Thursday, December 23, 2010

Anatomy of The Uncool Christmas Card – 2010

35 clever quips

uncool_christmas_card_2010a

The Things, My Love, Murphy and li’l ol’ me wish you and yours a Merry Christmas. As always, enjoy your ‘elves!

Meanwhile, I’m off to deliver eggnog around the neighborhood. While I’m gone please enjoy this little piece about The Things’ Christmas lists that appears on DadCentric, “It’s the Box That Counts.” Cheers!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hair Today …

19 clever quips

My Love made the appointment for last Tuesday. Not being one for history, she didn’t realize the significance of selecting December 7 as the day for her and Thing 1 to finally make good on someone’s promise to chop off her tresses for a good cause.

“Pearl Harbor Day,” I told her. “When the Japanese bombed us into World War II. ‘A date which will live in infamy.’”

“Oh.”

“It’s OK. I’d still love you bald. Or looking like that crazy doll head with the erector-set legs in the first Toy Story movie. I mean, you did put up with my mustache for a month.”

locks-of-love-before locks of love measure locks of love duo cut2

locks of love ponytails

locks of love ponytail hold

Combined, the two of them donated seven locks, each at least 10 inches long.

locks of love in bags

And hardly a tear was shed.

locks of love haircut

locks-of-love-wash

And yes, Thing 1 still wanted to know if she could get paid.

She settled for a plate of sliders and wings at a restaurant down the street.

post-cut+ + +

For more information on donating to Locks of Love, visit its website and FAQ page.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Holiday Cards - ‘Me Writer, You Wronger’ Edition

28 clever quips

Time for my annual rant about putting out the Uncool Family holiday cards, but with a tangy twist! This year I’m borrowing the “I’m Right, You’re Wrong” format from Marinka of Motherhood in NYC, a classy and sassy woman who I’d be lucky to have on my side during a knife fight at Zabar’s.

Cast of Disagreers: Uncool and My Love.

Disagreement: Do you need to hand write a personalized note in a holiday card when said card already includes: 1) a thorough and entertaining family newsletter and 2) all the family member’s names (dog included) expensively embossed inside?

Position 1: We do all that other stuff to AVOID having to personally communicate with these people, many of whom we haven’t seen since our wedding. A handwritten note is only necessary when adding essential and timely information, such as “Don’t pick the scabs!” or “Plead the Fifth when the Feds come!” Not exactly keeping with the spirit of glad tidings, though.

Position 2: People may not be able to read our chicken scratch but they’ll figure out we’re attempting a bit of personalized sincerity here, Scrooge!

Please weigh in. The stamps are burning a hole in my pocket.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Holy Hacky Sacks!

14 clever quips

It’s well established that I’m not an authority on Judaism and such, but am I the only who finds it odd to sell things you kick around like this as Hanukkah gifts?

star of david hacky sack

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hello, Keith Hernandez; Goodbye, Mustache Movember

14 clever quips

I know I’m two days late for my final mustache showing of Movember but both cords we have for downloading our digital cameras mysteriously disappeared.

So I bought a new camera.

I had to. Mine was tragically smacked out my hand by an 8-year-old (not named Thing 2) at a birthday party in May, and it had been shooting with a wonky focus ever since. That’s why I’ve been looking so Cybill Shepherd in Moonlighting-ish of late. 

So without further ado, here is my Day 30 ‘stache, in which I channel my inner Keith Hernandez.

me and mexWhy Keith?

Because Keith is a one-time Most Valuable Player and 11-time Gold Glove winning first baseman.

Because Keith, in 2007, won the American Mustache Institute’s Top Sports Mustache of All Time award and had his own mustache tribute day at Shea Stadium:

Because Keith played a central role in one of the best episodes of Seinfeld ever.

jerry seinfeld keith hernandez

Because Keith is a spokesman for Just for Men Mustache and Beard dye gel which, I admit, I had to use not so much to hide the gray but to darken the blonde so people could tell I was growing something under my nose.

just for men keith hernandez

Because Keith, while broadcasting a Mets game this year, reflected the feelings of all the team’s fans by falling asleep during the “action”:

God save you and your mustache, Keith.

And God save those of you who contributed to me and Team DadCentric, to help us raise more than $1,300 to fight prostate and testicular cancer.

As for those of you who didn’t donate this time out, I’m sure you were saving up to make a HUGE contribution this spring when I ask for you to support Cure JM in the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon/Half Marathon in June.

Now back to our regularly scheduled, unfuzzy and Uncool face:

the face of home and uncool

Monday, November 29, 2010

Turkey Surprise

14 clever quips

Two packages arrived at our doorstep a few weeks ago that had me giving thanks well before the cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes hit the table this past Thursday.

The first package: a box of wine.

Not that $3.99 cube sitting on a shelf at the 7-Eleven between the fried pork rinds and the dusty orange bottles of STP Super Concentrated Gas Treatment. That’s “box wine,” Goober!

No, this was an actual case of the bottled fermented grape. Stopped up with real corks and wax ‘n‘ stuff. This normally would have meant little to me, the resident beer drinker of Uncool Estates. Besides, My Love had joined an online wine club earlier in the year and cases of malbecs and fruit de loops had been showing up at our place periodically.

This case, however, was the fifth to arrive at our door in the past two weeks. In fact, the last time a case arrived even the FedEx man who delivered it raised his eyebrows and inquired about My Love’s imbibing habits.

Even stranger, My Love has been laying off the vino of late. She had been letting cases pile up so she could work on her goal of living a healthier life through better eating, more exercise and putting the usual kibosh on any suggestion I throw her way especially if it now involves whipped cream and pure Vermont maple syrup.

Package No. 2: Now this is what got my mind right back in the gutter and rolling around in the glorious filth.

This package, the unassuming brown corrugated kind about two shoeboxes in width, bore the return address of … an online costume store.

Hmm … Halloween has already passed …

Store probably had big clearance sales …

Well, some of you have been around here long enough to know what visions of sugar-walled goodness danced in my head. Go ahead, take a guess.

READER 1: “I know! Discounted saucy pirate wench outfit!”

