The Unbearable Banishment: October 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

Not My Typical Thursday

I met Nurse H after work for a bite and a show. Sometimes, New York has a way of throwing in a few unexpected bonuses. The evening would have been satisfactory enough as is, but as we moved from one venue to the next, some flourishes were added.

The restaurant didn’t open for dinner until 6:30, so I met her for a drink at The Garage down in the West Village on 7th Avenue and Grove Street. As I came out of the Christopher Street subway station, I realized that it had been a long, long time since I visited this neighborhood. It was like seeing an old friend again. At the bar, Nurse H was nursing a glass of red wine. I had a post-work Belvedere on the rocks to decompress from a horrendous day. We chatted for about twenty minutes and then, right behind us, this began:

An early show! It was only 6:00 p.m! Where else can you accidentally stumble across a live jazz combo that early in the evening on a Thursday night? And no cover! A piano, drums, stand up bass and lead trombone. I love a good trombone solo, don't you? Seriously. Do you know who The Specials are? They’re a ska band extraordinaire. Great trombone solos.

They were all top-notch musicians and Nurse H fell in love with the drummer. We dropped a few dollars in the fish bowl and proceeded to the restaurant. We walked south on 7th Avenue and as we came to the corner of Bleeker Street, we stumbled across this guy:

He had a thick stick of white chalk and was tracing the outline of the shadows from the lamppost and street signs. It doesn’t look like much in the photo, but it was actually quite fetching. So simple, but so effective. Free art!

We ate here:

Charm city. Casa is a small, elegant Brazilian restaurant on Bedford St. It had just opened for the evening, so there were only three other couples there. I love empty restaurants the same way I love empty airplanes. I had Feijoada which, according to the menu, is the Brazilian national dish. It's a black bean and meat casserole with white rice and collard greens on the side. We split a cheese bread appetizer. The meal was so good that I had a dream about it this morning.

We walked half a block down Commerce Street to here:

This is the Cherry Lane Theater, an intimate and storied theater. Lots of early Becket and Albee were premiered here. We saw Fault Lines. It was presented by The Naked Angles Theater Company, who know a thing or two about drama. The first :25 minutes of the play consisted of some amusing dialog that introduced the characters and a slowly meandering plot. But after one specific line was spoken the play really took off and delivered some powerful plot twists.

You can take the boy out of Ohio, etc. All these years in the city and I still get a cheap thrill out of spotting celebrities in their native habitat. In the audience was John Slattery and sitting next to me on my left was the play's director, David Schwimmer.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Free Tips From the Buddha 6

Wave after wave
will flow with the tide
and bury the world
as it does

Tide after tide
will flow and recede
leaving life to go on
as it was


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hey! Ballmer and Gates! BITE ME!

Last spring I bought a Lenovo ThinkPad. (Not such a great laptop, by the way.) At the time, the only option I was given for an operating system was Vista. I told the Lenovo salesman that I had HEARD you could get Windows. He relented and said that for an additional fee I could have Windows installed but he strongly recommended Vista because Windows was being phased out. I cheaped out and got Vista, even though it has a reputation as a memory hog.

Here’s a headline that greeted me in this morning’s New York Times:

Microsoft Introduces Windows 7, Ending Vista Brand

You BASTARDS! Vista has been so maligned by the public and so beaten down by a merciless ad campaign by Apple that it is negatively affecting Microsoft’s bottom line, so they’re dropping it.

I feel like I’ve been played for a fool.

* * *

R.I.P Gerard Damiano. Damiano directed Deep Throat, the film that brought pornography into the mainstream. Deep Throat was funded by the Colombo crime family. Made for $25,000, it went on to gross more than $600 million worldwide.

You could almost draw a thread linking Deep Throat with the invention of VHS, then DVDs and the commercial use of the internet. And, no, that’s not one of my clever sarcasms.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Non-Religious Religion

I went to a meditation class last night. I’ll tell you one reason why I love the Buddhists so much: They don’t proselytize. Ever! If you want to learn how to meditate or learn about Buddha’s teachings, you have to seek it out. You have to ask to be taught.

