Sunday, May 31, 2009

Working Hard at Having Fun.

I don’t understand how weekends got to be so exhausting. It’s Friday morning, I blink, it’s Sunday night. We went to the beach this morning to see friends at their condo. We got a late start so we had to think creatively to find a parking spot. The late start also meant the beach was a little bit more crowded than we like, but that’s usually unavoidable since crowded for us is anybody we don’t know and like within sight. LMJ wanted to sit on the steps leading to the beach. We drove a half hour, loaded up her stroller with beach stuff, walked down to the shore, and her favorite part was the wooden steps. We and our friend, ME, had matching beach tents set up so we looked like Cuban refugees in Miami in the early 80’s. We moved from the beach to the pool because it was less crowded and a little bit safer. There’s no undertow in the pool. This is where I had the most fun. We got a chance to put what LMJ learned in yesterday’s swim class to good use. One really crappy swim lesson made her a little afraid of the water. One really good swim lesson made her a dolphin again. I forgot to mention that as soon as we got to our spot on the beach the nice lifeguard pointed out a pod of dolphins in the ocean. Seeing wild dolphins, along with beer, sex, pizza, and money, is one of the few things in this world that is not subject to the law of diminishing returns. It’s one of the “that’s why!” reasons I’ll never live more than forty-five minutes from the ocean. After swimming in the pool, we headed home, loving the mini-van the whole way. LMJ slept on the trip back and was awake and ready to go when her grandparents showed up to play with her. Everyone loves her new star turtle, and we all had fun playing in the backyard, even if the weather and humidity is already reaching unbearable. Now it’s evening, we still have to get dinner, bathe a baby, set up coffee and the morning routine for tomorrow, and it’s the beginning of a new week with swimming and running. I don’t know if I was cut out to be busy.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Another Saturday, Another Swim Lesson.

Today’s swim lesson was just like the last two in that we all got wet, but that’s where the similarities end. Today we had an instructor who was, um what’s the word I’m looking for – trained. I guess she was a bit of an overachiever. She had prepared to teach the class. She had a professional demeanor, which is hard to pull off in a swimsuit. She knew all the words to the songs. I don’t know if she was trying to show up Cory or not, but her “actually having a clue about teaching toddlers to swim and showing up on time” came off as a little bit petty. As soon as I saw Connie in the pool, that’s our instructor’s name, I knew MJ was thinking, “ARE YOU F**KING KIDDING ME!?!” And I was right, and it only got worse as the lesson got better. She got angrier and angrier at the YMCA for the past three crappy lessons: the first one they canceled after taking everyone’s money, the second one with the dumbass, and the third one where no YMCA employees showed up, which is our second favorite lesson after today. Connie is in her fifties I would guess. I think she looks a little bit like John Kerry. She introduced herself as soon as we got in the pool. She took LMJ and showed us how to hold her in the water correctly. She understood that there’s a big difference between a two year old and a one year old, and tailored her instruction for each little kid. She reminded us that kids shudder a little bit when we put them in the water because the water is frickin’ cold and we react the exact same way. MJ is going to write a letter to the Y letting them know how much the first lessons sucked, and that it’s managements fault for forcing a kid, Cory, to do something he wasn’t trained to do. Like I said last week, if these lessons were a perk for being a Y member this wouldn’t be a big deal, but they charged a fine dining price and gave us a fast food fry guy. We had a blast this morning and we’re really looking forward to next week’s lesson – if only to see which instructor shows up.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Another Banner Day for the NYPD.

The NYPD is sad. They’re getting to the point of being nothing but a bad joke. I can’t imagine morale is high anywhere in the department. “Accidentally” killing off duty/undercover black cops has to be causing tension. I’m ignoring the racial component and focusing on the incompetence component. Why are so many – meaning more than one – New York City policemen getting shot to death by other New York City policeman? Whatever actually happened, at least one cop in these shootings screwed up. This is the Reader’s Digest version in case you don’t want to follow the link above. A cop coming off duty, so he was in plain clothes, catches a guy breaking into his car, draws his weapon, and gives chase. Other cops in a car in plain clothes see a guy running down the street with a gun chasing someone, so one of the cops in the car stops the someone, and one of the other cops in the car kills the very first cop giving chase. He shot six times and hit the slain officer twice. There is so much f**k up in this scenario from everyone involved that it’s made me angry and ruined my day. Why did the first cop pull his gun to chase the fleeing car burglar? Why are plain clothes cops on patrol? They shot the guy in the back. Why did he fire six times if he wasn’t fired upon? Why did he only hit the guy twice if fired six times? Why can’t cops in New York recognize each other? Cops always talk about how they can’t stop beating a suspect after he’s unconscious or can’t stop shooting until the gun is empty because of the adrenaline. Why aren’t they trained to deal with that rush since they know it’s coming. No one in this incident was aggressive but the police. The car burglar just wanted to get away. Only the cops wanted to whip some ass. Now one guy is dead, and so are his cases, and at least one other cop’s career is over. This is just the professional snafu affecting the officers involved. I’m not going to get into the effects on the families of everyone involved or the Harlem neighborhood. Dumbasses.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Almost Trolled A Mommy Site

MJ has been forwarding me links to a mommy site that tells us where LMJ is supposed to be developmentally. I’ve kept the e-mails as new for the past couple of months and today I actually opened the newest one and followed the links. It tells us that she’s going to grow a lot this year, she’s going to look less like a toddler and more like a person, and she should have a well balanced diet but we shouldn’t freak out and start measuring her portions – more guidelines than actual rules. Since this was on the internet there was a comment section, which is where, I came to find out, MJ gets a bunch of her “I’m a bad mother” neuroses. I read the first sentence of the first comment and immediately called BS. Since this was on the internet the comment section was filled lies told by liars. Child obesity is one of the biggest healthcare problems in the U.S., but somehow everyone who commented was either a total vegan or, if they were rebels, occasionally fed their child fish, perhaps twice a week. I was sad that women are as full of crap on the interwebs as men. I was mildly amused that MJ didn’t know these ubermoms were anything but. I was upset that I didn’t have time to create a user ID so I could respond with the standard “Pics or GTFO”. Nobody in the U.S. feeds their kid fish unless it is a battered stick served in a pool of ketchup. “Gaia, would you like mahi mahi or tilapia for supper tonight – poached or grilled?” is a mythical conversation. Kids like sugar, salt and cheese – kind of like adults – and random stuff that you thank the gods of baby appetites is nutritious. LMJ likes split pea soup baby food, so that’s how she gets a large portion of her green veggies. We don’t think about why because we don’t want to jinx it. I don’t understand why people have to make stuff up to tell people they will never meet. How does that boost self esteem? The levels of success with raising a child start low. My child is still alive, big ups to me. My child still has all of her limbs, (insert sports cliché). My child is in bed and asleep on time, you may call me grand master.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sorry Honey, But There's No Rice for Dinner Tonight

