My 88 pound son made and ate one dozen fresh strawberry/raspberry-blackberry jam/chocolate syrup/whipped cream crepes this morning (meanwhile, Catherine and I are are forging ahead with the low carbs and no sugar diet, so we ate zero fresh strawberry/raspberry-blackberry jam/chocolate syrup/whipped cream crepes this morning).

No Creative Juices

I'm off sugar, carbs, and alcohol for a couple days and I've got nothing.


The 25th Annual Outer Banks Fishing Trip is in the books, another fantastic one-- thanks Whit!-- here are some of the things that happened:

1) we spent Wednesday night at Whitney's mom's place in Norfolk-- he is living there now-- and his mom and step-dad had just rolled into to town from Florida, but were sleeping elsewhere because we had a house full of fishermen, and so they were showing up in the morning and Whitney's step-dad said he needed to do some work on the house, out back in the little courtyard connected to the garage, so when I woke up at 7:30 AM and heard some banging I figured he was doing aforementioned work, but I also heard the TV, and I figured I would go downstairs and and say hello and help with whatever was going on-- I turned in early and no one else was awake so I went downstairs and the TV was on and no one was watching and the banging was coming from the back door-- it was Johnny G. who yelled "Dave! My savior!" when I opened the door-- he went out for a cigarette at 3 AM and Whitney had just locked the door-- so Johnny was locked out and had to sleep in the car in the garage . . . shades of the McGrant incident at the Weeping Radish;

2) many of us ate salad with a slab of rare tuna on it at Tortuga's and it was good;

3) Hookey was a popular new addition to the usual array of games-- you throw rubber rings at hooks on a circular piece of wood that is hung on the wall and then do lots of math to figure out who wins (and many people, including myself, said the line, "I was told there would be no math," which is paraphrasing, and though I said it, I had no idea where it was from . . . here's the actual origin)

4) the water was NOT good . . . cold and rough;

5) Bruce painted a picture (or commissioned someone to paint a picture-- same difference)

6) Jon (Yes-man) showed up, after a twenty-three year hiatus (he attended the first trip and never came back until this year) and Billy interrogated him as to why;

7) Jon (Lunkhead) attended for the first time ever;

8) Charlie brought back the cooking-- we had fish one night and a tenderloin the next-- there were also some bacon wrapped scallops . . . the long and short of it was it was easy to avoid carbs (and vegetables) because there weren't any;

9) Johnny woke up Friday morning and couldn't find his pants or his wallet;

10) the debut of the pantsless griffin;

11) Rob slept next to his mattress on the back porch;

12) Marls brought his tennis racket but I did not;

13) Scott and I played some guitar together . . . he's really good so I kicked Whitney out of the band;

14) Bruce told a joke and I reciprocated with the Willie Nelson joke (which I also apparently told last year . . . these things are really starting to blur);

15) we all made playlists but I don't think anyone played their playlist;

16) Whitney was a fabulous host for the 25th year in a row . . . already looking forward to XXVI.

Shit I'm Watching With the Kids #3

If you want to scramble your children's brains, sit them down and watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind . . . my son Alex's favorite movie is Inception, and I promised him that this was a combination of Inception and Romeo and Juliet . . . both Alex and Ian really enjoyed it, once they figured out that Clementine's hair color is the key to following the plot.

Shit I'm Watching with the Kids #2

The kids and I watched Breaking Bad this winter and then I got sick with the flu and watched a few episodes of Better Call Saul and I loved it but I decided to wait to continue until the kids were ready for more of the crew from Breaking Bad . . . we're now three seasons in and we've decided that in some ways we like the show better than Breaking Bad because it's so much less stressful-- it's a prequel, so you know who's going to make it through the show, which makes it a lot easier to enjoy the exploits of Slippin' Jimmy.

Shit I'm Watching With the Kids #1

I hope I'm in Norfolk by now, and here is some promised drivel to peruse while I'm attending OBFT XXV . . . I consider TV a social experience and the only thing I'll watch alone is a sporting event (you're part of the crowd) and I'm not watching The Handmaid's Tale with My Wife (not enough jokes) so I'm watching stuff with the kids-- I'll dole out exactly what we're watching day by day until my return from the Outer Banks; right now we're hooked on The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt . . . it's my second time through and it's just as funny and-- despite all the 90's references, which I'm constantly explaining-- my kids love it.