READER 2: “No, no! It’s a cut-priced frilly French maid!”

READER 3: “I’ve got it! Bargain-basement beer wench!”

(Oops – never got around to writing about that last one, did I? Looks like I finally have a completely legitimate reason to post this Oktoberfest photo of Kim Kardashian:

Oktoberfest Kim Kardashian beer wench

Look at the size of those pretzel loops! Is there anything Kim can’t do? You know, besides productively contribute to society?)

That’s right, friends, I was pretty certain My Love was stocking up for the bender to all benders … and letting me be the beneficiary.

Bless me and thank you, O Mysterious and Magically Delicious Powers That Be, for providing a bounty of trimmings to make for a most glorious feast (in the locked privacy of our room) this season!

But that was many days and icy showers ago.

So here it was, Thanksgiving Day. The turkey gobbled up, the coffee brewing and pumpkin pie warming. Sure, I was thankful for many things, most prominently my being able to wear elastic waistband track pants for the next three days but, golly, I felt a little cheated after letting my imagination run wild for most of the month.

And then, when I least expected it, the mystery of the second box revealed itself – not only to me, but also my incredibly embarrassed children and hysterical parents.

Down the stairs of our home came My Love, looking regal in this:

turkey costume

I could use some of that wine about now.

* * *

Hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving and that you’ll give a little more thanks that in two days I’m shaving off my Movember mustache. You can help celebrate by donating to fight prostate and testicular cancer.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hairy Thanksgiving

20 clever quips

When my upper lip was asked to join the Movember cause, I said “yes” without hesitation … and also without remembering that I have never before had a standalone soup strainer. This excludes the one I painted on when I went to a Halloween party as Groucho Marx in 1996.

Not that my pasty face hasn't been obscured before. It bore a goatee a few times in my life, notably when that look made its big comeback in the mid-1990s. Even at its frenzied height of fashion hipness, I had the forethought to shave it off before my wedding so as not to forever link the day of my most blessed union with a "what was I thinking" fashion faux pas.

I also sported a full beard for a bit in college. At least I did until I came home for a long weekend freshman year and The Mother of All Uncoolness hid the keys to my car until I used one of the dozen disposable razors she had strategically taped all over our house.

Which is why I can’t wait until Thanksgiving when I open the door for her and she sees this:

day 22 movemberME: Happy Th--

MOTHER OF ALL UNCOOLNESS: Good God. Get that thing off your face!

ME: You don’t like?

MOTHER OF ALL UNCOOLNESS: Go shave. Now.

ME: Can’t. Growing it for charity. I’m rais--

MOTHER OF ALL UNCOOLNESS: No turkey for you until you MARCH upstairs and cut that thing off. Trim under your armpits, too. You won’t sweat so much.

ME: What? Hey, I cooked the turkey. And this is my house. I’m …

MOTHER OF ALL UNCOOLNESS: And get rid of that dog. Your grandfather would be appalled that there was a dog in the house. Especially a bald one.

ME: Grandpa’s been dead for 20 years. And this is my hou-

MOTHER OF ALL UNCOOLNESS: That’s it. We’re leaving. Here, take the pie. You’ve ruined my holiday.

ME (yelling down the walkway): You forgot the whipped cream!!

* * *

Remember, friends, I’m itching for a cause. Please donate to fight prostate and testicular cancer.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Movember Moustache Resistance, Parts 1 and 2

27 clever quips

Things have been getting a bit hairy under my lip of late, so this weekend I outed myself publicly.

day-7-village-people (This look lasted all of 5 minutes. That’s how long it took me to steady my hand from the convulsions of laughter I experienced after seeing myself in the mirror.)

“I’m growing a moustache to raise awareness about men’s health issues,” I told the parents of Thing 2’s soccer teammates. I handed them slips of paper with the URL for my Movember donation page because doing things like that help you achieve your goals of:

  • Helping raise money for research into prostate and testicular cancer, and
  • Preventing people from alerting the authorities that a man with suspicious looking facial hair is hanging around at youth sporting events.

“Are you going to a Movember party at the end of the month?” asked one father.

“Not as of right now. You actually have heard of Movember?” I said.

“Yes. Some guys I know did this last year,” he said.

“How come you’re not growing a ‘stache?”

He eyed a women I suspect to be his wife.

Luckily for him, she had her back to us.

Unluckily, though, for any poor bastards who get cancer of the prostate or the man sack.

+ + +

After setting down my racket bag at my weekly tennis match, I handed my doubles partner one of my Movember cards.

“I’m growing a moustache to raise awareness about men’s health issues,” I said to him, a man in possession of some form of facial growth for the 20-plus years I’ve known him. I expected some compassion, some understanding, and definitely some sympathy for my nascent soup strainer.

Instead …

“AWARENESS OF MEN’S HEALTH ISSUES?!! WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT! ALL THESE HEALTH STUDIES ARE DONE ON MEN! WE NEED MORE AWARENESS OF WOMEN’S HEALTH ISSUES!!”

(Capital letters alone do not do justice to the volume and air of shock in his voice. Or to the looks from the people on the court next to us.)

“Um, we did just spent an entire month in a world painted pink for breast cancer awareness.,” I said. “That campaign is pretty pervasive, so …”

“BAH! MEN’S HEALTH ISSUES! LIKE WHAT!!”

“Uh, prostate cancer. Men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than women are to be diagnosed with …”

“PROSTATE CANCER! THAT’S SO TREATABLE. C’MON!”

Now, I was not about to be sucked into a debate over the merits of one cancer versus another (as if cancer has merits – it all sucks, for cryin’ out loud – it’s CANCER!). So I listened to him go on more about biases in medical research toward men’s issues, how Major League Baseball had raised money for prostate cancer research this year and the like, and tried to figure out why this was a point of contention with him outside of the fact – and it is a fact evident if you knew this guy for 20 minutes, let alone 20 years – that my doubles partner will argue with any one over any thing any time.

“OK, fine,” I said. “Then don’t donate and just ignore all my on-court scratching today.”

We then proceeded to beat the other team 6-0, 6-2.

