Wednesday/Thursday Morning Compare/Contrast Miracle

Yesterday morning I was angry and frustrated: I hooked up my $14.50 Amazon Warehouse deal digital antenna to our very expensive flat screen TV and got bupkis . . . I couldn't pull in any free channels, not a one, and so after some cursing and yelling, I packaged the antenna back up and printed out the return label so I could send it back to Amazon-- I wasn't sure if the antenna didn't work (it was a Warehouse Deal) or if I needed a better antenna and/or better antenna placement to pull in the digital stations, and I was getting nervous because football season is about to start and I want to be able to watch the Giants, and so last night, when I crashed lady's night at Pino's, my friend Ann said that digital broadcast TV is a total hoax and there's no way to pull in any stations and I was very sad-- I just wanted to watch the Giants, not become beholden to cable again-- we cut the cord a few months ago and are saving a lot of money and I wondered about the various cheap streaming TV services and Johanna said that Sling TV has trouble streaming major sports events and I was totally confounded and depressed, afraid I was headed back into the monopolistic maw of Verizon or Optimum, but this morning, after Googling things like "Are digital TV antennas a stupid fucking hoax?" I learned that any antenna can pull in digital signals, and the site recommended plugging your old-fashioned rooftop antenna into the TV, and so I found the old rooftop coaxial cable, screwed it into our fancy digital TV and-- miracle beyond miracles-- the tuner started pulling in all kinds of channels and now we've got all the basic channels and a bunch of really weird stuff (like an audio channel of people talking in Mandarin) and so I can watch the Giants and my wife can watch The Bachelor and we'll survive without cable for the time being (although I'm going to need to do something creative once the World Cup starts . . . Ann suggested bringing my big TV over to her cabled house).

Thanks Time! For Saving My (Naked) Ass

I was eating some delicious and weird food at Chef Tan today with my wife and kids, sitting outside on the patio, slurping down some cold clear noodles and hot sauce (these clear noodles are especially transparent, square, and gelatinous . . . like something squeezed out of a psychedelic Asian Play-Doh extruder) and the two teenage sisters from next-door walked by, enjoying a stroll down Main Street on a beautiful day and we said,"Hello" and once they passed my wife remembered something and said, "Oh my God, I forgot to tell you!" and then she told me, and I had a momentary lapse of reason, and then realized the gods of time and space had smiled upon me . . . here is why: my wife informed me that she had seen the older of the two teenage sisters totally out-of-context, when she took the boys on a trip to H2Oooohh water park in the Poconos earlier this summer; I wasn't there-- I was down in Nags Head with friends-- and so I missed this incident; they were inside the park, and Alex was riding the infinite wave rider and our neighbor appeared in front of Catherine and said, "Hi" went over and said "Hi" and my wife didn't recognize her for a moment, because it was so weird to see a neighbor in a water park in Pennsylvania, and it turns out she was working in the park as a counselor, and when my wife told me this, I thought, "Yikes! That was close" because this particular water park was the scene of one of my more egregious awkward moments, when I changed into my bathing suit in a corner of what I thought was the locker room, but it was actually an open waiting area that was masquerading as a lock room, and so I essentially stripped in public . . . it was quite embarrassing and my family still gives me shit about it, but now there's a silver lining, at least I committed this rather heinous act when our teenaged neighbor was not working at the water park . . . so thanks Time, for allowing me to escape years and years of awkward interactions with my neighbors (and to repay you, I will do a naked dance in my yard, slathered in olive oil, at the stroke of midnight on the next Leap Day . . . hopefully, no one will be peering through the bushes).

Geometric Fashion

After multiple trips to the fitting room at Kohl's-- tedious trips that nearly crushed me with boredom and exhaustion-- I finally had an epiphany: if I were two-dimensional then my shirt size would be a "large," but I'm not two-dimensional, not even a little bit, so when I'm in the middle of the store and I hold the shirt up to my body to get a quick look-see, it seems as if a "large" will suffice, but when I actually stuff my body inside the shirt, then there's no question that I'm going to need an "XL."

