Sunday, July 13, 2014

My Day with 311

On Friday, I got up really early to go into the city.  My brother was in from Colombia, so we had an early morning breakfast as is our wont.  Breakfast at 8 am at the Grey Dog on University.  Last time we were there, Alec Baldwin was there, but he didn't recognize me.   Maybe this time.

I get up and drive to the subway.  I've usually got great parking kharma, but today there are no spots available-- oh what's this, open spot?  What's the sign say?  No Parking 7AM-4PM School Days.  Is today a school day?  It's summer, but it's Friday. I'm not sure.

 I call 311.  After waiting a minute or so, Victoria gets on the line.  I ask her my question, and she says it all depends on whether or not that school has summer session.  She'll look up the school for me.  Except it's St. John's, so it's not in her database, she doesn't know.  I should ask the school.

I decide not to chance it and move on.  Still can't find parking.  I say, screw it, I'll park at a meter, there's plenty of meter space.  I go to a 6 hour meter.  I put in my card, select my hours, and click pay.  It tells me that the transaction is cancelled, as it is not accepting money right now.  But I don't want it right now,  I want it in 2 hours  (and will happily pay for the 2 hours in between time)  Can't make it work.

So I call 311 again.

I get Victoria again!

I explain to her my problem, and she says yes, there's no way to over-ride the machine, I should come back at 8 am and feed the meter then.  (but that's when my breakfast is, I tell her.  An hour away!)

I move on.  I find a place on the street where I am inches on either side from a driveway.  My Honda Odyssey is squeezed in but okay.

I walk to the subway, get in, have breakfast.  Sadly, Alec neglects to show up.  Some candyass excuse, no doubt.

I come back to my car.  In the middle of the street, I notice that there is a wire down. Reaching all the way to the street.  It looks likes a phone wire, but I'm not an electrician, I can't be sure.  I call 311 for the third time that day.

Victoria doesn't answer (perhaps she's on a coffee break?)  Instead, some other guy.  I explain to him what's going on.  It's not sparking, I think it's a phone line, but it might be electric.  They say, well if it's electric, he can call Con Ed.   Am I sure it's not electric? I don't know, I tell him.  I don't think so.

In the meantime, I've watched 5 cars run into this thing, or swerve at the last second to avoid it.

Click.  He transfers me to 911.  "Caller, what is the nature of your emergency?"

I explain the situation, (and the guy keeps stopping me as if I were in an actual emergency and just going too slow.)  He says, hold on.... He's alerted the fire department.  They'll be there in 5 minutes.  Can I stay?  "Well, I was going to go home now."  "They will just be a minute."  I stay.

About 10 minutes later, they arrive.  It is a phone line.  The fire guy wants to know my name.  "Smith I say.  Smith.  With a P."

As 4 guys figure out where the best place to cut the phone line, I take off.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fappy Hather's Day, Everybody!

I posted a funny video for the Mom's-- the least I could do is post one for Dad's.

this is one of my favorites.  It came out a few years ago, and it's still right on the money.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Dads Raise Barns: In which dad bloggers help one of our own.

Oren & his kids
One of my dad blogging friends, Oren Miller, was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer.

As he writes eloquently and beautifully on his blog Blogger Father.

" People in my condition have about a year to live on average, and treatment is now limited to making the next year more bearable. There are other options that may be discussed later, including experimental treatments, and I'm staying optimistic, but frankly, I think I know where I stand."

I encourage you to read the whole blog post, as it is wonderful, but please get some kleenex ahead of time. I've cried both times I've read it, and I expect the next time I will cry also.

Oren is the founder of one of the largest Dad Blogger communities on Facebook. A bunch of those guys are raising money for him and his family to spend quality time together. I'm one of those guys.

Below you will see a donation opportunity from Give It Forward.

Even a small donation will help a very deserving family. Even if you don't know him, please consider donating a couple of cups of coffee worth.
I assure you, he is deserving.

Thank you!

Friday, May 30, 2014

Alexander and The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - The Play!

Buy the Book on Amazon.
This is one of my son's favorite books.  In fact, when things are going bad, or he isn't happy about something, a joke that will almost always cheer him up is if I ask him "Is it time to move to Australia?"

So when I heard that there was a musical theatrical version of it produced by Theaterworks USA (which is one of the top touring kid's theatres in the country) I jumped on the chance to see it (which is what we are going to do this Sunday at 1:30 pm at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center.
We are so looking forward to this!

If you are a studious or home-schooling parent, you can get study guides on the Theaterworks USA website.

This is from the press release:

Have you ever had a really rotten day? Alexander has... He wakes up with gum in his hair, he trips on a skateboard, and then he accidentally drops his sweater in the sink - all before breakfast! Alexander can already tell - it's going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day!

Alexander's day continues to go downhill as he gets smushed in the car on the way to school, his teacher doesn't like his drawing of an invisible castle, and Paul doesn't want to be his friend anymore. There's no dessert for lunch, there's lima beans for dinner, and even worse: there's kissing on television! It's enough to make you want to move to Australia!

Laugh and sing along with Alexander's misadventures in this hilarious musical, featuring book and lyrics by Judith Viorst, author of the best-selling classic book. Discover along with Alexander that sometimes, everyone has a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day began touring in 2006. 

This 60-minute, intermission-less musical, featuring five actors, is appropriate for ages 4 and up.

Tickets are $25. To purchase tickets, call Ticketing Services at (212) 220-1460. Single tickets can also be purchased by visiting their website at or by visiting the Box Office at 199 Chambers Street, Tues-Sat from 12PM – 6PM.

