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Sunday, December 31, 2006

just for the record.

it's new year's eve. it's 10:56 ... not even 11 pm. i have a home-cooked steak and a gallon of wine in my belly; a scrabble victory under my belt. i am going the hell to bed. who needs midnight?

see all of you lovely readers of mine in the new year. thanks for your patronage this year. may the next one bring you plenty of whatever weird things make you happy.

as for you, 2006: game over.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

when the shiite hits the fan

well, saddam is dead.

what better time than to break out a little iraqi rock 'n' roll?

"They Taught Me"
(MP3) is by jafar hassan and it's wonderful. give it a listen and show it some love.

the song comes from the excellent and bizarre compilation choubi choubi! folk and pop sounds from iraq. it's on the sublime frequencies label, which is apparently specializing in bringing you western-influenced sounds from axis of evil. they have a comp of pop from north korea! (i wonder what pyongyang's laurie berkner sounds like. wait, no i don't.) my personal favorite of theirs, though, is the garage rock collection from cambodia.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

submitted without comment ... and a little comment

i, mr nice guy, submit this to you without comment. as some people i know -- who are definitely not me, nor are they my wife, except on the occasions that they are -- have this very topic weighing on heavy the brain at this current moment in our lives. so this comes as a little bit of a downer to them, but not to us, except on the occasions that it comes as a downer to us too. especially considering that they/we (but mostly just they) are considering this path at this exact moment:

First-born children get more quality time with parents than subsequent children, a Cornell study shows. Using data from the American Time Use Survey, Joseph Price, a graduate student in economics at Cornell, found that a first-born child receives 20-30 more minutes of quality time each day with a parent than a second-born child of the same age from a similar family.
ok, this is not all that surprising. i know some psychotic people who not only contemplated having multiple children but actually acted upon the impulse. i mean, can you imagine? here one is sleeping through the night, arriving at the precipice of bold language breakthroughs and starting to achieve some sort of stabilized lifestyle when POW a new person is supposed to come along? i mean, i personally have taken 2,496,565 pictures of my baby every month. how would a "number two" possibly ever compare? the wife and i have earnest brow-knitted discussions wherein we wonder how we could possibly love another child as much as the first one and how we could possibly spend as much time bonding. let me tell you: these crazy friends of mine who have had child number two, well, they are crazy. they readily admit to me that this cornell grad student is on to something -- not only do they spend less time with number two, but they spend less time with both kids. it's not just number two! number one misses out on full-frontal parenting action as well! oh, and the parents sleep less. and they go crazy. and yet! everyone lives. number two survives and thrives on neglect and DVDs. number one survives and thrives on sibling abuse and parent-defying. the parents survive and thrive on scotch and merciful hallucinations. and the earth continues to revolve around the sun.

my humble theory: there is only less time to spend with kid number two because there are still the same number of hours in the day. i call it the procreator's paradox.*

if and when the missus and i ever "go there," as the kids like to say, i hereby pledge to you, gentle wonders, that i will be taking EIGHT TIMES as many pictures of my second. i will start FOURTEEN new blogs. i will personally neglect my foulmouthed firstborn for hours--nay, days--at time! i am a trend-bucker! i go against the grain! what do those clowns at cornell know about me and my (hypothetical) kids?

oh, and don't even get me started on how much more i'm going to love my third child.

*that phrase is copyrighted as of this instant so if you use it without giving me a million dollars, or at least linking to me, i will sue you and every living and future relative of yours into dirt-eating poverty.

bad word, good baby

the scene: mr nice guy is at a pleasant little midtown restaurant with colleagues for a lunch tete-a-tete. mr nice guy's phone rings. he sees that it is from his home, where mrs nice guy is chilling with baby nice guy. he figures it would be a good idea to answer it.

mr nice guy (scurrying out the restaurant): hello? everything ok?
mrs nice guy: your daughter would like to have a word with you.
mr nice guy: um. ok.
baby nice guy: hi da-ddy.
mr nice guy (melting): hi baby girl! what do you have to say?
baby nice guy: FUCK!

mrs nice guy took the phone back, laughing hysterically, and explained that this afternoon, while she was working away at her laptop she blurted out "aw, fuck." baby nice guy, not even two years old, didn't miss a beat. AW FUCK! FUCK! AW!

as mrs nice guy was explaining this to me, between giggles, i could hear my kid in the background ticcing away like a tourretic fiend. FUCK! .... FUCKFUCK!
i know i am supposed to not condone this. i know i need to not react with delerious approval every time she drops a big stinky f-bomb. i know this is not something you are supposed to let your daughter do with abandon.

but, fuck it. i mean, do you have any idea how funny/awesome it is to see your beautiful wee precious angel princess baby girl part her plump-pouty lips and go AW FUCK!?

