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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

won't someone please think of the children? better yet, think of the people who are supposed to be thinking of the children.

we don't go to too many baseball games in this household. i rarely pack up the family and head to madison square garden, either, to take in a friendly game of basketball ... or one of them rock and roll concert shows that the kids like so much these days.

also, we don't drink too many things out of a bottle around here that aren't scotch, wine, beer, seltzer or milk. roughly in that order of importance.

so it's a good thing that i read this cautionary tale about a poor clueless Ann Arbor dad who took his 7-year old to a Tigers game and bought him a Mike's Hard Lemonade, which apparently contains delicious alcohol--who knew!? you see where this is going: dude finds himself face to face with the cops ... while his son is rushed to the hospital! and then foster care!! oy. note to self: remember to read labels on bottles real careful-like when my kids are old enough to attend the hannah montana comeback tour.

and here i thought we were only supposed to treat our tourists this way ...

eight weeks to go. maybe.

we go in for our little check up with the midwife today. i love our midwife. we wanted to do a homebirth this time around -- especially since the birthing center at Long Island College Hospital (which, logically, is located in Brooklyn Heights) closed down, meaning my bride will have to deliver in the delivery room (heaven forefend!). but our midwife isn't covered for home births. and we love her. so delivery room (and all the necessary evils that come with it), it is.

at the check up today, the midwife measured the belly. my wife is a thin woman, narrow. she's well proportioned. and she's a gorgeous pregnant knockout -- skinny all over and one big bump. weirdly people have been asking her for the past month if she's either A) due any day now or B) having twins. people are idiots. if her belly were any smaller, people would be asking her whether the baby was ok. or if she was eating enough. like i said, people are idiots.

so we grease up the belly, and listen to the thwack-thwack heartbeat. bless. mama gets weighed and measured. like a steer. i ask the midwife if there's any way to tell how big the kid is. she says she guesses five, five-and-a-quarter pounds. totally normal for 32 weeks. good.

then she tells us to come back every two weeks and adds, offhand, that the baby will probably increase in weight by a half-pound a week from here on out. we nod as we put on our coats. then pause. we do the math.

that's four pounds in eight weeks.

that adds up to a nine pound baby. at least.

remember how i mentioned that the wife is a narrow little lady? First Born clocked in at 6 pounds, 11 ounces. that's south of seven pounds ... of blazing crotchfire agony and bloody torn crotchflesh. three more pounds will split the poor woman open.

which made us pause again. the fucking baby. she's going to come early, isn't she?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

my daughter and i wear matching armani track suits, color coordinated with our bugaboo.

because if you don't buy a $200 infant-sized tie-dye dress from Burberry for your 18-month-old ... the terrorists win? or wait. maybe they win if you do buy it? ack. complicated!

key quote: "It gives me an excuse to buy nice things for myself." ah, the true nature of parenting.

taylor. chuck taylor.

meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

"The core kid we are looking for is the 'optimistic rebel' who wants to be different, irreverent, and creative. ... In general, Converse is the everyman shoe; it inspires originality, and that's why it's popular among kids who play in garage bands. It is massively simple and has unbelievable attitude. They are like a canvas for self-expression."

i love me some chuck taylor. but
optimistic rebel? ninja, please. how about something with a little more sole! i propose this as a new slogan: "they were good enough for dr. j, you bet your ass they're good enough for you. sucka!"

i wrote a little poem for my beloved shoe. feel free to take it and use it, mr converse bossman.

