Friday, December 31, 2021

Dipping Into The New Year


Happy New Year’s Eve! For a Covid-safe New Year’s my family is staying home tonight, but we decided to make it special, so we’re throwing ourselves a dip party. If you haven’t heard of it, basically it’s a trendy idea where everyone who comes to a party (or in our case, just us) brings a different kind of dip and stuff to dip it in, and then the whole party is just fondue style-eating. Personally, I love dips and think they’re incredibly versatile, so I thought this was such a fun idea for us. We’re making things like Taco dip, hummus, guac, spinach & artichoke dip, and then for dessert we’ve got dipping chocolate and I’m making vegan caramel dip. I love the idea because in a normal party setting, people can bring their favorite dips, potluck-style, and it can take you out of your comfort zone of normal stuff you’d make.

I was talking to my mom about this idea, and we were talking about other food theme parties that would be fun. One of my ideas was a soup party. I would like to eat my whole meal through a straw (kidding). But in all seriousness, I think soup is a seriously underrated food group, and there are so many different kinds of soup and they’re all so good. No one every claims that “French onion soup” or whatever is their favorite food, but soup always slaps when you order it. As long as you own enough bowls, it would be such a fun party.

My mom’s idea was to have a crostini/bruschetta party, mostly because she has a thousand delicious-looking crostini recipes saved in her recipe binders, and she struggles to find opportunities to use them. So this party theme would give her an excuse to break those out. Plus, who doesn’t love “stuff on bread”? And, it can also be dessert-ified, which only adds to the theme.

Hopefully in the new year, we’ll be lucky enough to be able to have many safe parties, and then we can break out all the fun themes. But for now, we’ll be dipping tonight and cheers-ing at midnight. Hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve!


Thursday, December 30, 2021

Science Non-Fiction

Whenever I get pessimistic about climate change I always try to frame it in my head that we’ll just be living in a future sci fiction movie dystopia and I really like science fiction movies. 

Because climate change is just real science fiction. 

Science nonfiction. 

Which is just another way of saying that something is real. 

I would have preferred more of a Star Trek future, but it looks like we might be heading more in the direction of Mad Max. Would’ve been nice to have a future where a diverse group of people in monochrome uniforms explore space but we might have to settle for racing in the desert while playing heavy metal and looking for water. 

The worst part of the Mad Max future is the heavy metal, isn’t it? I think car races are cool, I’m not crazy about water, but heavy metal sucks.


Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Correct Is Refreshing

I preface this post with the understanding that most places are short-handed these days.  From restaurants to stores to just about anything you can think of, everyone has "Help Wanted" signs posted and they are looking for people.  OK.  I get that and I appreciate that everyone is understaffed.

However, it really seems that service standards have declined dramatically over the past few years.  Maybe it is just me but it is rare for us to place a food order by phone without something being missing when it gets delivered.  It has gotten to the point where our preference is to place orders online so that we can at least feel confident that we wrote down exactly what we wanted in the first place.  If it goes wrong from there, at least we know we did what we could to cut out one level where things could break down.

It has made me so conditioned to expect things to be wrong that when things are done correctly, it is surprising and refreshing.  Good service stands out these days because it is so rare.  And when we do experience, I now go out of my way to make sure that a manager or customer service person knows that we had a good experience and that it was so appreciated.

I know this is first world problems.  Just reeling from a week of bad customer service experiences.


Julie And The Phantoms

            Hi folks! Sorry I’m a day late- I was applying for summer jobs last night. However, going to write about what’s on my mind today, which is on my mind almost every day.

Julie and the Phantoms is a show on Netflix that was originally made for children, so why do I, as a 20 year old care about it? It was created by Kenny Ortega, who is iconic, and tells the story of a teenage girl who ends up meeting the members of a teen ghost band from the 90s, who help the girl reconnect with music after the loss of her mother. 

The premise sounds ridiculous, and there are certainly some silly moments that are just for kids to laugh at, but this show means a lot to me. Not only does it have great POC, LGBTQ+, and mental illness representation, but every actor in the show plays their own musical instruments, and the result is an absolutely BANGIN soundtrack. I was in the top 0.5% of listeners for them on Spotify this year, and they were also my top artist last year, despite the show only having come out in September of 2020.

Since the show has come out, it has gained a very large following online of fans my age, younger, and older. It has won Emmys and other awards, and is beloved by many. However, after waiting over a year with no news, it was announced about a week ago that the show was not being renewed for season 2, which is just garbage. Now, fans are rallying around platforms like Hulu or Disney+ to try to pick up the show, including myself. Going to attach a petition link so that anyone who wants to help can.

This show has made me laugh, cry, and sing more than any other, and I am hoping beyond hope that it will be saved. Thanks to anyone willing to help, and I wish you a wonderful Wednesday!

             Here's the link.  You know what to do.