The Joe DiMaggio of Something

I always get a bit anxious right before I make the trip down to the annual Outer Banks Fishing Trip at my buddy Whitney's place in Kill Devil Hills-- this is year XXV and I've never missed one . . . it's a streak only matched by the host himself and our fraternity brother Rob (aka Squirrel) and I know that streaks are made to be broken and anything could happen-- I nearly missed last year's, I got sick on Friday and drove home Saturday with a 102 fever . . . if I had come down with that virus a few days earlier, I wouldn't have gone-- and since I don't believe in voodoo or jinxes, I'll be honest: anything could happen between now and tomorrow: I could break my leg at soccer practice tonight, or get hit by lightning; someone in my family could come down sick or worse (I have a 95 year old grandmother) and there's car troubles and house troubles and dog troubles . . . this is a solo trip, not a family vacation, and so it's dispensable if need be . . . so wish me the best of luck-- I'm getting all packed up today; I just purchased the giant sized bottle of Espolon Tequila-- my wife says it looks like a joke prop-- it was on sale and the sale was so good I'm not going to reveal the location, and when the young lady with a nose-ring behind the counter got a look at the bottle, she said to me: "Planning to get messed up?" and I'm bringing lots of other leisurely beach stuff as well: guitar, tennis racquet, Spikeball, corn-hole bags . . . so hopefully things will go well and I'll make it down without incident . . . thirty-one more years and I'll equal Joltin' Joe (and I apologize in advance, there will probably be some drivel here for the next few days).

Forget the Media, Keep Your Eye on Andrew Wheeler

The phrase that keeps running through my mind when I hear all this Trump insanity on the news-- the Iranian posturing, the Russia investigation, the trade war with China, Scott Pruitt's inane corruption, the immigration issues, and the latest and greatest . . . Trump's dismissal of U.S. intelligence about Russian meddling in the election and then his Orwellian reversal of the word "would" to "wouldn't"-- all I keep thinking is "wag the dog . . . wag the dog," because all of these things are smoke and mirrors, barely important, compared to the policy changes happening beneath the 24 hour news cycle veneer: the new EPA administrator, Andrew Wheeler, is a coal lobbyist and was a legislative aid to Senator Jim Inhofe-- who referred to global warming as "the greatest hoax ever perpetuated on the American people" and Wheeler is better politically prepared to wage the attack on our air, water, and land than Pruitt, and so much more scary; National Geographic is keeping a running list of the anti-regulatory changes and agenda of this administration, which seems determined to roll back pollution standards, auto emission standards, car mileage standards, the endangered species act, the clean air and water acts, and a host of other . . . long after all this other bullshit is forgotten-- immigration is an issue that doesn't effect very many people, it's just a great metaphor for bipartisan America; the Russia investigation is going to point to things we already know-- Trump is corrupt and crooked; if you're a true liberal, then the trade war with China is fantastic, because it means people are consuming less stuff; of course Trump is beholden to Putin; we're not going to go to war with Iran; etcetera . . . none of it matters, but it's all making people miss the existential stuff, the stuff that will take years and years to reverse . . . if the damage is reversible at all.

Ant-Man is no Einstein

We went and saw Ant-Man and the Wasp today and while it's certainly an entertaining movie-- Paul Rudd does his usual spot-on job at playing a charmingly ditzy do-gooder dad/minor-superhero-- there are some black hole magnitude plot holes though out (and teenage boys are quick to spot these . . . you can't just magnify a building on any piece of land, large buildings need foundations . . . and plumbing and electrical hook-ups; you also can't shrink a human body down smaller than its constituent molecules, that makes no sense) so if you want something a bit more technical and profound on the topic of the infinitesimal then I recommend Jim Holt's collection of mathematically inspired essays When Einstein Walked with Godel: Excursions to the Edge of Thought; he discusses incredibly tininess, the infinitely large, the expanding universe, the Copernican logic-- which asserts that we are very likely not special at all, in any way-- quantum physics in a nutshell (don't look: waves, look: particles) quantum entanglement and spooky action, lots of Alan Turing and Charles Babbage and Leibniz and the philosophical development of the idea of a computer (my wife and kids made fun of me when, struggling with my son's cellphone, I said, "I can't turn on this little computer!" but I contested that little computer is way more accurate than "phone" and I'm going to start calling cell-phones "little computers" as a regular practice in my classroom, to hammer home just what they've got distracting them) and there's also an essay on the weird and slightly scary behavior of moral saints and Holt coincidentally (from my perspective) mentions a book I was recently discussing with a British friend Ashely-- Nick Hornby's How to Be Good-- but much more interesting than that conversation was that Ashley revealed to us that when he was growing up in Zambia-- his dad worked in the copper industry and so he lived there until age 13, until it got too dangerous for white people to be in the country . . . several of his neighbors were executed-- but until this time he had a pet monkey, which would drink tea with sugar and had the run of the house . . . anyway, Holt mentions the speech at the end of The Incredible Shrinking Man (the book came out in 1956 and the movie in 1957) and it's quite a different tone than the fast-paced action of Ant-Man and the Wasp . . . while there are moments when the Marvel folks try to capture the madness at the heart of the universe (there is some mention of "quantum entanglement" to explain the connection between Scott Lang and Janet Van Dyne but it's not explained in nearly the detail or tediousness of Ghost's backstory) but there's nothing to compare to the pathos of Scott Carey's final speech before he shrinks away to a scale imperceptible to humans:

"So close - the infinitesimal and the infinite. But suddenly, I knew they were really the two ends of the same concept. The unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet - like the closing of a gigantic circle. I looked up, as if somehow I would grasp the heavens. The universe, worlds beyond number, God's silver tapestry spread across the night. And in that moment, I knew the answer to the riddle of the infinite. I had thought in terms of man's own limited dimension. I had presumed upon nature. That existence begins and ends is man's conception, not nature's. And I felt my body dwindling, melting, becoming nothing. My fears melted away. And in their place came acceptance. All this vast majesty of creation, it had to mean something. And then I meant something, too. Yes, smaller than the smallest, I meant something, too. To God, there is no zero. I still exist!"

You Are Where You're At

I finished two powerful and poignant books (and thoroughly enjoyed both) on vacation that hammered home the exact reason you go on vacation-- because when you locate yourself to a different place, you become a different person-- there are many conservative folks that bristle at this, people who believe in choices and autonomy and free will, and while I will acknowledge that it certainly might be good to believe you have control over your life, it probably isn't true;

1) Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy, uses one South Angeles murder to look at the big picture-- black-on-black violence in traditionally African-American enclaves like Watts and Compton are generally under-policed and justice is rarely meted out . . . Leovy turns cause and effect on its head, proving that it's not because these places are inhabited by gang members that make them difficult to police . . . instead, because they have never been policed with much intensity and intent-- unlike white neighborhoods in the same city-- the denizens have learned to solve their problems outside the aegis of traditional authority, witnesses-- fearing injury or death-- have learned not to testify, and it has come to be understood that in these places-- whether it be the Wild West, the territory of the Yanomami, or South LA-- that the state does NOT have a monopoly on force and violence . . .

"take a bunch of teenage boys from the whitest, safest suburb in America and plunk them down in a place where their friends are murdered and they are constantly attacked and threatened . . . signal that no one cares and fail to solve murders . . . limit their options for escape . . . then see what happens"

and if the book sounds depressing, in the end it is not-- because there are select police that work homicide in the ghetto in an inspirational manner, and this details such a case and the men that solved it-- and this is a case that has to be solved, because it is the murder of Bryant Tennelle-- 18 years old-- the youngest son of a highly respected Los Angeles detective Wallace Tennelle . . . a principled officer that chose to live where he worked and paid the ultimate price for it; the book might change your mind about how gangs work (far looser and more disorganized that you might think) and how murders are handled when they are insular and comprised only of African-American men, and it will remind you that you really can't control where you are born and where you live . . . or often not until it's too late;

2) Sherman Alexie tells a similar story of growing up in a difficult, possible barren and futile environment in his YA novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian . . . my wife coerced me and the kids to read it for a family "book club" and we all loved it; Alexie tells the semi-autobiographical story of Junior's life on the Spokane reservation and his daring "escape" to the nearest white high school off the rez-- 22 miles away-- because Junior recognizes that though he loves his family, his people, the land, and his best friend Rowdy, that the setting is inevitably hopeless, fostering alcoholism and endless repetition of the same losses and drama . . . this is the story of his commute and his very real adaptation to a new setting-- Alexie says the book is 78% true and it rings true, it's gross, sincere, candid, hysterically funny, and really moving (plus it has lots of basketball, so I was getting choked up fairly often, because sporting stories are the only ones that make me cry).

