Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dear Mr. Diner Owner...

Dear Mr. Diner Owner,

I am writing to you today in the hopes that I will be able to offer some humble, constructive criticism. The suggestions I am offering are merely observations and not meant in any way to be disrespectful. I have always been a loyal patron of your establishment and plan on continuing as such, for many years to come (God willing).

Aside from the one time that I contrived salmonella, as a direct result of eating your roasted chicken (Which at the time was delicious. The meat was so juicy and fell off the bone), I have very little negative sentiment, toward your cuisine. Of course, I have my favorites (The Challah French Toast, with Bacon and Sausage.) but in general, the portions are quite generous and the quality is certainly above average.

What I am writing to you about today, has to do with the overall decor of your establishment and its general lack of contemporary features. If it is of any consolation, I will admit, that on the odd occasion I happen to frequent another Diner (Only if it is more convenient for my Mother or my Grandmother.), I do find the same issues at these said establishments.

I have been coming to your Diner for some three odd decades. When I was young, I remember being impressed with your cutting edge audio equipment. You were always a trend setter. As a matter of fact, I remember when you renovated the exterior of your Diner to look like a huge, mirrored, spaceship. But that was long ago. Today I must hold your feet to the fryer. Please excuse the pun.

Exhibit A

Sir, as you must already know, this is a wall mounted, CD Jukebox. While obviously very impressive back in the early 80's, it is for the most part, now completely obsolete. My daughter has, on more than one occasion struggled with the site of this. She repeatedly tries to understand what it does and what its purpose is.

She always asks, "Daddy, who is Sha Na Na?" and "Daddy, who is Elvis?." Please Sir, I implore you to take it down. If not for me, do it for the children. If you must keep it, at least consider populating the catalog with contemporary music choices. No one wants to eat Roasted Chicken on the bone, while listening to Billy Joel's "We didn't start the fire."

And three plays for a dollar? Are you really making money from these things? You should be ashamed of yourself. Don't insult the good, American people. These are trying times.

Exhibit B

As an owner of a restaurant, you must certainly be familiar with The New York State Board of Health and the various levels of sanitary inspection procedures that they enforce. You must also be keenly aware that a metal teaspoon does not sufficiently guard these chalky, minty, little treats from the filthy, germ infested, old lady hands, that hoard them, as if they were the last remaining morsels of food on earth.

My good friend, there are some fantastic, yet affordable options available to you, in the way of mints. Some of them are even individually wrapped in a plastic coating, to promote safe hygienic practices. I am also sick and tired of being called a mean Daddy by my children, because I refuse to let them partake in your petri dish of plenty. Please don't force me to report you. The Board does not take this sort of thing lightly.

Exhibit C

Dude. You have a combo Ms. Pac Man / Galaga Machine?

That's fucking awesome.

Just fire me up some Challah French Toast and we're cool.

I'm about to Out-Number me some blue ghosts...

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Three D's Of Being A Dad...

Sometimes being a Dad is dangerous. Sometimes it's delightful. Other times, it's delicious.


On Saturday night, I got slugged in the face by a bedazzled purse filled with Chucky Cheese Tokens. Yep that's right. My 7 year old filled her purse with about 50 gold tokens and tossed it, in all of it's glittery glory, right at my mug. She was standing about a foot away. It was like a prison beating. She might has well have packed a pillow case full of soda cans and pummeled me in my sleep. The worst part. No remorse. She claimed it was an accident. She said the purse slipped out of her hand. Like a cold hearted, blood thirsty, psychopath. When I regained consciousness, I sent her to her room for a time out.

Of course, I blame Chucky Cheese. Rat bastard.


Over the weekend, I filled in for my wife and drove the Sunday School carpool. There are two other children in addition to my 7 year old daughter. A boy and two girls. Together they form the Kid Axis of Evil.

I love them.

This is our 6 minute ride...

My daughter and her little lady friend are yacking it up in the backseat. They are talking about Chris Daughtry and the earthquake in Haiti. We stop to pick up the boy.

Out-Numbered - "Hey little man. What's up?"

Boy - "Nothing."

Out-Numbered - "You seem upset. What gives?"

Boy - "I'm very angry."

Out-Numbered - "Angry? About what?"

Boy - "I'm upset with my brother. He's teasing me and I don't like the way it makes me feel."

Out-Numbered - "That's not cool. What is he teasing you about?"

Boy - "He teasing me because he gets to spend more time with our dog."