The Christian and Muslim lunatic fringe have a frighteningly dissimilar mandate. They want everyone on the planet to convert to their belief system. It’s a matter of life and death. The Christians condemn you to hell if you don’t and the Muslims want to blow you off the face of the earth. I’m only referring to the violent minority of these two religions, but they exist.

Have you ever heard of a sect of maniac Buddhists monks who will threaten your life (or afterlife) if you don’t convert? Of course not. In fact, they say that using meditation in conjunction with your already existing belief system will enhance your spiritual journey. (I can’t stand that phrase. Spiritual journey. It sounds too flaky and new age-y but I can’t come up with a better one at the moment.) There’s never a suggestion that you should abandon your faith.

I admire the Jews for the same reason. They don't threaten you if you don’t convert to Judaism. In fact, there are some hardcore Jews who want to kick a lot of Jewish people OUT of the faith because they’re not Jewish enough! Reverse proselytizing.

* * *

I had some time to kill before class so I popped into the Public Library on 42nd Street and 5th Avenue—the one with the marble lions out front—for an Art Deco Design exhibit.

It’s a small but really beautiful show. On display are books, photographs, fabrics, prints and architectural plans all created between 1920-39. What a beautiful era for design! Compare this stuff with the crap that was created in the 70s.

Fun fact: the term “Art Deco” wasn’t coined until 1968.

* * *

Before class I had a very un-Zen like double Whopper with cheese. I choose not to adhere too strongly to one ideology. While sitting in an orange plastic booth enjoying my greasy fries, a pretty girl who was visiting from Brazil came up to me with an open map and asked for directions to the subway. I happily obliged but I think I might have burped a noxious cloud of beef essence in her direction.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Feeling Sorry for Yourself? Read On, Pilgrim.

Mrs. Wife’s aunt and uncle had us and few other family members over for dinner on Saturday night. Years ago, her uncle worked for a major asset management firm. I’m not exactly sure what he did there, but whatever it was, he must have been very good at it because he made a TON of money. I always found him a bit dull but there isn’t an ounce of malice in him, and that counts for plenty with me. He's a good bloke. He was on a path to an easy, comfortable retirement.

Then he got sick.

He contacted a rare degenerative brain disease. They have spent a significant amount of money trying to find a cure but apparently there isn’t one. I haven’t seen him in almost two years and his condition has deteriorated so severely that it’s painful to watch. He seems to be in a semi-vegetative state and can only communicate with his wife with a series of yelps and screams.

Here’s the O. Henry ending: Mrs. Wife’s aunt was made to wait 14 years until he married her. She could have left him and found someone else but she loved him and chose to wait. They got married and had two, maybe three good years together and then he started to deteriorate. Now, she is little more than his nurse. I watched her spoon feed him his dinner. They have an absolutely stunning house but I’ll bet they’d swap it for a room above a garage if he could have his health back. It’s heartbreaking.

I know it’s an overworked cliché but, seriously everyone, count your blessings.

* * *

There were some people at the dinner who are missing a racial sensitivity chip. Can you hold them responsible for the terrible things they say if they really have no idea how insulting they are? They have spent their entire lives surrounded by white people. They’ve never had a friend who is a minority and wouldn’t know how to behave around them. The Mom was describing the Halloween costume her future son-in-law was wearing to a party:

He went as Isaac from The Love Boat. They hired a makeup artist. His skin was painted brown and they made his nose and mouth look bigger. It looked really great.

Actually, while I was typing that I got angrier. I've changed my mind. They’re not innocents. They’re ignorant racist pigs. I should have said something. Bad on me.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Always Read the Fine Print

I called Citibank to ask why my Thank You Points didn't post to my account for October. Mrs. Wife and I accumulate points by using our credit card and checking account. They’re great! You get free stuff! In September we used our points for a round-trip ticket to London.

Citi Rep: Mr. Banishment, you have reached your 75,000 point per year maximum.

Me: What maximum?

Citi Rep: It’s in the agreement you signed. You can only accumulate 75,000 points per year.

Me: So, for my fourth quarter purchases, including Christmas shopping, I’ll earn ZERO points?

Citi Rep: That's correct. It was in the agreement.

Ah, well. I suppose it's my fault. But Citibank took advantage of my unwillingness to read the fine print of a contract. Shame on them.

