Monday, April 28, 2008

Busy Weekend

We had a little family trip over the weekend to Virginia. My niece is in the fashion program at Marymount University and we went to the annual fashion show on Saturday. She had a lot of extended family down there, enough for 4 rooms at the hotel.

Both boys invited their girlfriends which was a first. The girls stayed in my mother-in-laws room for the overnight portion. A good time was had by all but the pictures of the fashion show didn't quite turn out.

Oh and we ate out.

I spent last night watching Carrier on PBS. Yeah, I know it's one long commercial for the Navy but so was Topgun. Having spent some time on Carriers (Saratoga 79-80 & Midway 80-81) this is subject I am familiar with. It looked like they had excellent access to the whole ship and the whole experience hasn't changed much on the 20 something years since I was last on one except of course for the addition of Women.

There were no women on carriers when I was in. I'm just thinking that has to be a distraction.

Some the best quotes "For someone that has never been in prison, this the closest thing to it"

I was cruising their website tonight and found this which describes a man over board drill complete with a description of "oscar" the man overboard dummy I saw when I turned an aircraft carrier around.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

We talked about this.

I have an idea for a new self help book. The pitch for the book would go something like this:

Have you ever found yourself in a discussion with your spouse or a co-worker and to reinforce their point they spring a "We talked about this" on you? For example, you might ask your wife "What are we doing next Saturday?" which, to you, seems an innocent enough query. You might really want to know if the weekend is planned for.

Instead of an answer like "We are visiting the Smiths" you get a scowl and a "We talked about this". A full frontal WTAT.

Here, presented to you free of charge, is the perfect defense to the WTAT.

You looked puzzled and ask "Was I there?". This is usually enough to deflect the whole WTAT as the respondent tries to recall if you were actually present during the WTAT event. They question themselves. You can see their minds spin with "when was that?" or "wasn't that in the car?" or "Maybe it was with Gail".

To reinforce it, before they come back with a "yeah, you we there", you should instigate a preemptive "you sure?". This is usually enough to deflect wrath.

This and other elusive techniques will be in my new book "I'll be in the car: When checking out is your best defense"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Opera Story

Last Friday Oldest Son and his girlfriend went to the Opera. They saw La Boheme at the Metropolitan Opera in NYC.

I am not making this up.

When I was that age, all I knew about the opera was what I learned on Loony Tunes.

You know the episode: What's Opera Doc? - Bugs and Elmer chase each other through operatic themes, Bugs rides the back of some little fat horse and Elmer sings out:

"Kill Da Wabbit!" over and over.

Yes sir, I was very cultured at 17.

I'm not even sure I could spell opera let alone pull off the logistics they did:

Drive to the Train Station in Friday rush hour.

Take the train to Penn Station

Take a cab to Lincoln Center.

Have dinner in French Bistro.

Be at the Opera before 7:30 Pm.

As Darth Vader says: "Most impressive"

Besides my vast cartoon operatic background, the closest I ever came to anything classical was a Yes concert in 1975. They played Firebird Suite and there were giant phillips head screwdrivers behind them. I went with my best friend Steve Thomas. Franny Donovan drove us in his Chevy Biscayne. I'm pretty sure it had three bald tires and a bad valve tap.

He had Yes on a cassette tape player in the front seat. Not a tape player in the dash, but on the front seat was a portable radio shack cassette tape player. It was my first concert.

If I had gone the year before, Rick Wakeman would have worn a cape. That's pretty close to operatic, right?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


A bonus post for Tuesday.

Mayor Nutter was out in front of my building shakin' hands and kissing babies for Hillary.

Things were kind of slow all morning long, just a few cars honking horns and then about 5 PM things picked up when the Mayor positioned himself at the top of the subway concourse.

People would come up from underground and be hit with this crowd of shouting Hillary supporters.

Best line I heard:

Woman to a city year volunteer in red jacket: Hey Cityyear, Hey Cityyear, that was a Clinton Program, Cityyear was a Clinton Program.