Monday, December 25, 2006

mom's cookin' chicken and collard greens; rice and stuffing, macaroni and cheese; and santa put gifts under christmas trees

... the rhymes that you hear are the rhymes of darrell's ... each and every year we bust christmas carrols!

happy ho'lidays my peoples ... with a little help from the best ever.

ps: james brown RIP. this has gone from a soulful christmas to a sad soulless christmas. more to follow.

Friday, December 22, 2006

a look back at 2006 ...

in a very special mr nice guy home movie ... happy holidays.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

snot and coughing and puke and parenting

so yesterday was a doozy. it started, in the wee hours of the morning -- before yesterday had even really gotten properly underway -- with vigorous, assaultive, bazooka-style vomiting.

the cause of this vomiting was not due to any stomach-related ailment. to the contrary: baby nice guy has a serious chest cold. so serious, in fact, that she sounds like she's breathing under water. scratch that -- it sounds like she's breathing under jello. her chest is packed tight with 38 pounds of solid snot. sometimes this is funny, like when she's feeling playful. she has been known to growl when she is feeling playful. add to this growling 38 pounds of chest-cavity phlegm and you get the effect of a 4-foot tall ancient jewish man unaccustomed to moving. i know what those sound like because i had two of them as grandfathers. when she's breathing (at rest, mind you), she's out of breath because it's hard to breathe through 38 pounds of snot. also she rattles like a chain made of mucus.

the bad thing here is the coughing. so much coughing! i hate it when she coughs. like when she coughs so hard she barfs. not good. i wish i could have every chest cold she will ever have. but, alas, i cannot. i am genetically unable to get sick -- trust me, i have tried. it's just not in my makeup. mr nice guy is depressingly healthy. robust. strong. and handsome. also charming and a little bit irresistible. but that is neither here nor there. the main thing is that she was coughing so much that she choked on her own snot and puked.

yesterday morning mrs nice guy called the pediatrician and gave her the bare facts: baby sounds as if she is breathing through a cheese cloth. lots of coughing. we have a good friend whose toddler had pneu-fucking-monia last week. our child has a fever. we are very, very afraid. the pediatrician said "can you be here in half an hour?"

yes, yes we could.

have you ever had a cat that required 3 vet technicians to hold her down just so the vet could take her temperature? have you ever had a cat go completely feral in the examination room, remove the eyeballs from one of the technicians with her claws, hop into the sink and burst into flames? no? well let me tell you, we have one and taking her to the vet ranks among the most terrifying experiences in my life.

until! until, that is, the pediatrician popped her head into the examining room and my daughter apparently recognized her from the 18-month checkup. her eyes rolled back into her head and, in the intervening 10 excruciating minutes, she shouted every directional she knew -- take me anywhere, she said, as long as it was away from the voodoo-witch-devil-doctor: "OUTSIDE! UP! DOWN! NO! UP! UP! NO! nononono! MOMMY! UP! GHGHGHGHGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGLLLBEBBB! updownupdownupdown! DADDY NO!"

so my kid is apparently part feral cat. but, at the end of the visit, the news was good. no snot in her lungs, even though it sounds like she is sculpted entirely out of snot. there is apparently none actually in her lungs. great news, but i suspect that's because all the snot is in her liver. and her kidneys. and her heart. and her throat. and her girlparts. and her ears ...

whatever. we go to the pharmacy and buy her some industrial-strength over-the-counter meds. get this: i am actually carded when i try to buy the meds. carded! i start asking all kinds of increasingly-suspicious questions, which probably made the process go slower. it certainly felt like it took a long time. i was all "why are you carding me? are you checking out my record? can you make meth out of this stuff or something? are you sending my name to the statehouse? can i have my ID back? is there a limit to how much of that i can buy? would you arrest me if i wanted to buy, like, 16 boxes of it? what if i wanted sudafed? do you sell medicinal marijuana too? polonium? seriously, what the fuck?"

anyway, after a full body cavity search, they finally let me buy the allegedly-OTC drugs. i seriously contemplated mainlining the whole bottle right in front of the pharmacist, just to spite her! but in the end i decided the kid needed it more than i did. so we brought her home and gave her a healthy dose of the state-registered babydrugs. she seemed to react pretty well. thank the lord. the cough slowly began to subside.

then, just before bedtime, she started coughing again. then she coughed so hard she barfed. again. i scooped her up at one point and ran her to the sink -- she barfed everywhere. except the sink. mostly she barfed on her mom. and her mom's laptop.

