Here’s a gaggle of thoughts rattling around inside my head. Instead of using a straight line to separate each subject, I’m using pics from Moveable Type, a sound and vision permanent installation in the lobby of The New York Times building. Two walls of digital screens pars the Times archive and randomly display sentences.

Moveable Typescreen5If mobile phones detonated every time someone sent a text while driving, NOBODY IN NEW JERSEY WOULD HAVE HANDS. Glove sales would plummet.

screen9One-stop shopping, New York City-style. Hell, yeah!



Recently, an acquaintance told her boss she had an appointment and would be a few hours late for work. He assumed it was related to the new baby, but it wasn’t. She attended a Fashion Week event in Midtown. Her boss saw the selfie she posted to Facebook and promptly fired her. Social media fail.

Either keep that shit off Facebook or DON’T FRIEND YOUR BOSS


The dog and I don’t like each other very much. To me, dogs are needy, dirty and expensive to maintain. They’re like having a bad boyfriend/ girlfriend. Plus, they’re mentally dull. They eat poop.

But last Saturday morning I walked downstairs and saw Coco curled up on the sofa. She looked all fluffy and sweet. I got a warm pang in my chest that felt like genuine affection. I approached to give her a scratch and make friends. Here’s how I was greeted:


My Bride was a little tired so Daughter and I volunteered to do the weekly grocery shopping. Can someone tell me what the hell this is?


Is there a big demand in the New Jersey suburbs for this? It could be scrumptious for all I know but I won’t eat it because it’s got the word “dick” in it. To each his (or her) own.


Daughter-the-Eldest is attending her first boy/girl party at her friend’s house tomorrow night. I am almost catatonic with anxiety. All I can think about are the many suburban bacchanals I attended. I know what goes on in those wood-paneled basements. My two sisters have successfully talked me down off a window ledge. Told me to trust her. It has helped but that doesn’t change the fact that men are scum. I’m still praying that both daughters are GAY.


I work with a hypochondriac. By all appearances she seems fine, but every conversation revolves around what’s currently ailing her. What aches. What’s robbing her of her sleep. Why she needs to leave early to see another doctor. It’s endless.

Our company nurtures its employees. To that end, she’s convinced them to install a “standing” desk (at a cost to the firm of $500). The keyboard and monitor are on a platform that can be raised and lowered, allowing her to stand and work. But oftentimes, after standing for a spell, she’ll sit down but not lower the platform because she’s LAZY. It results in this:


Well, that can’t be good for her perpetually achy back.


I saw this at the local fall festival. It’s exactly what my quiet, lily white, middle class New Jersey hamlet needs: a military grade, armor plated attack vehicle with a cannon-mount turret.

policeYou never know. ISIS might be paddling up the Passaic River as I type this. Thank you, Department of Defense overstock program! Feeding the egos of pencil-pushing weekend warriors and chubby suburban cops since Operation Desert Storm.



78 thoughts on “Potpourri!

  1. This was the blogger equivalent of stand-up.
    Given your Fashion Week faux-pas comment, wouldn’t it be ironic if your co-worker saw this post?
    I find that standing up every now and then to get a mint from the mint bowl does wonders for my back. Not so much for my blood sugar, though.

    • I’m here all decade. Don’t forget to tip your Blogger.

      I’ve had a fairly strict policy over the years of never blogging about work but this was too juicy to pass up.

      If you kept the mint bowl at arm’s length you wouldn’t have to stand up. Just a thought.

  2. I’ve often been tempted to call in sick the day after a concert, but I kept going to them with my boss at the time.
    He already knew I’d be hung-over the next day.
    (Hell, a few times he had to put me in a cab after a show.)
    (That’s a good boss.)

  3. Design question:
    Shouldn’t the “Harvey Pekar” sign be up there with the Spotted Dick?

    And my boss reads my blog, so I am very careful — especially in responding to comments. I can’t figure out how to stop the time stamp from telling all …

      • My family knows but doesn’t read … Except for the one I want to bitch about most — my vegan vegetarian bird-loving-PETA member sister-in-law. Thanksgiving is coming up and it’s always at my house ..Oh, aren’t you accessing your blog now????????

  4. I love that installation!

    Don’t friend your boss or ANYONE from work is my rule. And, if I friend former coworkers, I may limit what they see (re: job complaints).

  5. So many good little tidbits here. Cool post. So true about television (and movies) and female victims. And yeah, you might want to work on your canine relationship. She really doesn’t seem to be a fan of yours. 🙂

    • Thank you, Carrie! Not one of these would have made a proper post but all smashed together they = 1. Kind of like the medly at the end of “Abby Road.”

      I think the dog and I are doomed to be rivals. I think it’s all about my daughters.

  6. Your co worker will be out on medical leave needing some kind of surgery if she continues to work in that position.
    I think Jersey is the only place that carries Dick in a can-never seen it here; please send me a can?