* * *

I had a last-minute replacement masseuse last week. Getting a massage is such an intense, personal experience. When you’ve been married for as long as I have, taking all of your clothes off in a dark room and having a strange, young woman walk in and rub you down from head to toe is a bit unsettling. Not unpleasant. Just a little disconcerting. Familiarity breeds comfort. Using the same masseuse all the time alleviates the anxiety. Plus, she gets to know where the knots are. Having a replacement thrown into the mix at the last minute is a bit jarring.

She didn't seem to care. I suppose I was just another client to her. You walk around thinking you're one in a million but the truth is you're just a dime a dozen.

* * *

Well, that was an utterly meaningless post. Sorry, folks. Sometimes you smack it over the center field fence and other times you tap a dribbler to the pitcher's mound.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Very Good Theater

Last night I saw the revival of David Rabe's Streamers at the venerable Roundabout Theater.

Unlike last week’s fiasco, this show was compelling and perfectly cast. I don’t recall ever seeing a bum show at the Roundabout Theater Company. Those guys have the magic touch.

The story takes place in an Army barracks in 1965 Virginia. The Streamers of the title is what you see when you jump out of an airplane and your parachute fails to properly deploy. I’m sure that's a metaphor for something integral to the plot but that stuff always gets by me. Four soldiers await orders to Vietnam but the play has very little to do with war. It’s a clash of culture, education and race. There is unrequited love, blood and death. Really forceful stuff. I liked it.

Streamers originally opened in 1976 at Lincoln Center and was directed by Mike Nichols. In 1983, it was made into a movie directed by Robert Altman and starring Matthew Modine. David Rabe wrote the screenplay as well. I haven't seen the film. Do you know if it's any good?


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

R.I.P. Dolemite

Cleveland, my home town, is mourning the passing of ex-Clevelander Rudy Ray Moore. He played Dolemite in the 1975 blaxploitation film of the same name and its sequels, The Human Tornado in 1976, The Dolemite Explosion and the 1994 documentary The Legend of Dolemite.

In his New York Times film review, John Leland said: Dolemite remains the ‘Citizen Kane’ of kung fu pimping movies. That’s high praise, indeed! If you have a free moment and are in need of some spiritual uplift, read this obit. It’ll restore your faith.

* * *

Speaking of pimps: I never get sick of watching Napoleon Dynamite when it plays on Comedy Central. Is that something I should be ashamed of?

* * *

The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox and will play in the World Series. What a shame. A dull team representing a dull city. Tampa Bay: God’s waiting room.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mind Meld

7-Year Old Daughter had the day off from school so I took a vacation day and brought her into the city. The brainwashing program that I have been developing since her birth is officially underway. My intention is to raise her with the notion that New York City is not a loud, foul, occasionally dangerous place (which it is). Rather, I would have her grow up believing that the city is filled with opportunity and hidden beauty.

We went to the Museum of Modern Art for the Van Gough and the Colors of the Night exhibit. It's a series of paintings whereby Van Gough uses light to convey night. It’s a fairly small show—about 30 paintings in four galleries—and it was PACKED. Van Gough always draws a big crowd. I had to pick her up on a few occasions so she could see the paintings over the heads of the crowd. She was able to name Starry Night on sight, which is a good sign.

My favorite was The Sower with its green luminescent sky.

I met Sharon there. She’s an artist. I have always advocated visiting an art museum with an artist in tow because that way, you get your ignorant ass schooled. She spoke of brush stroke techniques, history and influences. Daughter got much more out of the trip than if I had brought her by myself.

Here she is trying to make sense of Pollock’s drip masterpiece.

And here she is contemplating one panel of Monet’s water lilies triptych.

Here, I’m trying to convince her that although painting a soup can is not difficult from a technical standpoint, successfully convincing people that it’s legitimate art is an innovation.

After the museum, I fed Daughter her very first New York City dirty water hot dog. I know what you’re thinking, but I had to do it. It’s part of my brainwashing program. Nurse H met us for lunch. She always makes a big fuss over Daughter. Daughter, being a megalomaniac, is always especially pleased to see her. I wish I could spend my days doing stuff like this and not waste so much precious time chained to a desk doing work that is only occasionally inspiring. My plight is not unique. It’s part of the human condition.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Come N' Get It

Here's what you can order at Wildwood Barbecue on Park Avenue and 18th St.

