Saturday, May 31, 2008


As an Official Dingbat Dad, I have spaced off many things large and small in my children's lives - but even a doofus like me has never done this:
Amanda Hoffman of 44 Bertha St. was trying to get Anthony, her 5-day-old baby, and a stroller, on the bus and was pulling the stroller up the stairs of the bus. Unknown to her, the baby fell out of the stroller, hit the blacktop and rolled underneath the bus tire...

The baby's okay. Mom will be giving Jose Reyes tips on how not to get picked off.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

HARVEY KORMAN, 1927-2008

First, the Dentist Sketch. I defy you not to roll on the floor in convulsive laughter. Can't be done.

Now, raise your hand for the pledge:

Rest in peace, Hedy.



We have broken the 22 barrier. I have no idea why it happened this time, but that's 2.7 mpg more than my pre-hypermiling days, and at 20 gallons a tank that's another 54 miles I can coax out of the same tank of gas, or around ten bucks' worth of gas every tankful at the current local price of ~$4.10 a gallon.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Note to my neighbors and any passers-by: it was not our intent to have our son display his splendid progress in potty-training so publicly.

UPDATE: many thanks to the reader who offers that her son pees "behind the woodpile, like a cat". Thanks for sharing!

Monday, May 26, 2008


21.2 and 21.6 for the last couple tankfuls. 22 is proving elusive, but I have been less than religious in following the recommendations, viz.:
- Don't leave a bunch of junk in the car. Extra weight means lower gas mileage.
- Anticipate things. That green light you see a half-mile off will probably turn red by the time you get there. Start coasting now and not only will you miss the red light, it might turn green just as you reach it. That sky-blue Buick with the tissue box in the knitted cozy on the back dash isn't going to be opening up the throttle any time soon. Lock the cruise control on 45, turn off your mind, relax and float downstream. And so forth...

Watch this space for other ideas. They won't be terribly original or groundbreaking, but at 4 bucks a gallon, if you can goose your gas mileage by 3mpg on a 20-gallon tank, you just coaxed an extra 60 miles out of a tankful and for a ~20mpg car like mine that's twelve bucks.


The lost boy was found and in good condition after spending 24 hours alone in the Sullivan County woods.
Back when I first met my future wife, she took me along on a family trip down to the beach at Narragansett, and her five-year-old nephew walked away from us while everybody was busy packing our things to go. Freakout from all and sundry, with the exception of yours truly who put on his serene face and calmly scanned the water's edge. Oh, there he is. Yay, I'm a hero - extra clam fritters for me!

The standard advice when finding a lost item is to remain serene, but a child isn't a set of car keys and summoning the inner Mariano Rivera is a whole lot tougher when it's your own kid. It didn't help the anxiety any that the kid who went walkabout shares a name with our very own Beast, and that we were headed to a cookout in Westchester yesterday. Where there was a pond in the back yard. Just a small ornamental pond, but still. Set our heads on perma-swivel, just in case. All is well.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


My oh my my oh my. The new Al Green looks like it'll be tremendous:

Comes out Tuesday the 27th.


So today yours truly was attacking the massive pile of mulch I created last month, spreading it about on some of the recently-cleared stretches of low-lying ground, that smoke?

Turned out it wasn't, or whatever it was stopped doing whatever it was that made whatever it is look like smoke - but apparently, large mulch piles can indeed catch fire...

The wood chips that comprise mulch break down anabolically, much the way compost does, said Jim Taylor, owner of Taylor Recycling in Montgomery, who learned the hard way that mulch can be a menace in big piles. Though the pile sizes at his place conformed to state fire codes, he said, the codes were outdated and didn't allow for what could happen to fine-grind mulch. He estimated that of the eight or so fire calls he had to make – along what he called a painful learning curve – half of them were the results of spontaneous combustion.

Awesome! Continuing...
Hosing down a big pile of mulch might actually increase chances of combustion, he said, since water increases the anabolic breakdown.
And that's great, too! I think the writer meant to use anaerobic (as in this piece), but still. That large mulch pile is now a much smaller, non-critical-mass mulch pile.

Friday, May 23, 2008


This idea of mine is somewhere in the queue over at Parent Hacks, but it seems wise to share it now since we're officially rolling into summer, a/k/a Sticky Soda Can Season.