MJ tricked me into watching the season premier of Jon & Kate plus 8. It was awesome. There was some tension built during the hiatus. The word around the interwebs is that Jon cheated on Kate with a twenty-three year old teacher somewhere in Pennsylvania. There’s also the somewhat less substantiated rumor that Kate is sleeping with her bodyguard. Kate vehemently denies the whole thing in a very convincing fashion. When Jon was asked about his alleged dalliance by the producers he hemmed and hawed and basically said he did not have sexual relations with that woman Ms. Lewinsky. I don’t think she cheated. I hope he used a condom. The skank poor innocent young woman he didn’t pick up in a hotel bar buries the needle on my gold digger detector. But whether he cheated on his wife or not is irrelevant at this point because he clearly hates her. She still thinks she can fix it (no you can’t) and is doing the strong woman thing. I’d have more sympathy for them but they got hopped up on fertility drugs and had a litter, and they couldn’t deal with the pressure – not that anyone could – but I don’t feel bad for people who HAVE TO HAVE MORE CHILDREN!!! when nature tells them no. They had two beautiful twin girls, but they had to do the American thing and get greedy. Well, be careful for what you wish for. I hope the show goes one of three ways. The first is that they patch everything up and live happily ever after. Yes, I’m a bitch. The second is I hope Kate loses her mind and goes black. If she’s holding her children alone, crying, and singing Negro spirituals it will be a great moment not just in television but in history. Don’ chu worry mah lil’ babies. Jesus’ll take care a’ us. The third scenario, the one I hope for, the one I’m probably going to Hell for, is for Kate to go off the deep end. It doesn’t matter what she does; everyone hates her anyway. I want her to look dead into the camera and tell America and the world that none of this would have happened if she had married a white guy. I don’t know if I want John on the couch next to her when she says it or not. On the one hand I want to see his reaction. He seems pretty unflappable but I bet that would flap him. On the other hand the moment might lose something because she might just be saying it to hurt his feelings. Either way I’m sure I’d break a rib laughing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bienvenidos a la Boriqua!!!!

I don’t know if the world was a better place before everyone had the opportunity to have their opinions heard. I guess it’s my fault for reading the comments sections of newspapers. The New York Times is where I go first for my non-sports news, and the breaking news this morning was Obama’s nomination of an illegal immigrant for the Supreme Court. I’m sorry that was Fox News and not the Times (rim shot). Obama nominated U.S. Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the spot on the bench being vacated by Justice Souter. The Times had it up on their website at 8:15 a.m. The experts started filling the comments section at 8:32. There were jokes and shots at the Republicans before then, but the sixth comment is where breaking down the x’s and o’s of the nominee and the other judges on Obama’s short list began. SHUT UP. I’m sure there are people who can comment on whether or not Sotomayor was the best choice among the short list, but I’m also sure that none of these people comment on the New York Times website before 9 a.m. We may see an op-ed from some of them tomorrow in major newspapers. In this day and age we may see a blog post from one of them this afternoon. What we will never see is a comment from one of them with a fake internet name.

History has shown us that judges do what they do when they become Supremes. What I’m taking from this nomination is that Obama is showing, once again, that he’s the best politician there is. Her credentials are impeccable. She rose up out of a Bronx tenement to graduate from Princeton and Yale. Sotomayor was put on the federal bench originally by H.W. She’s considered a moderate. So the only real problem the Republicans can have with her is that she’s a Puerto Rican Catholic Woman. The Republicans have been beating their chests about opposing whoever Obama nominated and now they’re stuck. They can either back down, and alienate their base, or they can rant and rave and further lose women, Hispanics, every other minority, and people with good sense. At some point isn’t this just running up the score. Maybe he wants to make a run at 526 electoral votes.

Monday, May 25, 2009

We Went to the Zoo

We waited until about one o’clock this afternoon to go to the zoo because if you’re not sweating, you’re not trying. We love the zoo. We love the whole pro-conservation thing. We love that Jacksonville has a really good zoo. But most of all we love the animals, especially the big cats. We were very lucky today because we saw one of the lions move. Lions don’t move much. Lions in captivity are like 400 pound house cats with half the motivation. The zoo was jam packed. It was more crowded than I’ve ever seen it, which is good for the zoo but bad for our enjoyment. LMJ harshed our gig a little bit too, although she’d say it was the other way around. She’s a zoo pro and knows exactly what she wants to see, so she moves as fast as she can without regard for her lack of size. I’m sure it’s just my perception but since she’s turned two she’s gotten ornery. She’s extremely independent, and her new favorite sentence is, “Self, have,” which means give me that. I want her to be independent but only when I want her to be independent. She can do it her own way, if it’s done just how I say. However, looking at some of the other young zoo goers, I shouldn’t be complaining. The animals were all too hot to be active so I spent a lot of time people watching. There were a lot of Muslims there today, and a bunch of Europeans, which is strange because I never see Muslims or Europeans out and about in Jacksonville. There was also a bunch of teenagers there. What kind of dork teenagers go to the zoo on Memorial Day? Why weren’t they at the beach getting drunk and pregnant? The zoo also seems to be the place for blatant miscegeny. What is the world coming to? Overall, everybody had a good time and if we’re lazy it may become a Memorial Day annual trip, but I doubt it. We’ll most likely be at the beach with the cool teenagers.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Is This the Beginning of My Bucket List?

It’s not a goal until you tell somebody. I don’t know what it is when you tell everybody, but that’s what I’m doing. I want to finish the full Ironman in Hawaii by the time I’m fifty. My uncle Cochise has done it, and I was picking his brain at my mom’s retirement party about what goes into the training. The first thing he schooled me on was that I’d have to qualify for the race. It’s not like the River Run where I could pay a fee, show up and get my t-shirt. This thing is no joke: 2 ½ miles in the ocean, 112 miles on a bike, and 26.2 miles on foot. No suckas allowed. That’s fine. I’ve got almost twelve years to get ready, but getting ready has to start now. I think the main reason I want to do this is that I didn’t get any “juice” from finishing the River Run this year. It wasn’t quite anti-climactic but it wasn’t a big high, and I’ve found that the big high of accomplishment is something that I need more and more as I get older. I want to be able to look back on my life when I’m old and have a list of things I’ve done that impress me, things that I had to give my all to get done. As much as I try to fake it, I don’t care about my job. I don’t respect the most successful people in my field for what they’ve accomplished. If anything I hold them in contempt. I’m giving my all as a dad, and I think that will be the highlight of my life, but that’s about it. And that is why I need more things to do that require me to push myself mentally and physically. That’s the Ironman. I’m going to have to change the way I exercise. I’m going to have to check my ego. Maximum intensity can no longer be the order of the day. The only thing that will lead to will be serious injuries and not the kind I whine about on this site, but the kind that requires radical reconstructive surgery. That’s near the top of my list of things to avoid. The actual real deal event requires 18 to 20 hours of training a week. When Cochise told me that I did the math in my head and was glad I have some time to work up to it. He also recommended that I get on a strict program. I started researching programs online and he was dead on. Fortunately, I can start with sprint triathlons, which I’m almost ready for now. I just have to get my swimming down. I’m glad I wrote this. I’ve gone from “This is crazy” to “This is going to be fun”.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Dude… oh dude, I totally flaked, man. That’s my bad. Handle this for me Broseph and I’ll totally get you back.