For real. All you need to do is call a couple of days ahead of time and cough up either $400 or $650 (depending on how big of a pig you need) and they'll wheel this bad boy right up to your table and carve it in front of you and your horrified guests. It's got an apple in its mouth and two cherry tomatoes in its eye sockets. You can't see it in this pic but the tongue is hanging out of its mouth.

Look, I'm a meat eater and I always will be, but when I saw this photo in this week's Time Out New York, I almost heaved into my keyboard. I can eat bacon and pork chops because it doesn't look like a pig. A juicy porterhouse doesn't look like a cow. But this? Eww. No, thank you.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Slow Fast

I was told to fast for 24 hours. Doctors orders. It actually stretched to about 36 hours but it felt like it went on forever. It just about darn near killed me, although it certainly shouldn’t have. Jews fast for Yom Kippur. Muslims fast for Ramadan. Every summer, C fasts for 10 days. She has nothing but liquids for 10 friggin’days. An untold number of people go to bed hungry every night.

I tried to think of the last time I went 36 hours without eating and realized I never have. Ever! Isn't that astonishing?

Do you know what else I learned? I learned that I’m a big baby. Right around hour 20 I got very cranky and felt the world was a cruel and unfair place to live. What a whiner! During the lunch hour my brother called and started eating a bag of Doritos over the phone. On purpose. To be funny. I was allowed to eat Jell-O. A cup of Jell-O in midtown Manhattan costs $1.95. $2.11 with tax. Upon completion of my fast I drove at a very high rate of speed to the nearest KFC. I almost crashed through the front door. I broke my fast in finger lickin' style. Ahhh.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Zombies Take Manhattan!

Preparatory to Halloween, the fourth annual ZombieCon takes place on Saturday in Manhattan. Participants roam the streets of midtown dressed as zombies.

According to ZombieCon curator Irene Kaoru Malatesta, My all-time favorite might be zombie Charlie Brown—he carried a handmade thought bubble that said simply, ‘Grief.’

You can see some real zombies any day of the year just by taking a stroll through the Port Authority bus terminal. Zombies are cool. Who doesn’t love zombies?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Very Bad Theater

What a train wreck. My heart bled for those poor actors. I did something that I can only recall doing on one other occasion; I left the theater at the intermission and kept on walking.

Last night, CB and I saw a production of Ibsen’s The Master Builder at the Irish Rep.

It had a great pedigree and all the signs pointed to a satisfying evening of theater. The Irish Rep is sure-fire. It’s an elegant, intimate off-Broadway venue. Not like one of those crappy, uncomfortable black boxes. The director, Cirán O’Reilly, has directed a TON of really great plays there. It certainly looked more interesting than going home to watch the dreary old debates.

The lead was played by James Naughton, who’s a pretty big deal in the theater community. He’s had some prominent roles on Broadway, including the original Billy Flynn in the revival of Chicago, and some amusing TV paycheck-jobs like The Planet of the Apes (the series) and The Birds II. Ibsen is, well, Ibsen. He wrote Hedda Gabler and An Enemy of the People, for cryin’ out loud! How could it go wrong?

Well, it did. The story seems comically dated. What passed for high drama in 1892 now seems like overwrought melodrama and, in CB’s words, “A cheap soap opera.” The entire cast was stiff. They displayed the same depth and emotion that you would expect to see at the first table read of the script. When intermission came, CB said, “I don’t think I want to stay for the second act,” which was fine by me. It’s still in previews so perhaps they can salvage it by opening night. It’ll be interesting to read the reviews. Ironically, the only other time I can recall walking out on a play was also with CB (and Mrs. Wife), many years ago. It was an off-Broadway production of a Sam Sheppard play starring Vincent d’Onofrio. That was pretty awful, as well.

I always stay for the entire show out of respect for the actors. Can you imagine walking back on stage after the interval, looking out at the house and seeing empty seats that just :10 minutes earlier had patrons in them? Ugh. I’d never get over it.

