Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Elevator Etiquitte

I just think that if you are going to fart on an elevator that you really should have to stay on the elevator for the entire ride until the smell dissipates.

I don’t care if you got on the elevator on the fifth floor and took it to the lobby, where you exited and I entered. I was the only occupant of the elevator when the doors opened on the second floor and two other people got on to ride to the fifth floor with me.

I had to explain to them that it wasn’t me. But I am sure they did not believe me.

I don't think that was fair.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Memorial Day

Memorial Day was always just a day off of work or school for me. My family did not celebrate the day with any type of picnic or party. It was just a holiday that I took for granted. I have always been interested in U.S. History and I have always enjoyed studying books about war and battles (“more pursue than a study”) but I never knew anyone that had died in a war and the significance of Memorial Day was lost on me.

Somewhere in my late teens or early twenties that changed.

I was reading the book “The Only War We Had” by Michael Lanning. The book is one man’s journal of being on the front lines in Vietnam. In one of the entries, he explains the death of one of his comrades LT. William F. Little III. I don’t know why, maybe it was the fact that he was named William, but something about LT. Little grabbed me. I knew nothing about him except for what was written in that book. Not long after reading that book I went to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C. and I looked up his name and I made an etching. I have been to D.C. maybe 6 times since then, and every time I look up his name on the Wall.

Every Memorial Day, from the time I “found” William Little, I always say a little prayer for his family. I found some significance for the day off of work.

In November of 2005 Capt. Jeff Toczylowski died on a combat mission in Iraq. Jeff was a very close friend of my bother Jim. My mom used to baby-sit Jeff every day after school for many years. I knew Jeff. He was quite the character. Jeff’s death and story made national headlines.

Memorial Day now has more significance to me.

No matter your political affiliation or your stance on war I think it is important to remember those people like William F Little III and Jeff Toczylowski and not take Memorial Day, the holiday, for granted.

Lauren and I have discussed starting a tradition for the kids to make Memorial Day a true day of remembrance of fallen soldiers. I believe they are still too young to teach them about war and loss. But I do not think it is ever too early to teach them to appreciate the freedoms and blessings that we have living in the U.S.

Do you have a Memorial Day tradition? What do you do?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Does every kid pronounce Spaghetti “pasketti”?

And why is that? I am sure there is some linguist or speech pathologist that knows the answer.

Maxfield does fine with most words that start with SP. Spiderman is not Psiderman. He does not psell his name. Astronauts do not wear a psace suit.

He never psits his food on the floor because he denies it every time.

And he would never pseak back to his father because he knows he would not get psanked.

So why pasketti?

Silly Faces

I love modern technology. I really do. All the cool gadgets are awesome. I don't use my gadgets no where near enough as I should based on a cost-to-time-used ratio. One of the reasons I love them is that they give me new games to play with the kids. When Lauren goes to the gym or is busy sewing and I have the kids but I am too tired to run around the back yard, my gadgets come in handy. I mentioned here about one game we play with our video camera.

Last night we played a new game with the the digital camera called Silly Faces. We played for an hour and I must have taken 100 pictures. Every time I took a picture we would review it and try to outdo it. I saved the best and deleted the rest.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Maxfield asked me to make him a Spiderman mask. Why he did not ask my wife, I have no idea, she is the crafty one. I took an old winter knit cap, a pair of scissors and, ta-daa, a Spiderman mask.

Or a bank robber.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

M.I.L.F. Day

I like my animals. I do. I just don't love them the way most pet people love their dogs or their cats. They have, each of them, from the day we got them, been working on falling out of favor with me. Besides all the daily maintinence they require, feeding, cleaning cat boxes, walking, petting, etc. and the cost of their food and vet bills they have been giving me reasons not to miss them once they are gone.

There was the fight between Bogart the cat and a $200 dollar dress. Bogart won that fight. I am sure the dress attacked Bogart and he was defending himself. There was the fight between the brand new couch and Bogart and Winifred. I know the couch looked menacing and was invading their space so they had to teach the couch a lesson. There was the Flea Incident of 2006 which cost me so much money I can't even think about it.