That’s the way I imagine the other side of the conversation the lifeguard at the YMCA had with each and every one of the swim instructors he called this morning because a grand total of zero of them showed up to teach one and two year olds how to swim. MJ isn’t as phlegmatic about this as I am. She’s having a kind of "rolling her eyes because she half expected this" reaction. It’s because she’s never been a guy at all, let alone a slacker in his late teens and early twenties. Me, I am that guy. I’m a recovering slackaholic. We’re like ex-smokers that are honest with themselves and we don’t pretend that blowing off work for no good reason isn't the greatest feeling ever. So I’m reserving judgment until I have more information. MJ doesn’t care why the instructor(s) didn’t show up this morning. They didn’t show up, and they were supposed to – end of story. I’m willing to be understanding if they had a good reason. Unfortunately, as I get older, the list of good reasons is shrinking. I was soooooo wasted and couldn’t make it is no longer on the list. It was up until about 1995. It makes me a little sad, but your intoxication isn’t worth as much to me as my time. Nowadays, the worst reason that’s still acceptable hinges on certain buzzwords, including as many of these as possible: cheerleaders (plural), gymnast, local T.V. news anchor, Jaguars/Gators coach’s daughter, big ass, and video. It’s just like trying to get a job interview through Some guy rules are sacrosanct, and the only exceptions to the rules are fathers, hence the police baton. I don’t expect the swim instructors to have a good excuse, and if MJ, LMJ, or I had actually wanted to be there this morning this would have been a bigger problem, but instead we splashed around and LMJ gave orders while not really participating and then we went home. I think that’s the way all of the other parents in the group felt as well since doofus didn’t do much last week anyway.

Just for the record, the swim lessons were supposed to start three weeks ago, but the first week was cancelled by the Y so they could have some stupid admin meeting – it’s the frickin’ Y. Last week we sung songs led by a retard instructor who didn’t really know the words. And this week nobody showed up. If the Y offered these lessons as part of the regular membership this would all be fun and games, but they charge a ridiculous additional fee on top of the ridiculous monthly fee that runs between two and four times the rate of other gyms in the area.

I shouldn’t have thought about all that. Now the good reason buzzwords are down to Kelly Ripa, Sarah Palin, Industrial Light and Magic, and Steven Spielberg.

Friday, May 22, 2009

So How Goes It, Governor?

It’s Friday so it’s date night for MJ and me – Starbucks to grade papers, who’s a rock star? We were getting in the car and MJ was telling me to hurry up when it hit me. I’m going to start using British idioms and expressions. I’m not going to speak with a British accent; I’m just going to use their words. It’s going to be like Kevin Costner playing Austin Powers. I told her to pipe down, I was putting her sack in the boot. Then I was stuck. I’ve never been to the scurvy ward at the hospital. I don’t know how those people talk. I know if someone’s “all sixes and sevens” it means that they’re crazy, and “apples and pears” are stairs, and chicks are “birds”. I’m going to have to update my Netflix queue (that’s one) and have a Guy Ritchie and Jason Statham weekend. Jason Statham is the balls. I’m not going to spell in British just because of the spell check nightmare, and I’m not going to use slang like “telly” for television because Madonna ruined it, but I am going to start saying “flat” instead of apartment and “stalk” instead of hunt (check the riders in the new credit card laws). “Strangle” is going to replace choke when I’m talking about “Jujutsu” instead of “Jiu-jitsu”. I’m going to pronounce the “h” in herb (Eddie Izzard joke) and the “t” in filet. “Aluminium” is out, “geezer” is absolutely in. I feel “bloke” is more Australian than British these days, and its use would negate this premise. As I flesh this out, it’s becoming clear that this is completely arbitrary, which I don’t think is going to matter because I doubt I’ll make it through the night before MJ makes me stop. She can get all sixes and sevens that bird can. Too right. I wouldn’t want to find myself taking an involuntary tumble down the apples and pairs. Then we’d all be in Barney.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Out Of The Blue

My mom had her retirement reception today in a dungeon at the Blue Cross/Blue Shield office in Riverside. A bunch of nice people talked about how she was the bee’s knees, and they’re going to miss her both personally and professionally. My mom had prepared some remarks and she is an incredible public speaker. I had never heard her give a speech or talk or whatever we’re calling it these days. If I sound nonchalant about this it’s because when I walked into the lobby I had a surprise waiting for me. My enigmatic uncle Cochise was standing there, my mom’s youngest brother. He’s a genuine psychopath and he always has been, which is why he’s one of my favorite people in the world. I think the best way to describe him is if my dark side got up off the couch and entered the world. Cochise has suffered from some delusions of grandeur that, thankfully, seem to be fading as he approaches fifty. I think he may have taken some Bruce Lee movies in the early seventies a little too seriously. A lot of his stories end with… and so Cochise punched the guy in the face, or… and Cochise bounced the guy’s head off the tank, or my favorite… if the sergeant gets out of the car somebody has to go to jail. Usually the violence comes from someone disrespecting a woman in front of him. A big part of his job is training local police forces how to deal with domestic violence calls. The other part of his job is a mystery for national security reasons. He pops into our lives, far too infrequently, out of thin air. He would have been one of the last people I would have expected to see today, but at the same time it makes complete sense that he was there. He’s a confirmed bachelor and made fun of me about my mini-van. He gave some training tips about getting ready for the Ironman before I’m fifty. He’s an Ironman veteran. He also gave me a collapsible police baton, as he put it “something every father of a daughter needs”.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Who Let The Dogs Out

Mike Vick got out of prison today, and was therefore the number one topic on sports talk radio. I listen to sports talk radio because I’m stupid and a glutton for punishment. While I hate myself for listening to it, especially the local shows, the discourse is still light years ahead of political talk radio. But I fear for the nation because people don’t seem to be able to experience cognitive dissonance. I don’t think they’re wired for it anymore, even when the conflicting thoughts are laid out specifically as conflicting thoughts in front of them. Mike Vick ran an interstate dog fighting ring. He got caught and sent to federal prison. He did his time, and now he’s getting out. The question raised all over the country today wasn’t, “Do you think Mike Vick is a good person?” it was “Should Mike Vick be allowed to play in the NFL?” The overwhelming answer from the peanut gallery was a very loud NO!!! Tony Boselli asked the callers if Mike Vick had a right to work. The answer was yes, but not in professional sports because it’s a privilege to play professional sports. Boselli’s position is that Vick has a right to play in the NFL, and NFL owners have a right to refuse to give him, but if a team owner does want to sign him the government has no right to step in and say no. The callers didn’t like this. Boselli tried to bring a little perspective into the conversation by asking about Leonard Little, who is a defensive end with the Rams and was convicted of vehicular homicide when he killed a woman while driving drunk, then he got another DUI a few years later. Mike Vick, if signed by an NFL team, will have hundreds if not thousands of protesters at every game, even in St. Louis where Leonard Little plays ten times a year with zero protesters. People ignored the point completely. I guess they figured they had limited time on the radio so they couldn’t afford reflection on their thoughts. They also don’t see the irony in hating what Vick did, but having no problem with a hunting and fishing show that details the best tools, the best techniques, and the best places to kill animals. Mike Vick is a very bad, very stupid person. But he runs really fast and throws a football really far. That’s all that’s required of a professional football player. If we expect more out of professional athletes, or any group of people in general, no one is going to be allowed to do anything.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mary Poppins Tuesday