My moustache may not stop cancer, but it kills my tennis opponents’ rallies.

day-7-three-musketeers + + +

Don’t forget to donate, even if it’s just a $5, to me and my DadCentric mates as we grow ‘em this Movember!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sex, Blogging Conferences and Knowing Your Place

24 clever quips

Let’s talk sex.

Gender, actually. (I know. I’m disappointed, too.)

When I was making the rounds at BlogHer ‘10, handing out Pepsi Refresh / Cure JM voting cards and stepping through the throngs of fawning females treating me like I was a stray puppy, I met a woman.

A woman who worked for the federal government.

The “federal government source for women’s health information,” to be precise.

And she wanted to interview … me?

“Dude – I mean, Ms. – I’m a dude,” I said. “Really.”

Thankfully, didn’t I get mad, go into a rage and DM her proof of that fact on Twitter. That can cause a heap of problems these days.

(And, really, guys: distributing unsolicited photos of your shortcomings is plainly not cool. Ever. Distributing solicited ones generally isn’t smart either, doofuses. Not even to your spouse or significant other.)

No, she said, even though I was a man politely navigating my way around a den of Self-Empowered XX Chromosomes, I had a unique perspective and information about a health issue that affects young females significantly more than young males.

Her audience, she said, could learn something and they’d appreciate hearing my point of view.

Sure, she could have held out to talk to My Love, the woman who leads the foundation seeking a cure for the disease and the mastermind of our ambitious agenda to make the public aware of the need to make juvenile myositis a memory.

But face it, could you resist a stray puppy? Could you?

uncool-puppy-dog-look

(There’s your Day 3 Movember moustache update! Please support me and the DadCentric crew as we grow ‘em to show ‘em our support for men’s health issues.)

So we exchanged business cards, and later we exchanged questions and answers. I think it was a win-win. Please read the interview.

* * *

Much of the above is my tongue-in-cheekiness about a recent public debate I’ve been in this week about men at “women’s conferences” with one blogger that carried over to another blogger who discussed the need for homogenous groups to occasionally rally together, celebrate themselves and support each other. I respect their opinions even though I don’t fully agree with some of the arguments. Please read them and weigh in (I have comments included at the end of each of their posts.)

Given that, I feel compelled to highlight one gender role question from my interview and response that probably doesn’t add to the debate, but at least may make you smile:

Q. What about other stay-at-home moms, do you think they ever treat you differently?

ME: Some seem a little wary of me, and I think it is somewhat understandable. I'm invading what has been traditionally been their territory, so obviously they are going to a bit suspicious of a guy volunteering at a bake sale in the middle of a school day or hanging around the ballet school on a Saturday morning. But if you let that bother you constantly then you're probably not cut out to be an at-home dad. You need to either: 1) smile, introduce yourself and try to be a constructive part of the group; 2) suck it up and carry on; or 3) make alternative arrangements. That said, I've also met many stay-at-home moms and work-at-home moms who think it is the greatest thing in the world that I do what they do. Of course, that may be some sort of revenge thing.

Cheers … and peace. We all need each other these days.

Technorati Tags: ,,,

Monday, November 1, 2010

Give Cash for My ‘Stache This Movember

15 clever quips

the john oates moustacheCancer sucks no matter who gets it, but the facts are particularly scary for us guys.

For example, 1 in 2 men are likely to be diagnosed with some form of cancer in their life compared with 1 in 3 women.

And while enormous amounts of pink are spilled annually publicizing breast cancer awareness for women, did you realize a man is 35% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than a woman is to be diagnosed with breast cancer?

Dang it, dudes – we need to level the playing field!

E-qual-ity! E-qual-ity!

While anyone can pin a ribbon on his or her chest to show support for a cause, only a man (and maybe certain Eastern European female bodybuilders) can proudly wear said ribbon under his nose – in the form of a moustache.

That is why some of the more facial-hair adept members of DadCentric and I will be sprouting ‘staches this month in support of “Movember” – an international movement to raise funds and awareness for men's health, specifically cancer affecting men.

(Allegedly “Mo” is slang for moustache. That’s news to me, but this whole thing was started by Australians and, as you know from those Foster’s beer commercials, the Aussies have a different way of saying everything.)

movember day 1 uncool Here’s what you can do help this worthy cause:

DONATE: Give a few bucks to support the growth between my nose and upper lip. Just visit my Always Home and Uncool Mo Page, and click the big ol’ “Donate to Me” button.

Funds raised benefit the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG - the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

GROW YOUR OWN: If you are facial hair proficient, join the DadCentric team! Sign up as a Mo Bro, then shave your face clean and get raising some whiskers and money for the cause.

BE A MO SISTA: If you are of the female persuasion but not an Eastern European female bodybuilder, then you can’t grow a mustache. However, you can still support Team DadCentric by raising funds and spreading the word about men’s health issues by signing up as a Mo Sista.

Watch for semi-regular updates on my blog and on my Always Home and Uncool Mo Page. Meanwhile, tell me this:

What type of moustache should I aim for?

Derek_Smalls moustaches The Derek Smalls?

earl hickey moustacheThe Earl Hickey?

poirot_moustacheThe Pointy Poirot?

tom selleck magnum P.I.The Magnum P.I.?

imagePerhaps, the Anna Lefler?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Selling Body and Soul This Halloween

9 clever quips

Let’s take a partial break in my series of celebrity-sighting posts for some timely seasonal messages regarding Halloween.

I say “partial” because the first involves Jill Sobule, the singer/songwriter who wrote and performed the first “I Kissed a Girl” hit song back in the mid-1990s. She was the opening act for – ahem – me and Fountains of Wayne early this month and, because I exude some rare hormone that facilitates offbeat encounters with people of cult status or notorious nature, I ended up talking with her after the show … and owing her money. But that’s a story for later.  

Here’s Jill, in a performance from that night, discussing a Halloween trend that is especially disturbing for we parents of young girls:

Video: The Halloween Song by Jill Sobule

* * *

Since this time of year the odds of you coming face-to-face with The Devil go up exponentially, with Election Day looming nearby and all, I thought I’d present to you the one and only episode from the second incarnation of Twilight Zone that I remember anything about.

