Monday, January 31, 2011

New Nephew Alert

Last night marked the arrival of a new nephew, Andrew Robert. Mom & child are doing well, recovering nicely from his long-awaited debut.

He's named after my brother and me, by the way. Not that that's going to give me a swelled head or anything. But really, that knocked me flat.

Welcome, little tough guy!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Uncle Ed

My Uncle Ed passed away recently.

I can't write about him without writing about New Year's Day. For years, my mom and dad threw the best New Year's party I'd ever been to, and it started up hours after the ball dropped in Times Square. It started out, I believe, as simply the day we'd invite my dad's cousins over to the house, and we'd have hors d'oeuvres and dinner and watch the parades and bowl games. I was a little kid at the start of these. I have a distinct memory of making designs with my Spirograph with my cousin Wendy, in the house we lived in up until I was in second grade. Anyhow, I saw my mom's side of the family all the time, but this was really the one day of the year I could count on seeing my dad's side.

As we got older, the party changed a bit. My cousins started bringing their kids, and the party grew. Other family friends would come over, and the party grew. My brothers, my sister and I would invite a couple friends, and the party grew. People would be happily jammed into the kitchen, dining room and family room, talking and watching the game and digging into the buffalo chicken dip and eating delicious little jellied hot dogs on toothpicks. Man, I loved those things.

But in the living room, my Uncle Ed and Aunt Florence would be holding court. He'd have his harmonica out, telling jokes and stories, reciting poems, and playing songs with his sons and daughters and daughters-in-law and grandkids. And us. Singing old songs: folk music like "Mountain Dew," or pieces of Americana like "Daisy," written before most of us were born. The crowd gathered, the crowd stayed, the crowd piped up. There was no fire in the fireplace. We didn't need one. Uncle Ed and his harmonica were the spark, and Jim and his guitar and Brian with his concertina fanned the flame. And New Year's Day was my favorite day of the year.

Uncle Ed was 52 when I was born; he was 93 when he passed away. I realize now that I have no earthly idea what he did as an occupation between coming home as a veteran of World War II and taking up coaching tennis in his retirement. I'm okay with having that gap in my knowledge. I don't need to think of him at a desk, getting the bills paid. To me, he'll always be on my mom's sofa, playing that harp. The happiest man I know.

Play us out, Uncle Ed.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Two Hours from Now

Parks and Recreation comes back on the air. It's been too long.

Watch, why don't you? It's much better than you remember from Season 1.

(One more thing: Jabba the Hutt! Jabba the Hutt! Jabba the Hutt!)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cooling the Tea

Sorry for all the linkblogging lately, but I figure it's better than absolutely nothing, which is what I'd been delivering before. Here's a smart article from David Frum, the Conservative out in the Cold.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Reflex is a Lonely Child Whose Parents Were Murdered in Front of Him So He Devoted His Life to Fighting Crime

I just found a new reflex I didn't know I had. I saw a link for "Hot Chicks in Batman Shirts" and I clicked it automatically. Didn't even think for even a nanosecond. No consideration, no mental process whatsoever -- I just clicked it. And then it's loading up on the screen and I'm thinking, "What did I just do? Did I really just do that?"

And no, I'm not adding the link. If you want to find them, you'll have to do a little detective work to show you're worthy.


Lather, Rinse, Repeat

For someone with no blood on her hands, Lady MacBeth is sure doing a lot of scrubbing.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Some Things Can't Be Unseen

But because I am a kind soul, even after clicking this link you will have one more chance to back away.

I suggest you take it.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Nice Art!

Check this out: Fashion from Old People. Cartoonists Emily Carroll and Vera Brosgol bring find photos of cool old dresses, and draw vibrant, expressive women in 'em. It's really great art, and puts new meaning in "it looks better on."


Friday, January 07, 2011

Tweets from the O-Zone

The Television Critics Association press tour is going on this week and next, and one of the events was a presentation by Oprah Winfrey about her OWN network. During her press conference, a reporter asked her a question about her dreams as a child, and she used it as a launching point for what is apparently an unprecedented filibuster in TCA history.

Critic Alan Sepinwall provides some background on the event (and a complete transcript of the filibuster), but the real gold is this snarky collection of tweets from the assembled critics. Start at the bottom and read up to the top. As critic Alexa Planje put it: "Adult class clowns vs. the world's richest 'teacher.'" Good stuff.