We can stop with the rain anytime now. It’s getting old. It's getting boring. Actually, it’s not getting boring. My day was creeping along as an average, run of the mill Tuesday. I went to work. I made some copies for MJ. I did some work. I got frustrated that Lincoln has some kind of firewall that won’t let me place off-shore bets online, and I don’t know how to get around it. I read an article in the New York Times about banks bringing back annual fees and reducing the rewards programs for their credit cards because the government is going to make them stop acting like the mob when it comes to late fees and interest rates. I guess they don’t realize that outside of weird household emergencies people don’t need credit cards anymore. I read some e-mail from some economist bragging about how he’s done nothing over the last eighteen months and how he has no idea about what’s coming in the next eighteen months. Personally, I think Lincoln should fire him and dump his seven figure salary back into the commission pool, but then people would say I’m selfish. Then I pulled into my driveway and saw my lawn table umbrella on top of my garage. We’ve had windy days before but never any spontaneous yard furniture flight. It was like I was living in Nebraska. Because I’m stupid, I didn’t take any pictures of it. It’s a frackin’ huge umbrella. CG has this industrial sized tree pruning tool that we used to tear a hole in the umbrella, and nearly sever one of CG’s fingers, before we were able to pull it back into our yard safely. We were worried that it was going to fall into our lesbian neighbors’ yard and break a window or two in their garage apartment on the way down. If that had happened this story wouldn’t have ended well. There would have been issues about honor, which would have led to revenge, which would have led to blood oaths and batleths and possible interstellar war. Hold on, I got confused. They’re lesbians, not Klingons. Am I the only one who gets those two groups mixed up?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow!!!

Yesterday my wife tricked me into some kind of running program on the Wii. I ran in place for about fifteen minutes. Running in place hits the legs differently than running somewhere. My calves were a little bit sore, no big deal. At least it wasn’t a big deal until I was on the elliptical this morning. At about fifteen minutes in my left calf started to stiffen up. I knew exactly what it was instantly, but stopping doesn’t burn calories or keep my heart rate up, so I continued on for another forty-five minutes. I stretched and drove home. When I tried to walk up the stairs my lower leg seized up. I hate calf cramps. I’ve spent a large portion of my exercising life stretching and hydrating to avoid calf cramps. I’ve been hobbling around like I’m eighty years old all afternoon. I have to go up steps like LMJ. I put my entire foot flat on the step before I step. If I’m on my toes at all, I feel horrible pain. I was crossing a parking lot and strangely enough it hurts less to run than to walk. Maybe I should go full on LMJ and run everywhere for the next day or so. I know it’s cute when a two year old does it, but I’m worried that for me it will end with words and phrases like tazer, and fleeing from an officer, and resisting arrest. Not to mention, I’m already dead tired, and it’s a lot easier running when you weigh twenty-seven pounds than it is when you weigh 235 pounds. It’s not that I blame MJ, however I do hold her completely, totally, and absolutely responsible. Yes, I could have gotten off the elliptical when my leg started to hurt, but then my trip to the gym would have been a complete waste of time, even though I had a really good back and rear delt workout – DEADLIFTS. I think I’m going to get my revenge by suggesting MJ change the angle of her pushups so they hit the back of her arms more. It’s all fun and games until the teacher can’t hold a grading pen.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Just For The Lulz

This video is a few weeks old, but I had other stuff to write about when I first saw it, like internet porn spam and killing people for stealing my soft drinks. In case anyone isn’t familiar with Autotune, it’s a software program that alters a singer’s voice so he or she has perfect pitch. Why would anyone try when the sound can be fixed in post production? This is how Ashlee Simpson, Heidi Montag, and countless others are able to put out records. However, there are limitations to the program. A singer has to be in the ball park or it will sound electronic. Autotune can get you from e-flat to e, but if you can’t then it’s going to sound like you’re a Transformer. The king of the Autotune is T-Pain, but he gets a pass because he’s never pretended that he was trained in anything other than Pimpology and he named his first album “Rappa Ternt Sanga” – Pimpology, not English. He was also the very first one to use Autotune as a gimmick. Funny goes a long way with me. At some point the guy who makes these videos got sick of all the crappy “artists” and their faux indignation when people question their talent, and decided to show how easy it is to sound like a sanga if Autotune is used. The first time I saw this I was at work and the guy in the office next to me had to come find out what I was laughing at so hysterically. There are a series of these videos, and I think this is the funniest one of the bunch. I can’t watch Katie Couric on the evening news anymore. It’s ironic that technology created these crappy singers, and now the same technology is lampooning them.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

3 Little Fishies In A Itty Bitty Pool

I think if we had enrolled LMJ in swim lessons a year ago her learning to swim would have been much easier, but I doubt it would have been as entertaining. This morning was her very first swim lesson at the YMCA, and watching her in a group situation is teaching me a lot about my baby girl. She really loves the water, but only as long as she feels she’s in complete control of what’s going on. She doesn’t have a problem participating with a group of kids, but she also doesn’t feel any need to be part of a group. If it looks fun, she's up for it. If it doesn’t look fun, she isn’t. She got in the pool with her mom holding her and had a lot of fun kicking and singing and walking around in a circle. She had fun kicking on the floaty board, but then it came time to go underwater and she was not well for it. She loves watching me do it. She loves watching her mom do it. If she’s asked she’ll say she loves doing it, right up until her chin hits the water. We kinda, sorta, tricked her into going under the water for less than a second. She wasn’t even under long enough for all of her hair to get wet, but when she came up she was not happy. She said, “Dry! Home!” Playtime was over. The only problem was that we still had fifteen minutes left to go in the lesson. We averted a Chernobyl situation be letting her sit on the side of the pool and kick, which is her favorite thing to do. This break in the action gave MJ some time to reflect on the lack of teaching professionalism by Cory the lifeguard, who was teaching the class, vis-a-vis his lack of preparation in learning the words to the songs he was asking us to sing. He admitted he didn’t know all the words to Ring Around The Rosy. I pointed out that Cory was a college kid making minimum wage, and MJ’s reaction was basically, “So?!?” On the way out of the pool we tricked LMJ into going under one more time and had a repeat of her first reaction - second verse, same as the first, a little bit louder, and a little bit worse. DRY!!! HOME!!! She doesn't know the word "now" yet, but as soon as she does I'm sure it will be one of her favorites. Anyway, we enjoyed the swim lesson, and we’re looking forward to next week.