It’s eight completely entertaining minutes of how to beat Satan at his own game, featuring Sherman “George Jefferson” Hemsley (who unfortunately never yells “Weezie!” during it) and Ron Glass from Barney Miller sporting Lionel Richie’s hair and some real bad-ass designer jeans. Enjoy and go easy on the Fun-Size candy.


Video:
I of Newton, The Twilight Zone, 1985

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I’m With the Band. Really.

17 clever quips

“You need to have a little rhythm for this. I don’t know,” Adam said skeptically as he searched for second opinions and options with superior cleavage. “Does this guy look like has some rhythm?”

I nodded enthusiastically. Probably spastically. I undid a couple of buttons on my polo for good measure.

“OK,” he said, reluctantly pointing at me. “Go around there.”

Around I went. Up I climbed. There I stood.

Alone.

My lower legs suddenly became shakier than an election year promise.

Here, you get to play this,” someone said.

The lights didn’t blind so much as they disoriented. Or maybe that was just the first Sierra Nevada kicking in.

At my feet stood My Love, smiling up in the second row. Or maybe that was just the third Sierra Nevada kicking in.

I’m in a movie in which the film had been flipped over on the reels. Left was right and right was left. My world had been inverted.

There may have been a count in.

1 … 2 … 1-

Back when this blog was in its infancy, I made a confession to the 16 of you who read it about my most secret desire.

2-

Since I know most of you won’t click that link (though you might now because you feel guilty), I’ll repeat what I said back in June 2008:

3-

“I have a new goal in life. Just once, in concert, I'd like to show off my rhythm egg skills on this song with the Fountains of Wayne folk. No harmonies will be attempted, just some shake 'n' bake. Trust me, I've got the wrist action down.”

4-

Friends, on Oct. 7, 2010, at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City, I didn’t succeed.

First off, I played maraca, not rhythm egg.

Uncool shakes it to Hey Julie by Fountains of Wayne Bowery Ballroom

Second, I sang harmony.

Loudly.

Uncool sings Hey Julie by Fountains of Wayne Bowery Ballroom

Luckily for the audience, I’m certain our microphone had been turned off or waaaaaaaaaay down.

But aside from that, I think I pretty much nailed it.

(Look at the 0:40 second mark. I take a quick glance to my right and in a split second I realize: Mother Fletcher. I’m on STAGE! With FOUNTAINS OF WAYNE! Good Clapton -- this woman on the tambourine has less musical talent than Linda McCartney! This guy on my left is stiffer than George Michael in public restroom! TURN IT UP, UNCOOL! UP TO 11!)

Video: Hey Julie by Fountains of Wayne (Bowery Ballroom, NYC, Oct. 7, 2010)

After the concert, fame followed me. Down to the basement.

“Hey, you were on stage!” said the man behind the man behind another man behind 15 other men waiting to empty their beer-bulging bladders.

Another man behind him, who had six others behind him, agreed. “Yeah, you were on stage!”

“That I was,” I said. “Now, could I cut in front you guys?”

“No!”

Next time, I’ll add “cutsies” into my contract rider.

* * *

My eternal thanks to icm65, whomever you are, for taking and posting this video; and to David McTiernan – college student by day, rockin’ keyboardist by night -- who graciously took these photos upon request when my camera battery died and My Love was too under the influence to operate her iPhone camera.

Technorati Tags:

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Real Househusband Meets ‘Real Housewife of New Jersey’ – Really!

25 clever quips

This is the second and concluding post about my encounter with Danielle Staub of Real Housewives of New Jersey infamy. Need to catch up? Read Part One!

* * *

Feeling refreshed and several hundred dollars lighter the next day at the casino, we hit the pauper’s breakfast buffet with the Mohegan Sun’s main clientele. After navigating our way through the portable oxygen tanks and wheelchairs, we head upstairs to valet parking.

As we wait for the Minivan of Manliness to appear among the Lexuses, Navigators and H2s and wonder why none of these car owners were at the buffet with us earlier, a guy as tall and skinny as a telephone pole strolls up the sidewalk in a track suit, greets the doorman by name, fist bumps him, then enters the hotel.

"Let me guess," I say to the doorman, "that guy's a pro basketball player?"

The man used to play in the NBA and now clowns with the Harlem Globetrotters, the doorman tells me.

"Wow -- this is celebrity sighting weekend for me,” I say proudly. “Last night, we dined across from one of the Real Housewives of New Jersey."

“Yeah? Which one?”

“Danielle, I think."

"Yep, that was Danielle," says a man in a gray FDNY T-shirt who had just come up next to us. "She's the crazy one."

“That’s funny. That’s exactly how the guy who told me who she was last night described her to me.”

“Well, I should know,” says FDNY Guy. “My wife is her publicist.”

(After this, maybe now ex-publicist. Or ex-wife. Sorry about that, FDNY Guy.)

Two minutes later, I’m relaying this bizarre coincidence to My Love. But something is amiss. I notice her eyes are not on me.

“She’s standing right behind you,” she says sotto voce, which is Italian for “in a manner so as not to make an ass out of you, dearest.”

I turn and there she is: Danielle, the PROSTITUTIONWHORE! herself. She dressed down from when I saw her last in this:

danielle staub real housewives new jersey mohegan

This Sunday, she’s in flats, a loose-fitting long sleeve blouse and jeans not nearly tight or low-cut enough for me to even venture a guess as to whether she had underwear on.

“Dear,” I say in a tone I plan on using again on the day I meet Thing 1’s first boyfriend, “give me the camera. … Not the iPhone – the REAL camera.”

Danielle is hugging someone, a man I don’t recognize. There’s no squealing. No snippiness. No drama. She’s smiling. In these few moments, she seems – and I know this may disappoint some you – perfectly normal.

"Excuse me,” I say, “I'm sorry to interrupt -- but are you Danielle from the Real Housewives?"

She instantly smiles with teeth whiter than any Vermont college town.

"Yes, I am!" she says.

She’s upbeat, dare I say it – perky – and I’m not referring to her boobs because they are modestly concealed under the gentle flow of her taupe-colored top. 