Out-Numbered - "Oh, that's not fair. Why don't you tell him to stop teasing you?"


Out-Numbered - "Whoa! Settle down pal. I'm not the enemy here."

This is pretty much where I become useless. So I throw it out to the ladies.

Out-Numbered - "Ladies! We have a question for you."

Daughter - "What?"

Out-Numbered - "What should you do if someone is teasing you and they won't stop?"

Daughter - "We should know! We learned this in Brownies.

Girl- "That's easy. You just ignore them and walk away."

Out-Numbered - "That's a fantastic suggestion."


Out-Numbered - "OK hang on a minute. Let's say that doesn't work. What else can you try?"

Both little ladies are raising their hands furiously.

Out-Numbered - "You in the back."

Daughter - "Daddy you know who I am."

Out-Numbered - "Proceed."

Daughter - "You should try and talk to them and tell them how it makes you feel."

Out-Numbered - "Good idea."


Out-Numbered - "How does it make you feel?"

Boy - "ANGRY!!!"

Out-Numbered - "Obviously. Have you tried punching him in the fuschnaykies?"

The girls erupt in laughter.

Boy - "I can't do that. I'll get in trouble."

Out-Numbered - "You're right. Bad idea."

Daughter - "We know a boy at school who can burp the alphabet. Can you burp the alphabet?

Out-Numbered - "Sure can."

Kids - chanting "DO IT! DO IT! DO IT!"



Out-Numbered - "I think I might throw up."

Daughter - "OK. That's enough! Can you put on Radio Disney?"

Out-Numbered - "Nope. But I can sing."


Out-Numbered - "YODELAYHEHOOOO!"

Kids - "STOP IT!!!"


Daughter - "You know what?"

Girl - "What"

Daughter - "My Dad's bestest friend in the whole world, has cancer."

Girl - "Well my Dad went to a place called UConn and it's blue and white and he had a friend that had cancer there and...

Daughter - "Yeah but my Dad knows Adam Graves and he used to play on the Rangers but now he just works for them and my Dad got him to go to the hospital with him to see his friend that has cancer and my teacher says that was really nice to do and...

Out-Numbered - "Baby, he didn't come to the hospital. He met us at the Rangers game."

Daughter - "Whatever."

Out-Numbered - "OK troops. We're here. Everybody out."

Daughter - "Dad, can we adopt a child from Haiti?"

Out-Numbered - "No."

Daughter - "DAAAAADDDD."

Out-Numbered - "OUT!"

Daughter - "You're so mean."

Out-Numbered - "Have fun!"


That's what I'm talking about. My cure for being Out-Numbered...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nuts and Popcorn On The 7:41...

OK. I'm going to be honest here.

I had something I wanted to write about but I'm having a hard time concentrating.

A few months ago, I started doing most, if not all of my writing on the train. It's the only time, aside from late at night, that I have to myself. For the most part, it's been a pretty decent escape. Sometimes I write in the morning on the way to work. Sometimes I write in the evening on the way home. I usually sit with my tiny computer on my lap and stare at the screen the entire commute.


I'm pretty sure I look like a douchebag and for the record, I don't agree with my spellchecker. Douchebag is one word.

I also get really self conscious of my fingers.

All the metaphors that have been used to describe the typical NYC morning commute, are pretty accurate.

"We're packed like sardines in here."

"It's like a herd of cattle."

You get the picture.

So at any given moment of any given train ride, I'm sitting approximately a pubic hair away from some, fat, smelly, stranger.

I'm pretty positive that most of the time, the person next to me can see exactly what I'm writing about. Today, my traveling companions happen to be particularly distracting.

I am sitting in one of those, 3 people face the other 3 people, seats. Except there are only 4 of us.


For starters, the woman across from me and to my left, is so big, that she is taking up two seats. That doesn't bother me at all. She is who she is and she seems pleasant enough. She's wearing a fine argyle sweater and brown corduroy slacks. She seems quite content but she's a nodder. A nodder is a person who drifts in and out of sleep throughout the commute and repeatedly wakes herself because of the sudden jerking motion of her nodding head. It's a frustrating feeling to experience but even more frustrating to watch. It's been going on for almost half an hour and I can't take my eyes off of her. It's putting me in a trance. I want to put her in a neck brace and staple her eyelids open. It's like seeing a car accident about to happen. I can't look away.

