April 29, 2015 § Leave a comment
For Christmas, Santa brought my son a doll house. It was the only thing he wanted.
The doll house was very popular right around Christmas, then it had a long-ish break with intermitent play, but lately it’s been getting a lot more attention again. These days, though, my son is NOT into having the doll house in any kind of order. In fact, he used the word “ransacked” to describe how it looked which was accurate. Why he wants his poor Koala family to live like that is beyond me, but it prompted me go get a little bin to put the tiny accessories in so they don’t get vaccummed up during this disarray phase. And looking at all of the delightful little doll house things, reminded me of this amazing Easter Egg the makers hid in the newspapers that came with the living room furniture.
There are two newspapers. Sunday, April 1 and Monday, April 2. Here they are:
I mean, come on. He discovered a treasure! But then: he was so disappointed because “Treasure was just a broken box!” I find this endlessly hilarious. And I want to thank whoever behind the scenes at Epoch or Tomy designed these amazing tiny newspapers.
April 22, 2015 § Leave a comment
In case you don’t know, “SHAZAM” is the magic word that turns Billy Batson into Captain Marvel. (Full disclosure: I had to look up Billy Batson’s name – I just knew it was the Captain Marvel magic word.)
Long before the internet, my dad stumbled upon this delightful bit of trivia: SHAZAM is an acronym for all of the heros on whose powers Captain Marvel draws strength. I remember my dad even had this information filed in his rolodex at work under “S.” But, when it comes up, I am always hard pressed to remember what SHAZAM stands for.
Then, cleaning out the house, I found this:
I mean, come ON. That is possibly the BEST MAGIC WORD EVER.
Leave a comment if you have one that’s better.
April 21, 2015 § Leave a comment
Okay. Here’s my NEW BUSINESS IDEA:
A Bar. With Snacks.
The Bar is called “Good Grief.”
You go there to sit and drink alone and maybe cry. All the tables are for one. It’s okay to talk to other solo bar patrons if you both feel good about that (like if you’re commiserating) but if they just want to drink and cry alone, you’ve gotta respect that. Also, while there are no rules to specifically prohibit it, it would be really uncool to go there to pick someone up.
There are rules to keep people safe. The bartender will only let you have, say, two or three drinks per hour to keep you from drinking too fast, leaving and getting hurt. There’s probably an overall max number of drinks you can have too. (We’ll have to look into the science and make some educated choices about the amount of alcohol we’ll let someone consume . . .) The bar would also have taxis and/or cars for hire always on call so that sad, drunk patrons could get home safely.
The drinks are straightforward but EXCELLENT. Always fresh lemon and lime juice, simple syrup, etc. – no margarita mix or sour mix or any of that mess. The wine won’t give you a headache.
The snacks are similarly familiar but upscale. A cheese plate. A good salad. A couple of sandwiches. Maybe one “real” entree on a rotating basis. The food is tasty and doesn’t make you feel like you did something bad to your body by eating it, and it keeps you from feeling too hungry or drinking on an empty stomach.
The decor is dark. Everything is black. There is some attractive (though dim) lighting – perhaps some of those now-ubiquitous Edison lightbulbs? Maybe some great wallpaper behind the bar. The tone is hushed. The music is always very sad. Kleenex everywhere (but maybe in custom-made holders so they blend in and look kinda cool.)
The world needs this. Or, at least, New York City needs this. Sometimes you need a place to drink and be sad and be by yourself. And maybe (probably?) you’re less likely to overdo it and get sick if you’re at a bar where drinking alone and crying are the norm.
Are you a restauranteur looking for new business opportunities? Let’s do this together!! (You probably think I’m kidding, but I’m not!)
April 7, 2015 § Leave a comment
Have you watched Monica Lewinsky’s TED talk yet?
All within a few days, I heard about the talk, read this article in the NY Times and, in the course of cleaning out my family home, found this old clipping, randomly, in the piano bench:
It’s Monica 1.0. It came out during the time period she recalls during her TED talk when she was being publicly shamed not just on TV, Radio and in Newspapers, but on the brand-new, and rapidly expanding internet. But the poem doesn’t feel particularly dated if we swap out he protagonist, and I’d say that’s one of Lewinsky’s main points in her talk: public shame is at a premium these days as a form of entertainment and we are all increasingly in the habit of passing judgement as casually as we might pass the time of day.
Worth a watch, I’d say, if you’ve got 20 minutes. And if you do watch, let me know what you think in the comments.
April 2, 2015 § Leave a comment
Last Tuesday morning I woke up early. I took a walk to a car to a bus to the air-train to a plane to a transfer to another plane to a hotel van to get to Louisville where, on Tuesday night, I saw Coleman Domingo’s play “Dot” which is being presented as part of the Humana Festival at the Actors Theatre of Louisville.
Wednesday, I took a hotel van to a flight to an oh-my-god sprinting-through-the-airport transfer to another flight to an air-train to a car to a walk back to my apartment.
It was a quick trip.
I went because my friend Kevin is in the play and because I’d long heard of Humana but never been. Initially, I tried to arrange a trip where I got to see some other plays and spend a little more time in Louisville, but . . . well, there’s a lot going on and it just didn’t work out. No matter. Next time.
“Dot” is wonderful. The writing is wonderful and the performances do a bright and loving job of bringing the writing to life.
The play is about a family whose matriarch has dementia and has just begun to decline beyond what can be shrugged off as mere forgetfulness. The patriarch has died and so the younger generation – three biological children, one spouse, one neighbor-the-family-has-known-forever, and one illegal caregiver hired off of Craig’s List – all with problems of their own, are faced with the dilemma of how to deal with the mother’s inevitable decline. The writing is bravely and effectively honest about the anger and impatience family members feel when faced with a failing loved one, as well as perceptive in its portrayal of the matriarch’s take on and response to her situation. The entire play is loaded with laughs which make it feel even more true to life, but which also keep the whole from veering too deeply into pathos and despair.
My own mother did not have dementia, but we did go through a lot with her over a period of about a year. In the process, I had a window onto what it is to be aging in America (at least in my corner of America) which is not a pretty picture.
Coleman Domingo’s play is, I believe, an important contribution to the conversation on caring for our sick and elderly. While you likely missed it at Humana (it closes April 12), it is my hope – and suspicion – that it will see many productions around the country in the coming years and I hope you’ll take the opportunity to see one.