"Neither slip nor slide
Nor break in your stride
When you've got Chuck T. on your side."

we can split the profits you reap from my advertising genius. say, 76-24 ...

i used to have a crush on dawn from en vogue, too

oh my. look who's coming to rock the bells.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

a little bit of feel good

work it, jamie. do you. (and do a little stevie, while you're at it)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

gettin' jizzy with it

i subscribed to a little semi-daily e-mail newsletter like three years ago.'s Word of the Day. heard of it? pretty cool. anyway, i signed up before i was receiving 91,654 unsolicited (and semi-solicited) daily electronic missives. almost every day for three years i have received a note from the good word-o-philes (if only there were a word for "word-o-phile" ... i wonder where i could look it up?). over those three years i have learned one or two good new words from the service, so i am loathe to unsubscribe from what might otherwise be considered in-box clutter. i like learning new words. sometimes i try to work them into conversation. like the time i tossed "Apothegm" around with the reckless abandon of a word-tossing asshole.

so anyway, i am cleaning out my e-mail today and what do i spy? a recent cache of unread words of the day. oh goodie! learning time! let's see. what did i miss? "Watershed," today's word. bah. that's not worth the free subscription fee. "Wafture?" now you're catching my eye, if only slightly. "Cacoepy!" awesome. i wonder how that's pronounced.

hmm, let's keep scrolling. "Accrue." meh. "Manumit" heh -- not too useful these days. "Bootleg?" boring. "Acerbic." "Jizz." "Bromide."

wait. hold on. scroll back one.


no, scroll back one more.


yeah. you read that correctly: Jizz.

the nerdy-ass word-of-the-day e-mail i subscribe to sent me the word "Jizz." there it is: Jizz in my, uh, in-box, tucked demurely between offers to "Grow your Meat Hose" and e-mails claiming to be from my own penis. so, naturally, office servers be damned, i opened the e-mail. how, i wondered, was the usually-reputable going to define "Jizz."

i'll tell you how.
like this: "The immediate, characteristic impression given by an animal or plant." immediate animalistic impression, indeed. isn't there a better, less deeply-confusing word or expression for this. like, i don't know, "first impression?" i mean ... i have apparently, without knowing it, given total subway strangers on my daily morning commute my "jizz." around here they arrest people for less.

i wonder how the good people at suggest working "jizz" into a sentence. hmm, let's find out ... i swear to baby moses in the basket that i'm not making this up:
Suggested Usage: The experience of recognizing something in an instant without understanding how you do it is a common enough experience, so this word deserves wider usage. "I tell you, she was walking a fox on a leash--it was like seeing a dog with the jizz of a cat." When you recognize an old friend who is walking away from you on the far side of the street, you are responding to his jizz - why not tell him so? "Leo, since you had that bad haircut and the surgery on your knee, you have developed a unique jizz."

i am going to try this at work tomorrow: "You know, Helen, with your bloodshot eyes and the way you are walking this morning in that rumpled skirt -- weren't you wearing that yesterday? -- I'd say you've got some funky new jizz in you."

or maybe: "Say, Peter, those exceptionally tight jeans and the rapidity with which you hit Alt-Tab when I walked into your office without knocking have combined to give you a jizzy vibe today."

my theory is that the webmaster was unceremoniously laid-off recently and this was his jizzy way of getting back at his erstwhile employers.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

the world's ok, i guess. whatever.

Friday, April 18, 2008

unrequired reading -- by popular request

haven't flipped through this book yet. but i, for one, anticipate having trouble finding the chapter called "Daddy Loves Mommy So Much More Now." oy. (and, in the interest of balance, counterpoint).

i need a chaser.

you too? how about a poorly-selling erotic cake calender starring un-augmented spanish milfs? happy to oblige. oh dear. this calendar. it's like a docket of sadness, ticking off months of pain in daily doses of rejection.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

what's in a name? i am glad you asked!

he as we've mentioned 'round these parts before: the bride, she is all gestational once again. as usually happens when the womenfolk start makin' babies, the conversation has been known to turn toward the topic of names. as in: What in Tarnation are We Gonna Call the Unborn? now, more or less, we have come to an agreement (thank goodness we aren't having a boy because there was No Agreeing on the topic of appellations for the phallically endowed). we have chosen a name. i should amend that to: my babymama has strongly recommended that i accept her preferred choice of name. as she reminded me, with serrated blades shooting from her fiery eyeballs, the child will be getting my last name, after all. indeed. and so, we have chosen a name. it is a good name.