Horace, Pete, and an Amy Sedaris Cameo

My wife and I finished the rather bizarre Louie C.K. ten act televised play Horace and Pete last night, and while it has comic moments and plenty of fantastic topical debates and cameos among the bar-folk, it is mainly a tragedy about the inevitability of change: Horace and Pete's is a family bar that has been owned and operated in Brooklyn for a one hundred years, and there has always been a Horace and a Pete behind the bar . . . Louie C.K. is Horace the VIII and Steve Buscemi is his brother Pete, and while they try to keep things intact and preserve the traditions of the bar (they only serve Budweiser and straight liquor, and you pay based on your patronage, loyal customers pay one price-- on nothing at all-- while hipsters drinking "ironically" pay a higher price for drinks) there is no avoiding gentrification, technology, progress, and craft beer; this story really struck a chord with me, the school year and soccer season are about to start, and while I'm a veteran teacher and coach and I should know exactly how things work, that's not the case-- once again, everything is new and changed and different . . . there's a new platform to register all the soccer players and it's driving everyone a bit crazy; we're having a technology day at school on Friday, probably to introduce yet another lesson plan/grading/attendance/standards platform (and I've just figured out Evernote and Google docs!) and my classes have all "evolved," Creative writing is a quarter long instead of a half year, and my College Composition class has transformed into the Rutgers Expos class-- and while I think good writing is still good writing and I think good coaching is still good coaching, I'm not totally sure . . . maybe I've been doing it wrong all these years and none of it is any good at all, it's just the accretion of tradition . . . if you think about it too much, then you might descend into madness, like Pete does, and that's not an easy road, so I'm going to try to adapt as best I can, hang on to what i think is good, and blithely discard the rest (it will be nice to have all my travel players' birth certificates confirmed digitally, once all the parents figure out how to upload them, so sometimes progress is good in the long run).

The Test 97: Different Croaks

This week on The Test, I present the ladies with things that are similar and challenge them to find the differences, and while the accuracy of their answers run the gamut, Stacey and Cunningham certainly both "contribute a lot" to the discussion . . . so play along at home, see how much you can contribute tot he discussion, and be prepared for some inclement weather.

Busking for Ice Cream

The kids and I jammed a number of times on the porch last week in Sea Isle City: I played guitar and Ben accompanied me on drums, we all sang, and Nick played the ukulele and the keyboard . . . but it wasn't until financial gain entered the picture that my son Ian took up the bongos . . . the boys decided to do some busking out in front of Steve's Grill Cheese and Ian happily joined the band; they made enough to buy lunch (and Steve's gave them a 15% discount) and then they returned at night and busked again (I'm taking great pleasure in using the word "busk" as many times as possible) and they made enough money to buy some ice cream at Yum Yums . . . they called themselves "The Beach Bums" but I think "Busking for Ice Cream" is a much better name and they played a number of songs, the best being "House of Gold" by Twenty One Pilots.

The Last LeCompt Night Ever?

Even if LeCompt continues to play Sea Isle at another bar, it will never be quite like the Springfield: the sound is perfect, you're practically sitting in with the band, and between sets is just as fun as the music (and if you can't tell, that's me yelling "ONE!TWO!THREE!FOUR!" and that's Cat dancing around with Mike LeCompt . . . that's not going to happen at La Costa or Ocean Drive).

Thick Matted Layers of Reality

Last night after browsing through the many many cable channels on our beach house television, we arrived at The 40 Year Old Virgin, which is much funnier than I remembered (and also much more inappropriate, so the boys loved it) and I insisted that the chest waxing scene was done with fake skin and special effects, but young Nicky made good use of his cellular phone and showed me proof that Steve Carrell did it live and did it for real, even the strip across the nipple . . . so hats off to you, Mr. Carrell . . . that's dedication to your craft (and the scene is much funnier when you know it's real, as the Asian lady doing the waxing is giggling, and not acting/giggling, she's actually about to crack up).