* * *

CB is just back from his annual business trip to New Zealand. He writes for a fashion trade publication. If there’s a fashion week somewhere on the planet, he’s usually there to cover it. He has somehow managed to achieve B-list celebrity status in the Auckland fashion community. He’s, like, been on TV and stuff. During this most recent trip, while at an evening fête, a college student nervously approached him and said, “Excuse me. Are you CB?” He admitted he was. “Look, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to bother you but, could I please have my picture taken with you? My friends will just die that I got to meet you.”

Oh, brother. Are you kidding me? I’m so jealous. Naturally, he wants to move there. Who wouldn’t?

* * *

R.I.P. Iceland.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Declaring His Love

This probably isn’t going to be meaningful to anyone other than myself but I’ll post it anyway.

The New York Times asked some notable New Yorkers what they're looking forward to in the upcoming fall season. A gaggle of bold names contributed a paragraph each. Much of it was fairly ego-centric; theater people were looking forward to upcoming openings, restaurant people were anticipating the fall menu changes, museum curators were anxious for the fall exhibits to open.

The very last contribution was from composer and lyricist Charles Strouse. He didn’t mention the latest musicals, as I expected. Rather, he spoke about the city as a whole and it put a big, stupid, humiliating skip in my heart:

Autumn is the time when New York has found the perfect tempo, the perfect weather, when its people walk the streets and look up at the buildings and see the theater marquees and the millions of other people from here and everywhere and swear: this is the best, the most vibrant of cities! People of Denver: please forgive me, I’m in love!

I realize that’s a bushel of hooey but I didn’t see it coming. It was a sneak attack and it clobbered me pretty good.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Predator Catches Prey

Two weeks ago, as I came out of the shower at the gym, I saw someone closing my locker. I asked what he was doing and he said my lock was open and he was shutting it for me. I thanked him for being so thoughtful! A few hours later I noticed my credit card missing. I called the bank and shut down the account, but not before a $1,500 purchase was made at an Upper East Side boutique. I filed a police report. I called the boutique and the salesman remembered someone peculiar so I asked him to contact the NYPD. I asked the manger of the gym file a police report as well.

Friday morning I got a call from Detective “Smith” of the Midtown Precinct. He said an arrest was made and the suspect might have something to do with the theft of my credit card. He asked if I would be willing to come down and look at a lineup. Are you kidding me? An authentic NYPD lineup? What a thrill! Hell yes! Who would say no to that? Detective Smith was everything you’d imagine a New York City detective being; a deep voice, a firm handshake, a tight haircut, a stern look in the eye, an inexpensive tie, a thick Noo Yawk accent and accessorized with a 9mm.

The precinct house on 35th St. was a disheveled mess; as though someone picked up the building by its roof, gave it a good shake and set it back down. Not dirty. Just a mess. I was taken to a small, windowless cinderblock room that contained a table and a few blue plastic chairs and was asked to sit tight until the “perp’s” lawyer arrived. They also needed to gather a few “fillers” for the lineup. It was all very surreal and I was having a pretty great time. It was like an amusement park thrill ride or a very authentic theater piece. :20 minutes later, however, Detective Smith came to escort me to the lineup room and it got very serious and very real.

He led me down a short, pitch black corridor into a tiny room. The perp’s attorney and another Detective were already there. The room was so small that it couldn’t have accommodated another person. They lifted a piece of cardboard that covered a rectangular one-way window. It wasn’t like the movies. I expected this:

I thought they’d all turn, show their profiles and deliver a clever witticism.

There were five sad-faced men seated along the length of a table. Each held a manila folder in front of them with a number written on it. Detective Smith said, “Do you recognize any of these men? Take your time.” I looked them over. I let my eyes rest on each face for a moment because I didn’t want to make a mistake. I said, “I recognize number three.” “Where do you recognize him from?” “I saw him closing my locker at the gym.” Detective Smith gave me a flat, non-committal “Thank you.” The perp’s attorney also turned to me and brightly said, “Thank you very much!”

What was that suppose to mean? Did I blow the I.D.? It suddenly felt that way. My heart sank. My certainty had dissolved into doubt. I was escorted out of the tiny room, down the dark corridor. Once outside, I glancd over at the second Detective. He gave me a quick look and pumped his fist. Got him.