Every week one of the them gives me a reason to like them even less. This week it was Luna.

Luna poops in the back yard. Lauren and I do a good job of staying on top of cleaning it up. On the weekends, when I cut the grass, since I am bascially walking back and forth across the entire yard, I scan and clean up anything we missed.

This past Sunday, Mother's Day, Lauren asked me to weedwack all the edges of the property. It was getting pretty bad. The weather over the weekend and the Mother's Day activities prevented me from mowing the yard but I figured I could get the trimming done and mow later.

I was half way through the backyard, back by the Tiger Lily's when I noticed a pile of dog poop. I lifted the weed wacker and backed away making a mental note with my mental pen to clean it up later. And just as I placed the weedwacker down to trim some long grass by a decorative rock I noticed another pile of poop. I turned the head of the weedwacker vertical to get a better look and that's when the trimmer string hit the pile of dog poop. The hard plastic trimmer string moving at 14,000 RPMs hit a pile of shit and sprayed the feces into a fine mist which sprayed all over me. Head to toe.

Misted In Luna's Feces.

I gagged. I gagged some more. The smell was horrible.

I hurried and finished the rest of the yard. I ran into the house through the garage into the laundry room. I removed all my clothes while I watched my neighbor's adult children arrive at their house for Mother's Day through the window. I hope they did not see me. I ran, completely naked, through the family room past a floor-to-ceiling window on the side of our house, past the sliding glass doors on the back of our house, and into the the front foyer past the front door windows and up the stairs. I took note that none of our windows have curtains.

The smell was really getting to me when I got to the stop of the steps where Lauren greeted me. She laughed. I tried to explain and I ran into the shower.

And you know it must have been awful because for the FIRST time in my entire married life, I was casually naked in front of my wife and I did not flex and say something like "You want some of this?" or "Hey I'm naked already, you wanna wink wink nudge nudge?" like I usually do.

And for those who read the title of this post and were expecting something else, here is a picture of Lauren, a Mom I'll Love Forever.

A new law

I think there should be a new law made that prevents stores and restaurants and banks and any other public place from hanging balloons within eye sight of any one under the age of five. And if they do have helium balloons floating around they should at least, by law, have to give some to the toddlers that see those balloons.

And in a effort to improve public safety, I think that it should be forbidden for car dealerships to hang balloons on their premises. Because drivers can become distracted by the incessant whining of or the repetitive chant of "Ba-yoons, Ba-yoons" from the smaller passengers in the car.

It would also help reduce car insurance costs because the drivers of those cars would not be as likley drive off a cliff.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

That creepy guy on the bus

This past Friday was opening night for the theater production of The Philadelphia Story which I have been rehearsing for the past few months. We had a great turn out and the show went pretty well.

I was lucky and honored that some local fellow bloggers came out to see the show and support me and the theater company. The bloggers that came to see the show were people I have never met before Friday night. I only know them from their blogs and the comments that they leave here, or at other blogs I may read or follow. They only know me from this blog and the comments I leave throughout the blogosphere.

I knew that they were all coming to see the show and they were going to hang around afterward so we could actually meet and talk for a bit. I was a little excited, worried and nervous because as my friend Susan said, "It's kind of like a blind date."

I was excited to meet these people who, over the past few years, I have taken a vested interest in their lives and stories via their blogs.

I was nervous because I also knew that what they read here, on a regular basis, may not translate well in a face to face setting.

I was worried due to the typical stigma of "stalker" or that "creepy person" that is attached to people meeting online or via the internet.

To use a theater term, the fourth wall is being removed.

I really enjoyed meeting Sharkey and her husband JP, Mainline Mom and her husband, Sue and Charlotte (their blog just went underground) and Teri the Family Tree Junkie. I have known of these people for years and now I finally got to meet them.

Thank you guys for coming out to the show.

There is an old saying that goes something like this, "There is always one creepy or weird person on the bus."

Then there is the saying that follows that one: "When you get on the bus, look around, if you don't see the creepy or weird person that means it most likely is probably you."

Well I must say that meeting these bloggers set my mind at ease. As I talked to each one of them I realized that not one of them was creepy or weird...