  7. I’m a dog lover Mark but I detest poodles – yappy litle F**kers. They have a bad atitude. I’m a big dog guy – retreviers, german shepherds, etc. It seems your poodle and you have the same opinion of each other.

    Neat post, lots of stuff to look at and think about. i enjoyed it. Love your colleague with the mile high screens. ha! Silly. And the police armed attack vehicle. You need to find out what they cost to rent and park one in the driveway when your girls’ boyfriends come to pick them up. ha!

    Neat screen installation – that has some interesting possibilities.

    Cool Post Mark. I had a good time reading it.

    • That dog is a cockapoo–half cocker spaniel, half poodle. We thought we’d dodge the poodle attitude by messing with it gene pool but we got too much poo and not enough cocka. We were fixated on getting a dog that wouldn’t shed. My sister has a big, black lab. Most beautiful gentle dog you’ll ever meet. The daughters sit on her like she’s a sofa and she doesn’t seem to mind. Buyer regret? You bet.

  8. You do know the Times is ripping off William S. Burroughs cut-up method? he specifically used it to alter text because he felt large publications like the NYT were controlling us, along with many other forces as well, industry, capitalism, marketing, he was also way ahead of the game stating that any corporation that strives to make the Earth uninhabitable needs to go… and why anyone would friend their fucking boss is beyond me, first off i have a healthy disdain for authority so boss automatically = not a friend… and anyone dumb enough to cut work then post pictures where people you work with can see them especially your boss should be fired for stupidity if nothing else… hell i used to do blow off my desk at the Big World Bank Machine but i didn’t advertise…

    • It did not come to mind but I know about Burroughs’ cut-ups and now that you mention it, yeah, it seems like a borrowed idea. It’s kind of amusing. You see a lot of phrases pop up that, taken out of content of the story, can be pretty funny.

      Pal, I’m not even on Facebook. I have no use for it, although if I thought I could increase my audience here I’d sign up. I know how that sounds so please don’t judge. We all have something to be embarrassed about. Some people watch reality TV. Some are addicted to social media. I want a big audience. So sue me.

  9. Your tidbit post is going over very well. Nicely done, Mark.

    Hey, at least that Spotted Dick is microwaveable. You can get it hot without all the cumbersome preliminaries.

    Your co-worker’s neck is going to get stuck in that position one of these days. You just know it is. Will you be the one to walk up behind her and quick-whack the top of her head to make it right?

    • Thanks, Mark. It was just as difficult to write as a full-blown post. Same effort, different result.

      I showed that pic to someone and he actually asked me if that meant the can was microwaveable. For real. I told him yes, it is. That most cans are and that he should try when he got home.

  10. Spotted Dick is a famous English dessert. I think it’s a sponge pudding with raisins. There are no dicks in it and you’re supposed to eat it with custard. Have you ever heard of a real dick being eaten with custard?

    I like your dog even less than you do. I suggest you go to a cat café for therapy.

    • THANK YOU! Jesus. Why do they call it that? Why don’t the call it…oh, I don’t know…how about sponge pudding with raisins? That works for me. I’m glad to hear there are no dicks in it.

      That dog has bit me more than once. I seriously doubt your hatred is as deep as mine. Love the cat cafe idea but I have to go all the way to Koyot to visit it!

      • Spotted Dick! We lived on that as children! It’s not a sponge exactly, it’s a sweet suet pudding which is boiled in a cloth and comes out like a large fat roll a bit like a white, freckled overweight Swiss roll (if you have those).

        Did you like the art work? I really enjoyed it and I think it wors very well for you to punctuate your own blog entry with samples of them.

      • I love that instillation. It’s got an audio feature as well. The corridor is lined with small Bose speakers and fun sounds come out of it. You can really get lost reading what pops up. There’s a sequence to it. It’s not just random sentences. One sequence will be all questions. One will be geographical references. One will include names, etc. It’s really smart.

  11. You know what they serve at those boy-girl parties in those wood-paneled basements?

    Spotted dick!

    I kid.

    This WAS like blogging stand up.

    Why is your dog so mean? Has she had a hard life? She looks pretty pampered to me.

    • You are friggin’ hilarious. I’m a wreck over the party. I was still watching Scooby Doo cartoons when I was 13. What gives?!

      That dog has been worshiped her whole stupid life by two little girls who adore her. But I swear…if she ever growls or snaps at either one of them like she does me, I’m going to ISIS her ass and mount her head on a stake as a warning to the next one.

      • Hmm. At 13 I was jumping on the ferry from Staten Island into manhattan so I could wander around the village and listen to the drug dealers hiss, “loose joints! Loose joints!” in Washington Square Park.

        By the way, I had an ex boyfriend who, when his beloved dog died, had its head stuffed and mounted on a plaque. It hung in his living room and was super creepy.

