Friday, August 16, 2019

Mrs. Maisel exhibit

Here are some pics from our visit to the "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" exhibit at the Paley Center.

The exhibit featured costumes, props, and re-created sets from the show, which is set in NYC in 1959-61. 

Our 1959 television debut...

A quick trip to Paris, complete with cigarette...

Jo gets a quick 'do in the Catskills...

"B. Altman's, how may I direct your call?"

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Odds and ends

One of my favorite places in the world is Brownstone Discovery Park, a Connecticut waterpark created from an old rock quarry. It's so cool because there are no fiberglass slides, no fake palm trees, and no steel drum music from speakers hidden in fake rocks.

There are cliffs you zipline off, cliffs you jump off, and cliffs you swing from via Tarzan rope.

I went with Ethan and his girlfriend Ruby. My three thoughts for the day:

1. I love swinging from a rope, letting go at the top of the arc, and falling into the water like I am a graceful heron.

2. I will miss Ethan when he goes to college.

3. At some point I will be too old to grip the Tarzan swing, and I will confidently leap from the cliff, only to immediately plummet into the water 20 feet below, like the people who are old or overweight. When will that time come? I don't know. Will anyone warn me in advance? Will I listen? 

Monday, July 29, 2019

Practicality is overrated

If practicality were the most important thing in the world, you'd have been a podiatrist. You'd live in a small town in South Dakota in a post-war ranch house, preferably single-level, with a 2-year-old Kia in the driveway with 12 months left on the warranty. You'd have no kids (not worth the money), no pets (not worth the hassle), no antiques (you can get a perfectly nice lamp from Menards in Sioux Falls and you don't have to worry about bumping into it with your TV tray).

You'd never live in New York City (crowded and filthy), certainly not in Manhattan (overpriced), and God forbid in a pre-war apartment (do you have any idea how much energy those high ceilings waste?).

You certainly wouldn't work in media (unstable) or write children's books (no money, no future).

And if, on a misguided whim, you ever decided to renovate your kitchen, you'd never choose marble countertops. Ever. Marble is too soft and porous. Everyone agrees. It scratches too easily. It chips too easily. It stains too easily. It doesn't matter that every time you and your wife walk into a kitchen showroom and gasp at the island countertop and say, "What's that?" they always reply, "That's marble. But you don't want that. Come look at this quartzite. It's more practical."

You suspect that if Michelangelo were alive today, he'd be advised to sculpt with quartzite. He'd be told that that the Menards in Sioux Falls sometimes has clearance sales.

But, alas, you are not practical. You are fortunate to have a wonderful wife who loves you anyway. She said you can make the decision about the countertops. He-he. Dangerous. Like giving fireworks to an 8-year-old boy.

As soon as you recover financially you are going to take her to Paris. You will take her to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and you will tell her how much you love her, and you will kiss under the Parisian full moon, and you will both smile because you are in love and you have marble countertops like everyone in Paris. And to hell with all the podiatrists in Sioux Falls who think you're nuts.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

First-world problems

This morning at brunch Jo and I were discussing whether our kitchen renovation is going to come in on budget, and whether having marble counter tops is going to make us stressed out all the time, and whether we should go with the Bosch or the Bertozzini appliances.

Is Ethan going to like college? What is Sam going to do when he graduates?

I need to sell another picture book manuscript.

And I need a new media gig.

And my feet are sore from running in the park yesterday.

And some a-hole stole a couple of the solar landscape lights we just installed.

And look at those cute babies; we need one.

How nice it is, for however long this bliss lasts, that these are the biggest problems in our lives.

Friday, June 21, 2019


You know what? I'm not even going to caption these photos. You get the gist. It was great to be with so many family members, great to enjoy the sunshine (and fog) of southern California, and great to create some special memories with our new nuclear family.

Here's to California!

Friday, June 7, 2019

3 Things About Ethan That The Goverment Doesn't Want You to Know

1. He has made his college choice. He will attend Centre College, a small liberal arts college in Danville, Kentucky. It's a bold choice, most notably because it will be such a radical change from the Upper West Side.

62.5% of Kentuckians voted for Trump. I'd like to say that I don't disparage the entire state of Kentucky for that, but I kind of do. It's less in anger than condescending pity, like when your grandmother gets phished by someone claiming to be a Nigerian prince. You just shake your head and sigh. That's how I feel about the state of Kentucky.

But it was also a bold choice for Centre College to admit Ethan. So kudos to everyone involved. Life should be about stretching one's boundaries.

2. He just completed his semester-long senior project, which consisted of writing an entire 120,000-word novel. He was cranking out ten pages a day for the past three months (does that add up? I'm not going to check). He says the goal wasn't to write a great novel, but simply to write 120,000 words. 

I'm inching along with my own novel, and he blew by me like a '79 Firebird Formula overtaking a '76 Gremlin.

In short, I'm very impressed.

Here he is with his project advisor, after his presentation this week:

3. As of next Wednesday he will be a high school graduate. Which means Jo and I will have no more household members enrolled in the K-12 school system. Which means we need to get more in the pipeline. Pronto. 

But I digress.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Novel update

As you may recall, it's called Imagine, Arizona, about a community that's self-exiled from the post-1980 world.

Three chapters are done plus the outlines for most of the remainder. I was writing some dialogue last night for a chapter in which Julia, the main character, visits her mom's grave in the local cemetery. Jo was sitting next to me while I was typing away, and all of a sudden she saw tears running down my cheek and said, "What's wrong?"

I sniffled and said, "This is going to be a good chapter."

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Book update

Whiskey informs me that the "F&Gs" for Naughty Ninja Takes a Bath have arrived from the publisher. That's the entire book minus the cardboard covers that are added in the final step of the process. Whiskey adds that the cover is delicious. Publication date is October.

Three Grumpy Trucks was selected for the International Literacy Association's Children's Choice 2019 Reading List. The list of 100 picture books was voted on by 12,500 kids. This is my first book to make the list.

Bailey celebrated by showing Whiskey how to roll in the clover in Central Park.