Pet peeve: you set out your bin of recyclables religiously every (in our case) Tuesday, recycle everything right down to the bottle caps, and inevitably there's one or two bits of plastic detritus stuck to the schmutz that accumulates at the bottom of the bin. Eeyeewwwwww.

Solution: set up an itty-bitty mini recycling bin for the kids. A small bucket is perfect. We use an old lobster-scraps bucket from the Barking Crab in Boston. The kids pitch the bottle caps and the other small items into that bucket while the rest of the items accumulate in the regular recycling bin. Come recycling day you dump the contents of the smaller bucket on top of what's in the regular recycling bin, and they're much less likely to stick to the bottom, on account of they're on top and stuff.

If you want to be persnickety about it you can dump the smaller bucket into one of the larger recyclable items, e.g. a coffee can or a plastic salad box.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


It may be the first piece in the history of Rolling Stone magazine that wasn't a snide slap at the guys. Mike Rutherford:

The thought was [that] maybe, since the Lamb is about a young Puerto Rican kid and Peter is an old English man, it would be harder to portray him.
Well, yes, there is that.

(pleaseohpleaseohpleaseohpuhLEEEZE do a tour with Pete and Steve...)


UPDATE: Pete says maybe one day it'll happen.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


We've been cross-eyed and loopy from the weekend, and needed a couple days to go -foomp- on the couch. Yeah, good luck with that.

Noodle again broke (okay, bent) her new glasses, so no TV for her yesterday and instead she went through a whole bottle of Elmer's while I was busy putting together the afternoon news. Tuesday was school-budget voting day in New York, so I had to keep an eye on the five dozen or so relevant yesses and nos and go vote in my own district.

Not that I want to inject politics here (I'll go put another blog together for that, thanks), but be aware, O childless ones, that when you become a parent, half of you turns into a bug-eyed foaming right-winger and the other half becomes a simpering leftist ninny. Tuesday was the day wherein I indulged my inner Kucinich. Pass the budget? Yes. And the new wheelchair van? Definitely. Padma Lakshmi as the lunch lady? No? DON'T YOU CARE ABOUT THE CHILDREN???

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Groveling is called for at this juncture. Anointing of feet as well.

Not that she asked beforehand, but the Nana went ahead and bought four tickets for a bus trip to see "Mary Poppins" on Broadway today - for herself, Noodle, Noodle's cousin, and my saintly sweet splendid sexy spouse. The sort of thing where there was no delicate way of backing out even though it gobbles an entire Sunday. Stuck on a bus for three hours down and three hours back, Her Awesomeness deftly battled the Nana's eccentricities while simultaneously entertaining the girls in all their squealiness.

I owe her bigtime.

Me and the Beast stayed home and had a splendid time doing Man Stuff, complete with lots of dangling-the-boy-upside-down-while-roaring behavior. We toured various area playgrounds, looked at lots of tractors, drew menacing stares from the geese who thought we had designs on their goslings, and saved a turtle that had strolled onto West Kerleys Corners Road without an appreciation for the hazards involved. There was even an Uneventful Nap, that rarest of phenomena.

It hardly mattered that there were simultaneous Noodle-n-Beast meltdowns when the ladies returned home. We're just glad it's all over with, at least until next month when I try to wheedle the wife into allowing that big trip to the Stadium.

Saturday, May 17, 2008



This is what happens when I swap cars with the wife and she gets the usual Route 9 treatment, plus those doctors' appointments in Poughkeepsie meant another session with the lights. Thanks again, DOT. Heckuva job timing...






...lights. Hold on, there's an old lady bought a ball of yarn at AC Moore and is on her way home. Let's stop 50 cars at this light so she can turn left out of the store parking lot.

Friday, May 16, 2008


We did get through all of Thursday's appointments without too much hassle - but the Noodle meltdown came afterwards when we got home. Too much going on in one day, plus she's excited her cousin Lily is coming over for a Saturday sleepover and on Sunday all the girls are going to the city for a Mary Poppins show. Much high-pitched girly squealage will ensue.

Thus, Sunday is Man Time for me and Beast!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Here's a look at the addenda to the usual Boogerland work-n-family schedule for tomorrow:

1:10 - Mets game. Praise be, the headcase Oliver Perez isn't starting so this should end at a reasonable time.
2:00-2:30 - pick up Beast and Noodle at school, but not too late because they're napping.
3:30 - Noodle eye doctor appointment. Hand Beast off to Her Awesomeness.
4:10 - Yankee game begins, and hopefully the Mets are done by then so I can put that in the WPDH afternoon news, with Noodle in tow at the radio station.
4:45 - Beast allergist appointment.
5:?? - Rendezvous with wife and Beast; attempt civilized restaurant dinner.