Thanks in advance.  


Monday, December 27, 2021

Cultural Appropriation

I finally had my much delayed college graduation ceremony this past fall, which was good. I got some closure. I went to school upstate so I spent a few years driving throughout New York and when I’m going through these rural areas I keep seeing Confederate flags on people’s lawns. And I don’t get it.

Because the one argument people have for flying confederate flags is that they want to honor a piece of their heritage. But if you’re from New York? That’s not your heritage. Your ancestors were Yankees, baby. Your ancestors fought for the winning and morally superior side and you’re flying the losing flag. Like an idiot. I don’t think southerners would be very pleased with you flying their flag. That’s not your heritage, that’s cultural appropriation. Conservative southerners do not like your cultural appropriation.



Sunday, December 26, 2021

Christmas Strategy

When buying Christmas gifts for people, what's your strategy?  Everybody has one.  Even if you think you don't, you really do.

Here are some common strategies:

What does this person need?  To some people, there is no higher satisfaction when giving a gift than to have the giftee say, "That was exactly what I needed."  The gift giver took notes months in advance of Christmas whenever they were with the giftee.  Need new pot holders in the kitchen.  Wished they had a throw pillow for their favorite chair.  Broke the handle on their favorite coffee mug.  These gifters pay attention to the details and always have a keen eye out for the perfect gift.

What does this person like?  These gifters know their giftees well and can identify their favorite things.  Big fan of trashy romance novels?  Likes loud Christmas sweaters?  Collects bulldog figurines?  Knowing and identifying these likes assure you'll buy a gift that is a hit.

What would this person never get for themselves?  Some people intentionally pick things that their giftees would never think to buy for themselves.  Skydiving lessons?  A set of rollerblades?  Some snazzy pink suspenders?  Sounds perfect.

What's on sale?  Buy a bunch of stuff that is on sale or looks cute -- some candles, some Blu-rays, a picture frame, some books, a nifty calendar.  Then look at your list of people you need gifts for and match column A to column B.  Got Aunt Marge a candle last year?  Looks like she's getting the calendar this year.  Make sure all of your boxes get checked.

Which category do you fall in?


Saturday, December 25, 2021

Harry Potter Illustrated

        Anyone who knows me knows I am the biggest fan of Harry Potter. I’ve read the entire series probably more than 10 times at this point, and seen all the movies countless times as well. I’ve been to Harry Potter World at Universal Studios (where I bought a wand of course), and I’ve owned tons of different merch over the years. 

         You’d think at this point I’d “grow up” and get over it, but so far no luck. So, I keep going back to read the books and follow fan accounts, and I’ll be watching the 20th reunion next week with a bowl of popcorn and a full heart.

         A couple of years ago, I was in some shop (whether it was Harry Potter related or just a bookstore I cannot remember), when I saw on the shelf a very large edition of The Prisoner of Azkaban, the third book, which is my favorite. It looked more like a thick picture book than a chapter book, and that’s exactly what it was! Artist Jim Kay has been illustrating the books in the series for the past couple of years, basing his drawings off of the original text rather than the movies. This was super exciting for me because as a dedicated fan of the books, there were many things missing from the movies that I’d always imagined but never actually seen. So, seeing an artist’s beautiful rendition of what he imagined when reading the books has been so cool for me. 

        My parents got me the third book illustrated as a gift a few years ago, and this past week I re-read it and went online to look for the fourth book, which is my second favorite. I’ve since found that Kay has currently completed the illustrations for up to the fourth book, and the fifth book was supposed to come out in 2021, but seeing as there’s a week left, I’m not holding my breath about it. Anyway, I bought the 4th book this week, and received books 1 and 2 illustrated today for Christmas, so I’m all set for when #5 eventually comes out. For any Harry Potter fan who’s read the books, or even for those who have never read them but want to give them a try, I would absolutely recommend checking them out. Merry Christmas!


Friday, December 24, 2021


When you’re done with college, it gets harder to stay in touch with people. I want to stay in touch enough with my friends so that I can text them cold turkey, so that if I want something from them I don’t have to message them on Facebook like, “Dear Brian, hope you have been staying safe during these crazy times. Remember when we had lunch together that one time? That was fun. I’d love to catch up with you some time next week- can’t wait to hear how you’re doing! Your friend, Rudolph”. I don’t want to do that. I want to be able to just text them out of the blue, “Does your company offer internships?”


I think I’m afraid of getting older because we as a society don’t really value old people. Y’know how I know? I was still a college student when Covid hit, and all of a sudden it was all over the news. They were like, “It’s extremely contagious. You can get it on the bottom of your shoes just by walking down the street. Two thirds of the country will probably get it. Also, it’ll probably only kill you if you’re an oldie”. And every young person I know was like ”… ooooohhh. Excellent. Let's not worry about it at all”.  


