball? If I was a Hillary supporter would I be offended? I doubt it, as I always had an excuse for Steve Spurrier when he was the Florida Gator. He was MY SOB! But I wonder if voters who were leaning toward but not committed to Hillary will have the same reaction I did. If they do, then this could be an extremely bad development for the campaign. I'm cynical so my guess is that it will, if only to hand Iowa to Edwards, mortally wounding Obama and allowing Hillary to head to New Hampshire and be the comeback kid all over again.

We'll know in a few weeks.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A Taste of the Past

I freely admit to being an Obama supporter.

Watching the "Clinton Machine" in the past week plus, I finally get a sense of why the other side hated them so much.

They are desperate and it is showing. Throwing everything at him by having Hillary using Bill to dish the heavy dirt looks bad to me, but will it look bad to the voters of Iowa? The next 2 + weeks will tell. Bill is playing serious hardball as he fights for his wife's survival. It looks a little creepy. He is fighting her battles.

This is why I don't want a legacy presidency. While I voted for Clinton twice, I want new leadership in this country.

No more Bushes (at least 4 generations)
No more Clintons (at least 3 generations, as I am a Democrat)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Alan Keyes is Talking Nonsense

I am pretty clued in to what is going on in Presidential politics. Certainly more than the average American.

I even watch the Republican debates, like the one happening right now in Iowa.

WHEN DID CRAZY ALAN KEYES GET INTO THE RACE??? He's on the stage right now!

I had no clue. But then again, neither does he.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Barney Dunn

Twice today I saw people I knew and immediately recognized. They both looked at but did not recognize me as I am currently sporting a full beard. This is proving to be a sweet way to avoid unwanted contact with people. I think I'll keep it for a while.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Is it just me or was last week a really busy news week.

I am sitting in one of Brooklyn's ubiquitous free internet cafes, where the clientele consists of out of work liberal arts graduates and nursing mothers groups, and I am thinking about last week's news. Just off the top of my head I remember the following:

1. The NIE report saying Iran halted their Nuclear program in 2003
2. The CIA destroyed at least 2 interrogation videos, prompting a likely Congressional inquiry.
3. The Huckabee rise coupled with several new attacks on him now that he is in the spotlight.
4. More of the drip drip drip of Rudy's mistress problem, culminating in his awful performance on Meet the Press yesterday. I have never seen such nervous laughter as Rudy tried to put his finger in the dike.
5. OPRAH! OPRAH! OPRAH! It totally dominated the weekend news cycle (good news for Rudy)
6. Romney's religious freedom/intolerance speech on Thursday in Texas.
7. Hugo Chavez suffers a defeat in his quest for endless presidency.
8. Vladimir Putin wins a suspicious victory in his quest for endless presidency.
9. Tim Tebow wins the Heisman (my personal favorite!)

It really feels like last week was one of those weeks where things shift in political campaigns. So much happened that it is presently impossible to add up all of the possible ramifications. Got to figure though that it was a bad week for the two New Yorkers running for the top job.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Did you know there was a debate today?

I admit to being a political junkie. How much? I recently listened to Joe Biden talk for a whole hour on the radio at a forum on health care during a long drive down to the city. I assume that should give you a good mental picture.

Today, while in the city, parked in front of a plumbing office (another boring story about the heating woes of my building), I listened to an engaging debate that was only on NPR with the Democratic candidates. The topics were only 3: Immigration, Iran, & China.

There was no discussion about Obama's kindergarten claim about wanting to be President. It was substantive, informative, and it also showed me that pretty much any one of the Democrats will be a good general election candidate. Hillary did flub her final question about what is the one issue you don't have an answer for as she did her best rope a dope and ran out the clock. The moderator noticed it and gave her another chance to try again after the other candidates actually gave it a shot, and she fumbled again.

Mike Gravel again proved that he is not even the Dem version of Ron Paul, but more like the uncle who drinks too much at family gatherings.

Contrast this debate with the LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD and his press conference today. He actually had the stones to claim that he had not been given the information from the NIE on Iran until LAST WEEK. If that is true, he is the most woefully informed leader in the history of this country. If not, then he is a damn liar. I think it is a combination of both. He is a lying moron.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hiding behind the Generals - Weasels all

During tonight's Republican debate, the candidates were asked whether it was appropriate for gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. Unfortunately they all didn't answer. Those who did failed.

Duncan Hunter basically said most kids who joined the military were conservative so we shouldn't offend their sensibilites. He also hid behind Colin Powell, saying it was his notion that gays shouldn't serve, so he stood behind the general. It was the worst answer all night. Get out now. On second thought, stay in.

Then John McCain hid behind General Petraus saying that Petraus declared it was bad for "unit cohesion" so McCain was for it too. Another politician hiding behind another general. They did not have the courage to face the issue on their own.