Sentence Postponed

I will write something when the weather down here in Sea Isle City returns to its senses.

Dave Rallies!

We've had fantastic weather at the beach this week-- so there's been plenty of skimboarding and boogie-boarding, tennis and basketball, biking and running, open water swimming, spike-ball, etc. and today after running on the beach in the morning and then playing a very competitive doubles tennis match (Ian and me versus Alex and my brother . . . we lost) my body gave out-- I could no longer walk, or move in general-- but I took some Advil, ate a cheesesteak, and found myself able to drag the beach cart to the beach, set up the umbrellas, and participate in the double-elimination random selection all-the-cousins cornhole tournament all afternoon, an impressive vacation rally!

You Haven't Read "Ask the Dust"? That's Sad . . .

Our friend, colleague, and book club participant Nicole is heading to California with her husband, to teach in LA, and so for my book club choice, I wanted to do a classic book set in the City of Angels, because then Nicole could Skype in to book club and offer her opinions-- and everything I read online touted John Fante's 1939 novel Ask the Dust as the quintessential LA story-- it is regarded as "The Great Gatsby of the West Coast"-- so now when she gets out there she can immediately brandish some elitist Jersey-douchebaggery and say to natives, with feigned shock: "You haven't read Ask the Dust? Really . .  that's so sad, it's the quintessential LA novel, the Great Gatsby of the West Coast . . . you should check it out . . . I can't believe you've never read it" and I'm even recommending this book to people that live on the East Coast, while I can't offer my thoughts (those are reserved for book club) I will tell you that my wife said it is "the best book I've ever recommended to her" and she loves it as much as I do.

The Turkish Star Wars of Alternative Rock?

My experience with The Strokes is probably similar to most: I loved Is This It (both the music and the album cover--but complained that "Last Nite" was an "American Girl" rip-off) and then pretty much forgot about them (I might have listened to Room on Fire once or twice) but I was pleasantly surprised by Julian Casablancas's new album with The Voidz . . . it's the first alternative rock album I've heard in a long while that I immediately wanted to listen to all the way through again-- it's dense and weird and scattershot, a post-modern collage with the perfect tone for a guy who is never going to achieve the fame of his first album . . . Pitchfork gives the album a 6.9 and obtusely refers to it as the Turkish Star Wars version of The Strokes: "a proudly low-rent, audacious, bizarro-world transfiguration that’s equally admirable and repellent" and-- though I have not watched the Turkish Star Wars in it's entirety-- I suppose I concur.

Fragment of Dave

Sun, sand, surf, seafood, salt, etc.

Vacation Hygiene Confessions

One of the simple pleasures of a week at the shore is utilizing the outdoor shower-- I've already used ours numerous times . . . after an early morning run in the sand, after swimming in the ocean, after a game of pick-up basketball, etc. but I must confess that I haven't remembered my toiletry bag once and so the only washing I've done so far on this vacation has been with a half inch by half inch piece of soap that I found on the (algae covered) concrete floor in the aforementioned outdoor shower.

First World Problem #23,444

I've taken a perfectly good first world car (a 2008 Toyota Sienna minivan) and turned it into a vehicle that would look appropriate driving the streets of war-torn Aleppo . . . several parts of the car are taped together, it's missing a hubcap, the car possesses a multitude of dents and scratches, and now-- finally- the electric motor on the back door latch has finally gone kaput (it's been sketchy for a while) and this happened yesterday afternoon while I was starting to pack the car for our trip to Sea Isle City, which is a very involved packing job-- but I figured out how to get the back hatch open and closed, I opened a panel on the inside of the back hatch and got access to the (broken) motor, and there's a little lever you can pull in there to manually open the latch and I lassoed the lever with a shoelace, pulled the slipknot tight, and hung the lace from the ceiling of the car and now if you crawl into the back and pull up on the shoelace, it releases the latch and you can open the hatch . . . so that's how we'll roll for this vacation and then I can hopefully get that motor replaced and have a power latch again.