This'll work without a hitch. I'm so sure of it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


To recap:

I got started on this quest last week upon reading a wire-service story that drinks prices on Metro North were going up as of May 1, and that a glass...okay, plastic cup...of the house wine is now going to run a thirsty commuter $5.50. Who knew that our venerable commuter railroad has a house wine? My search for a Metro-North drinks cart on Saturday was fruitless. I was rushing to make the 7 train to Shea beforehand, and rushing to make the 5:26 back to Poughkeepsie afterwards plus grabbing some last-minute Mother's Day trinkets. I didn't look that hard, but I didn't see any cart; maybe they're not there on Saturdays.

Saving my bacon is (irony abounds) Sobriety Girl, who tells me with authority, via the purveyor of said libations at Grand Central a/k/a "the dude at the cart," that Metro North's house wine is Glen Ellen - seed-free since 1998!

And now you know. Onward to Amtrak...

Monday, May 12, 2008


Down a hair to 21.7, but that's with about a quarter of the tank used on the Thruway with Her Awesomeness driving juuuust a bit too fast. I should be able to break the 22 mark soon if I'm careful.


Stupid choice by yours truly. Thought I'd be doing the Nana and Her Awesomeness a favor by taking them out for Mother's Day to a restaurant that they found favor with in previous visits. I won't throw them under the bus here, since they've been an excellent establishment otherwise. (I will tell you that they're not one of the places linked here under Food and Drink.)


The Mother's Day buffet is a HUGE restaurant cop-out. It's supposed to be about pampering mom, not making her stand in a cattle line waiting for mass-produced steam-table food. Lame, lame, lame. $19.95 a head worth of lame in this case, and even I can't eat twenty bucks' worth of steam-table bacon and eggs with pasta salad. The Nana actually wanted to go to Noodle's favorite diner in Elizaville, but overthinking things I idiotically insisted on bringing everybody to the "nice" place for brunch. My wife and I also learned yesterday that brunch is not a concept that resonates with the little ones. They're not hungry enough for lunch, and delaying breakfast is decidedly not an option.

Lessons learned.

Friday, May 9, 2008


They got booked for a thingy with Mémère and Pépère on Saturday, so it's me catching up with some old college friends down at Shea for the Mets and my beloved last-place Reds, and doing Mother's Day with the Nana and Her Awesomeness on Sunday. There was an outside chance the kids were going to come along to the game, but then Her Awesomeness had to go and see this, from that Mets game in LA the other day:

And now she's nervous about next month's Yankees-Reds tilt at the Stadium, because my seats are right on the railing over the right-field corner. She's concerned that Abreu might not have the range to catch a kid if one of them goes over.

Since they're building Citi Field in the Shea parking lot, I'm taking trains to the game - and that'll give me a chance to report back to you on what the house wine is for Metro North. $5.50 a cup now, that much I know.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


We're up to 21.9 mpg on the latest tankful, and that's with me running late for work a couple mornings and Her Awesomeness getting a bit stompy with the gas today on our way to Albany (which went wonderfully, 'nuff said).


Before hypermiling: 19.5 mpg
Tank 1: 21.0 mpg
Tank 2: 21.8 mpg
Tank 3 (today): 21.9 mpg

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


Noodle's biannual kidney checkup is tomorrow in Albany, and we would really love to hear the nephrologist say "Nope, you don't have to come back up here any more" and send us on our merry way.

We'll see.


While rooting around in the newsroom just now I found an ancient cassette tape...from 40 years ago this week. It's yours truly, age 3, teaching my kid sister how to say the alphabet. I don't know if Blogger embeds audio as nicely as it does video, but I have GOT to take a whack at this.


Noodle got besnarled in her bedsheets and needed Daddy to come untangle, re-boot the tuck-in process, and give a hug and kiss. Oh...okay.

"I love you, Daddy"

Aww, I'm melting. My knees are weak from the adorableness. My writing has turned to mush, my...GOD I'M SUPPOSED TO BE ON THE AIR IN A HALF HOUR. Cue "Yakety Sax" and watch me zoom off to Poughkeepsie.