Last Saturday night my wife and I were out and on the way home I received the following text message:

When you guys come home can you speak with a British accent?

The kids had someone over and had convinced them that we were British. I wasn't even sure I could talk with a British accent. I tried in my head but it just kept coming out like Austin Powers. I couldn't even open my mouth and try it. Sometimes I can do accents pretty well but I just couldn't. It was the pressure.

The pressure. The pressure.

My wife tried it but she just kept sounding like Mary Poppins.

It was a long ride and just kept thinking about what I was going to do. How the heck was I going to speak in British Accent, how long would I have to keep this up?

I decided I would be a mute British citizen.

In the end, the mark the kids had invited over had left and we were off the hook.

Monday, April 21, 2008

It's going to get crazy out there tomorrow.

Center City Philly today at 5 PM.

I can't even imagine what tomorrow will be like.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Separated at birth?

William Penn and Ronnie Van Zant from Lynryd Skynyrd

Sunday, April 06, 2008


All the votes are in and Oldest Son is going to Seton Hall. With the scholarship money he was leaning towards Seton Hall's direction already but this weekend's Freshman Preview sealed the deal.

We drove up Saturday morning and were supposed to be there for 9. We got lost on the way up, which isn't easy since:

  • I had a GPS.
  • There is like one turn.

I drove for nearly an hour waiting to make that turn off the NJ Turnpike onto the Garden State Parkway and then missed it when I got an unexpected call from work at just the right moment. This then lead to a series of wrong turns which lead to us making a U-Turn in beautiful Bayonne, NJ and causing spilled coffee when I turned onto the Garden State Parkway south instead of north. We heard a lot of "Recalculating" from the GPS lady.

All I could think of was the implications of that single spurious phone call. I was thinking "now we'll be late and miss and opportunity for X and that will change the direction Oldest Son takes for Y which will lead to a life of destitute poverty".

We made it by 10 instead of 9:20 and we missed getting an appointment with Financial Aid. This means that I now am looking forward to a life of destitute poverty.

The program started at 11 with a speech by the Monsignor. It was more like a convention with booths and tables for housing, WSOU and activities around campus. The part He loved came when he got to meet his professors. He just loves the Italian Studies professor who showed us the Italian reference section of the library and sat and had lunch with us.

We also starting to get a sense of just how Catholic the University is and the same thought struck my wife and I about the same time:

What the heck is the connection between a Catholic University and their mascot, the Pirate?

I mean it's not enough to prevent me from giving them thousands of dollars or taking their scholarship money. I'm just curious.

Was there a famous Catholic Pirate that I am unaware of? Did he swoop in on Protestant ships forcing them Communion? Genuflect or die! Arrrrgh.

You know there was a meeting, there is always a meeting:

Priest 1: Well we can't be the Wildcats, Villanova took that.
Priest 2: How about the The Communicants?
Priest 1: That doesn't even make sense.
Priest 3: How about the Hoyas?
Priest 1: Do you even know what a Hoya even is?? Besides Georgetown took that.
Priest 3: I told you we should have had this meeting earlier, we could have been the Hoyas.
Priest 2: How about the Layity-Ups?
Priest 1: Are you for real?
Priest 3: A Hoya is a bear and I think we are down to Indians and Pirates. Maybe Cowboys too.
Priest 2: How about The Large Pointy Hats?
Priest 1 strikes priest 2 on the head.
Priest 1: I don't think New Jersey and Indians go together, so Pirates it is then.

In light of the alternatives, a Pirate makes sense. It's ironic though that there is a baseball team named the Padres and a Catholic University basketball team named the Pirates.

Oldest son is majoring in Italian Studies at this point but I suspect that may change. That makes mine the lost generation for speaking Italian. My great-grandparents only spoke Italian. My Grandparents could speak in both and my Father speaks some. In my wife's home growing up, Italian was used when they didn't want the kids to understand.

I speak none.

I'm wondering if it takes a four year college degree to learn Italian and what jobs you can get after wards.

Maybe I'm being too practical.