Thursday, December 23, 2021

Book Club For Two

Today would have been my father’s 88th birthday.  It’s hard for me to wrap my head around him being that old.  He lost his fight with cancer when he was just 56 years old – so my memories of him are of him at that age or younger.

I’m sure he would have slowed down considerably at 88.  But in my mind, he would still enjoy sitting on the sofa with a good book and a glass of scotch.  My Dad was an avid reader – often reading 2 books simultaneously.  I’ve tried this and it was not so easy to do.  My father had a lot of authors he liked – Stephen King, Ken Follet, Robert Ludlum – he read a lot of popular fiction with a leaning toward mysteries and thrillers.  

I credit my father with giving me my very first Stephen King book to read.  It was “The Dead Zone”.  He gave me a brief synopsis of the plot and told me to give it a try.  “Read the first 20-30 pages” he told me.  I did and I was hooked for life.

After “The Dead Zone”, I continued to read Stephen King.  And read and read and read – and I'm still reading today.  That guy is majorly prolific.  I think I’ve pretty much read everything Stephen King has published including his non-fiction works.  My kids know if Stephen King just published something new, they have an easy birthday or Father’s Day gift for me.

Sadly, my father was in the middle of reading “The Dark Half” by Stephen King, when he passed away.  I found the book by his bedside with a bookmark still in it.  I still have that book as part of my collection.  Even after reading “The Dark Half” myself, I still kept Dad’s bookmark in the book on his page.  Over the years and through several moves, the book and bookmark remained.  At some point, I decided to use Dad’s bookmark for other Stephen King books I was reading.  In my mind, this way Dad was sharing in the newest Stephen King masterpiece with me.

I’ve got a new Stephen King book called “Later” sitting in my nightstand on deck for when I finish my current read.  Looking forward to sharing it with you, Dad. 

Happy Birthday!


Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Cool Christmas Display

Tonight we went out to look at Christmas light displays near us that were noted in some local magazine article my mom found last year. We had gone to look at some of them last year, but this year we really found some gems. 

One display we looked at was the classic you’d think of when thinking of a house’s Christmas display, multiplied by a thousand. It was a walk-through display in someone’s back yard, complete with a Christmas carnival, a Santa’s workshop in their shed, and a canopy of lights above. There were display cases throughout the yard to rival that of Macy’s and we were very impressed with the overall effort that must’ve gone into assembling it.

While that display was very impressive, the other house we saw was a cut above any we’d seen before. As we pulled up on the street, we saw that a house and its yard had been synced up with the house directly across the street, with many flashing LED light displays. At first it looked like just an obnoxious random strobe light show that should’ve come with a seizure warning, but then we saw a sign that said to tune to a particular radio station. When we did, we realized that the entirety of both yards and houses were syncing to a medley of songs from the Star Wars soundtrack, and as we kept watching, it went through multiple Christmas movies, including Polar Express and Home Alone. It was about a half hour for the full loop, with a mix of movies and Christmas music, each synced up with their own unique LED displays. 

        It was clearly a project from the heart, because it was so incredibly impressive. There was a light saber battle acted out solely through LED lights, and a wall of LED lights with images depicted from the Polar Express movie, and singing LED Christmas trees that even had vibrato when their mouths moved. It was so cohesive, and clearly had a lot of thought put into it. Looking forward to checking it out next year and seeing what’s changed and what stays the same. Attaching a link to a video to show just how truly amazing it was.  

Thanks for reading.  


Tuesday, December 21, 2021


When I turned 23 I got a new bed, and I cleaned out from under my bed these buckets of plastic animals I had from when I was a kid. I’m 23 years old and they’re still there. I know that might sound childish, but the only reason I kept them under the bed was so there wasn’t any room for monsters. 

I’m technically a member of gen Z but growing up I really thought I was a millennial because people slightly older than me would post memes about millennials online, so I assumed those people were just my age and that we were all just a bunch of dumb millenials. And like ten years ago there were all these articles about how millennials were destroying industries. Do you remember those? “Why aren’t millennials buying diamonds? Why aren’t millennials investing in real estate?” I remember reading those articles and thinking… I’m eleven. What am I going to do with diamonds? I want an xbox. I don’t want a house. Should I write a letter to the editor, like… we’re kids. How stupid are the people writing these articles?


Monday, December 20, 2021

Dying At The DMV

For reasons that I won't get into, I had to venture into the local Department of Motor Vehicles office today.  For your sake, I hope you don't have to go there -- ever.

Without a doubt, this was one of the saddest places on the planet.  Everything was old and falling apart.  Ceiling tiles were missing or actually dangling from above.  The floors were dirty.  The rows of benches were so beat up that even homeless people would snub their noses before thinking about sleeping there.

