Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ

It’s a good thing we blasted a big hole in the ozone layer, otherwise we wouldn’t have these spectacular out-of-season afternoons. 63 degrees? A day before December? In the northeast? It’s a gift!

We visited the boardwalk in Asbury Park. It got pretty busy as the afternoon progressed, but nothing like in July. 7-Year Old Daughter brought her scooter and I brought my skateboard. We cruised up and down the boardwalk. She yelled at me again about not having a helmet. I’m Mr. Bad Example.



3-Year Old Daughter is still too young for any mode of transport other than her two feet. She demanded equal time so I carried my skateboard.


Did you hear the cops finally busted Madame Marie
for tellin’ fortunes better than they do?

4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)
Bruce Springsteen


Yes, there really was a Madam Marie.

Asbury Park was once the playground of Presidents but this is all that’s left. It’s okay. I like it just fine.


The most melancholy of Danes

hamletI finally saw the Donmar production of Hamlet with Jude Law. Good Lord in heaven, he was fantastic. I always enter into these star vehicles with a certain degree of trepidation and doubt but this guy really delivered the goods. After a few of his more impassioned soliloquies, he was awarded, justifiably, with exit applause. And he projected that stuff all the way up to the balcony where I was sitting.

The rest of the cast was fine, but nobody touched greatness the way Law did. Polonius was exceptionally good but the guy playing the ghost of Hamlet’s father reminded me of Jon Lovitz’s Mahster Thespian. His arms were flailing about and his voice would rise to a too-dramatic crescendo. It was a bit much but it was a small (albeit, important) part of the play.

The fall theater season is past its peak and soon I’ll be back to attending small, black box productions. Seeing a named actor on a Broadway stage is, I’m embarrassed to admit, a big thrill for me. I feel like a bit of a cheap celebrity whore.

Seeing the smaller, more intimate productions with a cast of unknown actors really allows you to cut through the bullshit and tell who is genuinely talented and who needs to keep their day job. I always feel bad for the latter.

Mr. Macy’s parade

I watched the big Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade with the two daughters yesterday morning. I’ve been watching that parade since I was a kid.


Photo taken early morning the day before the parade.

I went to the parade many years ago. Like being in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, it’s something you have to do once in a lifetime. But, take my word for it, once is enough for both. My friend was carrying a brown paper bag that was making a lot of curious clinking sounds. He worked for British Air and inside the bag were small bottles of Harveys Bristol Cream sherry that he had liberated from a flight. I felt guilty drinking in front of all those families and little kids but it was windy and freezing out so I had no choice.

I remember seeing Sammy Davis Jr. on a float wearing a thick white fur coat and waving two bejeweled hands to the crowd. A gust of wind blew the Superman balloon against a streetlamp. His arm tore open and deflated. While his left arm was stretched out in front of him, fingers pointing up, up and away, his right arm fluttered behind him like a limp weeny.

Today’s the Macy’s day parade
the night of the living dead is on its way
with a credit report for duty call.

Green Day

* * *

8-Year Old Daughter brought “Squanto, Friend to the Pilgrims” home from school. It’s the story of how Squanto, a Native American from the Wampanoag nation, taught the newly arrived Pilgrims about agriculture, hunting and basic survival skills. The first Thanksgiving took place in 1621 between the Pilgrims and 90 members of the Wampanoag tribe.

I’ll bet if ole’ Squanto had known that future generations of these European interlopers would decimate the Native American population with an insane scorch and burn land grab, he’d have dropped a few toxic mushroom caps into their salad course.

Vanity, thy name is Unbearable

And on top of all these other really terrible things happening, I got a bad haircut! I look like a prematurely graying plucked chicken. All for $30 + $5 tip.


People who have know me for any length of time know that deep inside I am a vain little girl and that getting a bad haircut is a very serious matter. But the premature gray part doesn’t bother me too terribly much, especially in light of the other current nightmares that have set down at my table and refuse to get up and leave, even though I’ve begged, pleaded, demanded and cajoled them to do so. Actually, I don’t care if my hair turns purple. As long as it doesn’t fall out. *Shudder!*

There’s a saying—a curse, actually—that’s frequently attributed to the Chinese:

May you live in interesting times.

Its authenticity as being Chinese is doubtful, but it’s meant for your enemies, with “interesting” meaning horrible. These have been some of the most interesting days I’ve ever experienced. I pray to Bog Almighty that they end already and that things never, ever get this interesting for me again. Dullness is my new mantra.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. We’re suppose to be thankful for the good things. And I am. But I’d be a lot more thankful if certain things would go the fuck away and leave me and my family alone.

I’m the man in the box
Buried in my shit
Won’t you come and save me?

I’m the dog who gets beat
Shove my nose in shit
Won’t you come and save me?

Man in the Box
Alice in Chains

My iTouch is a living entity

God, I hate exercising. It’s boring, it’s time consuming and, if you’re doing it properly, it hurts like hell. But I’m an old dad. I started a family very late in life. [My friends back in Ohio have kids in college. I have a 3-Year old.] I owe it to The Daughters and to Mrs. Wife to stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible. So I exercise. And, God, I hate it. But I have to do it for their sake.

I went out for a run today. Plugged in my earbuds, put my iTouch on shuffle and it spit out the following:

Keep Yourself Alive by Queen
Lust for Life by Iggy Pop
Father and Daughter by Paul Simon
Cure for Pain by Morphine

Dear Mr. Jobs: This isn’t the first time something like this has happened. Please stop FUCKING with me, man!

* * *

Mapstew did a post congratulating Sesame Street on its 40th anniversary. I was just outside the curve and never benefited from Sesame Street, however, I remember seeing a parody of Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell. It was called Rebel L and it was about the letter “L.” They had an emotionally tormented punk Billy Idol Muppet and used the same camera angles and attitude as the actual video for Rebel Yell. It holds up well and it gave me a laugh.