Friday, May 30, 2008

Monday, May 26, 2008

Softball Season Has Begun

Guest blog by my boss, Randall Lane:

LOWER EAST SIDE, N.Y. -- It's a rivalry four years running, as the dominant privately-held business and affluence media company of the 20th Century
(Forbes) has annually taken on the dominant privately-held business and affluence media company of the 21st century (Doubledown) in that proxy war known as softball. A rivalry fueled by this writer's previous role as the captain of the Forbes team. And a rivalry fueled by see-saw battle that saw Doubledown triumph once, and submit to spankings from Forbes two other times.

No more. The Fightin' Dunnings made capital T tools of the Capitalist Tools
17-7 Thursday night, a proper thrashing that signified a new era in softball and media dominance.

Who were the heroes? Too numerous to count. DDM's normal first inning defensive lapses were replaced by a 1-2-3 inning, courtesy of Ian Spanier's pitching and the third base gun of the ringer-de-jour, Robert Levine's college buddy Barry. Then came the runs, in bunches. Levine, clearly cut off from Spanier's steriod stash, had no home runs this time around, but was good for lacing doubles. Todd Tarpley swings like a college wrestler, yet still punched two key hits. Barry hit a home run. Rookie edit assistant David Perry, who clearly hadn't touched a bat since the Reagan Administration, muscled a hit. And suddenly, DDM was circling the bases like a cha-cha line, a force of offense not even the in-dugout chain-smoking of associate editor Scott Eden could slow. (Eden, reached for comment after the game, told this writer that he was merely serving as a role model for Tarpley's seven-year-old son, who was cheering dad on.)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Berlin Kids

I'm always touched by historical images of kids displaying hope against the larger backdrop of war or Depression or the other unfair calamities that life brings.

So I'm mesmerized by this photo of German kids during the Berlin Airlift of 1948-49, anxiously waiting outside the runway fences for American pilots to drop candy.

These kids were born at the start of a horrible war in which many of them lost their fathers or older brothers, their homes, their schools and churches. Now the war was over, but the Russians had suddenly blockaded their city. There was not enough coal to heat their homes, not enough milk, not enough eggs, not enough meat, let alone the sweets that comprise a proper childhood (and, in my case, adulthood). They went to bed cold and hungry. A very bleak time to be 4 or 7 or 10 years old.

And yet here they are, faces toward the sky, hope in their eyes. A chocolate bar! Floating down from a handkerchief parachute! A tiny, random act of kindness that exemplified all that was good in the world, amidst all that was bad.

Happy Memorial Day.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sour Power

"I'm never going to eat Sour Power Straws again," vows Ethan.

He was eating one upside down yesterday, and some sugar fell into his eye. We got it washed out quickly--no long-term eye damage--but it was traumatic nonetheless.

"I never knew sugar could be so dangerous," he said afterward.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Separated at Birth?

This magnificent keepsake school photo of Ethan and Samuel is most reminiscent of:

A) Tom Petty and Jackson Browne

B) Sean Penn and Eric Stoltz

C) The McKenzie Brothers

D) Garth and Wayne

Sunday, May 11, 2008


I have always felt loved by my parents. I have never doubted it, and it's one of the things that has made for a happy life.

My mom will tell you that I was not an easy child, and that is true. She was a very young mom, and I was a rebellious kid. But she loved me and always supported me.

She put up with my pre-school temper tantrums. She got me a plastic clown punching bag on which I could take out my aggressions, which I promptly destroyed.

She put up with the call from the principal's office when I flipped off my fourth grade teacher behind her back and got ratted out by some goody-two-shoes classmate.

She put up with the embarrassing situation when I was in high school and wrote a story for the school newspaper filled with sexual innuendos, which caught the attention of local ministers and made the front page of the Durango Herald.

She stuck by me.

She attended all of my high school wrestling matches, most of which I seemed to win by 1 point in the closing seconds. Everyone in the stands knew she was my mom because of the shrieking. (My mom, you should know, is a little high-strung. She gets excited playing a game of marbles.)

She listened to me rant and rave about how I couldn't wait to get out of our small town and go off to make my mark in the big city. And she was there for me the day before I left for NYU, when I suddenly broke down and sobbed because I wasn't ready to leave. And it was like I was five again.

I love my own kids the way she loved me--unconditionally. And I've been truly blessed.

Thanks, Mom. Happy Mother's Day.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Ethan's Class Photo

I wish I could say that this photo is just a joke, but it's the official class photo of Ethan's class. (Click for a closer look.)

Yes, that's Ethan yukking it up with the martial arts pose.

The scary thing is, they surely took more than one picture--so this was the best one.

Poor Ms. Chandler's expression says, "I'm smiling now but wait 'til the photographer leaves the room." Poor Ms. Abrahams is giving him the "I-shouldn't-have-turned-down-that-finance-job-in-San Diego" stare.

And everyone was so distracted that they didn't even notice that poor Tasnim was holding the Studio School sign upside down. (Unless Ethan put her up to it.)

To the parents of Ethan's classmates, all I can say is: we're sorry. He was born this way, we swear.

Toy Sale

Spring cleaning this weekend. The boys are going through their toy bins to see what can be thrown out ("to make room for new stuff," as we've learned to position it).

Samuel is like his mom: he doesn't like to get rid of anything that could possibly be used at some point over the next 50 years, in some curcumstance, no matter how arcane or unlikely.

The boys held a sidewalk sale this afternoon. They were squabbling a little over pricing; Ethan had an inflated sense of the value of things, which drove Samuel crazy. They settled on 25 cents for any toy, or 5 for a dollar. They were very excited when they got their first sale--a Rubik's Cube that was missing one green tile, for which the buyer gave them a dollar and told them to keep the change.

In all, they sold 3 toys and netted $1.50. The remaining 25 toys are back in the apartment.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


I found this on the back of a crumpled-up piece of paper when I was picking up Samuel's room tonight.

I have no explanation.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Guest blog by Ethan Tarpley

Ethan: I have a new idea for a movie. It's called "Sometimes I Have One, Sometimes I'm Looking for One."

It's about a penguin. He got fired from his job working at a coffee place. He quit becuase it was lame, so his boss fired him for quitting. So he was looking for a new one. But he noticed that each one he was horrible at. Then he got a really cool job. Then he found out it's not how cool your job is, it's how good you are at your job. So he went back to work at the coffee place again.