At the doorway, I was met by two police officers who asked if I had an appointment.  When I said "yes", they asked to see my confirmation.  Once they were assured my papers were in order, one of the cops escorted me into the DMV and checked me in on a kiosk that was the only thing in the room that didn't look like it had been around since the last millennium.

After checking in, I was told to sit on a bench and "watch the board" -- which was an old fashioned LED board with two rows of numbers.  One was my ticket number (secured from the check-in kiosk) and the other was the number of the service window.

Then the wait began.  So glad I had a reservation.  I sat.  People came and went.  They seemed to be served at a fairly strong clip but without knowing where you stood in line, the only thing you could do is sit there and read your phone (which everyone in the room seemed to be doing) until your ticket number showed up on the big board.

There was litter and -- no joke -- tumbleweeds of dust all over the floor.  All we needed was a slight breeze and they would have blown across the prairie.

Finally my number made the board and I made a bee-line to my service window.  Five minutes later, my business was done and I picked up my pace as I headed for the exit -- hoping beyond hope that I would be able to leave and not be locked in this purgatory until the end of days.  Luckily, the gods smiled on me today and I was soon back in my car, pulling off my mask and thanking the lord that I didn't have to work in a place like this.  To those that do, I thank you for your service and hope there's a special place in heaven for all of you.


Sunday, December 19, 2021

My Thoughts on "Spiderman: No Way Home"


          Today my brother and I got double-masked up and went to see Spiderman: No Way Home in theaters, because what kind of MCU fans would we be if we didn’t risk our lives to see this movie? So, I thought I would go over the movie and share my thoughts. Last spoiler warning!

         First off, I thought the movie was excellent. I liked it better than basically every MCU movie since Avengers: Endgame two years ago. Bringing back Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield for the multiverse was ingenious, and I spent the first half of the movie on the edge of my seat waiting for the other Spideys to show up (and when they finally did, people cheered and clapped). 

         The scene with Aunt May dying was devastating, but also I think it made the most sense for her to die, especially the parallels between Peter losing yet another parental figure. I also cried like 6 different times throughout the movie, but maybe that’s just me.

         Willem Defoe was excellent. I’d forgotten how good he was in the original Tobey Maguire movie, but he really nailed the Jekyll and Hyde thing. Was kind of hoping young James Franco would make a return, just because he’s so pretty, but it would have just made the plot too clunky and confusing.

         I think they kept the multiverse explanations pretty straightforward, although they could’ve gotten very clunky and confusing very quickly. I decided that my mom, who hasn’t seen all of the Spidermen’s movies, would still have enjoyed it and not been constantly confused, which is a good benchmark.

         I loved the wholesome friendship between Ned, Peter, and MJ, and how Ned wasn’t totally left out. Also loved that Ned and MJ still were friends even after Peter was wiped from their memories, although not quite sure how that worked.

         Speaking of confusing things, I have some questions about the ending. 

1. How exactly is Peter erased? Because MJ had a cut on her forehead in the last scene, so did she remember the whole battle where she got the cut, but just forget that Peter was there? Or how exactly are the blanks filled in? 

2. How does Happy know Aunt May if he doesn’t know who Peter is, and presumably Aunt May would also not have known who Peter was after he was wiped. So how were they all supposedly linked “through Spiderman” when Aunt May was Peter’s aunt, not “Spiderman’s”. 

3. In the post-credit scene with Tom Hardy as Venom, was this an accidental universe break? Because we know Topher Grace was Tobey Maguire’s Venom, and so he would be the Venom that knows about Peter Parker (and therefore could technically have come through the multiverse when Tom Holland Peter Parker messed up Dr. Strange’s spell.), But, Tom Hardy’s Venom was never linked to any of the Peter Parkers we know, so is there yet another Peter Parker in his universe that we just haven’t met, and that’s why he got summoned by the spell? Or are the writers just hoping that we’ll engage in the suspension of disbelief and decide that Topher Grace’s Venom and Tom Hardy’s Venom are the same, or somehow linked, and that’s why he was there? 

         In the future, I’m hoping that we could see more crossover, though I doubt it. And I appreciate the ending of this movie, but it still would warm my lil heart to see Ned and MJ remember him again, plus it kills me knowing how Peter’s connection to Tony Stark, Happy, May, and basically everyone important that he loves, is lost because he had to save the universe. 

They seem to be really digging into the multiverse stuff, as we see with the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, so maybe that will help Peter be known again by the people he loves. All in all, I would absolutely recommend this movie to anyone, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!  

Thanks for reading.  


Saturday, December 18, 2021

Religious Trauma

There’s a lot of trauma in being part of any religion, and if you’re lucky enough to have two religions like me, you get double the trauma. And it starts immediately after you’re born. 

Catholics have this ceremony called Baptism. And if you’re not familiar, basically they take a baby and they drown it, but just like a little bit. They just kind of dunk it in there like it’s a strawberry in fondue. They waterboard it. They waterboard the baby. You don’t even need to be a priest to do it, you can just be a Marine. 