So much for hypermiling this morning. We'll see in a few days what kind of effect my big-ben-this-here's-rubber-duck-and-I'm-about-to-put-the-hammer-down behavior had on the gas mileage.

Today's Nemesis Factor: 2.


1) Lie down on bed, on your back.
2) The children will try to crawl onto your tummy, possibly with one trying to make a sandwich of the other one.
3) Grab both children in a hug and commence rolling back and forth on the bed while alternately roaring and giggling.
4) Continue for ten minutes.

They love it, but man! my shoulders and biceps are wondering why the heck I've been hoisting 80 pounds of squirming toddler in such a peculiar way.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


We were hoping to transition the little guy from his crib straight to a big-boy bed, just like we did with Noodle - but later this year, when we could better afford a new mattress. Alas, the crib rail gave way today and there's no way we're dealing with the idiots at Delta Crib any more. The suck, they are. Nice solid wooden crib...crappy plastic parts holding it together. We had complained to them earlier that one of their crib rail guides had fallen apart on us, they first said they could only send us a replacement for ten bucks or some ridiculous amount of money for a six-inch piece of plastic. Then, when we mentioned the magic words "Consumer Product Safety Commission", they got a part right out to us.

It was the wrong part.

We grumbled and locked the crib rail in the highest possible position until such time as we could afford the new mattress, and that worked fine until this morning. Off I go to Kingston to find a new toddler bed. Let's see, there's a crappy plastic Dora bed, a crappy plastic Cars bed, and waaaay in the back a plain white old-school tubular steel bed for 15 bucks cheaper than anything else.

Done. The assembly was fairly sane, and Beast is loving his new bed, plus there's a lot more floor space in his room. So fark, so good. He may decide wander off into the kitchen for a beer at 1 in the morning, but we'll handle that contingency as it comes.

In the meantime, I've hidden the opener. It's someplace where I won't be able to find it when I could really use a beer. (IT'S UNDERNEATH YOUR OLD GLASSES, MORON. There. That should do nicely.)

Saturday, May 3, 2008


The kids, they have this annoying habit of growing all the time. And since they can't work in the mines any more...(homer) stupid child labor laws (/homer) falls to Her Awesomeness and I to keep them clothed, and fed, and even housed. Until they're, like, eighteen. Can you believe it? I thought it was going to be okay to turn Noodle out of the house when she turned four and let her forage for grubs or whatever, but apparently that's also frowned upon. Sigh.

Me, I'm the one genius in my family who decided to forgo the teacher's life in favor of the thrilling world of small-town radio. Tenure? summers off? benefits? Regular raises? No dumb phone calls at 2 in the morning? Feh.

The usual radio nomad's life of pulling up roots every two years to move hither and yon, that was not for me when I was younger, and it sure as heck isn't for me now. So the chance of Stern-level money landing in my lap is about the same as that for the Reds winning the World Series this year and every year until 2023. And yet the children insist on having pants when they leave for school in the morning, the little ingrates. Something's gotta give.

Bottom line: I'm beating the bushes for additional giggery and I'm turning first to voice-over work since I've come this far running my yap for a living, and voice work is something I can do sitting on my tuches here in the kitchen. I started on this new path earlier today by spending the entire day in beautiful downtown Schenectady, hobnobbing with people whose mighty pipes could shatter granite from 20 miles off. Repeatedly I opened my mouth to introduce myself and out came this feeble mewl that make the guy from Scritti Politti sound like Barry White.

Y'know, this guy:

More to come soon on this thrilling leap forward mildly exciting venture probable catastrophe...

Friday, May 2, 2008


Before hypermiling: 19.5 mpg
Tank 1: 21.0 mpg
Tank 2 (today): 21.8 mpg

Looking good so far; I will share my techniques when I have a bit more time, but right now it's time to take Beast to the dermatologist. Cheers!


That couple weeks of dry weather in April had lulled me into thinking I could get away with not mowing my lawn for just

And then this week's three inches of rain met up with the fertilizer I'd put on the lawn right before the mini-drought began. Voom, as the headline says. From brown to tropical before my eyes. I've got dandelions that look like Land of the Lost props. And now it's raining some more, and Beast is having the dermatologist look at his eczema, and the rest of work beckons, the weekend's booked solid, and...well, the plate's full.

The next post will bring you the latest results of the Great Boogerville Hypermiling Experiment. Watch this space later today!