i am not going to tell you what it is. but i have it on good authority that in some regional Tlingit dialects it translates roughly to "Daughter of the Great One. And His Wife."

for those of you in the position of having to come up with a name, let me please be of assistance. i live to help. i am here for you, body and soul, but mostly body. this site is waaay better than the baby name voyager in that it trolls the 1990 census. it randomly selects first names and pairs them with randomly selected last names. just keep hitting refresh. i found some girls' names that i really liked, and i e-mailed them to my lady:

Spoon (i mean, does it get any more awesome than "spoon?")
Mike (kind of rad for a girl, actually)

i love them all. i think i lost her at spoon, though.

then comes the hard part: the middle name. with our first child, we chose a traditional indian name, a nod to my masala mama's heritage. i am guessing she's inclined to do something similar this time. I AM GUESSING SHE'S WRONG. because LOD alerts us to the fact that Vlassic pickles will award a $25,000 savings bond to the parents "show their love and dedication to Vlasic® Pickles by making his or her middle name, 'Crunch' ..." so rad on so many levels. maybe the bonds will have yielded returns significant enough to pay for your child's therapy once she's ready!

finally, i'll point out that just this past march a company called the generations network published a book called "bad baby names" -- now in blogular form! -- which is a compendium of ... well, you figure it out hotshot. the books authors scoured the census from 1790-1930 as well as marriage, birth, death and military records. all the names included in this slim volume are for reals. like, Hysteria Johnson (b. 1881), Kathryn E. Coli (b.1894), Jump Jump (b. 1825), Jam Lamb (b. awesome), and Ima Hooker (no, for reals). but the highlight? quite possibly the best name ever known to man in all of earth's history? there it is on page 31: Wanna Funk, born in 1930 in kansas! Wanna Funk! born in 1930! this means she was 22 when Horace Silver's "Opus de Funk" came out, 33 when James Brown pwn3d the Apollo, 45 when George and Bootsy et al. boarded the Mothership. whew. talk about timing. of course, chances are she is/was probably just a big Lawrence Welk fan.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"come on guys, isn't raping me just kind of dark and obvious?"

oh. hell. yes. lookie who's getting back together and going on tour with all new material!!! (don't look too closely thought because, jeez, they look all old and bloated.)

(still funny though!)

Monday, April 14, 2008

wherein we take a deep breath.

thanks, all, for your thoughtful commiserating on the joys of owning -- and trying really hard not to murder -- an almost-three year old. your comments were really great. it was a cathartic thing to write, and just posting it made me feel a little better. if a bit guilty. and of course today, on my day home alone with Kidzilla, she's being a pure delight. sure, she demanded that she wear her now too-small "white lion" halloween costume just as we were out the door. it was momentum-disrupting, but i didn't feel like fighting it. besides it was funny to imagine her going about her day dressed like a tiger. it was even funnier riding the bus with her. she's totally oblivious, although she did wonder why people were talking to her more than usual today; i felt a little silly.

the best part about all this -- the ups and downs of dealing with a threenager (favorite new word of the year, courtesy of hissychick) -- is that i have a little something called perspective. maturity. wisdom. i know, for example, that there will be ample time to exact sweet revenge on my child by embarrassing her face off in public when she's an actual teenager. i. can't. wait.

how to start a mommy blogging brouhaha on the interweb

want to stir up a little ridiculous controversy that serves only to underscore your central point (that parents today be cra-zay)? New York Sun columnist lenore skenazy has the recipe for you.

step 1. let your 9-year-old son ride the subway all by his badself under the theory that parents today are waaaay to overprotective. ("i gave him a subway map, a MetroCard, a $20 bill, and several quarters, just in case he had to make a call.")
step 2.
write an excellent, thoughtful column about it. "half the people i’ve told this episode to now want to turn me in for child abuse. as if keeping kids under lock and key and helmet and cell phone and nanny and surveillance is the right way to rear kids. it’s not. it’s debilitating — for us and for them."
step 3. let simmer
on the interblogs.
step 4. serve hot-headed.