"Would you mind if I got a photo with you?"

"No, not at all!" She chirps, stepping to one side so I can stand next to her.

I hand the camera to the guy she had been hugging.

"My wife and I sat across from you at dinner last night."

"I was MUCH taller last night," she says as we slide arms around each other's backs, without hesitation or awkwardness.

"Yes, my wife was admiring how you could actually stand in those shoes,” I lie.

“Not very well! Did you see how many guys I had holding me up?" she says, gesturing and there they are -- the future heads of the Jerry Springer Show security team from the night before. They are standing on the sidewalk, giving them a few more imposing inches of height. I see no expressions, just muscles and the pain they could cause someone they don’t like.

It was then, and there, I decided it was best not to bring up the whole PROSTITUTIONWHORE! thing. Or, as was suggested to me by someone on Twitter, that I yank on Danielle’s hair extensions.

It was then I realized how much I enjoy having all my own teeth.

Even if they’re not as white as Danielle Staub’s.

danielle staub real housewives new jersey uncool

* * *

Since that day we met, I’ve done a little more Googling and thinking.

There’s an alleged sex tape (NO! NO! NO! NOT ME! Her!!!) coming out. (UPDATED – BabyBloomr, I will never doubt you again. Ever. Now please pass the boric acid.)) I should have expected that.

But speaking of coming out, I now learn Danielle may be having a lesbian love affair (which I’m sure completely explains why she did not feel up me backside, right, love?).

She’s also trying to reshape her image doing PSAs against bullying, supporting gay rights and working with some charities.

Good for her.

Maybe she’s turning her life around, scampered up on a true morale high ground where she’s found redemption and a stable, loving relationship to make her whole.

Maybe.

But she's always PROSTITUTIONWHORE! to me.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Real Househusband Meets “Real Housewife of New Jersey,” Part 1

16 clever quips

Since I never break from “Always Home” mode halfheartedly, the next few posts will feature Your Uncoolness out and about having fame, stardom and celebrity fall into his lap like a pole dancer with vertigo.

* * *

The Indian casinos in Connecticut have a special name for My Love: “Doubles Down in Vain.” This notoriety comes with certain perks, which the tribes tease us with every month or so through bright and shiny postcards that arrive in our mailbox.

DRASTICLY DISCOUNTED HOTEL STAYS!

COMPLIMENTARY CONCERT TICKETS!

FREE $100 FOR BLACKJACK!

Everything to get her and her debit card to their gaming tables short of a police-escorted limousine ride and lap dance from Denzel Washington. (Psst – the limo wouldn’t be necessary if you promised her the lap dance.)

Luckily, she limits these benders to two or three times a year which, thanks to the freebies heaped upon us, allows us to turn into our incurring gambling debt into educational family trips.

“Hey, kids – look!” I’ll yell into the back seat with unbridled Clark Griswoldian enthusiasm as we roll up to the resort. “See that new hotel tower? It cost $18.3 million to build. How many consecutive hands of blackjack, at $50 a hand with $2 tips given to the dealer every sixth hand, did your Mom lose to pay for that new tower?”

On one of these visits a few weekends back, we dropped the Things off at the all-night kids’ arcade (where, you should know, they don’t take kindly to hypothetical questions about what happens if you lose the cash you set aside for their child care fees to a tightwad Deuces Wild video poker machine) and we headed for our ritual last meal before she hit the tables and I hit the bar to try to break my record for “free” Newcastle Brown Ales downed while noodling through $20 worth of quarter Jacks or Better.

The antipasto had come and gone when three couples work their way into the corner booth diagonal from us. Two of the guys, who look like they had just spruced up after an afternoon of security duty at the local meth lab, clear a path for a woman with thick dark hair, towering stilettos and a short tight black dress that gave anyone seated nearby the chance search for yeast infections.

A few minutes pass and a young couple approaches the booth. He’s holding a point-and-shoot camera. The two Hell’s Angels poster boys climb out of their seats and Long Tan Woman in a Black Washcloth poses, hand on hip, for photos with the couple, together and separately.

My viewing of reality TV is limited, but I am regularly sucked into that celeb gossip fest Extra because it follows Katie Couric’s nightly ritual of failing to profess her deepest, darkest desire to grab a certain at-home dad by the love handles and ride him hard and put him away wet. This led me to guess aloud to My Love that the woman is one of the Real Housewives because:

  1. She has that "I need to be the center of attention" get-up on.
  2. She has a perfectly even tan during a prematurely cold New England October.
  3. She's too tall and coherent to be Snooki.

My dormant investigative journalism gene kicks in. I knock over my chair, very stealthily, bump into a few tables and cruise around the restaurant to find the couple who had their photo snapped with the woman.

“That’s Danielle from Real Housewives of New Jersey,” says the woman.

Confir-MA-tion!

"Which one is she?" I ask.

"She's the crazy one," says the guy, looking into the camera’s display screen. “My God, she’s hooooooooooot!”

(I didn’t have a camera on me, but she looked pretty much as she does in this photo, but with longer, darker hair.) (And sluttier couture.)Danielle Staub Real Housewives of New Jersey

Hmm. My BlogHer bedmate, TwoBusy, writes about that show for an entertainment blog. I wonder if she’s the one he has a special nickname for.

I return to the table, grab My Love’s iPhone and fire up ye olde Twitter app.

image

Later that evening, I had my answer.

image 
Will this real househusband meet up with this “real” Housewife?

If so, will he slip and call her PROSTITUTIONWHORE!?

If so, would she hold it against him (I hope not – I’m behind on my shots)?

Tune in later …

Friday, October 15, 2010

Love; Pass It On

20 clever quips

Because the monsoon sweeping down as I type is carrying away the grass seed I put down for the 12th time in a month.

Because when the sun rises, and with it -- me, much of autumn’s bursting brilliance will have become soggy blanket of Crayola puke upon my muddy yard.

Speaking of expulsing bodily fluids, because no sooner did I step out of a New York City parking garage this week then did I step smack into a steaming pile.