Romney said "Now is not the time." We are in a war so we shouldn't allow gays to serve. Don't want to rock the boat and all.

Weasels all indeed.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

FU Alan Greenspan

Time to shill your book so you finally come out and say what we all know is and was true about this administration.

Too little too late.

Go Away.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I Officially Suck


2 months without posting in what has been 2 of the busiest months in a looooong time.

I have forgotten so many amazing things that Grace has said these past months.

we moved upstate, Sarah saw a bear, Grace started school, I started work again, my show won an Emmy, Grace and I developed an intricate new tickling game involving declarations of "I don't love Daddy" (don't wory, it is only temporary), I bought an old cheap truck, my best male friend went to the Emmys and apprently was on TV every few seconds, I chave chopped enough firewood to heat my whole county, I bought a Prius (wow it really has ben a long time), I illegally downloaded the new Springsteen album, I bought tickets to the Springsteen show in Albany, I have immersed my family in the new Springsteen record (Grace just loves Gypsy Biker). The list is endless. Life truly does get in the way.

I will try and do better.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Am I a freak? Or a snob? Or just a parent?

I have never seen a Die Hard Movie. A Pirates of the Caribbean movie (but I have seriously been on the ride at least 6 times. I love the sing-a-long toward the end) A Batman Movie. An X-Men movie. The only Star Wars Movies I saw in the theater were in 1977 & 1979. I have never seen any of the others. I have never read any Harry Potter books. I saw only snippets of the Spiderman movies on HBO. I did see Shrek 1 on DVD. I also saw all of the Lord of the Rings Movies with a friend but was not moved (generally I don't like fantasy movies). The Matrix: Never seen them. I saw the first Jurassic park but none since then. And most happily, I never saw "Dick Tracy."

That said, I have never seen most of Fassbinder's, Herzog's, Bergaman's, Kurasowa's, Fellini's, or even Powell & Pressburger's movies.

Hopefully country life will allow me to catch up on my culture, pop and otherwise.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Present to send Michael Vick

I found this on line yesterday.

Officially licensed Atlanta Falcons dog jersey. Usually ships next business day! All 32 NFL teams available. Let your dog show their team spirit on gameday. Our line of NFL dog jerseys are a touchdown and a 2-point conversion!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Help me on this

I worked a shift at the co-op today & 2 customers bought a single roll of toilet paper.

I do not understand why anyone, even if they lived alone and were forever constipated, would only purchase one roll at a time. It's a mystery.

Most expensive pee ever (and I didn't even pee)

Most of you have heard the tragicomic news about our flight to Florida for my father's 70th birthday party. For those who haven't...

The plane was initially delayed about 90 minutes, which is the norm these days, especially with Delta. While the plane was taxiing to the runway, Grace decided she needed to use the loo. As we were 20th for takeoff (no lie) Srah dragged her off. After she had been in the loo for about a minute, the pilot came on and said that this was an active taxiway & people had to be in their seats or else the plane could not move. About 20 seconds later, they come barrelling out of the toilet & rush back to their seats, and Grace exclaims in a very loud voice, "But mommy we didn't wash our hands!"

About 2 hours into the flight, she exclaims she needs to pee again & clearly it is my turn to take her. She pees with no difficulty & as I bend over to pull up her trousers, she flushes the loo & my still under warranty 80 Gig I-Pod falls directly out of my shirt pocket and into the swirling blue bowl, headphones trailing. I make a futile attempt to grab it before it disappears to no avail. I shriek some mild obscenity, which puts Grace into a panic and she begins wailing, which is what probably calmed me down so quickly.

On the return flight, after she peed, I picked her up, closed the lid then stood her on it, and was able to pull up her trousers very easily. Hindsight truly is 20-20.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Secretary Chertoff & his Gut

Dept. of Homeland Security (I feel like that is a Nazi Germany title every time I see it) Secretary Michael Chertoff just announced to the world that he has a "gut feeling" that we will be hit by "the terrorists" this summer.

We have added a new color to the chart of homeland security warnings: bile.

In all seriousness, how is this man still in charge of ANYTHING after making a comment like that? What do all of the nation's police forces & first responders do with that information? Think about it: The person charged with the entire domestic security apparatus of the United States just happens to think his stomach is telling him we will be attacked. No facts, no intelligence to share. These people are destroying this country worse than any "terrorist" could ever hope to.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword

Friday was Grace's 3rd birthday, and an afternoon party was planned. Around one-ish, Sarah asked my sister Jen to help Grace wind down in her room for a little quiet time. The idea of an actual nap ahead of the festivities was remote at best, as she was pretty wound up, especially after getting her new dollhouse as a present.