To her left and directly across from me is a young-ish guy. He's probably around 30 years old. Button down, Khakis and loafers. He looks like a poor man's James Spader. This guy is the reason I hate the train. He's sitting with his legs spread wide open and stuffing his face with an obscene amount of popcorn. At this very moment, there is a piece of popcorn stuck to his nuts. I'm not sure whether I should punch it or eat it. He's driving me insane. I can hear every bite, as if he were attached to my torso, in a giant Baby Bjorn and chewing in my ear. I am mad at him. I hate his big, fat, nuts that are practically in my face and I hate that he's a fucking pig. Damn you James Spader. Why must you torment me?

Lastly there's the guy directly to my left. He's an older gentleman and he smells like bagels and spit. He's got a white beard and he's fallen asleep, face first onto his briefcase. I don't want him to be dead. I would imagine that these things happen all the time. Please don't be dead. Just think of all the Sudoku puzzles you have yet to solve. Think of all the pumpernickel bagels that await you. Your white beard beckons them, like a spider's web beckons the unknowing fly. Oh, he just snorted. Thank God.

Women train conductors are hot.

Out-Numbered by big, fat, nuts and popcorn...

Shit. This is my stop. Gotta go.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It's Eating Her Brain. I'm Eating Potato Chips...

I am a bad parent.

I have been lying on the couch, watching football all afternoon. My wife is out with my youngest daughter. I am home alone with my 7 year old.

I haven't fed her lunch or even checked on her in quite some time. She knows where we hide the 100 calorie packs. This should suffice.

I'm not overly worried but I am becoming a tad concerned.

She's playing with her Nintendo DS.

Playing is probably not the most accurate description.

She's melded with it.

I hear her grunting, like an old man digging a ditch.

What's even more disconcerting is what follows. There is a pattern developing. Every so often, she shrieks and yells.


and then there is quiet.

and then a whisper.


Who is she apologizing to? Is she sorry for using inappropriate language? Is she apologizing to her Nintendo DS? Is she apologizing to me?

I'd like to think it is the latter. She knows I don't allow that type of language in the house.

But I am a floor below her.

On a couch.

Wrapped in a fleece blanket.

Watching football.

With Sour Cream and Cheddar Potato Chips on my face and Ranch Dip in my hair.

I think about getting up and taking the Nintendo DS from her.

"You should read a book. Enough of the game and watch your language."

But that would ruin everything for me.

So I stay on the couch and pretend it isn't happening. The Nintendo DS is my ally.

From upstairs


She'll be OK.

My wife will be home soon.

And I'll be Out-Numbered once again...

Now for an extra treat, mosey on over to MamaPop and have a look at my latest offering. Just click on the way over sized text below:

Why American Idol Needs Howard Stern

Monday, January 11, 2010

Everyone Loves The Dollar Store...

My daughter has been bugging me for weeks to take her to the $1 store. For some reason she views this place as some type of shopping mecca. I'm not sure what she expects but whatever it is she's imagining, the bar is set pretty high.

7 Year Old - "Daddy, can we please go to the $1 store today? Please. Please. Please.

Out-Numbered - "I suppose. What is it that you want there anyway?"

7 Year Old - "My friends got beautiful rings there and everything is $1. Can we go?"

Out-Numbered - "OK. We can go."

7 Year Old - "YES!"

Out-Numbered - "But you're using your money. Go get your piggy bank."

7 Year Old - "OK Daddy. I love you!"

Out-Numbered - "Yeah. Sure. Today you love me..."

7 Year Old - "What?"

Out-Numbered - "Nothing. Get your money and your coat."

$1 store my ass. That place sucks. How could it not. Everything is a dollar. The shelves are probably lined with crap. What the fuck is a dollar these days anyway? Yarn? Balloons? A key chain? I'm not buying it for one second. If there's one God damn thing in that store that's more than a dollar, I'm gonna bust some ass. No one's gonna break my daughter's dreams.

Walking into the $1 store...

7 Year Old - "Wow. Look at all the stuff."

There's basically a shitload of cheesy Valentines tshatshkes everywhere you look. That and gloves.

Out-Numbered - "Uh, yeah. Cool."

7 Year Old - "What can I get?"

Out-Numbered - "How much money do you have?"

7 Year Old - "Um. Five dollars."

Out-Numbered - "Then you can probably get four things."


Out-Numbered - "Shhhhhhhhhhh. Calm down."

7 Year Old - "But if everything is a dollar then why can I only get four things?"

Out-Numbered - "Because you have to pay tax?"