I really, really don’t want to be this parent, but LMJ was so much cuter than all of the other babies, and there were some very cute babies. It’s just that she’s playing at a different level. I try to take a step back and look at the situation objectively, but it doesn’t make a difference. She’s the LeBron James of two year old cuteness. That's just hard science.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Any Time, Any Place, The Super Sleuths Are On The Case

This is most likely going to be boring, but I spent the day with a two year old and my brain is fried. I don’t know how stay at home moms stay sane. It takes LMJ about 45 minutes to suck me into her worldview, and I spend the rest of the day playing catch up. I have no idea what happens in the world on Fridays. It’s a blur of chasing a toddler, reading Richard Scarry books, and trying to limit how much Sesame Street and Winnie the Pooh we watch. The last part is the hardest because from the moment she wakes up in the morning until the moment she goes to sleep at night she’s asking to watch “Pooh” or “Pod (Sesame Street in some form)”. It’s worse than it was before because she’s discovered a CGI My Friends Tigger and Pooh series whose connection to anything A.A. Milne wrote is tenuous at best, and it’s growing on me. I don’t mean in the acquired taste kind of way; I mean in the skin rash kind of way. It’s saccharin sweet and hits the Pooh character clichés with the subtlety of a hurricane. What offends me most is that they’ve replaced Christopher Robin with a girl named Darby. I don’t have a problem with the character; I have a problem with the replacement. It wasn’t necessary. Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter what I think, LMJ loves it. Darby, Tigger, and Pooh are the Super Sleuths and they spend their time getting the other denizens of the 100 Acre Wood out of jams. It’s poorly written pabulum that’s written for adults who think they have an idea of what kids like, as opposed to the way the original stories were written by a guy watching how a little boy interacted with his stuffed animals. There’s no whimsy. It’s all fluff and cuteness. I have no idea why I’m even writing this. It’s a stupid 24 minute television show, but obviously it’s seeped into my brain and it’s taking over. I think I’m going to have to ban the show unless there are two adults available to act as life lines for each other.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


It was another busy day in Shangri-La. The day doesn’t really start until LMJ is awake, and it was an early day today. She woke up at around a quarter past six and demanded some eggs and toast. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but she has a sophisticated pallet. So we shared some scrambled eggs and toast. Actually, I enjoyed some scrambled eggs and toast. Somewhere in the seven minutes it took me to cook breakfast; she had a change of heart. Oh well, that’s just more for me.

I got to the gym early this morning and had a very good session. I’m not losing weight like I want to, but at least I’m getting stronger. I blasted my chest and biceps. The chest routine was the same old, same old, but I added a set of standing dumbbell preacher curls at the end of my biceps workout because the pain caused by whatever is wrong with my neck, the pain caused by whatever is wrong with my ankles, and the regular muscle soreness in my legs weren’t really pushing me close enough to tears. I did one set to failure with a light weight so I could really get a pump. If my skin doesn’t feel stretched then I’m not working hard enough.

I came home, took a shower, and headed off to work. I thought today was going to be simple, but I forgot I was going to have to deal with the Duval County Public School System. It’s funny that every ridiculous stereotype of government bureaucracy is nothing more than unvarnished truth. I was helping a teacher through the retirement process with the most efficient paper pusher I’ve dealt with in seven years of doing this, and it still took an hour and a half. That ate up my entire afternoon. I took some paperwork back to my office because I won’t be in tomorrow, and I didn’t want to wait an extra four days to get this stuff in the system.

After doing my copying and filing, I headed home for a quick dinner before I was off to the airport to pick up my parents who were coming back from seeing my sister in Kansas. I took the baby girl along for the ride because the airport is really cool if you’re a kid; it gave MJ some time to catch up on some grading; and grandparents favorite thing in the world is their grandkids. We dropped LMJ off at home on the trip to my parent’s house because they live in some unincorporated swamp area just north of the Everglades and LMJ has to start kindergarten in three years. They were exhausted from traveling, and by the time I got home so was I, even though the Odyssey is fantastic.

I got a lot done today, and I’m happy about that, but I’m not a big fan of days packed with activity. Sometimes enough is enough.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Don't Get It

I was reading JSG’s comment on yesterday’s post when I had a laugh out loud moment. JSG tried to explain musical modes with the sentence, “Modes equal key signatures with scales”. I thought, “You mean like Yale or Kwickset? I don’t get it.” The “I don’t get it” is what made me laugh. I remember all throughout school that was the phrase that caused teachers the most serenity now moments. I never said it because I usually wasn’t paying attention to what was being taught anyway, but dumb and lazy kids used it as a crutch. Teachers always had a calming technique they ran through before responding: swallow anger, don’t use profanity, don’t call him/her names, re-swallow regurgitated anger, smile. What the fffff…what don’t you get? The kid’s answer was usually “the whole thing”. They didn’t get the whole “math” thing or the whole “language” thing. These kids went on to not get the whole “#1 with a coke” thing. One of them went on to not get the whole “President of the United States” thing for eight years. Then he was socially promoted, and now he can spend the rest of his life doing “honey do’s”. See, social promotion does work. I have to give teachers credit because I can’t remember one ever reacting naturally. I can’t remember a flash of anger or biting sarcasm that was over the dumb kid’s head. My mom is very good at calling people stupid without them knowing they’re being called stupid. It’s funny when it happens to loudmouthed adults. It’s funny when it happens to kids too, but it’s also kind of sad. We all have I don’t get it moments. They usually come when we don’t care about the subject. MJ gets them when I force her to listen to me about MMA or modern portfolio theory. I get them when she is telling me about the exact art and subtle science of picking a bathing suit or color of paint. LMJ (happy birthday) gets them when we won’t turn on Pooh immediately. What made my “I don’t get it” this morning funny is that I do care about modes. I just didn’t care at that moment because the coffee wasn’t ready and I didn’t have the mental energy to think about it. Her comment could have been “These are the winning Power Ball numbers for tonight” and I still would have been focused on why it takes so GD long for some coffee to brew. I don’t get it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Opus

I spent some time in the car today and let my mind wander (uh-oh). I was feeling creative and decided to write a song. This is what happens when I spend too much time playing my guitar. For example, I had a circular, irrational dream last night about whether or not modes are scales, and no one could understand what I was trying to tell them. Most likely because I don’t know if modes are actually their own individual scales or if they are just subsets of the major scale in different keys or if I'm even in the ballpark (Help me Yngwie Malmsteen, you're my only hope). I don’t know if taking a music theory class would be helpful or not, but that’s neither here nor there. When my songwriting muse inspires me she comes in one of two forms: gangsta rap or death metal. Death metal showed up today. The lyrics come a lot easier than the music itself. I’m a much more comfortable poet than I am a musician. I had a couple of bullet points I wanted to hit. These phrases had to be in the song: the desolate beast and the Stygian pit. They were making me giggle in Toys R Us tonight while we were shopping for LMJ’s birthday. I also came up with Cyborg Satan in Toys R Us. I may have to rent some space in their stock room and use it as a studio. I don’t know if it’s more metal to spell cyborg with a C or an S. The lyrics are going to be deep. However, I am going to take some biblical liberties - Satan’s not a cyborg in any translation of the Bible, for one. The music is hard. I know what I want to hear, but I don’t know how to make it happen. I imagine it’s how LMJ feels when she talks. She knows what she wants to say, but the structure is a bitch. I’m already bored with the crap I’ve come up with. It’s derivative and it’s weak. My lack of music knowledge and guitar virtuosity is seriously messing up my song.