Game of Bosch

Michael Connelly's Nine Dragons is one of the darkest Bosch novels . . . this time Hieronymus takes on the Chinese Triad syndicate . . . in Hong Kong, and he leaves a wake of dead bodies in his path as he searches for his abducted daughter; if you've never read a Harry Bosch mystery, this is a good one to start with.

Fists and the Eclipse

After a wild Sunday (on the beach we were beset by a west wind and persistent black-flies; then, that evening, just before all the adults left to see LeCompt, Alex and Ian got into it: after escalating annoyances, Ian whipped Alex across the back with a bag of polyhedral dice and then Alex clocked Ian in the face, causing Ian's cheek and jaw to immediately distend and swell . . . and while Ian was hurt pretty badly and had to hold an ice pack to his face for the remainder of the night, this incident did quell any other altercations between the boys, as Alex was banished to his room and the rest of the kids saw the perils of fisticuffs; we stayed for all three sets at the Springfield, in honor of the possibility that there won't be a Springfield next summer, and Connell made his usual request to Mike LeCompt-- which Mike made good on and so--once again-- I had to yell "ONE TWO THREE FOUR" into the microphone at the climax of "Born to Run" and then everyone slept until 10 AM . . . including me, that's the latest I've slept in twenty years) Monday was perhaps the best beach day ever . . . the winds shifted to the Southeast, blowing in warm clear water, and the eclipse was actually a lot more fun then I thought it would be . . . no one burned their retinas out-- the cheap eclipse glasses totally did the job-- and I really enjoyed the lack of sunlight on the beach, it was a bit cloudy to begin with, and the clouds combined with the breeze and the fact that the moon was obscuring three quarters of the sun made it more like a crisp fall day, and then the sun came back out and we all put in so much time playing soccer, skim boarding, riding waves, playing spike-ball, and swimming that Alex and Ian were too tired to punch each other (although Ian was annoying Alex during a spike-ball game, arguing about the score or something, and Ian pegged Alex with the ball, and I was very proud of Alex's reaction: instead of punching Ian, he took the ball, ran to the ocean-- a good hundred yards away-- and threw the ball into the waves, and then when Ian ran down to get the ball, Alex flipped him off and left the scene . . . I told him that was much more mature than resorting to violence).

Oh, What a Noble Mind is Here O'erthrown

Whatever he's writing about-- whether it's the banality of sports memoirs; the politics of prescriptive and descriptive dictionaries; the lack of concupiscence at the AVN awards; the general self-centered douche-baggery of John Updike; strategy, sincerity and skepticism during John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign; the genius of Fyodor Dostoevsky and his biographer; 9/11 as seen from the mid-West; the morality of boiling a lobster alive-- and however good his writing, research, and ideas are, the main thing about reading a David Foster Wallace essay is that you are reading David Foster Wallace, he manages to use words like "pleonasm" and "dysphemism" and "gonfalon" and "benthic" and "prolegomenous" and they fit, they pique interest instead of coming off as faux-intellectual and bombastic; I think I read most of the essays in Consider the Lobster years ago, but this time I read all of them, in a row, even the endless account of McCain's campaign and I went through the footnotes as well . . . and no matter what the subject, these essays are compelling, accessible and entertaining-- they make me want to read more Dostoevsky and also study the context of his life and times, they make me want to read Bryan A. Garner's Dictionary of Modern Usage, and--most importantly-- they make me want to re-read more David Foster Wallace . . . he's so alive, his voice so vibrant, that it seems impossible that just after this collection was published (2005) he fell apart, went off his medication, and in 2008, in a state of hopeless depression, he hanged himself from his rafters . . ."the observed of all observers, quite, quite down!"

Tender Are the Nether Regions

I'm not going to go into too much detail here, but I discovered this morning that the outdoor shower at our beach house has detachable head; at first, I didn't think I would bother to detach the head, and just stood, meditatively, letting the water sluice down my body and wash away the sand and salt, but then I realized, in a eureka moment reminiscent of Archimedes, that detaching the head after taking an early morning run and swim is essential, if you value the skin on your testicles.