7 Year Old - "What?"

Out-Numbered - "Forget it. You can get five things. I'll lend you money if you need it."

We basically spent the next 45 minutes walking around in circles. Aisle after aisle, lined with the most useless shit you've ever seen and my daughter wanted to buy every last bit of it. She even tried to convince me that the "Dog Toys" aisle was for kids. There's a fine line between determination and insanity.

But alas.

Not all was a complete waste of time.

We found this...


In all of it's glory. There was an entire box of them. I haven't seen a mood ring since I was a kid.

Guess how much it was?

That's right bitch.


We'll take four of them.

Not only are mood rings totally badass but now they are completely practical.

I live with three ladies. All I need to do is put a mood ring on each of them and VOILA! Instant mood barometer. It's genius.

Fool proof.

It's all right here:

I haven't tested it out on them just yet but I did give it a test run today myself. This is what I learned.

1) I am most RELAXED when watching High School Musical 3.

2) I am most UNSETTLED when I am on Twitter.

3) I am most ACTIVE when I am taking a piss.

Lord only knows what colors it will turn when I am feeling Out-Numbered...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

This Is Real...

I have a really good relationship with my 7 year old daughter.

We have a lot in common. We both love music, we like to be in the spotlight and we are both extremely stubborn. I love being with her. Even when she is being "difficult", I have a tendency to give her the benefit of the doubt. We make each other laugh.

I see myself in her. She's an old soul in a tiny little body.

She's also my first born. There's something to be said about your first born child. There's a special bond. One of my favorite things in the world is tucking her in at night. I lay in bed with her and we talk. We talk about anything and everything from The Jonas Brothers to my 5 O'clock Shadow. The words aren't what's important. It's the energy between us.

Sometimes when she's sleeping, I look at her and think about how little she used to be. I look at her hands, her feet and how she's turning into a young lady. I'm so proud of her. I made that. I had something to do with that. It still amazes me. I'll never be able to fully comprehend the magnitude of that. Sometimes I smile so wide that it hurts my jaw.

My best friend came to visit last weekend for the holiday. We've known each other for 32 years. We met when we were 7. I remember the day we first met. He and his Mother, rang our doorbell. It was a "cold call" so to speak. The neighborly thing to do. I was sick that day, so I couldn't play with him but my younger brother was happy to stand in. We've been friends ever since.

My friend and I were talking in the kitchen and I turned to my daughter and said:

Out-Numbered - "Guess how old we were when we became friends?"

7 Year Old - "I don't know."

Out-Numbered - "Guess"

7 Year Old - "30?"

Out-Numbered - "Nope"

7 Year Old - "40?"

Out-Numbered - "Dude, c'mon, I'm being serious."

7 Year Old - "I don't know. How old?"

Out-Numbered - "We were 7 years old."

She looks at my buddy as if I'm bullshitting her.

Buddy - "He's telling the truth."

7 Year Old - "Whoa! That's my age."

Out-Numbered - "Yep. Pretty cool right?"

That's when it hit me for the first time.

This is all real. It's not just bottles and poop diapers anymore. It's more than Barney and time outs. This shit is real. She's gonna remember all of this. This matters.

Sometimes it's easy to visualize the future. We plan out almost everything. We dream of our kids becoming Doctors and Lawyers (Maybe not so much Lawyers) or even perhaps the next great Vampire Hunter. But whatever it was that first inspired you to start a family, will eventually change.

You see, it turns out that the best part of being a Dad is not about realizing all the things your kids have achieved. It's about actually seeing it happen. It's about watching it unfold in real time. It's about not knowing.

Sitting there with my best friend and watching our kids play was indescribable. It was surreal. And all I could think about was that first night we met, some 32 years ago.

Who will her best friend be?

The best part is, I have no idea and neither does she...

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Two Dicks Are Not Better Than One...

Monday, January 4, 2010

My Staycation: Five Haikus...

I Hate You...

May I have candy?

You must first eat your supper.

You're mean. I hate you.


Black Princess, kiss frog.

Blue tits in 3D. Popcorn!

The Chipmunks must die.

Home Gym...

Fifteen pound sand weights.

HDTV on the wall.

Can't do one pull-up.

Carpet Shopping...

Bedroom needs carpet.

So many patterns to choose.

Are you hungry? Soup.

Fat Ass...

I can't stop eating.

Crescent rolls with meat surprise.

BAM! Diarrhea.

Kids yelling at me.
Getting fatter by the day.
I was Out-Numbered...