        I just remembered that right now, because of what you said. I should write about that.

      • Do you think it’s true that kids grow up quicker in NYC? Boy, I sure do. I couldn’t picture raising my daughter on Clinton/Ave B, which is why I got the hell out of Dodge and am now in NJ. Duller but safer. Not safe. Safer.

        Ole’ Roy Rogers stuffed Trigger–the whole horse!–and put him in the living room. I suppose a stuffed dog head is in the same league as that. Yeah, that needs an explanation. Please post.

  12. Love this post, Mark. Whoa on that fluffy, little dog of yours! What?! My kitty greets me with purrs and rubs, and a paw massage. Oh yeah! It’s time for you to pick up Zylan. The pudding, I wouldn’t touch that. Everything about it is just wrong. That would make a great gag gift and the only reason to buy it.

    • Thanks, Amy. I has two Siamese cats for about 15 years. When I walked in the door, they’d curl themselves around my legs. I’d sit on the sofa they’d both hop up, fight for lap real estate and purr contentedly. Now look at the mess I’m in.

  13. Well, late to the party again.Mr Bananas has sorted out the spotted dick problem.Even knowing what it is, I never eat it.
    And when I was 13 I went to my first (official) teenage party.Friends had just won a stack of skating trophies and their parents put on a party. We were not exactly chaperoned (parents were in the kitchen, getting grown-up drunk) but it was all innocent fun.We drank champagne from the big gold cup.Jesus! Don’t ever do that! Champagne deserves to be sipped from a crystal flute. If I was making a point (was I?) it’s that your daughters probably deserve more credit. They have fabulous parents so stop with the angst!

    • So you’re familiar with spotted dick but have never tried it? Is that correct? Do you know what it tastes like?

      My daughters absolutely deserve more credit. My sisters both, on separate phone calls, read me the riot act about over-reacting. They said the sure way to make it all go wrong is to try and over-control them. I’ve calmed down a bit but am still anxious about the whole getting-older thing. I don’t think I like it. 13-year old is becoming a bit crabby. I hope that’s normal.

  14. Mark,
    You do realize that it is only when, not if, till the dog does something you don’t like with one or both of your daughters and you can remove her from your lives……hopefully no harm comes to the girls!
    Thought this was a terrific post, full of stand up, laughed the whole time, except when I was feeling sorry for you about that *&(^%$ dog. That dog has GOT to go! So many better pets for your daughters!
    For what it is worth, you gotta let the girls be themselves. You probably don’t really want them to be lesbians….a whole different set of problems (not that there is anything wrong with being a lesbian). You just want them self-aware enough to know what the difference is between a good guy to be friends with and a bad guy to run away from or blow a loud whistle. Bet they know already what to do…..
    Good luck!

    • Hi Richard. I think my daughters would get rid of me before we got rid of the dog but you’re right. One incident with either kid and that dog is out the door. She’s completely different around them than she is with me but that doesn’t mean that nothing will ever happen. The dog actually snapped at me during a family gathering. The room was full of in-laws and they all saw it. It was very, very embarrassing. But my hands are tied. The kids would be scarred for life if I took their beloved dog away from them, especially at this age.

      One of my best friends–someone I’ve know for over 20 years–is a lesbian and she has assured me that women are no kinder than men. She said that women can, in fact, be quite vicious to each other. Since locking my daughter in the basement until they’re 32 is out of the question (it IS out of the question, right?) I’ll just have to man-up and suffer the slings and arrows that all fathers do. Suddenly it’s looking like having a son would have been a good idea. Too late for that.

      • Too late for that, Mark! Bide your time on the dog…..first growl at the girls, stupid dog is toast…..just be sure to document, lol………..

  15. SPOTTED DICK! It’s what all us proper Brits are brought up on. Treat yourself and serve it with warm custard. Let me tell you now, it’s way better than what you’re imagining and what your daughter might see at her future parties 😉

    PS: That dog hates you.

    • Couldn’t they call it something else? “Yummy with Warm Custard” would be a helpful name. Surely that slang is the same over there as it is here? I’m a big Anglophile but I have to draw the line somewhere.

      P.S. I hate the dog right back. In many multiples.

    • Yes, it’s lovely. But never, ever, EVER, out of a can and microwaved. That’s an abonination and nothing to do with one of the finest of English puddings.

      • What is its delivery vehicle if not a can? You Brits and your puddings. I still don’t know what figgy pudding is. I should Google it.

        [Ha! I just did for the fun of it and listed under “People Also Searched for” was Heinz Spotted Dick! It’s come full circle.

  16. Maybe it’s just his way of saying ‘Hi!’ – your dog I mean.
    Spotted Dick is a greyish, doughy mess with currants in. I was never tempted.
    Your workmate sounds fun:)

    • She lied. She made it look like she needed to take care of some personal business but she just wanted to eff-off for the morning. If she had just asked for the morning off and told him why, he probably would have given it to her. Ironically.