Because that last bit compelled me, friend to all things canine – even those with the squirts, to give the stink eye to every dog and dog owner I passed in the next hour.

Because when I finally found a public bathroom, they were out of toilet paper.

Because while waiting to learn this, the thick-accented South American woman queued in front of me answered her cell then burst into tears because her sister really did have cancer, and I couldn’t do anything except hope my reeking shoe didn’t make this even worse for her.

Because my blog reader and Twitter feed has been filled with death, divorce, disease, despair and destruction of late. This may have drove my favorite escape, our TiVo, to finally off itself permanently Wednesday at the tender age of 6, taking with it my favorite two episodes of Ed.

Because Thing 1 is again struggling with her reading and resisting all my efforts to help her.

Because the doctor told me my total cholesterol and bad cholesterol are both over the limit. Dearest cheese, I’ll shall always think back fondly on the many tasty moments of crumbly delight we shared.

But finally because the keyboardist in this band did me a real solid last week (more on that later) and this is just the kind of infectious hook those of you bruised and battered by the past week could use right about now.

So, crank it!

And yes, you may interpret that as need be.

Video: Love; Pass It On by The Middle Eight

* * *

Everyday Goddess AwardFinally, a special thanks to Elise of Everyday Goddess for making me a “Post of the Week” earlier this month.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ch'i Whiz, Another Attempt At Yoga

16 clever quips

Vacations are only successful if you break routines and try new things, someone once told me. It’s good advice that I solemnly repeat, with eyebrows waggling, to My Love whenever we throw down (waggle) our baggage (wagglewaggle) on the bed (wagglewagglewaggle) at our latest holiday destination.

She always obliges immediately, offering to swap sides of the mattress we sleep on.

beach stay focused message from abundancehighway.com This indicates a clear lack of communication between us or, more likely, that even my most suggestive waggle suffers from a severe lack of lower forehead flexibility.

Hence, I enthusiastically supported My Love's decision to spice up our annual beach trip this year by bringing in an outsider to loosen us up.

Yes, she hired a yoga instructor who makes house calls.

Morning stretches on the warm sand.

A symphony of seagulls and crashing waves in our ears.

The scent of undispersed BP crude lubricating our lungs.

If anything, it would have to be better than my last attempt at yoga. (For those to lazy to click the link, that consisted of me prone on a cold basement floor getting the heebie-jeebies, via grainy videotape, from a sculpted and oily yogi dude with a hipster ponytail who kept urging me to get in touch with myself and breeeeeeathe.)

irish yoga beach towelThis go-round, we started with a perfect harmonic convergence. Not between body and spirit nor, more likely, my body and alcoholic spirits. The great unification occurred between our scheduled yoga time and high tide.

As my swimming skills are suspect, we immediately moved to the second-floor deck of the beach house. This higher elevation should have offered us a stellar view of the Atlantic waters gently caressing the shore or, at a minimum, the waters carrying off the lounge chairs we had left a too close to the shore overnight. Instead, the rising sun blinded us as it focused down like God's own laser pointer.

"Petey? See these two?"

"Which two, God? Those freaks Heidi and Spencer at it again?"

"No! Right there! No! There! Those doofs on the deck! Jesus!"

"Not now, Dad! I'm trying to, uh, take the shower!"

"Sorry about that, son. And drop it. You really think I don't know what you're up to just because you pulled a few clouds around you?"

When I managed to see through my own perspiration and stench, I focused as best I could on our instructor. She was what you'd expect: toned, tanned, voice like liquid Smart Balance "butter." She also had a slight gap in between her front teeth. This made her bear an uncanny resemblance to the sister of a friend of mine, assuming said sister had giving up her habits of eight reality shows, two packs of smokes and case of Miller Lite a day. This image, along with my complete lack of coordination, contributed to an incongruity between my mind and body that not only prevented me from focusing on my breathing while trying to fold and unfold myself like an origami crane but also made briefly forget how to breathe.

INSTRUCTOR: "Breathe in. Feel your bellybutton rise slightly with the motion."

UNCOOL BRAIN: Wait -- wait! My bellybutton's going down. Quick - exhale. Exhale and reboot.

INSTRUCTOR: "Now, slowly breathe out through your mouth. Notice your bellybutton as it falls slightly."

UNCOOL BRAIN: Exha- … ack! No air! Inhale, inhale! Through my mouth or nose? Why is my belly button moving the opposite way again? Is it? AHHH! I can't feel my belly button! Where is it?! AHHH!

(Ironic realization: As a blogger, you would think I'd be better at naval gazing.)

At last, something started to click.

A warm, soothing calmness flowed through my limbs. My eyes closed, and I listened for my own heart beating.

And there it was: low, steady, pumping, thumping like a 10-year-old girl bouncing up the deck stairs, one wooden tread at a time …

"Daddy," Thing 1 called, "do you know where there's a plunger?"

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dream in Hand, Part 1

27 clever quips

Why is Thing 1 smiling?

thing 1 smiles

This is why:

cure jm pepsi refresh check

Her facial expression changed dramatically once I told her she couldn’t use the check to go shopping at Justice.

(According to My Love, the second half of the Pepsi Refresh grant comes after Cure JM files a progress report on our use of the first half of the money. I’ll keep you posted.)

Technorati Tags: ,

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Let It Ride

23 clever quips

I didn't ask my father that Saturday morning or ever before, as best as I can recollect. It just happened, sudden and unexpectedly, like the best things tend to do.

My father exited the parkway, as he and I had done thousands of time before, and he pulled over onto the dirt shoulder. Then he turned to me, sitting in the front passenger seat, and spoke five words to me that he had never before said in this particular order.

"Do you want to drive?"

I was 13.

For the next few miles, on a relatively straight and wide tree-lined backcountry road, I steered his maroon Oldsmobile Cutlass as best as I could, the strange combination of speed and power rumbling  through the thin rubber soles of my Keds.

No white-knuckle moments came to pass with oncoming traffic or errant deer or, more likely, immobile objects like trees and brick-fortified mailboxes.

There was no cold, nauseating caving of the chest and stomach from the sight of marked Crown Victoria being glimpse in the rear view.