Jen stayed with her for a while, fell asleep, then decided to go to her own bed for some proper rest. Grace was pretty calm, so it was a no brainer.

I was dispatched to her room about 45 minutes before guests were to arrive to get her up. It had been pretty quiet up there for a while, so perhaps she did fall asleep.

When I opened the door I was greeted by a look of total and utter mischievous guilt. In her right hand was a Red Sharpie. She had been a busy girl.

Both of her legs were covered (and I mean COVERED) with Pollockian lines & splotches. Her stomach had not been spared either. She managed to cover the inside of her bellybutton as well. The arms weren't too bad & she had applied some sharpie eyeliner & rouge, not to mention a small botched hair dye job.

I won't go into any detail about the duvet cover, her bed sheets, some of her new dollhouse furniture & a section of the wide plank pine floors that got a makeover.

My first question to her was "WHERE DID YOU GET THAT SHARPIE????" He reply was defensive, but to the point: "From Auntie Jen," as if that made it all okay. A horrified Jennifer realized that it had fallen out of her pocket when she fell asleep in Grace's room, however briefly. Instantly, she (Grace, but also possibly Jennifer, I am not sure) sensed my anger, and she burst into floods of tears & that kind of early child sobbing that makes you wish you never raised your voice.

A quick call to the Sharpie corporation for advice (the party was only 30 minutes away now) yielded little help, so we just threw her into the bath. By this time she had calmed down enough for me to give her the bath (poor Auntie Jen, now certainly traumatized herself had started the bath as a kind of penance but promptly splashed soap into Grace's eyes. Cue the sobbing anew) & I scrubbed hard enough to give her a couple of bruises.

She wore long pants to the party. And at one point, she took off her trousers (and underwear as well), ran onto the porch with a whole piece of chocolate cake on a fork & exclaimed "CHOCOLATE!!" in a feral sort of voice.

How was your weekend?

Monday, July 02, 2007

As Expected

Leave it to President Bush to create sympathy for Paris Hilton, but she just spent a shitload more jail time than Scooter Libby ever will.

Rome (final days version), here we come.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Make My Day

These days I am working on the FX show Rescue Me, which if you don't know, is sort of a broad comedy/drama about NY City firemen, warts & all. Yesterday we were filming in my neighborhood in Brooklyn. As luck would have it, we were doing driving shots with our fire truck & decided to take a turn down my street. I called Sarah & asked her to get to the window with our daughter Grace straight away. As we drove by our home I waved to my little girl (soon to be 3) from the window of the fire truck. She was flapping her arms like there was no tomorrow as our fireman driver hit the siren. It was a truly wonderful moment. When I got home later she was breathless in her excitement. It made my year!

This is one advantage to my work. Unfortunately, Grace now thinks I am a fireman.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Going Back to my Roots

I just got finished perusing the Craigslist board for a sublet in August. As we are renting out our apartment as of August 1 & I will be doing a job for most of that month, I need a place to crash 4 nights a week.

From the looks of things in my price range, I will almost certainly be reaquainting myself with futon living.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I know how Netflix stays in business

Just put our copy of "Vera Drake" (unwatched) back in the post today to Netflix.

We had the movie since May 25th.

Of last year.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Reason #129 why I know Moving upstate is the right idea

I spent much of the week worrying that the lettuces and herbs I had planted on Sunday were getting dehydrated by the lack of watering.

Upon arrival, they looked perfect. Crisis averted.

Did I mention the traffic getting out of the city tonight?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Franklin J. Boodle Culmer 1987-2007

Before Sarah & I were married, I always wanted a cat, an animal that she had never exactly warmed up to. A retail job during her illegal alien days introduced her to a lovely cat called Thomas, so she softened a bit on that front. I seized the opening, and 5 days after our wedding, I went to Bide a Wee, a local NY shelter to look for a cat to start our married life together with. Unfortunately, our landlord had decreed no pets, so I got the bright idea to get a cat that had already been declawed so he wouldn't leave marks. I met a 2 year old male called "Sweetie" who seemed a little shy & since he was the only one who was suitable, I adopted him. Since he was a cat and couldn't object, we immediately christened him Frank.

Frankie lived through the dark studio days on 83rd Street (bright idea not - we lost most of our deposit due to damaged floors), 22nd Street, 35th Street, Sterling Place & sometimes at Oak Hill Road upstate. He survived what can only be described as Penis removal surgery at the age of 7. A nasty bout of fleas while living in pretty much squalor in Ft. Lauderdale was certainly a low point for us all.

He outlived Lloyd, his beloved "brother" who he shared a bed with for 12+ years. After several years of extreme skittishness, he decided that he was in love with Sarah & would incessantly follow her around the house to sit on her lap or try and get between us in bed. He was definitely around for several of our attempts to start a family.