have you ever held a small child in your arms while she barfed everywhere? it's one of those experiences that is simultaneously tragic and horrifying and sad and empowering and kind of touching all at once. it's a rite of parenthood passage.

here is what you think while your child is barfing uncontrollably in your arms: "wow she's tiny and she's barfing like a really big person. i mean, like, a really big person. and she's mine. and it's my job to deal with this, to take care of her. and i actually CAN take care of her. i can feel her little body convulsing in my arms with every wretch. how awful. BUT I AM DAD, I WILL TAKE CARE OF EVERYING! oy, she's still barfing. did that splash on my shirt? hey, this is not as gross as i thought it would be. but i wish she would stop barfing now because she's breaking my heart. also this is a lot of barf. i remember once in college ... ok, she's done barfing. what now? i have to pretend like it's not gross and there's not barf all over my house and i have to comfort her -- which, amazingly, comes quite naturally. poor baby. she's so heartbreaking after she's just barfed. who's going to clean this up? oof, this really smells like grown-up puke. i will be a good father and i will clean (some of) this up. wow. can i have a beer now?"

anyway, it's a day later and she's not any better. she's still crying out in her sleep and coughing and this sucks. the coughing is evil. she has one eye that bulges out when she coughs and it's hard sometimes to not laugh at her when she goes all coughing-popeye. but at night, when she should be asleep, like right now, you just want her to sleep. the coughing is not so funny after dark. and it's not actually that funny anyway during the day. you just worry that she's going to gag and puke. and then you feel powerless and scared and pissed off at the world. and you want her to sleep ... just sleep. you also wonder ... where's that beer?

the new addiction

can't ... stop ... making ... snowflakes

Saturday, December 16, 2006

profiles in parenting!

i have long been on record that one of the top reasons for having children is to embarrass them. i cannot wait for the day when my daughter is 13 and waaaay too cool to hang out with her old man. that is PRECISELY when i am going to up the dork-factor on my attire (if, 12 years from now, that's even possible). i am going to make loud unfunny jokes and will be unabashed about my bodily functions whenever she has company. i am talking about sporting stained wife-beaters and short shorts with dark socks pulled up to my knees. especially when she has company. it will also be mustache time. oh yes. mucho mustacho.

anyway, today i discovered another reason to have kids: to scare the living shit out of them. is there any sweeter payback than this? these two boys apparently stayed up way past their bedtime watching the Texas Chainsaw Massacre ... and their parents profited greatly from it. this, my friends, is reason enough for anyone to become a parent:

Thursday, December 14, 2006

the super special ultra-exclusive mr nice guy xmas-mix stocking-stuffed getdown

first off, my private dancers, an apology. i am not as all bah-humbuggish as my last post would have intimated. i just thought the video was funny--and, i mean, at the end of the proverbial day, burning charlie brown at the stake? kind of awesome. but regardless, i do love me some xmas in my own atheist-with-three-jewish-grandparents sort of way. bottom line: the other day i was grumpy with faulty/stubborn technology. i had crafted FOR YOU, my cuttlefish, a christmas mix of epic proportions; an assemblage of tunes that would have had no less a personage than our saviour too busy toe-tappin' to come back a second time ... but i have since been repeatedly thwarted from streaming the audio on this very site. it was to have been my gift to you, readers.

but, in a way, it still is, dearlings! only, tonight i give you the songs one lugubrious link at a time. download them, listen to them, love them. right-click them, save them, caress them. (then, per the RIAA, delete them and forget you ever heard them; destroy your hard drive in a burning sacrificial pyre and throw your computer into a vat of acid and then burn down your house and liquidate your assets and give them all to the various aggrieved artists labels.)

with that music-sharing caveat in mind ... here we go with the first annual super special ultra-exclusive mr nice guy xmas-mix stocking-stuffed getdown!