Dad Gives His Son Advice: Don't Be That Guy

My kids were all wound up this week, cooperating, rolling dice, painting miniatures and talking with each other in some arcane language . . . they were preparing to attend Dungeons and Dragon night at Comic Sanctuary in New Brunswick-- which happens on Thursdays from 7 PM to 10 PM and the shop is conveniently near the hipster bar and restaurant Inc, which has all day happy hour on Thursdays and makes the best whiskey sour in the area-- so a win/win for the entire family . . . the kids would play D&D and all the adults would drink cocktails and eat yucca fries and steamed buns; before we left for the night, I noticed that Alex was wearing his Dungeons & Dragons t-shirt and I told him he could not wear a D&D shirt to a D&D event . . . I told him not to be the guy wearing a Radiohead shirt at a Radiohead concert . . . you could wear a Radiohead t-shirt to a Gorillaz concert, or vice-versa and I told him you could probably even get away with wearing a Lord of the Rings shirt to a D&D event, but you can't go right on the nose, that's ridiculous . . . and Ian asked me if this were a law and I told him not exactly but close and Alex actually followed my advice and changed his shirt but then he said that his friend Max did wear a D&D t-shirt and the dungeon master complimented him . . . but I said he was just humoring him (or possibly so nerdy that he was unaware of this near law that you don't wear the thing to the thing) and the important thing is that the kids had a great time playing with all these college kids, who were welcoming and really into the game (and I didn't see the crowd, but my wife did-- they were in a group of 13 at one table and there was another table with 9 people and my wife reported that these people looked and behaved exactly as you would expect a group of people who still play Dungeons and Dragons in college and beyond to look and behave, so that's awesome as well).

Lebron James: Crucified For All Our (Basketball Viewing) Sins

Planet Money 427: LeBron James is Still Underpaid makes a strong economic case that James doesn't make nearly what he's worth-- he's underpaid for his talent, he's underpaid for his effect on ticket sales and TV revenue for whatever team he plays for, and he deserves money for his global effect on the league-- but the owners and the players like it that way . . . LeBron suffers so they can all prosper (and LeBron himself might like it that way as well, because without the odd profit sharing, parity generating practices of the league, he might have nowhere to showcase his talents) and while I recommend listening to this entire podcast, if you just want a quick laugh, go six and a half minutes in and listen to the description of the NBA draft and just how strange it really is . . . imagine if "the best software engineer at MIT," a guy who could go to Silicon Valley and make millions with Google, had to throw his name into a pool and then be selected by one of the worst companies in the country, to work for a prescribed salary, and one day got a letter in the mail saying he was assigned to the IT department at Best Buy.

Republicans Should Start Surfing

After some very sketchy research and a few stereotypical assumptions that are probably statistically true (conservatives ride motorcycles, liberals ride bikes; conservatives hunt, liberals surf) I've determined that if you're a conservative then you are way more likely to die doing a leisure activity-- 33 skiers died last year, but only 12 snowboarders; there were 55 cycling deaths as compared to a whopping 5000 motorcycle deaths; 80 hunting deaths but zero soccer and tennis deaths (soccer and tennis seem to be sports that skew the most towards Democrats) and 200 people die each year angling while surfing deaths are extraordinarily rare.

Lady in Red

I am in an awful relationship with the hot sauce from Taco House, our new favorite hole-in-the-wall authentic taqueria in New Brunswick-- when you get tacos to go, they give you a couple sauce containers of green salsa, which is zesty and just a little bit spicy, you can use as much of it as you want on your tacos and they also give you a couple containers of the red sauce, and a couple containers of this stuff is overkill because you can't use very much of it, as it is very, very hot (but also very very tasty) and so once the tacos are done, there is still plenty of red sauce, which I always place carefully in the refrigerator so I can consume it later . . . and then my wife and kids watch me eat the red sauce in various amounts for the next few days and these endeavors always end in tears-- I'm crying, my kids are yelling at me to stop eating the sauce, and my wife just shakes her head in bewilderment-- and then last night, after dipping chips in the sauce while we watched an especially stressful episode of Better Call Saul, my stomach gave out and I threw the sauce away (after Alex ate some . . . he's an idiot too, but he drank some milk-- yuck!-- and it assuaged the pain) and I'm still suffering the consequences of the sauce this morning, but if it were still in the fridge, I would pour some on my eggs . . . this is one of those reciprocally abusive relationships where the only answer is a clean break, the next time I get tacos from Taco House, I'm going to have to refuse the red sauce.

The Test 111: This Is Your "Go To" Test

This week on The Test, Cunningham investigates how Stacey and I exude so much charm and charisma, and we reveal our "go to" moves to avoid socially awkward situations . . . and we imagine what it would be like if I had cancer of the eyes.