He truly hated riding in the car the last few years. Ususally by the time we had arrived at the Brooklyn Bridge (a journey of only 2 miles)for a trip upstate he had performed the "Trifecta," which involves relieving himself from all three main orifices. We got the hint and let him stay in Brooklyn most weekends.

Frankie died today at the unlikely age of 19 1/2. If he could have held on a little longer he could have voted in the next election. Grace has been told he has gone to live with all of Brooklyn's really old & sick kitties. Apparently if you tell a little kid that a pet has gone to sleep forever, then sleep can become frightening. She's already stopped napping, so the sleep lie was tossed in favor of the feline Century Village ruse.

Good night Frankie.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Best thing About Monica Goodling testifying

We won't have to see the same damn picture on line at every single web site of her. You know the one. Where she looks like she is at band camp.

Watching the Wheels Turn

Yesterday, Sarah called her Aunt Audrey in the UK at around 8AM and Audrey did not answer the phone. She mentioned to Grace that perhaps Audrey was out having lunch.

Lunch at 8:30AM? This does not compute to a child that has just eaten her 3rd breakfast.

How do you explain the world time zone concept to a 2 1/2 year old. In short, you don't really.

Today Grace had clearly been digesting this strange notion of lunch at 8:30 AM. She said someting to the effect of: People in England eat their dinner in their bed in the morning".

The questions are coming fast and furious these days. Today's best:

"Mommy, what is a process?"

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

A Great Thing About Being An Adult

When I was a teenager, we would go out in groups, usually to a sorry local chain restaurant called Wags, whose mascot was a sort of raccoon. (bad idea: a rodent as your icon) Inevitably, there would not be enough cash on the table to cover the bill, so eventually Chris Keathley & I would summon up our Prostestant Guilt and round out the bill. (It's like Catholic Guilt but you can't actually feel guilty)

Tonight was Guys night at a local pub in Chatham. When the bill came, we all ponied up. Even after the tip was figured in, we had an extra $40, which was put towards next month's evening. And we tipped her at over 30%. Sweet.

A subway quiz

Quck: What color is the W Train? The G Train? The V Train?

If you have any trouble, just ask Grace. She has committed every train color to memory. The D Train took a little coaxing, but she ended up at 100%.

I realize it's not the state capitals, but hey, she's not even three yet. Give her some time.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Bathroom Humor

Grace has fashioned her first joke. And it's a pun no less.

Several times now in the bathroom, she has said "Boys have peas & corn in the bathroom." (pees)

She finds this endlessly amusing.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

New Name for Our House

Tantrums R Us.

It is amazing what a weekend away at a wedding and a couple of working nights (Thursday & Friday I started at 5PM and worked all night) does to a small child's psyche.

This morning there was a total meltdown, with Grace literally screaming "MOMMY MOMMY I DON'T WANT DADDY!!!!!!!!!!!!" as I attempted to merely put on a pair of trousers & a shirt. Being a modern city child, Grace was wailing for her "YOGA PANTS!!!!!!!" whatever they are. The trousers I was attempting certainly looked like the pants Sarah wore to Yoga so I tried in vain to call them YOGA PANTS!!! as I forced them on her legs. Eventually an overexhausted mum strode in from the shower to calm things down.

This is one of those days where I am certain that this blog is perfectly named. While I never feel like a stranger, I do feel a step behind on some days.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Rush is a racist... details at 11

For those of you who are familiar with extreme right wing radio host Rush Limbaugh, you must now know he is like a cat with 9 lives. His arrest for posession of Oxycontin & Vicodin were lives 3 & 4 at least. His unbearable attack on Michael J. Fox and his battle with Parkinsons Disease was probably Life 6. Let's not forget his racist comments about NFL Quarterback Donovan McNabb. Life 7 possibly. Let's not forget the finding of another prescription drug not of his, Viagra, after a trip to the Dominican Republic (Life 2, 5 or 1??) Any one of those escapades alone would be enough to fell a mere mortal but Mr. Limbaugh has a radio empire far sturdier than Don Imus.

His latest outrage is a parody song of Barack Obama called "Barack the Magic Negro" sung to the tune of Puff The Magic Dragon. He thinks it's okay to use this term because he saw it in the LA Times. But the song is sung in the "voice" of Al Sharpton. I won't bother to repeat the lyrics. They are simply the work of a fool.
There are those who think that in this new age of Imus that Rush will pay for this transgression. I have my doubts. He has a few more lives left. Rush Limbaugh will survive this tempest. Anybody who can survive the horrible oxycontin arrest must have a feeling of invincibility. Imus is a memory. There is no longer any talk of newfound respect for black women in our culture. We are in the last throes of discussing Virginia Tech and are moving on to the next "crisis" of our society.