The Test 96: Mount Whatmore?

Everyone agrees that Mount Rushmore is pretty lame, so this week on The Test, Stacey forces the gang to do seven different makeovers; play along at home and be sure to bring your dynamite and chisel, because whatever you decide will be set in stone.

Man's Second Best Friend?

Summer reading is more fun when accompanied by a lizard.

Indy Strips Away the Rhetoric

Hate groups . . . I hate these guys.

This is Your Brain on North Korea

It's ethically gross and difficult to stomach, but the most strategic way to prevent disaster with North Korea is direct contact and diplomacy-- we've got to treat Kim Jong-un like a real world leader, or at least pretend to do so-- because the possession of nuclear weapons commands this treatment, whether we like it or not . . . the possession of a nuclear weapon breaks down whatever ethical system you're using to solve the problem (aside from utilitarianistic realpolitik) because problems at the end of the spectrum nearly always break down categorical principles . . . very few people get hung up on whether a human or an amoeba possess more civil rights, but when you get to the fringe and compare the consciousness of a healthy chimpanzee and the consciousness of 97 year old man on life-support, things get more difficult . . . no one wants to abort and kill an eight month old baby, but the consequence of using a morning after pill is something more difficult to define . . . torture is most definitely wrong, but if you need a piece of information to avert nuclear war, then things that might be normally considered morally repugnant might be heroic . . . it's these places, moral quandaries at the edges, where ethical systems break down; there's nothing that feels morally right, and you just need to figure out things on a case by case basis; North Korea is one of these problems-- threats are useless because the ball is literally in their court-- we're the good guys and we don't use nuclear weapons cavalierly, sanctions don't work when the leadership of country doesn't care what suffering their citizens endure, and brinksmanship is too risky because it could cause a nuclear disaster, or a breakdown of the regime, in which nuclear weapons could get into random hands or disappear or worse . . . so it's time to suck it up and do what's right, even though it feels very wrong, because it's existential crisis and we've only got one earth, there's no control group, no A/B testing, and we can't risk it (unless, of course, you're some kind of religious nut, who truly believes in the afterlife . . . then you can pursue your principles without fear, punish the wicked as a matter of recourse, and know that all things will be sorted out during the rapture).

Evil Minds and Thrilling Lines

I've finished my last thriller of the summer (perhaps . . . it is summer, and I can read what I damn well please) and this one is malevolent and compelling: Laura Lippman's Every Secret Thing . . . I won't say much about it except that it's about race and baby-killing in Baltimore, it was written in 2003 and-- as seems to be par for the course in the high-quality suspense genre-- it is very evocative of place (if you're a fan of Serial Season 1, then you'll enjoy the fact that Leakin Park is a significant character in the novel) and now I'm back into intellectual non-fiction, the kind of books that make you fall asleep, not finish in three days . . . if you want to get a grip on the Charlottesville tragedy, I highly recommend Eric Hoffer's The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements . . . Hoffer, the dock-worker philosopher, has a unique understanding of populism and zealotry, and his book is chock full of lines like this:

1) faith in a holy cause is to a considerable extent a substitute for the lost faith in ourselves;

2) the less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready is he to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race, or his holy cause;

3) the present-day workingman in the Western world feels unemployment as a degradation . . . he sees himself disinherited and injured by an unjust order of things, and is willing to listen to those who call for a new deal;

4) the fanatic is perpetually incomplete and insecure;

5) though they seem to be at opposite poles, fanatics of all kinds are actually crowded together at one end . . . it is the fanatic and the moderate who are poles apart and never meet;

6) it is doubtful whether the fanatic who deserts his holy cause or is suddenly left without one can ever adjust himself to autonomous individual existence;

7) hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all the unifying agents.