Book Review and Team Name Suggestion All Wrapped Up in One Sentence

Florida, Lauren Groff's collection of geographically related short stories, plunges you into the all the dangers the state has to offer: hurricanes and sinkholes and floods; camping gone bad, rural abandonment, homelessness; then there are the creepy-crawlies: panthers, bugs, gators, and loads and loads of snakes-- coral snakes and moccasins and black snakes, the book is literally crawling with snakes-- the time-periods and narrators are various and the writing is surreal and vivid and it's a crying shame that there is no minor league baseball team in the Sunshine State named The Florida Sinkholes (I especially like the Sarasota Sinkholes).


We drove home from Cape Cod today and we are (ironically) enjoying the cool weather, low humidity, and much lighter traffic here in Jersey.

Serena Wins, Mesomorphs Rejoice

There's a tennis court on the premises where we are staying on the Cape, and I've been playing a lot of tennis with my kids-- several times a day; my knee hurts, my right shoulder hurts, my back hurts, and the only proper analgesic when you're on vacation is beer . . . but after watching both Venus and Serena play this morning, I was inspired and ready to get back out there; I was especially motivated by Serena because-- now that she's had a kid-- she's got nearly the same build as me: she's my height, she's got the Kirby Puckett core, and she's got short arms, unlike her sister Venus, who is long and rangy (my older son is built like me and hits the ball with the same compact stroke, my younger son is skinny and lanky and hits a two-handed backhand with a languid limber stroke that makes both Alex and I very jealous) but then I watch Serena and realize you don't need a long and tall build to play tennis-- her short powerful stroke absolutely murders the ball, and I've been modelling my serve off of her form-- no hitches, very few moving parts, chopper grip, bring it back slow and get into position and then hammer through the ball and when Ian and I went out this afternoon to whack it around after Serena's victory over the slender and lithe Kristina Mladenovic, I hit a couple serves in her honor and I'm proud to say I drilled them, even my son Ian was impressed . . . so thanks Serena, because we can't all look like Ivan Lendl and Maria Sharapova.

Smart Phone, Smart Kids, Slow Dad

I'm not sure if this is a generational thing or if my son Alex is impulsive and rude, but whenever I'm screwing something up with my phone, he grabs it from me and fixes it instead of using his words and communicating to me how I can fix it myself.

We Try To Be an Out-To-Breakfast Family

Perhaps because of the enormous vacuum in my life due to lack of World Cup games until Friday, or perhaps because we like to humor mom once a year . . . whatever the reason, we decided to go out to breakfast this morning-- and we are not an out-to-breakfast-family . . . you know this kind of family, jovial, chubby and good-natured, drinking orange juice while waiting for their pancakes kind of people . . . every once in a while Catherine decides we should be that family and go out to breakfast and it never works out-- this morning Ian and I played tennis and it was hot and he took a game from me again (it's getting frustrating) and then we jumped in the pool and then we decided to bike to the Hangar B Eatery, a critically acclaimed hipster breakfast joint located at the Chatham Airport-- we started biking at 9:30 AM, made out way down the Chatham Rail Trail spur and get to the place at 10 AM and it was small and packed-- we thought everyone would be at the parade but that was not the case-- and we were hungry . . . which is one of the reasons we're not an out-to-breakfast family, as the boys and I get really hangry, but we decided to endure the 35-minute wait and we killed some time listening to a pilot tell us about the biplane and the biplane tours (apparently, this biplane is built from the 1930 specs-- though some of the materials are modernized-- but it's still impressive that some guys in 1930 designed something as complicated as an airplane that well) and we saw a helicopter take off and then we were seated and I think they lost our ticket or got slammed or something because it took a good forty minutes for us to get our food and it was hot inside-- they did give us a free donut and apologized-- but we didn't get our food until after 11 AM and I was really proud of myself and the boys, no one complained and we all endured the wait stoically, despite our hangry status . . . and I thought the food-- when it finally came-- was quite good, but Catherine didn't love her meal and I doubt she'll try to get us to go out to breakfast for a long time.

Check Your Head

Many years ago, I recognized that adult snowboarders were all wearing helmets and so I bought a helmet-- I'm not sure why adult snowboarders didn't wear helmets before this tipping point, but once I saw other people wearing them, it made sense to make the switch; now I'm seeing adult recreational cyclists wearing helmets-- not mountain bikers or serious road bikers, but just regular folks going for a leisurely ride on the rail trail (my wife is included in this group, she says she wants to set a good example for our children) but I am not succumbing to this fad . . . my brain just isn't that valuable.