In New York, that would be the Yankees & their continued collapse (7 in a row as of tonight!). Finally, a story I can get behind.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Amazing statistic I learned

I was watching Charlie Rose the other night and they had a panel discussion on with a group of oncology specialists from around the country (and a British doctor as well).

One of the oncologists said that if tobacco was eliminated in our society, then cancer deaths would drop 30%.

That may sound unimpressive to some, but if you know folks who have battled cancer (and if you are over the age of 40 you have) then that figure looms much larger.

There has never been a better time to quit smoking.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I Hate Imus

On a day when the airwaves should be filled with wonderful tributes for the late Kurt Vonnegut, we are instead treated to nonstop Imus TV.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Potty Training... diaper half full or half empty?

This week has been a turning point (for Grace, not me).

Essentially the last three + days she has been pull-up (for those of you non parents, a pull up is essentially a marketing ploy. It's a diaper that your child can supposedly easily remove to relieve themself. The reality is that it should be called a pull-down but I'm fairly certain the marketing boys put the kibbosh on that) free during the day. Sarah purchased some "big girl" underwear and that seems have helped her turn the corner. Crapping is still a pull-down affair, but one can hope for the best.

Diapers/pull-downs are so damn convenient I am surprised that we ever manage to toilet train our charges. Did I mention I have been working all week and only managed one bathroom visit with her on the highway tonight? Kudos to mum as usual.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


After 2 Basketball National Championships and 1 Football Championship in the past year, I now have begun to understand how Yankee fans feel.

And I still hate them.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Time to re-brand

I was going to post about this last week when I saw that they were showing a double feature of "Cild's Play & "Child's Play 2" (the Chucky movies).

But when I saw tonight that they were showing "Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers" enough was enough.

How does American Movie Classics show "The Fly 2" back to back with "Stagecoach?"

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Ah, grammar...

Today I bought a toddler bed on Craig's List for Grace. Upon bringing it in the house in pieces, Grace clearly got very amped up. She volunteered to help me put it together, wielding a phillips head to no effect.

As I began to put it together, she charged into her room and loudly & breathlessly exclaimed, "I'm so exciting!!!"

Indeed you are.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Survivor - County Fair Edition

If you have ever been in a band, the idea of going on the road has always been sort of the ultimate fantasy. Tour buses with cool airbrushing on the side, groupies, adoring crowds, bowls of specially prepared m&m's, tossing your guitar to a waiting roadie when a string breaks, trashing hotel rooms, and of course, groupies.

Well that was then, but unfortunately this is now. My band was offered (well, perhaps it was merely floated as an idea, but whatever, that would be splitting hairs) to do a month and a half tour this summer in support of another band, one with an actual history of one sort of hit in the 80's. Not sure if it was for Rocky 2, 3 or 4, but the band is Survivor, and the "hit" was "Eye of the Tiger."

I caught some shit from my bandmates when I sort of pooh poohed the idea because of the obvious notion of how bad a band do you have to be to open for those guys. I think we know the answer. But then I started rethinking what a few of them said: it would be a blast to live out our teenage fantasy of rock stardom, minus the adoring fans, groupies (all of us are happily married & besides, we'd be inheriting the groupies that Survivor rejected, a truly horrifying visual image), & trashing hotels. So what if we would be playing lousy venues in obscure regional theme parks & county fairs. We would be able to check off one of the most important boxes on the rock band checklist.

In the end, our real lives, jobs, & families have won out and the Loaded Tour 07 was killed before it was even a gleam in this guitarist's eye.

Ladies & gentlemen, please welcome Epic Recording Artists, Survivor!

The Shins Big Night

Went to see The Shins the other night at The Theatre at Madison Square Garden, which is like the "mini-Garden." They several times said that they were excited to be playing Madison Square Garden. My frind Harry leaned over each time and gently added the term "junior." We had a laugh ove that. But it was clear they were having one of the greatest times of their lives that night, junior or not. I was happy for them.

54 blocks uptown my friend was also having one of the best days of his life, which is ironic as he has an 8 inch incision in his belly and 1 2/3 less internal organs than he had a week prior. But that day, his doctors declared him cancer free. Biopsies of all of his innards turned up nothing and he was celebrating as only a guy recovering from major surgery can: very gingerly.

It was really lovely to see people having such wonderful days for such different reasons. And for me, I enjoyed the Shins show all the more because I too was having one of the best days of my life.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


#1 Seed.

Things can only get worse.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I have not written about my dear friend's cancer to honor his privacy, and the reality is that most of you who actually check in know him. That said, he is recovering from surgery this week and the current signs are hopeful. But his is not a post about him.

When we have dealings with surgeons, we always tend to hold them in reverence, as they clearly do something that we can't and not only that, they are literally saving peoples' lives, which adds to the aura. It's a wonder more of them aren't raging egomaniacs.