Hey wait a minute...

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Fletch Moment

The greatest movie of my teenage and young adult years was Fletch, starring Chevy Chase. My friends and I watched it every weekend. We knew the movie forward and backwards. We uttered every line of dialogue while watching and often quoted the film whenever we could.

We challenged each other to use lines from the movie in our normal conversations at work or at school or just anywhere really. The challenge was that the line had to fit into the conversation. You could not just throw a quote out haphazardly. Some of the lines are more difficult to include in everyday conversation than others. For instance, it is very difficult to include "What kind of name is Poon?" into a normal talk.

However, I use, all the time, whenever I see my wife wrapped in a towel after the shower, "May I borrow your towel. My car just hit a water buffalo." It works. This is an easy one.

The more random the quote and the more degree of difficulty the better the accolades we received from each other.

Every now and then I will get a phone call from my friends Tobes or Rob or someone else just for the sole purpose of telling me they used a "difficult" or random Fletch quote.

Yesterday I was on the phone making an appoinment with an eye doctor. The receptionist asked me for the normal information such as name, address, DOB etc. She then asked me who my regular physician was.

I had a Fletch moment.

"Dr. Rosenpenis."

She paused. "Dr. who?" She asked again

"Dr. Rosen rosen."


"Dr. Rosen." I then silently congratulated myself and told her my real doctor.

What Movies do you quote on a regular basis?

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A day at the Races

Buying a gift for my Dad was always difficult. He never really wanted or needed anything. Most times we, his sons, would get him something that we knew we could steal from him in the near future. Like, maybe, a power tool we knew we would need. Or maybe a sweatshirt that he could add to his 50 other sweatshirts that we could later secretly take from his closet and never return. We called it vict-ing, which was late 80’s slang for stealing.

I don’t know how many times I would see one of my brothers in a nice jacket or pull-over and I would ask, “Where did you get that?” And the response was always, “I vict it from dad?”

Some years we would chip in and get something big. Or some years, depending on what day of the week his birthday fell on, we would all get together at the Philadelphia Park Race Track and give him money for betting the ponies.

One of those days was May 7th either 1994 or 1995. I am not sure which year but it had to be a Saturday or Sunday because most of my brothers were there. I remember it as a day that my dad could not stop laughing.

It is no secret in my family that I get most of my genes and looks from my mom’s side of the family. The rest of my siblings look more like my dad's side. I was always called Rocky’s son, after our mailman Rocco. While we were at the track I was taking some good-natured ribbing from my brother’s about how I was not part of the family. At one point one of my brothers mentioned how my beard made me look like my mom’s brother Buddy.

My dad laughed. “You really do look like your mom’s family.” He said.

“Well that is because of my facial hair.” I said. “And if Pat had a beard he would look like Uncle Tim. And if John had a moustache he would look like any one of mom’s sisters.”

Up until that time, I have never heard my dad laugh as hard as he did right then. His head tilted back and he roared. The entire place turned to see what was causing the commotion. It took him several minutes to recover. And from that moment and for the rest of the day he laughed at everything we said and did.

The conversations eventually changed to other topics, like sports, horses, beer and chicks . We covered the gamut. We laughed at everything. It was not a day of a father hanging out with his sons. For me it was a bunch of guys, equals, friends, hanging out and enjoying the day.

His day.

You look like a monkey and you smell like one too.

Monday, May 05, 2008

My conversation with Oprah

December of 1997 I was managing a private nightclub in Philly. A group of out-of-towners approached the door looking to be admitted without membership. One of the guys told me (I think his name was Scott) he was working as an assistant director on a film. I thought he was just conning me in an attempt to get into the club. I told him I would let him in but only if he could get me on the set of the film. I gave him my phone number and I admitted his group, waiving any cover charge or fees. I figured I would never hear from him.

Three days later I received a phone call from costuming (not Scott) asking me to come in for a fitting. I went. After the fitting they told me to show up the next day to the set on 3rd Street, between Market and Church St. I went.