Nothing.

Just me and my Dad, together, cruising through a world standing silently beyond the tinted windows.

When it ended, my father and I never spoke of it again. We couldn’t because our ride had concluded a phrase I was far more familiar with in our household, "Just don't say anything to your Mom about this."

A few years ago, sitting at the kitchen table or in a bar or at a ball game, unexpectedly he brought up our adventure.

"I still don't know why I let you do that. I must have been crazy," he said. "But you were ready."

I like to think that he was right.

Thanks for all the years of believing in me, Dad.

Happy 71st birthday.

* * *

fatherhood friday logo This post is part of Fatherhood Friday on Dad Blogs. Check out this week’s other posts.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Too Well-Suited to be Uncool?

34 clever quips

I last bought a suit when The Sopranos debuted.

It last fit me around the time Tony and family were chomping on onion rings to the wailings of Steve Perry.

Glorious golden onion rings! How you’ve wronged my waistline, my little fried O’s of palatable pleasure.

Luckily, Men’s Warehouse came a-callin’.

To promote its annual National Suit Drive, in which outlets of the national clothing chain aim to collect 100,000 items of “gently used professional attire” this month for redistribution to local men and women struggling to find work, Men’s Warehouse offered me a shopping spree at its local store.

(DEAL FOR YOU: If you donate your old men’s or women’s suits, shirts, jackets, ties, belts and shoes to your local Men’s Warehouse before Oct. 1, the store will give you a 25 percent discount on your next purchase there as well as a receipt for your tax-deductible donation.) 

When I mentioned this opportunity to My Love, she basically offered to drive me there.

Right that instant.

Go, go, GO!

I told her to let me first find my keys. And my underwear.

I haven’t bought much professional attire since going full-time at-home dad, but when I used to, I did shop at Men’s Warehouse from time to time. Chances are I probably would have gone to them when it came time for a new suit. Now that’s a well-researched PR pitch. (That’s your hint, Mr. Jim Koch, founder of The Boston Beer Company. My e-mail’s in the right sidebar.)

I arrived at my local Men’s Warehouse in Stamford and Bokul, the assistant manager, looked at my wrinkled Lands’ End jeans and faded freebie corporate golf shirt and said, “You’re the blogger, right?”

Yes – yes, I am.

Bokul showed me around, explained everything from the store’s new line of tuxedo rentals down to their Pronto Uomo jeans (I think he was hinting at something there).

Then I suited up. While I tried on Kenneth Coles, Jones New Yorks and Calvin Kleins, Bokul passed on these tips (which I’ll embellish) that I should have known from Thing 1’s past obsession with What Not to Wear but I always got hypnotized by Stacy London’s skunk hair:

  • If only need to wear a suit a few times a year (like me), go for simple, classic and timeless. Bold plaids and wide lapels didn’t work even when they were in. Except for Herb on WKRP in Cincinnati.

herb tarlek wkrp in cincinnati

  • Unless you need stains or odors removed, avoid dry cleaning a suit. Often a simple professional steaming and pressing will do and cause less wear and tear to the material.
  • Match your belt to your shoes. Unless either is white. In that case, you ARE Herb from WKRP in Cincinnati. Or in a retirement home. Abandon all hope.
  • Your socks are an extension of your pants – match them. So, you – country club dude – if you got no socks, you need to lose the pants. NO, NO! I’M KIDDING!

sock-match-pants

  • When you stand, button the top button of your sports jacket, sport. Unless you’re coaching in the NBA or putting Don Draperesque moves on a skirt outside the Barbizon Hotel.
  • Your shirt cuffs should extend a bit past your jacket arms when standing, arms at your sides. More than inch and you look like Pee-Wee Herman.
  • If you gain or lose 30 pounds or more, forget about it. Don’t try to alter your suit, just get a new one. Yeah, I KNOOOOOOW. I got the hint already!

After I choose two suits I liked, style consultant Eric matched some shirts and ties for me to chose from. Being practical (or cheap, you decide), I picked ones that matched both suits and got be mixed with each other.

“It’s like Garanimals for grown ups,” commented My Love when she saw the interchangeable combos I brought home. She’s always killing my buzz.

Since I work from home, I thought I show off my new clothes to you while in my natural environment:

uncool man washing dishes in a suit

And here I am hard at work, researching my next blog post:

uncool-man-at-work-suit

Disclosure: Men’s Warehouse treated me to the two new suits and shirts. Their clothes and deals were so good (I saved at least an additional $500 with all the store’s various sales), I bought the shoes, ties and belt myself. In return, I donated my old suit, a pair of shoes, a dress shirt and a pair of dress pants to their National Suit Drive.

Technorati Tags: ,,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Come, Drink with Me While We Feed the Hungry

12 clever quips
can and cocktails logo If you are one of my local readers or if you aren’t but you enjoy traveling long distances to chug with total strangers, mark your calendar for 5:30 p.m., Sept. 29.

That’s when I will be among nine area bloggers hosting the “Cans and Cocktails” happy hour at the Chinese Mirch restaurant, 35 Atlantic St., in Stamford. All profits from the event go to The Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County to help feed the needy in our community.

On the wagon? We got that covered, too! Chinese Mirch is also donating 10% of the restaurant's food sales from Monday through Thursday next week to the food bank.

To attend, RSVP by e-mail to stamfordnotes@gmail.com. When you go to the event, bring along a few canned goods or boxes of non-perishable food items (dry pasta, mac and cheese, cereal) to donate to the cause.

Those who attend will be able to imbibe my specially designed “local” potent potable for the happy hour – a nuclear green concoction I have named the “Scofieldtown Park Pollutant.”
What’s a Scofieldtown Park Pollutant? Well, maybe this column I wrote for the local newspaper last year will give you an idea:


Hazy Memories of Scofieldtown Park
We all like to wax romantically about our childhoods, so please indulge me as I rhapsodize about my times at Scofieldtown Park, that dumpy little former dump in North Stamford most suspect as the cause of the pesticide-tainted wells on nearby properties.

First, to the best of my earliest recollection, the place looked decrepit even when it was only a few years old in the late 1970s.