My friend's surgeon seems to be a rare bird: delicate hands along with a gentle, yet playful bedside manner. I did a bit of research on him before the surgery and was extremely impressed. Today by chance I got to meet him and it was not what he said to my friend the patient that impressed me, but what he said to my other friend, his wife. He made a casual joke about her not crying today and to my ears it landed in exactly the right way. It showed me that he was taking in everything: not only his patient, but also his patient's loved ones and their tender emotions, which are a crucial part of recovery. That sort of stuff is not taught in medical school.

It was truly wonderful to see my friend, his wife & his parents in good spirits today. That is due in no small part to the surgeon who gave us the opportunity to hope for a better future with his hands and his heart.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Cute Kid Shit Alert!

A couple of things:

I read tonight that apparently people on the "left blogosphere" curse more than those on the right blogosphere, so I added a gratuitous word on the post title.

Today at Grace's Studio Creative Play (that is a mouthful - basically it is one of those "cool Brooklyn" kind of things) class the theme was "opposites."

The teacher, Khatee, would say a word and ask the kids for the opposite.

Did you know that the ooposite of chocolate is... HOT! At least in Grace's brain.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Don't yell at me for this one...

It's late and I'm tired and I have not much to say. But I was reading about the Libby trial today (I've kept an eye on it, not exactly devoted - one has to pick and choose their political obsessions).

But it did get me thinking: Is Scooter the highest ranking government official with a silly nickname in our country's history? Granted, Martin Van Buren was called "Old Kinderhook" & Nixon was called "Tricky Dick" but noone referred to them by those names. From what I know, people really call him "Scooter" to his face.

I never judge a person by their name, as 99 times out of a 100 they did not choose that name (except in the case of my dear friend who decided in college he wanted to be called "Animal." So his friends immediately began referring to him as "Kitten.") It's just something I thought about today.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Best in the World

Tonight I went with a friend to see Jerry Douglas at BB King's in midtown. I'd almost forgotton what live music was like. The crowd was as I expected: a little older, grayer, paunchier. Blugrass nerds.

It was wonderful watching someone who is without a doubt the best at what he does in the entire world. I know that music appreciation is subjective but the people who know the dobro who say Jerry is not the best are few and very far in between. I am in awe of what he does.

The stage was filled with players so dedicated to their instruments that they didn't have to sing. A night of extremely talented musicians in midtown.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Quotes of the week

"Mummy, I don't like bacon. Because I Love Bacon."

Tell Daddy what bird you saw.
"Daddy, I saw a peckwooder."

"Mummy, I have a son called Roy Lauritsen and he will be 6 1/2 on his birthday in July."

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The End is Near

Some people say that we will know Amageddon is here when we see the mark of the beast (666).

I say it is when CNN devotes its entire prime time lineup, a full three hours, to the death of Anna Nicole Smith.

This country is going to hell in a handbasket quicker than even I thought.

On another note, there is one person who is very happy Ms. Smith has expired: Crazy diaper wearing astronaut lady, who will finally be shoved off the front page tomorrow.

Monday, February 05, 2007

An email I sent to a bunch of folks

Note: This post was edited for tiny bits of accuracy by Andy.

Here's an email I sent to a bunch of people today. They have already responded to the tune of 400 pounds in about 5 hours! I'm very impressed,

Dear Everyone,

I want to tell you about my wife's nephew, Andy Lindesey (who is
actually older than Sarah, one of the quirks of her lovely family).

Nearly three years ago, Andy was on his way to work in London on his
Vespa scooter when he was involved in an accident. The gas tank on his vespa
exploded and he was trapped. The ensuing fire raged. Still alive
when he was finally rescued, he was flown to a Burn Hospital where they fully
expected him to die. But Andy would not, even though he received 3rd
degree burns over 75% of his body, he lost one of his arms below the
elbow, and lost a leg through the knee. The only reason he survived at
all was because he was an extremely fit athlete. Andy would also give
major credit to his doctors, to which I agree.

Since that awful day, he has had 30 operations, several of them
lifesaving. They have done repeated skin harvesting (because he has so
few areas unburned, they have to go back to the same places and
harvest new skin for him), a procedure to reconstruct his forehead
from a piece of muscle in his back, they took a piece of tissue from
under his armpit to build him a new nose, a collapsed lung It goes on
and on, and will continue to for some time. And through it all, Andy
has been the same person we have always known. He and his wonderful
wife Susie are an inspiration. How do I know this?

Andy is going to run the 2007 London Marathon.

Let that sink in for a minute.

And he will be running for the Burned Children's Club, to
help children who have suffered like he has.

