Tooth decay and lung cancer

I live about two miles from the town center. It’s quaint. You’ve seen a million places just like it. Little mom-n’-pop shops, restaurants, nice places to stroll. In the summer, they have weekend music festivals whereby local musicians play on the sidewalks. They are cleverly spaced apart and around corners so that no one performer interferes with another.

We took The Daughters for a walkabout. We listened to some weepy, sensitive singer-songwriter types and then got some ice cream at the local parlor. In addition to ice cream, they sell “vintage” candy. That’s not to say that the candy is old. It’s the kind of stuff that yuppies use to buy when they were kiddies.

I am happy to report that all of the tobacco products are still represented. Did you ever buy these bubblegum cigarettes? I sure did. If you take one out of the pack and gently blow into it, the powder from the gum will come out of the other end and it’ll look like smoke. It’s genius! If these are intended to be a gateway drug, they worked. I smoked for a few years when I got old enough to buy the real thing.

The “Victory” cigarettes are supposed to be Viceroy, the “Target” are supposed to be Lucky Strikes and “Round Up” is supposed to be Marlboro. I think it’s a hysterical coincidence that there is a company called Target that uses a big red dot in its branding identity.


For the more sophisticated (and male) audience, they have bubblegum cigars. My fav was always El Bubble. The “Pink Owl” is supposed to be White Owl cigars. I’m not sure what the others brands are. (Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?) The bubblegum cigars were always kind of hard and they hurt your jaw if you chew them for too long.


They didn’t want to leave out the red neck contingency so they also have bubble gum chewing tobacco. I never bought a pack. Everyone knows that chewing tobacco isn’t good for you.


These are candy buttons. Solid sugar. After you eat a sheet, you end up with a wad of wet paper in your mouth. But I always ate them, anyway.


Did you know that if you eat these and drink a Coke at the same time, your stomach will explode and you’ll DIE! That’s how Mikey died, poor thing.


My what a big carafe you have

I’m designing a brochure with the usual insidious aim of trying to separate small business owners from their money and as part of that I was conducting a search for some photos to incorporate into the piece. I spend an inordinate amount of my day searching for just the right imagery. Look at this ridiculous photo that was on the LANDING PAGE of a stock photo house!


Is it my overactive imagination or does that wicker wine carafe look like something other than a carafe? And the placement couldn’t be worse (or better). My favorite part of the photo is the look of astonishment on the face of the woman on he right. She’s probably never seen a carafe quite that big. I’m definitely going to try and work this into the brochure.

It’s the little things that haunt you

8-Year Old Daughter has developed a peculiar sleeping habit. When she goes to bed at night, she sleeps on top of her covers. She refuses to get under the sheets. Refuses! I had an epiphany the other day and realize where this behavior was born.

I do housework. Shut up. I just do. Among my other duties, I take care of making and stripping the beds. Daughter’s bed is almost impossible to make. It’s against two walls in the corner of her room and a chest is at the foot, which leaves just one side open. I get into terrible wrestling matches with the mattress trying to get everything tucked in properly. Sometimes I get so angry it’s comical.

It has come to pass that Daughter will not get under her covers because, in her words, “The bed is too hard to make.” Do you see what I did to that poor little thing? She won’t sleep under her sheets because she’s afraid it will displease me. I can’t tell you how bad I feel about this.

This is a small matter as things go, but I wonder what other little time bombs I’ve unwittingly planted inside of her head? I worry about how the world is going to hurt my kids but I forget that they hang on every single word that comes out of my mouth. I don’t want her to inherit my neurosis.

* * *

Front page story from today’s New York Times:

Pakistan’s Elite Pay Few Taxes, Widening Wealth Gap

Call me an old Pinko but that’s exactly what’s been happening here in the U.S. for many generations. Why would they expect Pakistan to be any different? Did you know that in 2009, General Electric made a global profit of $10.8 billion (That’s billion with a “b”.) and paid exactly $0 (that’s ZERO) in taxes?*

* Money magazine April 16, 2010

My beachy weech

This summer’s fluff beach reading includes British comedian/ actor/ drug addict Russell Brand’s autobiography, My Booky Wook.