…to be continued.

Monday, May 11, 2009

I'm Trying Paragraphs

I had a generally boring and uneventful day. I have nothing to write about. The only interesting thing that happened was I ran into an old acquaintance that was in town because the guy that assaulted her fifteen years ago was getting out of prison, and the state wanted her here to testify at his release hearing about whether he should be let out or institutionalized. I didn't press for details because what he did was beyond f**ked up and I’m sure she’s not thrilled about reliving it once for the state, let alone another time for a curious jackass.

The next most exciting thing that happened today was when CG fired MJ and LMJ. CG is doing some landscaping and MJ and LMJ were “helping”. MJ was letting CG know how the job could be done more efficiently, while LMJ was undoing stuff that had just been done. I was a model employee and expertly moving heavy things. It was funny – at least for me – watching MJ and her mini-me ignore the fact that they’d been fired. CG said, “You know, this is actually easier when you all don’t help”. I chimed in with, “Ha, ha! You got fired!” None of it registered with either one of them. They kept on doing what they were doing. I wound up playing security and escorting them to the backyard. It was 92 degrees and there were sharp, heavy objects lying around. CG has never been the violent type, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

These posts would be a lot easier if cocaine was legal. I’ve never done cocaine, stimulants aren’t my thing, but I bet the world would be a lot more exciting if it was full of Bobby’s and Whitney’s. Just think about the gun laws in Florida, Virginia, and Texas. Now think about legalized cocaine. How frackin’ awesome would the news be everyday? Would Starbucks go out of business or would it become a shooting gallery? I think Bill O’Reilly is already coked out of his gourd, but I’d pay fifty bucks to watch Rush Limbaugh’s head explode after the 2010 midterm elections. He’d drop that sissy oxycontin and move on to some top shelf Colombian yeyo. Cocaine is better than the synthetic stuff, which is why it’s illegal. Stephen King was a cokehead, and so was Sigmund Freud. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in six days on a cocaine bender. Clearly, the booger sugar is the key to all of our unwritten novels.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Retiring the War Horse

I started cleaning out my Explorer today and I’m kind of sad about it. I’m going to miss that truck. It was the first big adult purchase I made. I had been at Merrill Lynch for about six months, and for the first time in my life I could afford a car. I was twenty-nine and wanted something cool, and in 2001 cool was an SUV. I got it before I was married. I got it before I even proposed. It was the last high point of American engineering. The Ford Explorer was, and still is, the dollar for dollar best SUV made. It’s a 1997 and there haven’t been any problems with it, outside stuff that wears out. I’ve had to replace the battery, the brakes and the tires – end of list. The only downside, especially when I had to schlep to Baymeadows every day, was that, at its best, my Explorer got fifteen miles to the gallon. When I bought it gasoline was under $1.20 a gallon so nobody cared about mileage. When gas broke $4 a gallon I knew it was time to make a change. Did you know that when you crack the $100 mark on a pump it stops and you have to talk to a clerk to reset it so you can continue filling up your tank? This happened to me. They had reprogrammed the machines about six weeks earlier because the pumps had been set to shut off at $75 and it was slowing everything up. It was like 1975. I was running on fumes waiting for the price to come back down. I didn’t want to pay $4.45 a gallon, and I was driving only five miles a day so it wasn’t like I was going to get stuck in the middle of nowhere. I pushed it. My fuel light was on for at least ten days before I chickened out and filled it up. The price gouging of the last couple of years has put me off guzzlers for good. I’m not real happy about the mileage that Odyssey is getting. If I buy a car just for me, I’m getting a Toyota Prius or some kind of Vespa. That’s the difference between twenty-nine year old me and thirty-eight year old me. I’d rather look like a dork and save money than drive a cool car. I think I’m laying the last piece of my youth to rest, and that makes me sad.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I Know We Wanted to Go to Maine. How Was I Supposed to Know There Was a Portland, Oregon?

We went to the beach today for the first time in the van. We got there late and had to go to a different spot, but other than that it was a typical beach trip. The drive home, however, wasn’t. We came to a crossroads when we punched our address into the navigation system. It took about twelve seconds to map out the easiest route, and I knew that I was never going to pay attention to where I was again. Why would I, I’ve got the navigation system? I wonder if this is how it feels getting high on heroin for the first time. Do you just stop trying? This is what was going through my head as some dude told us where and when to turn. I’ve always taken a certain pride in knowing the area, but now there’s no need. Actually, I’m looking forward to punching in Publix’s address just to see if the thing will ask me if I’m kidding. The directions from my house to Publix are back out of driveway; turn right into parking lot half a mile away. The navigation system will be extremely useful going to Correspondence’s house. MJ and I know one way, and one way only, to get there, and if we show up before the sun goes down we’ll probably only pass it and have to turn around once. If we’re not turning off of Beach Blvd., we’re not finding it at all. I think this thing is saving marriages. I know I’ve been looking at a map and screaming(back) at MJ, and I’ve thought about jerking the wheel so we would slam into a bridge embankment, hopefully killing me quickly and her slowly, which would prove that I was right. That’s not going to happen anymore. As long as everything is typed in correctly, if we get lost it will be Honda’s fault. Man, I hope there’s a spell check.