Think about what it would take for you to get into shape to take on a
challenge such as this. Then think about doing it with a prosthetic
leg (above the knee, which is much more difficult to run with), every
inch of skin on your body that is extremely susceptible to horrific
blisters, and eyes that don't close properly and as a result, his tear
ducts don't work properly. That is only the tip of the iceberg. Did I
mention that he will be swallowing a pill that is actually a computer
that will monitor all of his core functions during the race? He's not
messing around. He will run it and he will finish it. I know him.

He so inspired his doctors that several of them have committed to
running with him. Personally I think they want to keep an eye on this
crazy bugger!

He doesn't want any sympathy. Never has.

He needs our cold hard American money! It's very simple. Just go to
this web site and use your Mastercard or Visa (isn't the Internet
great! You can donate in your underwear), but you must remember that
you will be giving in pounds, not dollars. 50 pounds is about 90
dollars these days. This is a proper secure web site for any financial
transaction. You will notice that they supposedly have reached their
goal. Well, they are British (Andy is actually from New Zealand but
has been living in Britain for many years), which means they are
unfailingly polite and they didn't ask for enough. We must give more.
I beg of you to help.

I just read an article about how Americans don't give enough to
charity. Let's prove them wrong. Even if it is only 10 pounds.

I cannot urge you enough to take the 3 minutes to do this for Andy. He
is such an amazing guy and he is about to do something that is beyond
the scope of my comprehension. He is taking what would destroy most
of us and simply turning it on its head.

Thank you for reading this note. If you want to get in touch with
him, he absolutely loves hearing from folks, even Americans! His
address is:

Chris Swartout

Those of you on this list who have run a marathon know exactly what
training for it is like, so I fully expect you to donate to Andy! And I will be checking the donations
page to see who has been naughty & nice!! And if you want to pass
this email along to anyone, please do. Thank you all.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Holy Shit - 2 weeks!

I heard from two diffferent people today that they read this tiniest sliver of the internets, so I guess I should keep my pathetic little work ethic going.

I am happy report that Grace was invited to the cockpit of a Jet Blue plane at the end of a recent flight to Florida. It is my unshaking belief that a brief experience like this is more important than watching all the episodes of Scooby Doo (especially the ones wih Scrappy Doo). Got to keep that in mind. Call us TV snobs, but 2 year old kids have no use for the box. Baby Einstein would be better called "Baby Sitter." It's a liberal way to allow yourself to plant your kid infront of a tv. (and I'm a liberal). Of course, Sarah is the one who leads the way. For someone who was unsure of her abilities as a parent, I am in awe of her choices and patience with Grace every single day. So when she says no tv, I am in complete agreement.

In other news, hypocrite dad started a new job (in the TV industry - but hey it's cable where the shows are better) this week and so far so good. The folks here are very family minded and don't look askance when one rushes home to see the children before bedtime. It's a good omen.

Those of you who check in, thank you. I'l try to post more often with better stories and more frequent updates.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Train Dorks

Last Sunday there was a train show in Hudson at the American Legion Hall. A big ad in the local paper gave the impression that it would be something that Grace, who is currently in a train phase, would enjoy. There would be plenty of model trains on little tracks, with those wonderful lifelike trees, old time gas stations, and other bygone artifacts. Sweet.

Admission was $3. Within a minute or 2 it was painfully clear that I would have been better off finding a crackhead who would make train sounds for us to give the money to. In the over 3000 square feet of floor space, there was exactly one setup, a large-ish train with 4 cars. Not one fuzzy tree, no miniature towns. Just a solitary locomotive going around a mountain (molehill?) that was in dire need of a paint and patch job. Nonetheless, there was a small crowd of disappointed children crowded around this feeble B&O. Any port in a storm.

The place also crawling with (ok, actually 2 that I saw) fathers wearing t-shirts with dubious sayings. Not being a reporter by trade, I neglected to write them down, but think along the lines of "Does this Tshirt make me look horny/". Between that and the concession stand selling sweaty hot dogs and Sam's Club sodas, we bid a hasty retreat.

In the interest of salvaging the outing, we headed down to the local real train station and waited for a passenger train to make an appearance. All's well that ends well.

Lesson: Never go to a train show.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Mininum Wages of Sin

I notied today that everyone's favorite bowtie wearing conservative (not Tucker), George Will, again called for abolishing the minimum wage.

The quote to know:
"But the minimum wage should be the same everywhere: $0. Labor is a commodity; governments make messes when they decree commodities' prices." (note to Mr. Will: what about farm subsidies?)

Is it me, or does a minimum wage of 0 only insure that more and more illegal immigrants come to this country. As it stands now, people who make far far less than the avg. native born American are willing to come because the wage offered here is better than home. By lowering it further still (see the news about Wal-Mart and their idea for flex hours to get an idea about where cheap labor is heading), we will insure that others will find their way to do the work that no native born poeple would shake a stick at, thereby creating an even bigger illegal immigrant situation that we currently face. Certain immigrants would only work for $5, others for $4, still others for $3. Still beats working for Nike in Bangladesh.