And for true Alexander fans, there is apparently a Steve Carrell movie coming out in October! (That doesn't look like a musical, and doesn't hold as true to the book, but it looks pretty funny!)

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mappy Hother's Day! - Anita Renfroe's Momisms

For mothers everywhere, in honor of today, Anita Renfroe's hilarious Momisms, set to the tune of the William Tell Overture. This is everything mothers normally say over the course of the day, condensed into 3 minutes.

Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

HyperISH at the New Victory for Mother's Day!

Tomorrow we are going to see an amazing sounding Dutch dance/acrobat show called HyperISH at the New Victory Theatre.

Hyperish, which is choreographed and created by one of the judges of the Dutch version of "So You Think You Can Dance"  fuses a number of different dance styles, including hip-hop, house, breakdance, acrobatics, modern dance and ballet to create some new ways of thinking about these styles (which is how they got their company name ISH-- meaning they are fused styles, hard to put in a box.  We missed them when they were last at the New Victory in 2006.

Great example of that inability to be put in a box is that the show is very loosely based on JD Salinger's classic Catcher In The Rye!  Why yes, I would like to see an interpretive dance piece about Holden Caulfield and his band of phonies!  I will find it enlightening!

My wife is a huge fan of So You Think You Can Dance (although we've never seen the Dutch version) so it is the perfect mother's day show to take her too.  And my son-- well, he just loves to go the New Victory, no matter what they have going on!  (After that, we're going to go to our favorite Parisian restaurant Le Relaise de Venis (which has an NYC outpost and is kid-friendly, if your kid likes steak and fries.)

There's only 9 chances to catch HyperISH, and you've already missed some of them, so if you want to make reservations, you should get on it!  The New Victory recommends it for ages 8 and older, but having seen the videos, I think savvy theatre kids ages 5 and up will love it.

Let me know what you think about the show in the comments!

Performance Schedule:Friday 5/9 7pm
 Saturday 5/10 2pm and 7pm
 Sunday 5/11 12pm and 5pm
 Saturday 5/17 2pm and 7pm
 Sunday 5/18 12pm and 5pm

 HyperISH has a running time of 60 minutes with no intermission, and is recommended for everyone ages eight and older.

 General Ticket Information

 Tickets for HYPERISH at The New Victory Theater (209 West 42nd) are based on seat locations, with full price tickets starting at $14.. Purchase tickets online or by phone at 646-223-3010. The NEW VICTORY Theater box office (209 West 42nd Street) is open Sunday and Monday from 11am-5pm and Tuesday through Saturday from 12pm-7pm.

For more information, visit the NEW VICTORY website.

For more info about ISH and some of their other shows, visit their website

See their New Victory trailer:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Book: ReFuel with Dr. John LaPuma

Back in February, I saw Dr. John LaPuma speak at the Dad 2.0 Summit.  He was talking about men's health and nutrition.  I thought he was a great speaker, and saying some things I hadn't heard before about Low T, about men vs. women dieting, and about the importance of knowing your numbers.

I filed his name away, and wanted to find out more abou this work. This past month, I got the opportunity to talk with him as part of the Modern Dad's podcast (Listen to the episode here:  Modern Dad's Podcast with Dr. John LaPuma, and then follow the links to listen to some of our other great episodes as well)

He was a great guest and chockful of all kinds of information about the fallacies and tribulations of Low T, and about the nutritional part of dieting.

As part of the interview process, I got sent his latest book ReFuel: A 24 Day Eating Plan to Shed Fat, Boost Testosterone, and Pump Up Strength and Stamina.  I've been reading it, and thought I'd let you know about it.

Eric Cartman
Eric Cartman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
First, some background:  Although I don't talk about it much online, I have always struggled with my weight.  As our South Park friend Cartman might say "I'm not fat, I'm big-boned!" I've been up and down, between a low of around 220 and a high of (gulp) 340.  Last May, I realized I needed to do something about it, and decided to diet, using a  modified version of the slow carb plan recommended in the book the 4 Hour Body

 Since May I've done pretty well ( lost nearly 50 lbs) but I have another 60 or 70 to go before my goal-weight of 199, which might not be achievable, as I don't think I've been under 200 since I was 16.

However, over the last 3 months I've plateaued, and I recently had some surgery, so I haven't been exercising-- and well, I'm starting to move in the wrong direction again.  I need to move the needle in the other direction. So this book is coming at the perfect time for me.

Dr. John LaPuma
Dr. LaPuma's basic idea is pretty easy to grasp--Here are the 4 ideas at the heart of his plan.

  • Know your numbers (if you listen to the podcast or buy the book, he'll tell you what numbers are the important ones.)  This is about setting both a baseline, and achievable goals.  One example is that your waist size should be half of your height in inches, but be careful-- your pants size and your waist size are not the same!
  • Set 24 day goals (you can repeat the 24 day cycle ad infinitum.  but having a specific goal that's less than a month keeps you on track.)
  • Eat better food.  He says to avoid anything that you can crush or crumble.  It's a modified low carb diet (2 days a week you are under 50g, the rest of the time you are eating healthy unprocessed foods. He has lots of great and delicious recipes in the book.)
  • Get support.  one of the most important things you can do is to get your spouse or significant other to support you.  It's humbling a little, and it's difficult, but you are going to need that support to reinforce new habits, and to let your bad habits hit the road. If you can't get your wife or partner to support you (or don't want to) there is an online "VIP" community that Dr. LaPuma promotes, but it does cost money to join ($10 a month). It does also include (I think) a quarterly conference call with Dr. LaPuma, so it may be worth it to you.
My plan is to follow this plan during the month of May (I'm traveling a lot during April) and check back in about my progress.

You can find out more about the book at or