skenazy is totally on to something here. the over-propensity among parents (usually Of a Certain Means) to hover and helicopter over their kiddies' every move is a serious bugaboo of mine (awful stroller pun intended, sadly). but more importantly it does the kids a disservice. the real world is not a baby-proofed, rounded-corner, anti-bacterial rubber room. thank god. so why raise kids as if it were? they'll be sorely disappointed. (as it is they're going to have to grapple with the fact that they're not the Specialest Little People on Earth they've been told their entire childhoods, but that's another source of irritation for another time).

now skenazy has now bequeathed the internets with a special gift:
Free Range Kids (LOVE the name). a snip of her blog's mission statement: "At Free Range, we believe in safe kids. We believe in helmets, car seats and safety belts. We do NOT believe that every time school age children go outside, they need a security detail. Most of us grew up Free Range and lived to tell the tale. our kids deserve no less." the blog's first post was april 1 and there's only been one more since, which does not inspire great confidence that this brilliant idea will yield an especially robust site. but we'll reserve judgment for now.

Friday, April 11, 2008

i comfort myself in the knowledge that i am raising a strong-willed woman. so at least there's that.

what do you do with an almost-three-year-old who fights with you? and when i say "fights with you" i mean "goes all mike tyson and bites an ear off your shit" kind of fighting. cause i've got a serious fighter on my hands here. she is not, let's be clear, a hitter or a scratcher or anything violent like that. but when she adopts a cause, she digs in. like a steamshovel. relentless. unwavering. much like when, say, mother teresa set up shop in calcutta and never once considered buckling under the oppressive weight of her deeply-felt mission to bring succour to the impoverished ... once my child decides she wants a lollipop, it's all over until she gets her lollipop. or at the very least she digs in until someone's daddy dies in a steaming puddle of his own urine. whichever needs to come first.

take this morning, for example. and when i say "take this morning," i mean "remove it from my prefrontal cortex so i need never remember it again." mrs nice guy went into the office bright and early, leaving me in my still-slumbering state. my schizophrenic brain was half-delighting in the luxurious decadence of a big empty bed and half-dreading the yelling that was guaranteed to emerge from The Child's room. and then it came: MOOOOMMMMMYYYYY!!!

me, stumbling in: hi baby. gooooodmorning!
her: i said "MOMMY!"
me: i know, banana. but mommy's at work.
her: i want mommy.
me: she's at work.
her: but i want mommy. because i need my mommy.
me: i know, babyducks. but she's at work.

her: i want mommy.
me: she's at work. let's have breakfast!

me: ok, well she's not here and i am. or should i leave?
her: nooooooooo. don't leave me!
me: ok then! let's change that diaper!

her: i want mommy.
me: i swear to you, if i could give you mommy right now, i would. i'd give you eight mommies. on steroids and estrogen. but she's at work.

her: i want mommy.
her: i want some gum.

me: she's at wo-- oh. gum? you can't have gum until you have breakfast.
her: GIVE ME SOME GUM. where's mommy?

it's hard to know how to react here. it's very easy to escalate and start yelling, like for real. and also getting incredibly beet-red-in-the-face pissed. but then you're just coming down to the child's level. just when patience is at its thinnest, one neds to find that reservoir of strength you didn't know you had (like that time you lifted a capsized volkswagen off of a nun's crushed legs). one needs to go to what i call your Love Place. you must find within you that secret lakeside resort of calm, loving understanding. you have to at the very least act like a grown-up (hint: does not entail succumbing to all-consuming rage and throwing a fist-full of unused pull-ups down the hall). this secret lakeside resort is very hard to find -- that's why it's a secret. but i have to believe it exists. otherwise the human race would not have survived.