Friday, May 8, 2009

I Didn't Kill Anyone, So That's A Plus

It was a banner frackin’ day in my house today. I look forward to Fridays because I get to spend them with my baby girl. However, the universe conspired against me to ruin this Friday. It started out like any other Friday. I got MJ off to work and I got LMJ fed and dressed. I was falling into a comfortable schedule. I knew the car place was going to call and tell me the van was ready, but that wasn’t going to be until the afternoon. At about 10:30 CG called and told me the phones – land lines – weren’t working. She had called Bellsouth and they told her that yes there was a problem with her line but no there wasn’t a problem with mine. Yeah, we were just making it up so we could get a phone guy out here. Just a little bit of logic and thought is all I ask. What are the chances that both lines in duplex are down at the same time but they’re two completely different problems? Here’s a public service announcement: if you haven’t bundled your communications i.e. phone, mobile, interweb, then don’t. Bellsouth, and every other phone company for that matter, knows that people aren’t going to unspool everything just because their land lines are down, so it doesn't matter how bad their help desk is. This wasn’t a big deal, but it was the tip of a bad day iceberg. Then MJ called on my cell, which was plugged in charging so I couldn’t go after LMJ, who was trying to throw herself off a stool and onto the hardwood floor just to spite me, and told me I needed to clean the house because she had scheduled a paramedical exam for the afternoon. I overreacted and ruined her day – something about misery and company. Everything went fine from that point until I went to pick up the van. They handed me the keys. I walked out to the parking lot. I opened the door to a dirty van. A big part of the deal was that they DETAIL the thing. That was a sticking point for MJ. I let them know the van was dirty and they took it away to get cleaned. Why can’t anyone do what they’re supposed to do? Just do your goddamn job, please. They did an average car wash on it, which was fine, but we wanted this thing spic and span, and it’s what we were promised. I rushed home to be there for MJ’s bloodletting, and the chick that was supposed to be doing it was running late. MJ hadn’t eaten in twelve hours so everyone was grumpy. When the lady did show up she was completely unorganized. She bruised MJ’s arm and stabbed herself while trying to take blood. She was here a good forty-five minutes to an hour. I had an exam earlier this week in my office, and dude was in and out in twenty minutes. The YMCA, who were organized enough to take our money, canceled LMJ’s swim lesson tomorrow morning because they scheduled an “in service” meeting for all their employees at the same time as the lesson. None of this stuff was a big deal by itself, but all taken together in an eight hour block on a hot day is something completely different.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Set Your Phasers To Fun

I’m much more of a Star Wars geek than I am a Star Trek geek. I love Star Trek but I never suspended all my disbelief the way I did for Star Wars. The new Star Trek movie is opening tonight, and it’s the first one I’ve been excited about since… well ever. Star Trek, in all its incarnations, was a television show, and it never translated to the big screen well for me. The director of the new Star Trek, J.J. Abrams, seems to feel the same way. He’s famous for big budget Hollywood summer blockbusters – Armageddon is the most famous – and having beautiful women in tight clothes beat people up on television – Alias and Lost. He’s “rebooted” the Star Trek series and upset some “purists” along the way. Instead of a morality play, this is supposed to sell popcorn, and he couldn’t find a spot for William Shatner. I’m happy about the first; I’m sad about the second, but not angry. Abrams has told the “purists” in interviews not to see the movie; it will only make them angry. I don’t know if upsetting these people is a good idea. A bunch of them have a tenuous grasp on reality as it is. The early reviews for the film are very good, so I hope some psychotic trekkie doesn’t stab Abrams with a Klingon dagger before he can finish the sequel. I’m hoping that he can do something special with the franchise the way Ron Moore did with Battlestar Galactica. The less talky more shooty approach is a better way to tell Kirk’s story anyway. I do hope they bring back some of the camp that made the original series great, but they may have had to let it go so the whole thing wouldn’t wind up cheesy. I understand that the guy playing Kirk avoided everything Shatner while filming, which couldn’t have been easy. I see more Priceline commercials than I do Geico commercials. I may have to go see this one alone, though. MJ has never been a big Star Trek fan, and she’s even less of an action movie fan.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Weird Stuff on The Net

Today didn’t go as planned. I had stuff scheduled throughout, but the first thing got screwed up and it threw everything else off. I dropped the Odyssey off at the dealer this morning at 8am, but they had to get the guy that sold us the van to sign off on giving me a loaner car. He didn’t get to work until 9am. The day was down the toilet. I went to the gym, but felt a twinge in my leg so I quit. I’m not as stupid as I seem, and I’m not as stupid as I used to be. However, with a screwed up schedule and a workout cut short, I don’t have anything to write about. Therefore I will write about stuff I saw on the internet today. Random question: does anyone still call it the World Wide Web? The first thing that caught my interest today wasn’t even on the web. It was on television. I was sitting in the Duval Ford waiting pen watching the CBS morning show, and noticed that the crew was really, really White. Whatever culture their people came from has been wiped from their DNA, and I don’t mean when they’re reading copy. It was also when they had their between segment banter. I was just thinking how exhausting it must be to force yourself to speak in non-regional, every sound stressed, diction for any length of time. “I’m going to go to Publix and get some things for dinner” is something I do everyday but I’ve never once said in my life. It’s always “Ima go to Publix n’get some stuff fer dinner”. The first interesting thing I saw on the internet was a list of the five most baffling sex scenes in the history of fan fiction. I won’t go into what I read. Suffice it to say I will be having night terrors every time I close my eyes for the rest of my life. They weren’t explicit. They were creepy, and written by people with serious psychological problems. I cleansed my pallet with “Dork in capris vs. A carnival hammer. Who ya got?” While a guy hitting himself in the face with a hammer may be a tragedy, he went out in public wearing capris, and God was watching. This prepared me for the best thing I saw on the interweb all day long, and I will not be going into this either. This deserves it’s own post. I think it should be a meme: The Seven Most Horrific Places You’ve Had to Take A Dump. I don’t know if I should write this post now or wait until tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

If You’re Not Close To Death, How Do You Know You’re Alive?

I chose pain. I’m training in the sun this summer, and I started today. I went to the Y this morning to lift weights and when I was done I was planning to do my normal hour on the elliptical machine. But then I thought why not run outside? So I did. I headed out to my car, checked the thermometer, strapped on my iPod and took off towards the river. It was 87 degrees and I was wearing a black shirt. The only downside is that I didn’t have my Garmin 305. It took me less than five minutes to finish blasting my shoulders and to start running. The plan was to run to the Jacksonville Landing and back. I was less than ten steps in before I was out of breath. My body was still trying to deal with the fatigue from the weights when I was asking it to carry me up a bridge. I hated every moment of it, but this is how Kenyans and Ethiopians grow up, it’s their basic mode of travel, so running up hill in the heat is the way to go. On the way down the bridge over the railroad tracks, it wasn’t so much running as it was not quite falling down. Man was I happy about being in the shade, which didn’t last very long. I got to the bottom and found my stride. I cruised the half mile to the Landing, and then realized I had to run back. I started to lose it on the way back. I was wondering what the homeless people thought about runners. I was wondering if I would feel it when my heart exploded in my chest. I know heart attacks hurt, but this wouldn’t really be a heart attack. Heart attacks come from a lack of blood. My heart was just being pushed past its limits, especially going back up the bridge. I never felt as bad as I did during the River Run, so I never stopped. These were the thoughts that were running through my head. I finished with a lap around the track, and I ran flat out the last hundred yards. I drove home and sat in my car for five minutes while my heart slowed down. It wasn’t until I was sitting in front of my house that I got a little scared about not being able to catch my breath. Oh well, that which doesn’t kill us. This is gonna be a fun summer.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Heat Stroke: It's What's for Dinner

I was feeling restless yesterday so I went for a run. It was after 5pm but it was May in Florida so it was 110 degrees with 110 percent humidity. I was going to run a quick five miles, which turned into five kilometers at the top of the hill less than a quarter of a mile into the run. I’ve been running pretty regularly for more than two years but it still shocks the hell out of me how much difference the temperature makes in running performance. I hadn’t run in a couple of weeks but I’ve been doing a lot on the elliptical machine so I’m in decent cardiovascular shape. I wasn’t pushing myself because I knew my legs weren’t up for anything serious. I was refusing to let myself run the first mile in less than ten minutes. My attitude had changed three minutes in at the top of the hill to just do three miles. I was inhaling but I guess the part of the world I was running in was low on oxygen because I was getting nothing. Why doesn’t oxygen work over eighty degrees? If it’s seventy degrees or cooler I can dial in at about a ten minute mile and run forever. Training for the River Run was fun. Running yesterday was agony. It didn’t help that I had just finished a couple of helpings of spaghetti right before I ran. I was wondering if I would slow down if I started to feel sick or would I just blow chunks on the sidewalk like it was nothing because I wanted the run to be over. Fortunately, I never had to make that choice. I ran 3.2 miles in just over thirty minutes, which should have been no big deal, and I’m feeling it today. My legs are sore and they shouldn’t be. Unfortunately, I’m at a macho crossroads. On the one hand, I’m thinking about running before dawn because it’s fun and relatively pain free. On the other hand, I’m thinking about running at 2pm everyday and seeing if I can get used to it.