Oblomov = Russia, Lehane = Boston

Plotwise, Ivan Goncharov's novel Oblomov and Dennis Lehane's novel A Drink Before the War couldn't be more different: Oblomov is plodding account of the ennui of the Russian landed gentry- the main character is melancholically charming, but by the end you're rooting for a proletarian revolution to get things moving, on the other hand, Lehane's tale is an ultra-violent thrill-minute joy ride through the racially divided underworld of Boston . . . it's set in the early '90's, before gentrification, before there racial harmony was even a thought in the poor gang-ridden neighborhoods of Roxbury and Dorchester . . . however, the books are the same in one very significant way: they are both more about setting than anything else, . . . the structure of Oblomov and the title character (Ilya Ilych Oblomov) exist to describe social class in 19th century Russia, and Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro serve as hard-boiled noir-guides to the gang-infested, impoverished, and drug addled pre-Gentrification neighborhoods of Boston.

Dad, Alex and Malcolm Gladwell Trump Mom

After my son and I listened to Malcolm Gladwell's "Blame Game," I decided it was time to take logical and necessary action-- the podcast dissects the Toyota "uncontrollable acceleration" scandal of 2009 and Gladwell places the blame squarely on the humans operating the vehicles, not the vehicles themselves-- and so I told my thirteen year old son it was time he got some practice behind the wheel of an automobile, so he could familiarize himself with the controls as soon as possible and avoid the tragic situations described in the podcast . . . Alex was very excited about this, but my wife did not think it was a good idea-- but she also knew there was no persuading us-- the podcast is a very powerful piece of journalism-- and so she simply requested that we not tell her about our plans (and not use her car) and we tried to honor that request as best we could, and yesterday morning at 6 AM (my son set his alarm!) I drove to the large parking lot behind the Sears on Route 1 and Alex pulled the seat all the way forward, turned the ignition key, and navigated his way around several parked cars, between two parking lot islands, and avoided all the light poles-- I didn't realize there were so many obstacles in an empty lot . . . flashes of Tina learning to drive ran through my head-- but he was a good listener and did a great job on his first time around, then parked the car by a big tarp with a bunch of junk heaped under it, and learned to reverse, use his mirrors, and turn the car around from the reversed position, did one more lap without incident, and then I drove home . . . my wife did hear us come in and we told her the news and while she didn't want to hear the details, she was happy that we didn't use her car.

The Test 95: Eye of the Tigger

This week on The Test, Cunningham tests our ability to survive-- whether you're stranded in the wilderness or just left alone with a couple of children, this is the information you need . . . and while Stacey will probably make it out alive, I certainly won't.

Enterprises of Great Pith and Moment . . .

As the summer wears on, my enterprises of great pith and moment start to lose the name of action . . . at the outset of summer break, I bulled my way through some dense tomes covering recent history, fairly recent history, macro-political-historical synthesis, and psychology and I ambitiously queued up another stack of erudite works, but I didn't get very far in these:

1) Nick Bostrom's Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies . . . a book which details the approaching age of artificial superintelligence and how we should tackle this . . . I read fifty pages and I might read more, or I might just wait twenty years and see what happens;

2) The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements by Eric Hoffer, which is a lot of fun if you're not a fanatic as it implies that fanatics have nothing going on upstairs, not much self-esteem, and are psychologically incomplete and thus "find themselves" in whatever mass movement they join . . . I'm halfway through and I think I've got the main idea;

3) Fernand Braudel's The Structures of Everyday Life: Civilization and Capitalism 15th - 18th Century Vol 1 . . . this book is more entertaining than it sounds and I'd really like to have read it, but I doubt I'll actually read it;

4) The Paranoid Style in American Politics by Richard Hofstadter . . . I probably don't need to read this one because we're all living it;

5) The American Language by H.L. Mencken . . . this is free on the Kindle and for good reason, it's mainly a list of words that are American as opposed to British, and some fun assessment of the American character . . . we Americans, we'll steal any word we want, use it any way we want, and we'll spell it however we damn please . . .

meanwhile, realizing that my ambition was fading, I checked out a bunch of mysteries and thrillers from the library, so I had some books I would actually finish, and I whipped through Agatha Christie's The A.B.C Murders . . . Hercule Poirot is a lazy French douchebag, but he comes through in the end and solves an utterly ridiculous case . . . everything had me fooled and I learned absolutely nothing about anything (except that you can trick people into confessing if you pretend to find their fingerprints in a compromising location) and now I'm getting into a gritty Boston-area Dennis Lehane thriller.