anyway. finally i wrangle her out of her crib through the strategic implementation of an alligator hand puppet and a story about a silly cat who wears red shoes. amazingly, her mood recovers much faster than mine. she's all giggles and daddylove the second her feet hit the ground. i'm wary of this good will. we go to the kitchen to eat. i open the fridge. she points to the peach yogurt. "i want that one," she says. so i say, stupidly, "peach yogurt, coming right up!" her: "I DON'T WANT PEACH YOGURT! I WANT THAT ONE!" of course she's still pointing at the same peach yogurt. only she's crying hysterically now. i hoist her up and let her grab the yogurt she wants. she chooses the blueberry yogurt on the other side of the fridge. naturally. then: "i want a silly purple spoon," she announces settling into her chair ("you have to push me close to the table"). i open the utensil drawer and am confronted with the reality i already knew awaited me: we have no silly purple spoons. i hand her a not-very-silly blue spoon. she starts crying. "I WANT A SILLY PURPLE SPOON!"

i damn near lose it here. i dump all the spoons we have in front of her. "HERE! SPOONS! TAKE ONE! KNOCK YOURSELF OUT!" this is not, i should note, typical behavior from someone who has found the Love Place. shouting about spoons before breakfast is not something that comes from the grown up, loving, secret lakeside resort place in one's heart. so i take a deep breath. i chill. she settles on a spoon. she wants a bowl for her yogurt. i pluck one of her bowls off the shelf. it happens to be blue. she voices her objection. "not that one! NOT THAT ONE! I WANT A PINK BOWL!"

oh, sweet bleeding christ.

i get her a pink bowl. she wants granola sprinkled on top of her yogurt. i sprinkle granola on top of her yogurt. she takes a bite. one bite. one single miserable bite. and says. "all done! i want gum."

me: you can't have gum until you eat some breakfast, you know that.
her, throwing herself on the floor: PLEASE HAVE SOME GUM!?!?!
me: no sweetie, i know you want some but you can't have any. eat your yogurt and we'll talk.
her: i don't WANT yogurt. give me gum.

it's war. it's officially war. she's on her back on the floor, crying and pulling her hair. i am fetishizing the moment when the sitter comes and i can put on my headphones. i should probably read some more books on raising kids, i am now realizing. we once read plenty of books. books about pregnancy, plenty of books about newborns. but now? these dark waters are desperately uncharted.

i try rationalizing with her. ("how can you have gum before breakfast? that's silly!")

i try ignoring her. ("what does npr have to say about the national foreclosure rate? i wonder!")

i go into my room and quickly get dressed while she thrashes on the kitchen floor.

i come back and give her a hug and try to calm her down and whisper sweetness into her ear. she yells at me -- barks orders at me, with pointed finger! -- commands me to fetch her some gum.

i snap.

i plop her into her stroller, perhaps a little too heavily, and tell her she can sit there until she's ready to calm down, talk to me properly and maybe eat some yogurt. and miraculously, after 2 seconds, this works! she cries. every teardrop is a year of my life ripped from my heart. but it works! she agrees to eat some yogurt. she asks to be spoonfed "like a baby," and i happily oblige. she finishes it! she's all smiles and daddylove again! so, finally, i give her a big fat piece of gum.

all settled, right? wrong. this is just one fight. these scenes unfold daily at bedtime, bathtime and naptime too. boundaries are being tested. so is my will to live. in the end i usually get the result i want, or some approximate compromise. problem is, i'm only consistent in that i'm alternately too soft or too hard, depending on my mood. and her mood. sure, i got her to get out of bed and i got her to have some breakfast before gum, but i can't help feeling that i went about it all wrong. i mean, the kid was chewing gum at 8:03 am. sugar-free, but still.

at 9 the blessed sitter arrived and i darted out the door. caught my train. put on my headphones. about two stops into my commute i realized: i missed my daughter. that, and i really needed some coffee

got milk?