There were a couple of fast-rusting swings and a tall twisting red slide that on a summer day could burn off prepubescent leg hair in a single swoosh. Cemented in the ground was at least one of those monopole grills that no one in their right mind ever uses unless they consider rust a flavor enhancer. And, when the sun reached its apex and the wind blew just so, the park air became rarefied with a fragrance best described as a Metro-North bathroom filled with rotting leaves.

Ah, good times. Good times.

Scofieldtown Park was the place I first hit a real baseball. My Tiny League team practiced weekly on the ball field at the top of the park's hill in the summer of 1977. Rather than wearing batting helmets to protect us from fastballs, it appears it might have been better for us to sport gas masks to save us from breathing in the volatile organic compounds, pesticides and "other inorganics" kicked up in the dust. That's if you can believe the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, of course.

I remember being disappointed the day I returned there to find the ball field was gone. Little did I know that it had been abandoned and buried because coaches got tired of hustling their players off for tetanus shots and stitches from the chemical drums and old appliances that kept rising like zombies from under the fill.

This also was the place where I first learned to hit a tennis ball. With our aluminum rackets from the old Springdale Woolworth's in hand, my sister and I often had to wait to get on one of its two courts. When I last visited the park about four years ago, the nets were in place and the courts appeared surprisingly clean and crack-free. Then I got closer and realized the surface was wavier than Conan O'Brien's hair. Did the East Side Clairol plant dump old batches of volumizing hairspray there?

This was also the place I took my preschool-aged children to play once. Just once.

For years, I harbored contempt toward officials who let go to waste what could have been a nice little amenity -- a place for community interaction in an otherwise vast and isolated part of our city. After reading the recent newspaper articles and environmental reports, I'm happy they let Scofieldtown Park get run down so as few people as possible were exposed to its dangers in recent years.

Now our local leaders are scrambling about madly, trying to make amends. They are quickly installing filters in homes and authorizing spending for city water mains, which is good assuming the nearby reservoirs continue to escape the seepage of our past sins. But, I ask, where has this urgency been in the past?

EPA reports about PBCs, pesticides and other toxins on the former landfill site have been filed on several occasions since the 1980s and as recently as 2007. Were city leaders hoping the bad stuff would just magically disappear? Maybe they thought someone at the federal agency had simply forgotten to insert a "not" when a 2001 agency report about toxins at the park said "impacts to nearby groundwater drinking water supply wells are suspected."

All I can say for certain is this: In all the hours I spent at Scofieldtown Park during my childhood, I'm sure the safest activity I ever participated in there might have been an underage keg party.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Farewell, Sweet Nectar of the Season

13 clever quips

Thing 2 spit out the last of it, expelling the hazy liquid with a whooshing rush of haste back into the glass from which it came.

The boy then appeared to do his best to swallow his own face.

When this proved futile (but entertaining), he resorted to more tried and true methods. He yelled at one of us.

“YEEEEEEEEEECH! Mooooom! That’s DIS-GUSSSS-TING!” he said, franticly pawing his lips to alleviate the citrus sting. 

“What? Too sour? I can add more sugar into it.”

Thing 2 didn’t answer because he was too busy attempting to yank his embittered tongue from out of his mouth.

“What happened?” I asked My Love. “Did you mix up a bad batch of lemonade?”

“No. I poured him a glass from the one that was in the refrigerator,” she replied.

“Um, dear … that wasn’t lemonade,” I said. “It was a pitcher of mojitos I made for us to celebrate the last weekend of summer.”

* * *

For more sad finishes, read my stab at a short story that concludes the latest round of writings on Polite Fictions.

Our theme this time: “what happens after a major life event.” Some of the gang’s offerings this summer’s entries are a true hoot. Some are hauntingly poetic. Some are all too recognizable.

Mine, “What Happens After Summers End,” is at least as depressing as an 8-year-old’s backwash in your cocktail.

And you, my friend, what did you accomplish/not accomplish this summer?

Video: Summer, I Pissed You Away by Michael Shelly

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Do Me a Solid Sunday: ‘Do Fun Stuff’ for Littlest Buddy

8 clever quips

do fun stuff ad pacing the panic room smith magenis Children with a rare disease received three great gifts this month.

Money to research the cause, treatment and cure of their condition.

Broader awareness of their plight.

And hope.

No, I’m not talking – for once – about kids like Thing 1 with juvenile myositis or the $250,000 Pepsi Refresh grant people like you helped Cure JM win (I’ve thanked you for your help, right? Yes? Heck, thanks again!).

Today I’m talking about Smith Magenis Syndrome (SMS), a rare chromosomal disorder that can cause a host of physical and development issues. One child who has this is Littlest Buddy, son of Ryan from  Pacing the Panic Room.

Earlier this year, I told you about Ryan’s effort to create an album of children’s music to benefit a charity that supports SMS.

Well, the guy done and did it.

Big time.

On its August 30th release, Do Fun Stuff, a “kids' album for adults,” charted higher than Kidz Belch Bop Vol. 13,287.

Higher than the soundtrack of Ramp Cock Camp Rock 2.

Higher than Yo Frickin’ Gabba Gabba!

Folks – it debuted No. 1. Look:

do fun stuff pacing the panic room iTunes

You can read how he did it in this article he wrote for Fast Company.

The album has been bouncing around the Top 20 in the weeks since, still no small feat. (I almost said “Little Feat” and linked to one of their videos. Oops. Guess I did.)

So let’s all help him keep it there.

If you haven’t already, go buy Do Fun Stuff on iTunes (all the proceeds go to the PRISMS charity). If you don’t have kids, give it to someone who does. They’ll appreciate how greatly you’ve upgraded their ear-splitting collection of Barney and Raffi tunes.

If you can’t spare the $9.99, write about it on your blog or send a link to this post to someone else who might be able to help.

That’s all. Now, say “so long,” Littlest Buddy.

Video: ”Nothing,” Steve Foxbury, from the Do Fun Stuff album

Technorati Tags: ,,,

(All images courtesy of Ryan’s blog.)

AddThis

My Uncool Past