The movie takes place in the late 1860s. They dressed me in a period costume, gave me a handful of cigars and told me to stand in front of some steps and smoke the cigars. This was December and it was pretty cold and damp and the costume was pretty thin and flimsy. I was freezing. I stood there for hours while they did take after take of wide shots of the street with the crowds of people. Every now and then someone would get me coffee.

After about hour 5 I really had to pee. They took a break to reset the cameras and I asked if I could use the restroom. When I returned to my spot in front of the steps there was a buzz of activity around my steps. There were set designers spraying fake soot and fake dog pee (I am not kidding) on the fake snow. They were setting up lights and Jonathan Demme the director turned towards me and said, “Good. You’re back.”

He then said something to an assistant director and the AD came over to talk to me. The AD explained the shot and they wanted me to puff on the cigar because the smoke added to the look of the shot. He also told me to make sure that the cigar stayed the same length for consistency’s sake. So basically in between takes I would need to light another cigar and smoke it down to the right size.

I was thrilled that Jonathan Demme, who directed Silence of the Lambs, one of my favorite films, was including me in the shot. That was when the “buzz” around the steps got louder. The next thing I know I am standing next to Oprah Winfrey. I tried to introduce myself, but hair and makeup people surrounded her. Demme and Oprah talked for a few minutes about the shot, Oprah was going to be walking down the street in front of me. Oprah walked up the sidewalk about ten feet away from me. We were at places.

I knew there would be several takes. I knew it would take a while to film. There were going to be several occasions for Oprah and I to talk. I was planning something witty to say. In my mind she would laugh, she would find me fascinating. She was going to discover me. I would become big time.

Somewhere around take # 8, while the cameras were resetting, I was lighting another cigar and Oprah, standing ten feet away from me, said, “Excuse me. What’s your name?”

This was it. This was my moment. Oprah was going to engage me in conversation. I was going to be a star. “Bill.” I responded.

“Well Bill.” Oprah addressed me. “Could you PLEASE, stop blowing that smoke in my face? It is making me sick.”

“I’m sorry.” I said. “The director wanted me to keep…”

She cut me off. She called over the director and they spoke in hushed tones. But I watched Oprah point to me and say, “That thing really stinks.”

I hope she was referring to the cigar.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


I read Gina's blog on a regular basis. In her latest post she wrote that her mom was starting a blog to chronicle her treatment for cancer.

I know that my friend Dave loved all the feedback he got from his blog and enjoyed using the internet as a source of encouragement when he was undergoing treatment. Especially when he was too tired or could not talk he could always surf.

Go to Gina's mom's Blog, Team Tina, and offer her your encouragement and prayers. Besides her header is a really cute and you may want to take her home and stick her in your garden.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Go Go

I am not sure of the exact details of the story but it goes something like this.

Two miles from my house, on one of the major roads, is a Go-Go joint. It has been there for many, many years. It used to sit by itself without too much around it; just a few mom and pop local businesses were its neighbors. About 10 or so years ago a huge track of land was sold and was developed to include a Lowes, a Target, a T.G.I. Fridays and the likes.

At that time, the township, with all the new tenants, decided that the Go-Go joint’s neon sign of a silhouette of a woman was too offensive. The township council demanded that the owner remove the sign. The owner argued that the sign was there for years and questioned why, now, did they find the sign offensive. He also argued that sign was what drew attention to his business. They claimed the sign was an eye sore. The township, I am sure, were trying to impress the corporations of Target and others in having the sign removed. Or more likely some corporate big wig complained to the township.

The township council passed an ordinance that would make the sign illegal without any type of “grandfather” clause. The Go-Go owner argued that the sign was art (a stretch) and it was also freedom of speech. The township made him remove the sign with the threat of revoking his business license. The Go-Go owner, feeling like he was the little guy, the underdog, being squeezed out by the big corporate lawyers, decided not to take the township to court. He did not have the money for a long drawn out court case. But he did have the money for this, which is totally legal.

Do you think the township considers this an eye sore? Every time I drive by I have to laugh. The Go-Go owner has some guts to be able to stick it to "the Man" like this and I appreciate it.
But what makes me chuckle like a 13 year old, every time I drive by is the name of the cross road where the go-go joint is located.

I find it appropriate.