For Jews they have this little ceremony called a Bris where basically they cut off part of your penis. That’s a lot of trauma to experience in the first few days of your life.


You know how the tradition of the bris started? Really simple story. Basically, in the bible, God just… commanded Abraham to do it. 


Say what you want, but that’s a test of faith. 


He was like: 

“Abraham, you love me right?” 

“Yeah God, for sure, I’m a huge fan”

“Okay good, sometimes I’m not sure, so I kinda want you to prove it to me, is that weird?” 

“Oh my god, no not weird at all, how can I prove my love to you?”

“Okay good, well you know how you have a penis?”

“Yeah, love it, use it all the time, it’s awesome.”

“I want you to cut it off. And then I want you to do it to your sons”.


Abraham had to do it as an adult too, to himself. Abraham remembered his circumcision. That makes the guy from 127 hours look like a wuss. 


“Oh, you had to cut off your own arm? Cute.”


Friday, December 17, 2021

Praise For Podcasts

 We had a long day of driving today picking Holly up from college for the winter break.  One of the things that made those hours much more enjoyable was the podcasts we listen to.  

It's funny to me how popular podcasts have become.  I bet everyone reading this has their favorites.

Here's my top list of podcasts I enjoy:

1 - The Daily from the New York Times.  Rarely does a day go by that I don't listen to this.  Each podcasts takes one timely story of the day and does a deep dive on it so you come away with a real understanding.

2 - WTF hosted by Marc Maron.  If you don't know this one, I strongly encourage you to check it out.  There are nearly 1300 episodes of WTF, with interviews with everyone from Obama to George Clooney to any stand-up comedian you ever heard of.  These are great conversations.

3 - Armchair Expert hosted by Dax Shepard.  Another interview show.  Often less incisive than WTF but a lighter tone and fun.

4 - The Dexter: New Blood Podcast.  The showrunner Scott Reynolds breaks down each episode with the writers, directors, cast and crew of the show and shines light on items I may have missed while watching the show.

5 - The Succession Podcast:  Host Kara Swisher dissects each episode but also has guests with knowledge about how the filthy rich really live (e.g., Mark Cuban).  They help us understand what is pure fiction and what is an accurate portrayal of how these people actually live and interact.

Now that Succession has ended its season, I'll probably find something new to take its place.  Open to suggestions if you want to share.  Thanks.


Thursday, December 16, 2021

Parting Knowledge

SETTING: Grandfather’s funeral. A spotlight shines down on an open casket that sits in the center of the stage facing upstage so the audience cannot see the inside of it. While people come and go during the scene in vignettes, the casket stays there for the whole play.

ALEX is a pretty straightlaced basic white guy, in med school, has a bland girlfriend.

BRIANNA is more progressive and boho-experimental. Always trying to find herself.


Parting Knowledge

ALEX and BRIANNA stand downstage right, talking in hushed tones. Perhaps there are other grieving family members standing around talking or approaching the casket to say their last goodbyes, but for the most part, the stage is mostly empty.

BRIANNA: God, you’d think that they would’ve dressed the poor guy in something other than that tacky tie. I mean, the man was a Mets fan, but still-- blue and orange stripes? He’s practically dying in vain.

ALEX: Someone said it was Grandma’s favorite tie of his, so maybe they were honoring her or something.

BRIANNA: I bet Uncle Mike just thought it would be funny. Too bad Grandma’s not here to stop him. (beat) Anyway, so when are you going back to Boston?

ALEX: I’m catching a flight tomorrow morning so I can get back in time for class, and then I’m coming back for the will reading and the opening of the safety deposit box next week.

BRIANNA: (sarcastically) Yeah, maybe Grandpa accidentally dropped five bucks in the safety deposit box, and then you’ll actually have something to inherit.

ALEX: Oh please, we all know that I’m getting the better part of his inheritance, and I’m definitely getting the pocket watch. Grandpa knows I’m incurring debt from med school, and he was so proud of his first-born grandson for becoming a doctor and getting a real job, Miss Philosophy Major, so you know I’ll be in the black next week.

BRIANNA: I call bullshit. We all know Dad was Grandpa’s favorite, and I’m Dad’s favorite, so there’s no way I’m not getting the pocket watch.

ALEX: Bri, that thing has diamonds embedded in the surface, and is made of pure gold. It’s worth half of the inheritance itself at least. Who cares if we’ve never even seen the inside of it? The outside alone is worth thousands.

BRIANNA: Exactly! You wouldn’t keep the pocket watch because it’s too “girly” and sparkly, but I would, because I know the sentimental value of it. He fought in World War II with that thing, and he didn’t carry it around all these years later just to sell it to some high-level pawn shop.