…to be continued.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I Even Remember That Milk Drink He Was Putting Bitters In

My sister got engaged today, and I’ve had to come to grips with the, now, undeniable wisdom of Father Nanton. He’s the priest that married MJ and me. He’s a crotchety, self-important, Episcopal priest. We chose him because when he’s not being a priest, he’s a laid back Trinidadian and we were sold a bill of goods. He was living in Miami and flew up to Jacksonville to marry us and on the ride from the airport to my parents’ house in Orange Park we were talking about the ceremony. My goal was to leave the ceremony legally wed to MJ. Anything short of that would be a massive failure. Anything beyond that would be an unqualified success. He had different ideas. He was asking me about how the seats would be set up and where people would be sitting and blah blah blah. I was flying down I-295 at this point doing about 110. This was two days before the wedding, and MJ was having serious issues with the reverend already. His wanting to change basic plans that had nothing to do with the Lord was not going to help. He started going on in his mellifluous baritone Caribbean drawl – dude has a world class speaking voice – about how all the couples that would be there, young and old, would be reliving their weddings vicariously through ours. My attitude was, whatever! I was treating this thing like a bank robbery – get in, get out, the rest is ego. Then today came and my mother told me about my sister getting engaged. I was a little bit giddy – that’s the best way I can describe it. I was really excited for her and her fiancé, JH, but I was also taken back to June 15, 2002 in Ponte Vedra, Florida. That was such a magical day for me. It was the happiest day of my life. I remember everything about that day. I remember everything about the rehearsal the day before. It was better than the day LMJ was born, even though I was consumed with an all encompassing love that I didn’t think was possible and was totally unprepared for when the nurse handed her to me. My wedding day was better than the birth of my daughter because on LMJ’s birthday I watched my wife get an episiotomy, on my wedding day I fed her cake.

As an afterthought, CEJ, if you read this my only advice is to skimp on the wedding and splurge on the honeymoon – and maybe pick a rabbi, from somewhere other than Trinidad, to marry you. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

We Got Out The Door For Blue Book. Scoreboard!

We bought a mini-van today, closed the deal. Car shopping is an adventure. We didn’t wind up buying it from Tony Soprano. We bought it from a tag team of stereotypical used car salesman. MJ wanted to go and see one more van this morning before we committed. We headed to Duval Ford to see it, and we were barely out of the car before we were met by the dad from American Chopper with the thickest listhp I’ve heard thince Thindy Brady. It was so thick I found myself watching his mouth when he spoke. I’m not a speech pathologist but I could tell the reason he had a lisp was because he stuck his tongue out three inches past his front teeth whenever an “S” came up. He referred us to his buddy down at the fair grounds. All the Duval car dealerships were having a huge used car sale this weekend. Geronimo, that’s what was on Thindy’s tangerine business card, was very professional and didn’t try to push us into anything on his lot. We drove downtown and met Bob, who looks like a character actor that always plays cowboys but I have no clue about his name. It was about 700 degrees outside and I liked that Bob was not only covered in sun tan lotion, but also had a big hat on. We drove around in the sage green minivan and it made our decision harder. It had more miles than the one we thought we wanted, but it was a year newer and came right out of Q branch – DVD, navigation system, rear outside camera. We didn’t buy it on the spot because it was more expensive than the older one we were looking at yesterday, and we were able to get the two dealerships into a bidding war. Bob actually asked us what it would take to get us into the car today. In the end Duval Ford was more desperate to move their stuff off the fairgrounds than Lucas Honda was to move their stuff off the lot. The Lucas Honda team was very efficient. It took at least forty-five minutes less to get the paperwork done than the last time we bought a car. The guy that did our paperwork was named Alfredo, and I bet if I asked to see his green card we could have knocked another $1500 off the price, but that’s being greedy, and just a little bit racist. It was weird listening to him run through the used car salesman stuff trying to up sell us on an extended warranty with a Hank Azaria in the Birdcage thick accent. We drove it home today and have to take it in Wednesday to get cleaned up. We love it already. Getting LMJ in the van is effortless, and it has storage space for days. I may never drive anything else again.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Will They Keep Spinning When I'm Stopped at a Stop Light? or Big News Week

Well this was a big week. Senator Arlen Specter left the Republican Party and joined the Democratic Party, Chrysler declared bankruptcy, Justice David Souter announced his retirement, and we’re thinking about getting a mini-van. I already wrote about the senator. Chrysler declared chapter 11 bankruptcy, which means they’re going to reorganize their management and renegotiate their debt, and by reorganize and renegotiate I mean a judge is going to decide all of this. It needed to happen and I think it’s what all of the American car companies need to do. They have to be able to get their costs under control so they can compete. Then they need to hire some people that don’t suck, so they can start putting out products that don’t suck. Justice David Souter is retiring. He said he was going to if Obama was elected. Apparently, beltway politics make his skin crawl and he can’t take it anymore. I hope the president is thinking about who’s retiring and his story. Souter screwed the Republicans after he was on the Bench. H.W. nominated him thinking he’d be the conservative he’d been throughout his legal career, but as Supreme Court justices are wont to do, Souter voted however the hell he wanted to. That’s the whole point of the founding fathers making the job permanent. Obama needs to be careful who he picks, especially if he wants to have more than a crap shoot of an idea how the new justice will vote. He needs to be aware of more than race and gender or he’ll wind up with the presidential equivalent of herpes – unless we’re talking about Bill Clinton, in which case the presidential equivalent of herpes is gonorrhea. Nothing sticks to slick Willie. We went car shopping tonight. We’re probably going to end up buying a car from Tony Soprano. The guy we’re dealing with is clearly from North Jersey, and he hasn’t been down here long enough for Middleburg to affect his speech. He’s not as big as James Ganolfini, but he is a big guy with a receding hairline, and he looks a like Tony would look if Tony got his teeth fixed. He’s a real nice guy. MJ is deciding between two Honda Odysseys. I’m deciding if 20” rims would be ridiculous on a mini-van. Really, there’s only one way to find out. Boom.