Evidently, this was no ordinary robbery. The thief is a foot soldier in the Albanian mob. Who knew the Albanians had an organized mob!? Their scam is to steal credit cards from gym locker rooms. There has been an epidemic of thefts from city gyms in the past few months and I am, apparently, their first break in the case. Detective Smith told me they have a device, easily obtained on the internet, which jimmies a padlock open in a matter of seconds. Once inside, they take a credit card or two, but leave the wallet, which is very clever of them. You’d notice right away if your wallet was missing but you might not notice one card missing for a few days. Mrs. Wife and I only have one credit card so believe me, when you go from one credit card to none, you notice right away.

The Detective said that the suspect’s lawyer is one of the better criminal defense attorneys in the city. The fact that he got to the precinct house in only :20 minutes and carries a pedigree as shark means that there is some significant money behind his hire. The NYPD would, of course, like the foot soldier to give up his boss. He was denied bail and has been incarcerated all weekend. I was told that I might have to testify in front of a Grand Jury. Stay tuned.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Last Call

Summer is taking its good, sweet time leaving New York. It was balmy out last night—likely one of the last warm evenings of the season—so J and I had drinks on an outdoor deck that was 14 floors above Broadway and 54th St. To the left, down below, the marquee for the David Letterman show jetted out onto the sidewalk. To the right, Broadway flowed into the evening glow of Times Square. The tourists, God bless them, were out en masse.

J is a producer at a major news organization. She just won an Emmy for a piece she did on a children’s hospital in Iraq. I asked her where she was going to keep the statue and she said she wasn’t getting one. Apparently, when you win an Emmy, you have to pay for the statue. It’s $350 and she doesn’t want to spend the money. D, her husband, said that he’d be happy to pay for it but she is resistant. She can certainly afford it. She just doesn’t want to pay for it. She’s crazy, right? Wouldn’t you buy your Emmy if you won one? I would.

Here’s another sure sign that summer is coming to a close: They are rolling up the sod in Bryant Park to make way for the ice skating rink. Construction will start next week. By the time the autumn winds start to whip down 42nd Street off the Hudson River, the hot chocolate kiosks and morning skaters will be back.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Marlboro Country

My mom was just diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis. Her lungs are badly and irreparably scarred. She is too old for a lung transplant and needs to be on oxygen 24/7. She can’t walk more than 100 feet without losing her breath. That parameter will shrink and eventually she’ll be bound to a wheelchair. She can only sleep sitting up.

She got this way, of course, because of cigarettes. The doctor asked how long she has been smoking. Ironically, she has never smoked a cigarette in her entire life. Not one. Her father and the two zeros she married were chain smokers, so she has been living inside a cloud of cigarette smoke her entire life.

If you smoke, you are no longer permitted to read my blog. Go away and don’t come back. Fucker.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

When Censors are Sleeping

This publicity still from the new Micky Rourke film The Wrestler has made the rounds since winning the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

What you can kind of see in this pic (depending on your monitor resolution), but is as clear as day in this morning’s print version of the New York Times, is a sign held by someone in the audience. In the print version, on the front page of the Arts section, they forgot to darken that sign in Photoshop. It reads:


I’m picturing all those staid old crows on the Upper East Side doing a spit-take with their morning French press. It’s a cheap laugh but since we’re in for another financial bloodbath today, I’ll take it.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Actual front page headline from this morning’s New York Times:

In ‘Sweetie’ and ‘Dear,’ a Hurt Beyond Insult for the Elderly

Yet another piece of piercing investigative journalism from The Grey Lady.

* * *

Last week I sent a text message to R, esq., asking him if the horrendous market gyrations have had any effect on his accounts. He texted back:

Here’s what I get for trying to invest: Fucked. Rubes and the market don’t mix.

The irony is that we were led into this meltdown by a group of people who were supposed to be the finest minds in the business. You could paper Madison Square Garden with all the advanced degrees from Wharton, Duke, Yale, etc. It turns out those guys didn’t know SHIT about investing. Or they knew but ignored what they were taught at those august institutions. I can’t decide which is worse.