It’s a terrible title and he admits as much in the forward. I think it’s derived from Cockney slang, but I could be wrong. In the U.S. printing of the book, he helpfully includes loads of footnotes that explain British cultural references for us clueless American readers. It just came out in paperback, which is the only way I roll. It’s a fun read and surprisingly literate. Take a look at this well-constructed paragraph:

My relationship with Topsy quickly grew very intense. Perhaps because she was a problem dog, we had more in common than I’d initially realized. I sometimes cuddled her too hard so that she would yelp. “Here, have some of my painful love,” my febrile embrace would tell her. “It is constrictive and controlling and painful, like all love should be.” In later life, I have come to realize that any expression of love which ends in a yelp probably requires modification.

Isn’t that great?! I think so. And there’s plenty more where that came from. I’m a big fan of his work although I think his remake of Arthur with Helen Mirren and Jennifer Garner is ill-conceived. But it’s a perfect book when your toes are buried in the sand.

* * *
In the past 24 hours, 4-Year Old daughter has:
  • Peeled the wallpaper off the wall while sitting on the toilet (bad) at my mother-in-law’s house (worse).
  • Put a handful of pennies and nickles in her mouth. Gross.
  • Ate sand at the beach. Why? “Because I like it.” WTF!? Who in their right mind would try to consume the Jersey Shore?!

For new readers, this is the same demon who cut our curtains with a pair of scissors last year. What should I do?! 8-Year Old never did stuff like this. Can I put her on medication if she didn’t really need it from a medical standpoint? It’s second child syndrome. I hope.

I had some friends but they’re gone now

We went to Washington D.C. for a surprise birthday party. It was held in a private room in the back of a bar. The place was PACKED. It was a nice moment. I don’t think the birthday girl knew ahead of time. She seemed truly taken aback. I was commenting to someone there about what a great turnout it was and he said that the birthday girl and her husband are two of the most socially active people he’s ever met. It made me sad and a little jealous. I don’t know very many people and I wish I did. The friends I’m closest to are 500 miles away and I only see them every year or two if I’m lucky. A surprise party in my honor would be a bit of a joke.

I wasn’t a high school loser, but I didn’t run with the cool kids. College seems to be the place where most people foster lifelong friendships. Birthday girl belonged to a sorority and is still close to many of her classmates. The Coast Guard kept me on the move for six years, so friendships were fleeting and transitory.

I lost touch with a lot of people when I left Manhattan for New Jersey. Mrs. Wife has taken me on several husband play-dates but I’m a fish out of water out there. Nobody gives a shit about the Andy Warhol exhibit that just opened at the Brooklyn Museum and I’m not interested in how many home runs Alex Rodriguez hit so far this year. They’re nice people but I have no chemistry or common ground with those guys. Most of the plays, museums and walks through Times Square that I enjoy are done alone. It’s probably why I enjoy this blog so much. My fear is that when The Daughters become self-aware, they’ll start to see their dad is a friendless drip.

* * *

Here’s a photo of the Coke machine in the hallway of our hotel:


Isn’t that sweet? A little baby drinking a coke. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it’s probably not a good idea to give a COKE to a BABY. This idea is brought to you by the same idiots who would poison children by giving them chocolate encrusted breadsticks that you dip into chocolate sauce as a dessert after eating a pizza.

DC is cool. Aside from the usual Capitol Building/Washington Monument, I saw the I.R.S., the E.P.A. and a lot of other agencies I read about in the newspaper every day. It’s like spotting celebrities. Nice architecture, too. We went to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. I thought it was kind of boring, to be perfectly honest.


The song lyric in the title is too obscure for anyone, right?