To follow Mr. Will's logic, why have a minimum work age? Labor is a commidity, why not laborers? If 11 year olds want to quit school to cut George Will's lawn for $2.28 an hour, then what could be wrong with that. Supply, meet demand.

Never Let Them Say New Yorkers Aren't Good People

Amid all the crap, this story is simply wonderful. From the Paper of Record:

Construction Worker One Day, Subway Hero the Next
Wesley Autrey teetered back and forth on the edge of a subway platform yesterday, re-enacting how he dived onto the tracks of a southbound No. 1 train in Manhattan on Tuesday to save another man’s life.

A little boy with black hair and a bowl cut followed each of his moves. Other passers-by at the 137th Street station let loose the occasional hurrah or hand clap. Still others riffled through newspapers, which featured Mr. Autrey’s picture and headlines like “Subway Superman.”

A few subway stops away, at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center on 114th street near Amsterdam Avenue, Cameron Hollopeter underwent a second day of medical evaluation. Police said Mr. Hollopeter, a first-year film student at the New York Film Academy, had suffered a seizure, which sent him convulsing off the platform and onto the tracks, where Mr. Autrey held him down as the train rumbled just inches above them.

Moments after the train came to a halt, Mr. Autrey recounted yesterday, Mr. Hollopeter asked if he was dead. “I said, ‘You are very much alive, but if you move you’ll kill the both of us.’ ” Both men emerged from the episode with little more than bruises, but Mr. Autrey also emerged a star.

Mr. Autrey, a 50-year-old construction worker, said he knew something was different when he showed up for work later on Tuesday. His boss, he said, bought him lunch — a ham-and-cheese hero — and later told him to take yesterday off.

Then yesterday morning, as he walked to his mother’s apartment in Harlem, “a stranger came up and put $10 in my hand,” he said. “People in my neighborhood were like, ‘Yo, I know this guy.’ ”

Once at his mother’s apartment, he held interviews in the living room with some of the national morning news programs.

After that, it was back to the scene, where he recounted Mr. Hollopeter’s backward tumble off the platform and into the path of the oncoming train.

Throughout the day, Mr. Autrey’s sister, Linda, 48, played the role of administrative assistant, logging invitations for the talk-show circuit, including requests from the David Letterman, Charlie Rose and Ellen DeGeneres shows. Phone calls from well-wishers came pouring in, including one from the mayor’s office. Mr. Autrey said he had been offered cash, trips and scholarships for his two daughters, Syshe, 4, and Shuqui, 6, who watched as he dived to the trackbed.

“Donald Trump’s got a check waiting on me,” he said. “They offered to mail it; I said, ‘No, I’d like to meet the Donald, so I can say, Yo, you’re fired.’ ”

By the end of the day, the president of the New York Film Academy, Jerry Sherlock, had personally handed him a $5,000 check.

Yesterday afternoon, Mr. Autrey and Mr. Hollopeter met again. The meeting was closed to reporters, but afterward Mr. Autrey described how he stepped into Mr. Hollopeter’s hospital room, where they shared a few laughs as Mr. Hollopeter’s father stood by with tears in his eyes.

Shortly after 4 p.m., Mr. Autrey walked out of the hospital with Mr. Hollopeter’s father, Larry, and into a throng of more than 30 reporters and camera operators who jammed microphones into their faces.

“This is Cameron’s father,” Mr. Autrey began. “He’s a very, very, nice, nice man and, you know, I’m not used to this press,” he said, as reporters shouted at them to lean closer to the microphones and camera shutters popped like party favors.

Mr. Hollopeter was nervous, his hands shaking, as he read from handwritten notes.

“Mr. Autrey’s instinctive and unselfish act —— ” Mr. Hollopeter said, hesitating, as reporters inched closer. “There are no words to properly express our gratitude and feelings for his actions. Cameron is recovering and stable. Now he needs his rest, and our wishes are that you respect his privacy. May God’s blessings be with Mr. Autrey and his family.”

The teary father then slipped back into the hospital, apparently overcome with emotion.

“Me and the families are trying to make some plans so his family can meet my family and we can have a little gathering,” Mr. Autrey said, before breaking into a hearty laugh. “Without the media!”

Mr. Autrey was asked to reflect on the experience.

“Maybe I was in the right place at the right time, and good things happen for good people,” Mr. Autrey said.

Then he hopped into his brother-in-law’s tan Toyota Corolla. As the car pulled away, Mr. Autrey had some final words: “All New Yorkers! If you see somebody in distress, go for it!”