* * *

I was blasting the radio while driving The Daughters around this past weekend and they started a chant from the back seat. It began quietly and then it rose to a shriek. “No jazz! No jazz! NO JAZZ!”

They’re just a couple of punks who don’t know anything about music. Yet.

* * *

I finally saw Knocked Up over the weekend. I liked it. The best line:

Life doesn’t care about your vision

Boy howdy! Judd Apatow got that right, didn’t he?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Name Your Shame

I have a theory that everyone has something on their iPod that they are secretly and deeply ashamed of. Something that they PRAY doesn’t come up in a shuffle in mixed company. Well, I’m willing to show you mine if you show me yours. I am putting my reputation as a cutting edge sophisticate on the line, but I’m willing to do it for the sake of a decent post.

On my iPod, you’ll find the theme to almost every James Bond film. I suppose I could have wiggled out of this by claiming a 60s hipster panache for Nancy Sinatra’s You Only Live Twice or Tom Jones’ Thunderball, but how can I possibly defend Matt Monro’s From Russia With Love or Gladys Knight’s License to Kill? I can’t! It's terrible! Please don’t judge me. It’s bigger than I am and I can’t seem to help myself.

Friday, October 3, 2008

A Single Parent

Here are a few things I've learned while staying home to take care of The Daughters so Mrs. Wife could go away for a long weekend with The Mommy Mafia:

● My house gets an astonishing amount of midday light.

● At home, you are never more than an arm’s length away from food. If I weren’t in the city all week, I’d weigh 300 pounds.

● The music in High School Musical 2 is simply awful. But I’m not their target audience, so perhaps that’s unfair.

● 6-Year Old Daughter is in school until 3:00 o'clock, so when 2-Year Old is napping, that’s a block of free time. It could lead to all sorts of internet shenanigans. (I’m not saying it did; I’m just saying it could.) Also, I’ve discovered that I am a much shittier guitar player than I remember being. My fingers felt like stone, although I could still rattle off a passable version of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song.

● I thought I was too urban and sophisticated to be moved by something as bucolic as walking my daughter to school in the morning. Wrong again. Apparently, there's something beating inside that block of concrete in my chest.

● A lot of suburban moms have let themselves go to seed.

Dazed and Confused is a much better movie than I remember it being.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Baby Daddy

Mrs. Wife is leaving tomorrow morning for a 3-day weekend. The Mommy Mafia are taking over a beach house on the Jersey shore. They're having a bachelorette party. I asked her who was getting married and she said, "No one." I'm taking a vacation day so I can watch The Daughters. Yup. For three solid days it's just me, 6-Year Old Daughter and 2-Year Old Daughter. It should be interesting. It'll be like calling a plumber to fix your toothache. Is it wrong to medicate a 2-Year Old for 72 hours? If you have any survival tips, please post.

* * *

I had another one of *those* moments again. This morning, I exited Penn Station on the 34th Street side. I looked down the street and the sun was just about to break over the horizon. The sky spanned from bright orange up to deep cobalt. On the right, against this backdrop, was the unmistakable dark silhouette of the Empire State Building. On the left, the light was just starting to spill onto the façade of Macy’s. My iPod shuffle had selected Time by Pink Floyd and just as my foot came off the curb and touched 7th Avenue, David Gilmour sang:

home again.
I like to be here
when I can.

Juxtapositions like this cannot be manufactured. They only happen organically.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Happy birthday, Mrs. Wife! It’s hard to believe that an old stag like me was able to turn the head of a young gazelle like you.

Fun fact: The age difference between Mrs. Wife and me is EXACTLY THE SAME as the age difference between me and Mrs. Mother-in-Law.

Eww. I know what you're thinking. Don’t even go there.

* * *

Mrs. Wife had a doctor appointment last Saturday morning at 10:00 o’clock. She claims she told me what the appointment was for but I don’t recall that being the case. I was watching the daughters and received the following text message from her:

Dijkated tajing kjnmmg
hope to be kome soon

Oh, my God! Are they dissecting her brain?! Did she ingest a powerful opiate? It gave me a genuine fright. Later I found out the text should have read:

Dilated. Taking long.
Hope to be home soon.

She was at the optometrist. Her eyes were dilated. Her brain was, and is, fully intact.