Vacationing in a Geographical Analogy

My wife surprised me and arranged a one night vacation in Asbury Park last night-- the perfect complement to my guys trip down to Nags Head-- and we were happy to see that the gentrification of the area is proceeding at an extraordinary rate . . . my mother-in-law lived in the neighboring town of Ocean Grove for many years, so we headed across Wesley Lake and wandered the narrow streets-- every tiny front yard planted with bright flowers, every house a different size and color, the tent city still in the shadow of the Great Auditorium, and we were quite shocked to look back towards Asbury and see a skyline of high-end condominiums and the Biergarten . . . quite a change from the 1990's . . . anyway, here's an analogy and a few food/drink recommendations:

1) Ocean Grove is to Asbury Park as Highland Park is to New Brunswick . . . the small and sleepy town receiving the benefits of the gentrification of the larger grittier city;

2) Barrio Costero has incredible margaritas (but go for happy hour, they're not cheap) and high end Mexican tapas . . . the tuna ceviche is essentially sushi-grade tuna on tiny homemade tortilla chips-- super-tasty-- and the al pastor and fish tacos are ridiculously good;

3) Barrio Costero's sister restaurant, Reyla, has excellent Mediterranean style tapas;

4) The Speakeatery has the ultimate hipster sandwich (and fantastic if you're trying to avoid wheat/bread/gluten) which consists of a slab of General Tso's chicken sandwiched between two sticky rice "buns" and some broccoli and slaw as condiments . . . it's delicious and totally weird;

5) The Chat and Nibble is across Main Street but worth the drive if you like chorizo with your eggs.

Memories Shade the Corners of My (Front) Yard

Long time readers of this blog might recall a detailed J. Peterman-style critique of the outfit I wore while striking a triumphant pose because I brought down a large dead limb with a rope attached to a football . . . Whitney wrote that incisive comment eight years ago, and since then, while my fashion sense may have improved (negligibly) the state of that tree did not; the limbs and main trunk continued to decay, to a state so precarious that we had to have some professionals take it down yesterday . . . and so I'd like to thank the tree, which provided much blogging and neighborhood entertainment: we'll miss you, big rotten hollow behemoth that housed squirrels and raccoons, dropped limbs on our driveway and our roof (but never our car . . . thanks!) and provided me with one of my proudest moment as a homeowner . . . I hope your dismembered and chipped parts get to mulch a beautiful garden, burn brightly in a stone hearth, and-- maybe, if you're really lucky-- smoke some home-made bacon.

Three Loony Questions

Three questions about this imminent solar eclipse, in which New Jerseyans are supposed to see 73% of the sun blocked by the moon:

1) do I have to get excited about this event?

2) is it safe to watch the eclipse through glasses my wife bought at Walmart?

3) since the eclipse is going to last for several hours and we'll be down at the beach during this time, do I only need to put 27% the required amount of sunblock on my children?

Flu in the Summertime? No Class . . .

When you've got the flu-- which I do-- watching Arrested Development is the best medicine (besides Tamiflu, which I am also using).

Southern Mysteries, Real and Fictitious

I am mired in the South . . . I just got back from Norfolk and North Carolina, just finished Tom Franklin's novel Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter-- a Mississippi mystery that takes you on a journey through time and race, with plenty of snakes and a satisfying (if predictable) conclusion-- and I just started the serial podcast Up and Vanished which reinvestigates the unsolved disappearance of Georgia teacher and beauty queen Tara Grinstead (the podcast was highly recommended by my wife and by my son Alex . . . Alex has a number of theories on whodunnit).