ALEX: Well, maybe I’d give it to Penelope. She said she would love to have a piece of jewelry like that.

BRIANNA: As if Grandpa’s dying wish would be for your gold-digging tramp of a girlfriend getting her slimy hands all over his most prized possession. He never even liked Penelope. Plus, if the pocket watch was so valuable that he never let anyone look at it, what makes you think that he would let someone who wasn’t his own flesh and blood look at it, let alone keep it.

ALEX: (voice raising)I don’t believe for a second that you would actually keep that thing. Unless you start gold-digging yourself, you’re going to need a source of income when you realize that being a philosopher is not a real job these days. I bet you won’t last a month in the real world before you sell it and use the money to buy more useless crystals to “clear your chakras” or whatever bullshit you’re into these days.

BRIANNA: (voice also raising) You won’t be saying that when I use my rose quartz on you!

Their Mom approaches.

MOM: (whisper yelling) What on earth is going on over here? This is a place for mourning and spending time with the family. Why is there yelling?

BRIANNA: Sorry, Mom. I wish this was more like your dad’s funeral. At least then there was kugel and wine. You would’ve never noticed that voice raise then. 

MOM: I agree that sitting shivah is a better celebration of someone’s life, but your father’s father was Protestant, and they prefer a more subdued event. But if I have to listen to your Uncle Mike defend that bullshit story about how that hideous tie was your grandmother’s favorite one more time, I’m going to break out the communion wine. (Alex and Brianna laugh). What were you guys talking about anyway?

ALEX: We were talking about how I’m going to inherit Grandpa’s pocket watch and wear it all the time in his honor.

BRIANNA: ACTUALLY, we were talking about how I’M getting the pocket watch because I was Grandpa’s favorite.

ALEX: The man was so traditional, how would he not give it to his first born grandson and also future doctor.

MOM: I hate to break it to you both, but no one is getting to see that pocket watch, let alone keep it. It’s being buried with him.

ALEX: What?

BRIANNA: No way!

MOM: Your dad says he and Grandma would’ve wanted it that way, and I believe that way more than I believe the tie thing. I know you guys weren’t always that close with him, but if you want to go say your goodbyes, now’s the time. They’re closing the casket in five minutes.

MOM exits. ALEX and BRIANNA walk over to the open side of the casket while they talk.

ALEX: God, I can’t believe he’s being buried with the pocket watch. 

BRIANNA: I know, what a waste.

ALEX: (Looking at Grandpa in the casket) Look at him. He looks so still and pale.

BRIANNA: Well duh. (grabs ALEX’s arm in surprise and points at the casket). Look! In his pocket! You can totally see the pocket watch. Ugh, I wish we could just take it and sell it. It’s not like anyone would know, and then we could even split the money.

ALEX: (hesitating) That’s crazy. We couldn’t do that… right?

BRIANNA: You’re totally thinking about it now! Come on, just reach in and grab it.

ALEX: Ew, I don’t want to touch him! He looks all cold. What if I mess him up or something?

BRIANNA: You’re such a loser. I’m going in.

ALEX: (trying to stop her) No wait, don’t--!

As Alex tries to stop Brianna from reaching in, they stumble and bump into Grandpa, causing the pocket watch to slide out of his pocket and pop open.

ALEX: Now look at what you did! Quick, close the pocket watch and put it back in his pocket before someone sees!

BRIANNA: Fine! (beat) Wait, did Grandpa ever say anything about the inside of the pocket watch to you? Have you ever seen it?

ALEX: No, he wasn’t in the habit of giving his prized possession to us when we were sticky toddlers. Now can we please just put it back in his pocket and go?

BRIANNA: (beat) Oh my god, look at the face of the pocket watch. Is that a…?

ALEX: That’s definitely a (whispers) swastika!

BRIANNA: Holy crap! Why does Grandpa have a pocket watch with a swastika on it? Was Grandpa a nazi? Does Dad know? Even worse, does Mom know?

ALEX: I can’t imagine why that thing would be his most prized possession if he wasn’t a freakin’ nazi! But why would Dad have married a Jew if he knew about Grandpa? 

BRIANNA: I don’t know, but how could he not have known? And Grandma?

ALEX: Well I definitely don’t want the pocket watch now.

BRIANNA: Me either. We have to go. Should we tell someone? Or ask someone about it?

ALEX: I don’t know, but I can definitely say I don’t feel as bad about him rotting in that hideous tie now. 

BRIANNA: I think we have to tell one of them. We need to find out if Dad knew before we find out what Mom knows. She’ll be devastated.

ALEX: Ok, but later, tonight. Nazi or not, right now Dad’s about to put his father in the ground.

BRIANNA: But if we bury Grandpa, we bury the evidence with him. I’m taking it. I don’t care what Dad says.

ALEX: Fine. Grab it quick, someone’s coming to take the body!