cause if you don't, you're going to want it after watching this:

praise the lord that someone is out there funnelling millions of advertising dollars into something that's not actually killing our kids. or getting them doped up on the internets. even if it is making them hit the puberty by, like, second grade.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

speaking of video

hey, yeah, so. i know i've been overdoing it on the video front lately, but, well, there you have it. on that note ... look! flickr has video now. fun. at least i didn't embed it.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

"they're young; they heal fast"

as founder of the tinkering school, gever tulley fully admits to the fact that he puts "power tools in the hands of second graders." he also delivered an excellent talk at the TED conference last year: 5 dangerous things you should let your kid do. what are these five things? i'm so glad you asked:

1. play with fire
2. own a pocket knife

3. throw a spear
4. deconstruct appliances
4.5 break the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (yay! -- ed.)
5. drive a car

"trust me, they're going to learn things that you can't get out of playing with Dora the Explorer toys."

watch and learn:

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

consider me consoled

my bad and i'm sorry: the clip in the last post didn't pan out did it? copyright issues (or should i say copywrong? heh). see, i'm not even a goldfrapp fan, but that leaked (or was it pirated?) video she's made, well, it put a wee smile on my face. and i wanted to share it with you via the magic of blog. and maybe you would have been moved to purchase her album or, better yet, see her in concert. in which case my non-sanctioned video sharing would have netted her rekkid a sale or, better yet, concert ticket purchase. or two. but, no. someone had to pull the plug on the video and spoil everyone's fun.

not so this time. i have been burned and i have learned my lesson! i am a law-abiding nice guy. so allow me to present to you, fellow law-abiding readers, a studio-sanctioned video! i found it five minutes ago, posted by someone named "warner brothers." no one told me to tell you about it. but it happens to be by a little tiny band that i happen to think might just be going somewhere. and i have my fingers crossed for these scrappy dudes. maybe if only, i don't know, they found a more charismatic and talented frontman. heh again.

let us now rise and salute the raconteurs. in a word (or two): bad. ass.

UPDATE! the afforementioned "happiness" video has resurfaced! watch it here. make yourself happy. go go gadget golfrapp:

Thursday, April 03, 2008

take that, feist

happiness is:

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

here come the dino 5

hey, prince paul has a children's album out. it's actually kind of rad!

UPDATE! short version of the DINO-5 theme song, which my kid freakin' loves the shit out of (and frankly, so do i), here:


i happen to have been out of town a few times this year already -- twice for work, once on vacation with my bride. on each of those trips, because i felt guilty for being away and because i missed my child with the intensity of a dead lightbulb (sweet, sweet ipod, it has been lovely to reacquaint with you)--which in turn made me feel guilty for not missing her enough--i would always come home with a big fat present. or six. t-shirts, puppets, coin boxes, dolls, sea shells. this child gets HOOKED THE FUCK UP every time i leave the house for more than 12 hours. sometimes, because the occasional "no strings attached" (except for the strings tied to my very SOUL) freebie crosses my desk at work, i don't even have to be out of the house for more than half that long before returning laden with plush goodies ...

unfortunately, she has figured this out.

every time i get home these days, it goes like this:

daughter: DADDY! i'm so happy to see you!
me, melting: aw, babe. i'm happy to see you too! gimme a hug.
daughter: you have a present for me!
me, solidifying: um. no. not today.
daughter: WHY?

this, as you can imagine, has become something of a problem around here. generally she takes no-present-daddy in good stride. shrugs him off and returns to cramming stuffed animals up her shirt ("you have to be CAREFUL. there's a baby in my tummy." clearly there is a fair amount of processing going on around here.)

other times, the sailing is less smooth. like the other night. at 2 AM. when she woke up shouting "DADDY!" i stumbled into her room. "what's wrong, baby?" she rolls over: "i want a present." i delivered her a present, all right. a sotto voce f-bomb and a promise to introduce her tomorrow to the gypsies who will be her new parents. for some reason she did not thank me. i am mystified.