Random Vacation Notes, Cape Cod 2018 Edition

We've only been up at the Cape since Saturday, but I've already got quite a few thoughts:

1) after an early morning bike ride on Sunday, I walked into the wrong unit-- we're number 28 but I entered number 29 (despite the fact that they have a totally different entrance and door) but I beat a hasty and undetected retreat when I noticed the sneakers in the foyer were the wrong colors . . . this made me remember an incident we witnessed on Saturday morning, we were stuck in standstill traffic just before the mess of an intersection that leads to the Bourne Bridge and a car stopped on the other side of the road and beeped and a guy-- correction, a dude . . . this was definitely a twenty-something bearded sloppy dude-- this dude ran out of the ramshackle house just to the right of our car and darted through the traffic and got into the car on the other side of the road-- he was catching a ride, either from a friend or Uber, and the traffic around his house was severe, and so he ran out of the house so quickly that he didn't notice that the front door caught on the rug and bounced wide open . . . so we were laughing at the fact that the guy didn't notice he left his door wide open and drove away into the traffic and then the plot thickened; another dude wandered out of the wide-open door-- and this dude was definitely not in the same room as the other dude (this house looked like some kind of filthy crash pad) and this second dude was really offended by the wide open front door, he was like: what? who just dared to open our door? I will fuck up whoever opened this door! and he was looking all around for the perpetrator but couldn't find anyone and then he slammed the door shut and it caught on the rug and popped open again and he had this great look of epiphany on his face, and then the traffic started moving and we dove off, properly entertained despite the jam;

2) though in the old days we were stuck drinking Golden Anniversary Light, Massachusetts now has a bewildering array of craft beers and so I used my phone in the beer store and decided on Night Shift Brewing Whirlpool American Pale Ale and it's delicious;

3) The Great Island Trail is a real winner at dead low tide: after a quick walk through the woods and over the dunes, it's all sandbars and tidal pools, and the water is the perfect temperature-- a mix of the Atlantic and Cape Cod Bay . . . you can see Provincetown to the north; we spent three hours out there, my kids netting sea life and watching hermit crabs fight over a snail, and I brought back some nice rocks for my yard;

4) if you're 48  years old and you eat donuts for breakfast, and fried fish, raw oysters, and onion rings from Arnold's for lunch, then your stomach is going to hurt (but, on the bright side, Alex ate a couple of raw oysters and loved them)

5) I have officially gotten my money's worth out of my Sevylor Samoa Inflatable Paddleboard . . . I paddled it up the Oyster River this morning and it still works-- I'm not sure when I bought it but I found a post about it from 2011;

6) the fact that it's unbearably hot in New Jersey this week makes me appreciate the weather here that much more-- it's been in the high 70s-- and the Cape Cod weather-people keep warning folks of the humidity, but I'm like: what humidity?

The Challenge of the Changeling

I don't read much challenging non-fiction these days-- back in my twenties, I remember tackling Gravity's Rainbow (with a reader's guide) and reading Joyce's Ulysses and the Odyssey simultaneously, in hopes of unlocking the symbolism, and stumbling through the gargantuan meta-fictional works of John Barth-- but these days, I generally read challenging non-fiction, which means the substance is more difficult to comprehend than the style . . . a recent exception is The Changeling, by Joy Williams; the book was out of print for a long time, probably because of it's perverse, stylistic insanity, but after 40 years, it has been reprinted and if you're looking for something strange and surreal and unpredictable, with sentences that will stun you into hypnotic submission, give this book a try . . . you will certainly start to think that, "No one who has private thoughts going on in his own head is quite sure of their not being overheard" and you will think these thoughts and so will the children, and the children from Lord of the Flies will pale and wither in the shadows of these half-human juvenile/half-mythical beasts, that slowly start to subsume the fallen adults on their island, only Pearl, the naive dipsomaniac, straddles the adult world and "the secret society of childhood from which banishment was the beginning of death" and she does it partly by being oblivious and partly by being numbingly drunk, which turns out to be the only way to survive this cryptic, corrupt journey.
A New Sentence Every Day, Hand Crafted from the Finest Corinthian Leather.