BRIANNA: (grabs the pocketwatch gingerly and drops it into her purse)

With one last look at the body, and then at each other, and back at the body, ALEX and BRIANNA walk in silence upstage left, out of the spotlight that shines on the casket. 



Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, December 15, 2021

What Gets Made

My family and I see a lot of theater.  Most of what we see is pretty solid.  Some of it is truly outstanding.  And every once in a while, we see a show that leaves us scratching our heads wondering who thought it was a good idea to produce that show.

We recently watched the play “Morning Sun”.  It had a great cast – Blair Brown (Orange Is The New Black), Edie Falco (The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie) and Marin Ireland (Sneaky Pete).  All are great actresses.

When I re-read the reviews for Morning Sun after the fact, I can now see that all of the quoted reviews are about these actresses and their performances.  None of them talk about the play itself.

That should’ve been a sign.

In a nutshell, the play is about one woman’s life (Edie Falco) and it is told to her by her mother (Brown) and daughter (Ireland).  It was an unusual way to tell the story because shouldn’t she know the story of her own life?  Why did she need them to tell it to her?

The other thing is – her life wasn’t all that interesting.  Hate to say it but I’ve got relatives whose lives and stories would make a far more interesting play than this one.

Did we hate it?  No.  The performances were very good.  We just left the theater wondering what it was about this play that someone felt it was important to spend tons of money producing for Broadway.  If anyone out there has seen this play and can clue me in, I’m all ears.


Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Hannukah Doesn't Hold A Candle To Christmas

People ask me if Christmas or Hannukah is better, because who better to ask than me? I’ve celebrated both my whole life (Yeah I was spoiled, can’t you tell?) 

I’ve always hated that people ask me, because we all know Christmas is better, okay? You just want to hear me say it and I will give you the satisfaction. 

Of course Christmas is better. Christmas has its own genres of music and movie. Every year, the Hallmark Channel makes 200 Christmas movies that are exactly the same (and complete trash) and we watch them every year. 

No one is doing Hannukah albums. Hannukah has three songs, and they’re only okay.  I know that today’s finest vocalists aren’t doing covers of them, for the most part. Not to mention one of those three songs is about how there are no Hannukah songs!


Monday, December 13, 2021

Spaghetti And Meatballs, Almost

Tonight’s dinner was fettuccini and Bolognese sauce.  It was simple, warm, hearty and delicious. Served with a salad and some garlic bread, it was a delicious meal.

As I sat there eating, it occurred to me that this was almost exactly like eating spaghetti and meatballs – only better.  I don’t know about you but when I eat spaghetti and meatballs, I usually cut my meatballs up into small enough pieces that I can have both spaghetti and a piece of meatball on my fork in every bite.  No I’m not anal retentive – I just like what I like.

Pasta Bolognese ensures that you have equal distribution of the meatballs by skipping the “ball” part all together.  With little bits of meat spread evenly throughout the sauce, you never have to worry about coming up short with that last bite of spaghetti and no meatball.

I turned to thinking, how did those fine folks in Bologna come up with this fine recipe?  The simplest explanation is that someone probably made sauce with meatballs but the meatballs cooked to long and fell apart in the sauce.  Instead of big thick balls of meat, they had sauce with deconstructed meatballs.  Probably considered the dish a disaster.  Did they feed it to the family or toss it out and went out to dinner instead?  Maybe they thought about tossing it out and then someone tasted it.  Eureka!  A new delicacy was born.

Interestingly, it seems like the origin of this dish (and its association with Bologna) is in question.  Considering it is often made with tomatoes and a tomato ragu, it is considered more typical of a dish from the tomato growing region of Naples rather than Bologna.  Who knows?  Those Bolognese people took credit for it and got some great branding out of it.  Now people all over the world go to Bolognese to eat this dish.

I never realized how popular it was.  I found this on the interweb:

“This delicious pasta is more-so preferred by German and British families. In fact, in a particular study in 2014, Spaghetti Bolognese was ranked the third most popular dish eaten by German expats, especially at their places of work. The same study revealed that it's currently the second most popular food in British homes.” (Now I’ll need to look up what is the first most popular food in British homes – a possible topic for a future blog entry.)

Given the popularity of this dish, I’m expecting this blog entry to go viral.  I should have a million views by morning and my own cooking show by Wednesday.  Friday the latest.

When that happens you can all say you knew me when….

Thanks for your support. I won’t forget you when I make it big.


Sunday, December 12, 2021

The Case For Bidets

Why don’t we, as Americans, use bidets more? Maybe it’s part of some American ego where we think our way is always best but bidets so glaringly make sense.

We use water to clean literally everything else but when it comes to cleaning literal poop from our assholes we’re like, “that’s okay, I’m just gonna rub it with some thin paper”.