  17. You got a protective, small, yappy dog… they’re not all like that. She also knows you don’t like her – they can smell that on you. When i saw you had written “Coco” i first read it as “Cujo”. Probably more accurate…

    Spotted dick is usually served with cream. When the kids were in their early teens, we went to Cornwall and Devon in Britain, and it was on the menu. We giggled ourselves silly over that…

    • Try as I might I cannot hide my true feelings towards that dog. She’s not stupid. She knows. I was hoping we could find a separate peace but it doesn’t seem likely. Maybe when she’s older. She only two and a half. Geeze…she got a long way to go until she’s in the grave.

      You giggled yourself silly…but you didn’t actually order it, did you? I rest my case.

    • It’s only served with cream in the southwest, because they live on cream down there. Elsewhere, it’s custard. I think the yellow-on-white combination (when you use custard) is more aesthetically appealing than the white-on-white of the version with cream.

  18. Duuuuude…. what did you do to that dog? Otherwise, this post was pure reading and viewing pleasure. Even the Spotted Dick.

    What’s with the four words at the end though????

  19. I might need to do myself one of them there potpourri posts soon, like you, I seem to have lots of little snippets of things, none of which seem to be enough for a whole post.

    What are you saying? You guys over there don’t like to eat dick? Weird. As others have said, spotted dick is a traditional pudding over here, but it’s not so popular anymore, it’s very heavy, it’s not something I would generally have. We used to get it sometimes in our school dinners, but since then I’ve probably only had it once or twice.

    On facebook, when you post a photo or a status of some kind, you can block certain people from being able to see it – if she wasn’t smart enough to block her boss from seeing that photo then, well, I won’t say she deserved it because I think firing is a bit harsh if this was a one-off, but you know, she deserved her boss getting cross anyway!

    At least you’re letting your daughter actually go to the boy/girl event – the more cool you are about things (or at least appear to be on the surface!), the less likely they are to rebel and do “forbidden” things, right? RIGHT?! That’s the parenting method I mainly adopt.

    • I may have mentioned this before but I stole the idea from The Beatles. At the end of Abby Road, they threw a bunch of song fragments together and presto! Instant classic! It’ll work for you, too.

      I think there are some people over here who eat dick (I know a few who do for sure) but I’ve never had the pleasure.

      I give my daughter major props for TELLING us that boys would be there. We would never had known otherwise. It went well. No damage to her integrity or chastity.

      • I’ve done a potpourri post once before, I did it in the format of interviewing myself, asking myself apparently random questions to draw out the things I wanted to post about! I hope that doesn’t sound weird…it’s what the voices in my head told me to do.

      • I like to do one post a week, but lately it’s been more one a fortnight – having said that, I also have my cooking blog and I’ve been doing a lot more on that lately, so I feel like I’ve been blogging a lot, but of course most of my main blog followers don’t see that! I do want to get back to one a week on the main one though, I think that’s a minimum really for an active blog. And thank you for the compliment, but I don’t agree that I write gooder than you!

  20. Maybe you should send the dog to the party with the girls. I’m sure that cute pup will gobble up any dick [spotted or otherwise] and keep them out of harms way.

    • That pup is not cute. Or was that one of your witty barbs? You might have a point. I’m the only man in the house. Maybe the dog has a problem with male figures. She’s welcome to attack any dick that gets near the daughter.

  21. I loved this post, it was a bit like reading ‘Howl’ for the first time, but with pictures. The installation looks great too, one day I will see it for myself.

    I have a friend who has a 16 year old daughter, she has her first ‘serious’ boyfriend and it’s driving pa crackers, but he’s doing his best not to stifle her. I’m not sure sons are any easier, I lived in dread of mine getting beaten up once he started going out in the evenings, so many stories about the death rate of boys between the ages of 17 and 24 at the hands of others in the same bracket.

    I also have two friends (really relatives of the Mr.) who have cockapoos, and they are adorable. You must have seriously offended Coco.

    • That is high praise. Typically, I am not good at taking compliments but I’m trying to change my ways so instead of making some self-effacing wisecrack, I will say thank you.

      I always thought it was best to have daughters. Young boys, around the ages of 0-6, were too wild and rambunctious for me. I can now see how I might need to rethink that policy. I think feeling protective about a daughter is a lot different than feeling protective about a son. Correct me if I’m mistaken.

      Will your friend take Coco and give us one of their cockapoos in return? Maybe a change of scenery will calm her down.

      • I’ve never had daughters so I don’t know what it feels like. But seeing how it’s affected men i know over the years I think it must be quite different. Maybe there is still an underlying feeling that girls are more vulnerable than boys.

        Coco looks very similar to Poppy, If you were closer I’d try and effect a surreptitious swap.

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