Outer Banks Fishing Trip XXIV

On my ride down to Norfolk, while listening to a Malcolm Gladwell podcast, I learned that our annual fraternity get-together in Kill Devil Hills is an act of transactive memory . . . you tell the stories you know and listen to the ones you don't bother to store in your memory because you know that your friends know them better than you do . . . anyway, here's a rundown of what I remember from the trip:

1) the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk has a great collection of art, the cafe has good food (I had a crabcake) and the air-conditioning is kickin';

2) Whitney needs to adjust the feng shui of his oddly placed, unusable foosball table in his apartment;

3) Johnny and I drove down together and he told me the story of his aorta exploding and I nearly passed out;

4) Johnny and I went on a quest for cornhole beanbags and nearly paid 8 dollars a piece for them, until we found some sale bags at the second Ace hardware we visited (Chiefs and Vikings);

5) the cornhole games were so intense that Billy rightly claimed they weren't even fun anymore . . . Dave Fairbanks-- the oldest participant-- won cornhole rookie of the trip;

6) the Willie Nelson joke is a keeper.

7) Jason made the mistake of claiming he really liked a new song by Metallica . . .

8) Whitney claimed he was going to get his weight down to 230 pounds by Thanksgiving and Marston decided to bet him that he couldn't do it and then there was much debate on how much the bet should be . . . Marston wanted it to be enough that it would be fun to win the money, but not so much as to actually incentivize him to lose the weight . . . one hundred dollars was determined to be too low, Whitney would never lose the weight for that, but one thousand would be too motivational; so, appropriately, they bet 230 dollars that Whitney would be 230 by Thanksgiving . . . but then Marlin doubled-down, so that may be the factor that motivates Whit to do it . . . we're all rooting for him;

9) Spikeball made its cameo beach appearance and fun was had by all players . . . but not by the observers, who said the rallies weren't long enough (but it's still got to be more entertaining to watch than cornhole)

10) food and scenery was very good at Blue Moon;

11) Jerry and I walked to Tortuga's, as usual, forgot just how far it was (as usual) and then got soaked by a downpour and had to buy cheap t-shirts on the way . . . I still had the chills at the bar and thought it was due to wet underwear, but I was probably running a fever and though I made it through a day of drinking and beach fun, when I collapsed into bed that night, I had intermittent chills and night sweats from some kind of virus and so once we figured out the sliding picture puzzle of the twelve cars in the skinny sandy driveway and my car was extricated, I packed up and drive home, slightly dazed from the fever . . . eight and a half hours later I was back in Jersey;

12) the rain kept us from playing tennis, but we talked some tennis and watched some tennis and Zman got to illustrate his tennis acumen;

13) thanks Whit, another great trip . . . hope we can do it again next year!

That's a 20 Footer

When I was swimming in the ocean today, I inadvertently slapped a fish . . . and I think we were equally surprised.

Beach Facts and Figures

Beanbags are more expensive then you might imagine.

Pier 39 vs. The Raritan Yacht Club

Lately, my wife and I have been lucky enough to get some additional work running professional development workshops: Amazon flew my wife to San Francisco at the the start of the summer, so she could present on a math platform they've created and she uses, and they're flying her to Fort Lauderdale later this month to do several more presentations, and I got to present near a beautiful body of water as well, on three separate occasions . . . at Perth Amboy Middle School.

Monkey = Rock

I finally finished a song I've been working on for what seems like forever . . . it's about the primitive anger and frustration that's lurking just below the surface of modern life, the feeling that sometimes-- even though it's not appropriate-- you just want to throw shit around and rant and rave, for the stupidest reasons: you're behind a garbage truck and you can't pass it and it smells, or you have to put the laundry away, or it's your turn to cook dinner and you bought shrimp that haven't been deveined . . . anyway, it's called "Monkey Mind," because all the great bands have a songs with "monkey" in the title.
A New Sentence Every Day, Hand Crafted from the Finest Corinthian Leather.