I don’t blame anyone for being hesitant about putting new and foreign things in their butts, but the start of COVID would have been zero problem if we weren’t so reliant on toilet paper. I bet bidets were stacked high at supermarkets.


I have a friend who just got a bidet and he’s a whole new person. He grew like 5 inches I’m pretty sure, not to mention his ass (clean). 


Saturday, December 11, 2021

The Poor Branzino

I went out to eat last night and had Branzino.  It was delicious.  Light and flaky but also hearty enough to not make you feel like you needed another meal afterward.  It was prepared with olives and a light lemon sauce.  Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

This morning, however, I got to thinking – what the heck is a Branzino?  Has anyone ever seen one in the wild?  Someone out there scuba diving say “hey, I swam through a whole school of Branzino”?  I’ve never heard someone say that.  In fact, I never even heard of a Branzino other than on the menu of some of my favorite restaurants. 

So what gives?  A new species doesn’t just materialize.

I asked my friend, Google, and I learned that a Branzino is a European Bass.  So basically, this is marketing pure and simple.  Restaurants probably said, “I can’t charge $29 for a bass.  Maybe if we called it something else that makes it sound fancy?”  And the Branzino was born.

I laughed as I continued looking through my Google search and found the following:

“Branzino is one of the finest fish, with very few bones and firm flesh, and delicate flavor that holds its shape in stuffing, grilling, or baking. Branzino is a versatile fish.”

It reminds me of a scene near the beginning of the first Godfather movie when Luca Brasi goes to visit Don Corleone at his daughter’s wedding and says, “Don Corleone, I am honored and grateful that you have invited me to your home on the wedding day of your daughter. And may their first child be a masculine child.”  And may their first fish be a versatile fish too.

I think all of the other fish got together at their annual United Nations of fish meeting.  They were all there – the salmon, halibut, sea bass, trout – you name it.  They heard reports about the growing consumption of their species by humans.  “How can we turn the tide?”  “How do we make the humans eat less of us?”  And they hatched a plan to go online and write lots of amazing reviews about the lowly Branzino.  “If we talk up the Branzino, people will think it is a treat to order that at restaurants.”

Those fish may have small brains but their diabolical plan has worked perfectly.


Friday, December 10, 2021

Past My Prime

I’m getting to that point where I’m almost past my prime. I used to be able to eat dairy like a champ and now I have to eat ice cream like I have a bomb waiting to go off in my pants. Because, in a way, I do. 

In college, I could drink no problem. Now, I wake up hungover the morning after just eating chicken wings. And you don’t even use wine to cook those.


I have neck pain now. I told my doctor about it last year and he just goes, “Yeah that’ll happen”. That’s kind of his diagnosis for everything. He’s less of a “change the things I can” doctor and more of an “accept the things I can’t” kind of guy. 


I could be like:

“Doctor, I think I’m dying.”

He'd be like:

“Yeah, happens to everyone. Everyone dies, happens to 100% of people. It’s completely normal. In fact, it’d be stranger if you didn’t die. That’ll be a thousand dollars, drive safe.”


Thursday, December 9, 2021

Strong Coffee

I feel very strongly about coffee.  I know I’m not alone when I say that I love coffee.

Let me rephrase that.  I L-O-V-E coffee.

The smell of cracking open a fresh bag of beans, of the coffee brewing in the pot.  Can you smell it right now?  I can.

Something about the entire ritual of preparing coffee is so comforting.  Pouring a cup, adding a bit of creamer and then stirring it all together.  Then wrapping your hands around the mug and lifting it to you your lips for the first sip.  De-lish!

While I’ve certainly had a ton of BAD coffee over the years, I am often surprised at how many ways there are to brew a good cup of coffee. 

Growing up, there was always lots of instant coffee around so it took me a while to understand what a GOOD cup of coffee can taste like.  Over the years, I’ve tried coffee using ground, whole bean, even coffee bags.  Plus I have to admit that the instant packets from Starbucks were not bad either.  Some swear by their French press.  Others can’t live without their Keurig (which I use from time to time but it doesn’t really make the coffee strong enough for me).  We buy coffee concentrate that I often use to kick a Keurig brewed cup of Joe into overdrive.

I know that in the U.S., “Coffee Regular” is generally understood to mean with milk and two sugars.  My dairy additive of choice is half & half and I don’t do sugar or any sweetener.  I prefer my coffee strong – bold and earthy.  If the coffee is good, I don’t even need to have caffeine.  Because I try to save caffeine for when I really need it, more often than not I’m drinking decaf or 50/50 blend.  Again, when the coffee is strong, I don’t miss the caffeine.

Years ago my relationship with coffee really bordered on unhealthy – I drank so much of it that my body never knew when it was day or night.  Nowadays, I generally limit myself to a cup a day – on the rare occasion I’ll have two.

All of this writing about coffee has put me in the mood for some.  Anyone care to join me?