Early on One Christmas Morn by The Cottontop Sanctified Singers: get off on the good Christmas foot and getchoself sanctified, peoples!
Jingle Bells by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass: wait through the boring vocal intro to get to the peppy, jazzy and toothpaste-fresh reimagining of this carol in the way that only Mr. Whipped Cream and Other Delights could conceive.
Soulful Christmas by James Brown: admit it, you've always wondered what it was like around JB's "soulful Christmas tree." the best present of all? that James Brown loves you, you lucky so-and-so. says as much himself. also, did you dig that freakin' fatback beat?? (thank you, clyde, funkiest santa ever.)
Back Door Santa by Clarence Carter: the man who would later bless us with "Strokin'" provides this excellent un-Christmas Christmas song. this Santa comes much more frequently than once a year. he also provided a certain pioneering Queens-based rap trio with the hook for "Christmas in Hollis." (ah, Jam Master Jay, you are missed)
Last Month of the Year by the Tarbox Ramblers: i can't speak for you, but i certainly know what month my Jesus was born in. (sidenote: we almost had these dudes play at our wedding. it is my only regret in life that we did not.)
Silent Night, Holy Night by John Fahey: enigmatic shaman Fahey puts a delta blues accent on this carol. gorgeous.
Violent Night by Afroman: "silent night, police light/stop the engine, keep your hands in sight ..." a little seasonal satire. i mean, who hasn't spent xmas blunted in the county pen?
Christmas Time's A'Coming by Rhonda Vincent: a little white christmas bluegrass, y'all! ... can't you hear them bells a'ringin'?
Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis by Tom Waits: because nothing is better than hearing that gravely sandpaper whiskey-and-cigarette voice kick off a heartbreaker of a song with the line "Charlie, I'm pregnant ... " Ho, ho, ho.
The Little Drummer Boy by Lou Rawls: i have always hated "Little Drummer Boy" with the burning parum-pum-pum-passion of 963 white-hot flaming menorahs. and yet, here comes Rawls, singing it the way it was meant to be sung -- i mean, it's a song about a funky drummer after all. tip a little eggnog for Lou, who we lost this year.
This Christmas by Donny Hathaway: where there is a will to get it on, donny hath a way to get it on. also, who had more soul than Donny Hathaway? did you say "no one?" well, you were right.
Santa Claus Blues by Louis Armstrong: because you can bet there are a whole lot of kids in the Big Easy who'll have the santa claus blues this year.
X-Mas Rap by the Treacherous Three: welfare santa gets mugged in the 'hood and reduced to eating his own reindeer for survival?! yes, i would call that treacherous. highlight: beatbox solo by a young doug e. fresh.
Christe qui Luxe by The Rose Consort of Viols: i am not sure if the title translates to "christ who loves" or "christ who luxuriates," but either way this is the loveliest mp3 by a consort of viols that i own.

and there you have it, friends. i truly wish that i could find a widget that would adequately stream it up for you, but i could not. please let me know if you have any technical glitches in downloading these goodies. i will try to fix, for they are not to be missed.

merry christmanukwanzikkah, y'all. i wish i had more to offer...

wait, i do! a bonus track:

Merry Christmas, Baby by Otis Redding: if this doesn't give you a special holiday feeling, you're probably dead.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

"when we were babies, our parents made a conscious decision to deceive us."

lovers. i have tried and tried and tried. and i have FAILED. i wanted nothing more than to provide you with a mr nice guy exclusive: a streaming audio christmas playlist extravaganza for you all to enjoy while you carve your ceremonial geese, or do whatever it is you people do this time of year.

i am bitter. for two days i assembled the perfect yuletide mix, only to be denied posting it by the grinches of and odeo. i have one more trick up my sleeve, but i am skeptical that it will work. and also, i am feeling scroogish, less inclined to indulge in the holiday cheer. this is normal for me. you see, i actually hate christmas. (sorry to any wives or other family people this may disappoint, but if it helps, let me put it another way: i like buying you presents when nobody else is buying you presents, not when EVERYBODY else is. similarly, i like dressing up as a slutty catholic school girl on every day except halloween -- i mean, what's the fun in doing it when it's expected of you?)

oy, this city is crammed with fat tourists and tetchy shoppers and non-native pine needles. it's unbearable. i hate carols. i hate lights and trees and mandated good cheer. i hate creches and eggnog. bah, i tell you, humbug!

but what can you do? christmas keeps coming. i would be sad if it went away entirely. i mean, i like snow. and my family. and vacation. but, in the end i find a special resonance in this particular charlie brown remix. not for the agressively sentimental, but i think it's pretty damn funny:

Thursday, December 07, 2006

brave new world

so the baby has recently taken a great interest in our toilet. she likes to climb atop it, lean over and play in the sink. that's all well and good. but she also likes to deprive her parents of their last remaining tiny shreds of privacy and human dignity by absolutely insisting on watching them use said toilet. this is a child who will not tolerate being locked out of the bathroom. fine. i personally don't care. i pick my battles carefully and this is not one i feel the need to fight. you want to watch me cop a squad, kid, it's your funeral. besides, i have to admit i truly dig the fact that every time the toilet gets flushed she shouts out "BYEBYE PEEPEE!" oh, how i love it. sometimes i just flush the toilet for the sheer thrill of seeing her stop whatever she's doing and wave in the general direction of the bathroom: "BYE PEEPEE!" awesome. last week at work, in the men's room, i caught myself flushing the urinal and saying in a singsong falsetto to myself "bye bye pee pee!" then i looked over and saw that there was someone in the stall next to where i was standing. wearing much more expensive shoes than mine. oops.

