passaic-valley

Dad in the Box

July 28, 2011

I bought a new car recently.  I haven’t purchased a new vehicle since I was humiliated into securing a utilitarian minivan when my younger kids were born.  This was after I learned I was not legally allowed to tie a car seat to the roof of my Jeep with twine. Buying a car is not what it used ...

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This weekend theater lines will stretch down the block as movie goers wait excitedly to see Harry Potter battle evil incarnate, the dark lord, the villain of all villains, the slithering snake of the underworld: he-who-must-not-be-named! I am of course referring to Rupert Murdoch. For ...

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We have a Global Positioning System in our car.  I punch in an address and a nice woman who is not my wife tells me when to turn.  This is one of those really great technological inventions that put humans on par with highly evolved creatures like salmon.  Or, as it turns out, ...

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It is a beautiful, romantic song composed in the 1940s: simple, elegant, and melodic—a true classic.   Too bad I butchered it moments before the wedding vows.   It happened this way. In a sincere gesture of respect and significance, my son and I were asked to play a song at the wedding ...

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I discovered recently that in an effort to ensure Americans are eating right, the US Department of Agriculture has replaced the ubiquitous food pyramid with something resembling a neatly formatted TV dinner.   The new USDA MyPlate graphic depicts a round plate containing pie-sectioned quantities ...

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Recently I was recruited to accompany my daughter’s Girl Scout troop to their annual Camporee as a First Aid Adult certified in CPR.  I assumed there must be a high incidence of heart attacks among the Girl Scouts.   But I quickly learned that unless a fully trained and certified adult was ...

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Sometimes I feel optimism is vastly overrated.  It’s just no fun being happy all the time!   We need a break from the carefree, happy-go-lucky events that buoy our lives everyday and exercise our god given right to suck the life out of everyone around us. Let’s face it, there are some ...

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The bus broke down completely on the way to the state finals competition.   Later, after the talented high school jazz band had taken first place and captured several performance awards, the bus driver would naively credit their achievement to the ample equipment they had loaded and unloaded ...

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On Friday April 29th, Prince William of Wales will marry Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey in front of an intimate gathering of 1,900 invited guests, a few dozen television cameras, and the world.   As happy as I am for them, I can’t help but wonder, who gets married on Friday ...

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I owe HOW much? This is the way I usually greet my tax accountant who I see once a year.  Sometimes I even say hello before I destroy his office.   Each April I walk in with a shoebox full of receipts looking for legitimate deductions toward something creative, like diminished farm ...

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April (-1), 2011.  Tomorrow I expect to be woken very early in the morning by an obnoxiously loud alarm clock whose settings have magically changed sometime during the night.  Or perhaps a photo of a monkey will be seamlessly taped over my shaving mirror.  After all, tomorrow is April ...

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There is nothing better than early spring in New Jersey.  Except maybe late spring, but that’s another column. In early spring, New Jersey lawns, like recovering hospital patients, begin to regain some color and show signs of life.  Young daffodil legs emerge from the earth as if they are ...

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Somewhere around page 67 of the mindless thriller I am reading the captain interrupts: “The weather at our destination is a sunny 83 degrees.  Relax and enjoy the flight.”    The plane is almost empty and I have legroom.  I must be dreaming. Over the wing the sun hangs bright above a ...

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My younger son failed his social studies test on the Bill of Rights: he listed them in the wrong order.  Personally, I feel this violates his right to freedom of speech.  But unfortunately this also violates his teacher’s right to fail him on the same grounds. I don’t think it is fair to ...

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Last week was Fashion Week in New York City.  I missed it.  In fact, I have missed every Fashion Week since One Million Years BC, when Raquel Welch modeled a skimpy Wooly Mammoth.  But I suspect I was not invited to attend, even though the event was open to the public.  You see, I am not ...

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“I know that I am intelligent, because I know nothing.”  - Socrates I was completely disheartened to learn that an IBM supercomputer named Watson won a million dollar prize on Jeopardy.  This was billed as a Grand Challenge:  a computer competing against two walking Wikipedias, Brad Rutter ...

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As if the mortgage crisis weren’t bad enough, I now learn that we are about to run out of Internet addresses.  This means that my new electronic toaster may soon be homeless. It seems there are over four billion Internet addresses available to connect junk to the Internet, junk like ...

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I finally figured out why Super Bowl commercials are so important: as we enter into Super Bowl XLV, which is a text abbreviation for 45, most of us face the troubling task of rooting for teams we could care less about.  Unless you live in Pittsburgh or Green Bay (population 101,000), there is ...

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After all of the recent hubbub about extreme parenting, I have come to the conclusion that I need to become a Tiger Mom.   This is daunting.  First, I am not Chinese.  Second, I am not a woman.  And third, well, I am more of an ass than a tiger.  So it is doubtful that I will ever reach this ...

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As I woke this morning before dawn and searched my horoscope for a behavior to wear, I faced this nagging question:  What is the difference between an astrologer and an astronomer?  And then: How do I get to the Milky Way from here?    This witty flightiness is the true sign of a Gemini, ...

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . . Dickens, of course, was referring to snow.  It blankets the town where I live, a blanket upon a blanket.  When the old bedclothes become dirty and worn, a thick new cover arrives until the bed is finally stripped in ...

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With the passing into the New Year I have been thinking a lot about time:  where it comes from, where it goes, where I get more.  It’s a lot like beer. Like many people, I imagine how it would be to go back in time.  But I worry that if such a thing were possible, I would disappear in the ...

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You want fries with that? The young woman, looking very much pregnant even through her thick winter coat, nodded in quiet affirmation to the man in the paper hat behind the counter.  My son and I were sitting in a crowded strip mall diner eating sloppy hamburgers and greasy french fries ...

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I have been traveling through airports a lot recently.  Airline travel is a form of transportation in which passengers are packed into sardine cans without preservatives and shot out of a canon to their final destination, wherever that may be.   Thank goodness we have our choice of ...

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It occurred to me over Thanksgiving that I have spent my entire life among incredibly strong women.  My mother.  My sister.  My wife.  My daughter.  Every single woman I have lived with; except maybe the cat. The women in my life are filled with stamina, grit, spunk, and a strong sense of ...

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Pity the poor turkey.  What did that silly animal do to deserve such an ignoble place at the table on Thanksgiving?  I’ll tell you what it did: It got caught!   It never learned to fly—a basic survival skill inherent to most wild birds.  But fish can’t fly either.  So why don’t we have ...

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Behind the dimly lit bar situated toward the rear of the Veteran’s Hall in Santa Cruz, California are some old photographs.  They are hidden behind corked whiskey bottles and stacked pyramids of empty beer mugs.   Most are graying pictures of gray battleships plying gray waters in the ...

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Pad. Pad. Pad. Pad.  I can hear the faint echo reflect off the houses as my feet brush lightly over the asphalt.  I am breathing methodically between strides; I am working comfortably.  I can go on like this for another twenty-six.  Easily. I love watching the New York City Marathon on TV.   ...

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Unless you are a hermit, by now you have come to the understanding that you are very mad.  Even if you aren’t really sure.  Of course, this is based on the premise that a ubiquitous, ratings-fueled analysis of politics is the root cause of all our anger, and that as Americans we have the ...

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It is a Tuesday in late October, just before Halloween.  The enigmatic Count Dracula has agreed to meet me for an interview in his penthouse suite overlooking Central Park high atop the Trump International Hotel. The Count is elegantly dressed in a Louis Vuitton tuxedo set off with a diamond ...

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