so, yeah, we noticed this increased fascination with the toilet and we did what any overambitious first-time yuppiefuck parents of an 18 month old does: we bought her a little pot. we put it in the bathroom next to our big-person pot. and now she sits on her pot every time we sit on ours. usually, though, she is wearing pants -- it's just too much work to take off her pants and diaper only to have her sit on the pot for 14 minutes and sing the abc's (with alternate lyrics: all B's) and then watch her decide she's done so we have to put the diaper back on her just in time for her to take a massive dump in it ... or on the floor. no thanks. it's at bath-time that we've initiated our half-assed slacker yuppiefuck toilet training ritual. we get her naked and plop her on her pot. then nothing happens. then we put her in the tub, in which she stands up and pees willy-nilly.

UNTIL YESTERDAY. she peed in the pot! our reaction? you'd have thought the Christ had risen. no miracle has ever been greater. we showered her with hosannas and praises and cheers and clapping.
then we put her in the bath.

then i looked over and realized i had to clean up the pot she just pissed in.

then i realized i like diapers just fine.

anyway. did you see the picture above? LOOK AT IT! it's the fish 'n' flush, "a patented, two-piece aquarium toilet tank!" i want six of them for christmannukwanzakah. seeing as how we're spending a little more time in the bathroom these days -- AND seeing as how instead of "fish!" my daughter says something that sounds very much like "bitch!" -- we'd increase our household entertainment factor by tenfold if we installed one of these babies. think of it: every time we'd use the bathroom, our midget lunatic fetishist will run around going "BYE PEEPEE, BITCH!" 'tis the season, indeed!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

beyond heartbreaking

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

every day i want to get on my camel and ride

ok i think we all need to cleanse our musical palates after that whole berkner brouhaha. i mean, is this really what we expect our kids to listen to? fishy beards and walking along the river and "we are the marching dinosaurs" and moon moon moon? i mean, yes, fine, i admit that my charming and perfect daughter runs up to me about 84 times a day and commands "MOONMOON! MOONMOON!" complete with roughly-correct hand gestures until i cave and put the dvd on. but, really. why is this? i'll tell you why this is. because this is the best we have to offer. because children's music reached its climax (cue late-edition gen-x nostalgia) ... when stevie motherfucking wonder appeared on sesame street.

DO YOU PEOPLE HEAR ME?! Steveland Hardaway Judkins on Sesame Street when BOTH he and sesame street were at the apex of their powers. i mean, what's the equivalent today? are we, like, going to have Kanye on Sesame Street? he's probably already done his cameo with Elmo. but you know what? something tells me that mr. college dropout -- as sharp as his production skillz be -- doesn't quite measure up to Stevie Motherfucking Wonder. what other stars does society have to offer our kids today? Fiddy Cent? T.I.? T.O.? Snoop? Fergie Hagface? Yawn Mayer? Gwen Stefani? Justin Timberlake (yes, he was a mouseketeer, but now he's bringing sexy back ... )? Ruben Stoddard? ninja, please.

sorry. nobody's going to measure up to Stevie Wonder. (Boogie on Reggae Woman, anyone? I Was Made To Love Her? AS? all of Innervisions? Cash in Your Face? Do I Do? I Wish? Songs in the Key of Life? Love Having You Around? to quote no lesser authority than MC Hammer: YOU CAN'T TOUCH THIS!). so, check this out. i mean, really, really check this out. check it all the way out, up, backwards and down. flip it over, slap it, rub it and respect it. watch this 36 times in a row like i did and love every second of it:


and your extra-special bonus round is right here. the bad-assest version of Superstition that you never heard. on sesame street?!!? what the fuck? this is like Mother Teresa coming back from the dead, waking up at 5:30 am with you and your toddler, taking your hand and telling you that everything in the world is going to be OK forever. bad things will never happen to anyone ever again. this is beautiful.

i want to know what became of that kid in the orange sweater. you didn't see him? guess you better watch both clips again.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

sad but true

"what are you guys watching?"
"one of the DVDs i got for the kid."
"hey, this isn't bad."
"this song is pretty good."
"i like her purple leather pants."
"sproingy curls, too ... interesting."
"what's interesting?"
"nothing. this is cute. wait. is that a wedding ring? she's not married to that bass player dweeb is she?"
"oh my god!"
"you totally have a boner for laurie berkner!"

(yes. yes, it would appear that i do.)