Dave Journeys From Irony to Sincerity . . . Damn!

I played 6:30 AM basketball this morning-- and I played poorly to boot, missing three lay-ups and most of my outside shots-- so I figured I'd just do a tongue-in-cheek sentence and go take a nap . . . I was going to claim, with my impeccable dry wit, that Sugar's song "Hoover Dam" is probably in the top five songs about dams (and probably the best song about the Hoover Dam) but then I got to poking around on the internet and the internet's giant digital mega brain reminded me that the song "The Highwayman" has a verse about a workman who slips and falls into the wet concrete of the Hoover Dan and is buried "in that gray tomb that knows no sound," which is as dramatic and evocative a blue-collar death as they come and so now I've got to decide if Sugar's "Hoover Dam" is a better song than "Highwayman," which is a tough one-- I certainly like Sugar's song better-- and I've been listening to "Copper Blue" quite a bit recently-- and "Highwayman" merely uses working on the Hoover Dam as one stop in a journey of reincarnation, from brigand to sailor to worker to starship captain to drop of rain-- the dam is not the main image of the song-- while Sugar's "Hoover Dam" is a vertiginous cinematic yawp about existence, purpose, and perspective that begins:

Standing on the edge of the Hoover Dam 
I'm on the center line, right between two states of mind 
And if the wind from the traffic should blow me away 
From this altitude, it will come back to you

and then, after much existential meandering, the song ends "standing on the edge of the Hoover Dam"-- and this is repeated over and over, it's quite catchy-- and now that I've really thought about it and done some research, I am going to sincerely claim that Sugar's "Hoover Dam" is the best song about the Hoover Dam.

Dave Sets Sail into a Deep Literary Sea

Let it be noted, that I, Dave, with unwavering resolve, have determined to embark upon an arduous literary journey and read a most voluminous tome penned by Eleanor Catton-- The Luminaries-- a work upon which was bestowed the illustrious Booker Prize-- and if you would like to join me in consuming this weighty tome, I invite you to join me in a most erudite book club, which will convene in one month time on the goldfields of Hokitika-- South Island, of course-- so mark your calendars, bibliophiles, and we will unravel the threads of this intricate and byzantine literary tapestry, together, despite the obtuse astrological symbolism and the antiquated prose and when we are finished, we will achieve enlightenment of some substantial kind and content, until then there will only be the sound of turning pages.

Top "Golf"

Yesterday, in honor of my wife's birthday, we went to TopGolf . . . and while TopGolf is a fun place-- with loud music, Angry Birds style range-target games, surprisingly good food and drink, and a WIDE variety of golf swings-- the things that are happening at TopGolf are only tangentially related to the sport known as "golf."

Get Out? Or Stay In? The Choice is Yours . . .


The new episode of my pretentiously titled podcast We Defy Augury is called "Get Out? Or Stay In?" and I took some notes from the Colleague-That-Was-Formerly-Cunningham-But-Now-Goes-By-O'Grady and tried to get more organized and start in with the book sooner and then slowly delve into my bombastic tangential ramblings-- anyway, this one includes thoughts (loosely) based on Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle and the Special Guests are The Allman Brothers, The Eagles, Uncle Henry, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Andre Heyworth.

The Perfect Ending to this Piece of Shit Story

It's dark and cold and rainy and gray, but I still had to walk the dog-- so I put on my rain jacket and we took a stroll through the park and on the way home, I noticed a perfectly appropriate symbol for the moody, ominous weather: there was a dead squirrel in the road, right in front of my house . . . and so I embraced the spirit of this ugly day, went inside and found a plastic bag and put it over my hand, took our half-full garbage bag into the road, hefted the dead squirrel by the tail with my plastic-sheathed hand into the garbage bag, and tossed the bag into the trash bin . . . yuck.

That's a Lot of Birthdays!

Thirty-two times now, I've celebrated my wife's birthday with her-- since she was twenty-one . . . and while she appreciated the flowers and the card and the quality chocolates from Birnn, apparently I should have learned that you can't also put the awesome glass lunch and leftover containers that you bought from Marshall's on the table with the other birthday gifts because they do not count as a birthday gift, they are a gift for the house and should be construed as such.

2023, That's a Wrap? Spotify Says Yup

Lord knows why the Swedes at Spotify like to wrap up the year November 29th, but whatever-- it's Spotify Wrapped Day-- and apparently I listen to the same music as people in Burlington, Vermont (Waxahatchee, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and the Grateful Dead) and this year was one of obsessions-- 100 gecs, Waxahatchee, Easy Star All Stars, and-- lately, so the data won't be counted-- Oingo Boingo . . . four of my five top songs were Waxahatchee tracks from the album Saint Cloud . . . I listened to 34 thousand minutes of music and 1500 artists-- and my number one artist was The Brian Jonestown Massacre, followed by Waxahatchee, Easy Star All Stars, perennial favorite The Talking Heads and finally, 100 gecs . . . my main podcast on Spotify was 60 Songs That Explain the 90s and apparently I like to listen to albums all the way through, an unusual trait in this fragmented day and age-- anyway, enough about me . . . how did your Spotify wrap up?

Double Van Key Character Building Bicycle Bonus

This morning at 7:45 AM, minutes before first period and just after I got out of the coach's room shower, my phone rang and my wife asked me if I had both of the van keys and I realized that yes I did have both van keys-- last night I drove over to Rutgers because Alex had mistakenly retreated back to college with my wife's credit card and the van key and when I picked up Alex and Ava- they needed a ride to College Avenue-- he put the credit card in my wallet and van key on my chain for the safe-keeping of both objects and then I kept them there safely until this morning, when I took my wife's car to school because Ian needed a car to go to a job interview and we try not to let him use the nice car, so he was supposed to take the minivan but since I had both van keys, my wife had to bike to work and my son had to bike to his job interview at Birnn chocolate-- and my wife got to work on time and my son got the job, so obviously biking places-- even if it is very cold and windy-- builds character and works out in the end (even though when I walked out of the school building this afternoon, my first thought was holy shit, I would not want to be biking in this kind of cold, windy weather).

Double Birbiglia Bonus

My wife and I just watched two Mike Birbiglia one-man shows on Netflix . . . and though we watched them in reverse chronological order, I think that may be the way to do it-- or else you might be kind of pissed off about The New One, like this NYT reviewer . . . but if you start with the more recent piece-- The Old Man in the Pool-- you'll be better prepared to handle some of the existential gripings in The New One-- because if you've had kids, you've been there . . . and might still be there-- and you also have to remember that while Birbiglia is a stand-up comedian, these shows are slightly different than pure stand-up-- the minimalistic sets both come into play at times and there's more of a character arc to his persona in each-- but mainly, while there are dark and desperate portions of each show, on the whole, they are hilarious, profound, and well worth watching.

Futility and Dog Hair

I vacuum the house and two hours later, my wife asks me if I vacuumed the house-- because our dog sheds so much hair . . . and don't even get me started on the bathrooms-- you clean a toilet and the next thing you know, someone is spraying urine all over it-- I think for a day or two after you clean a bathroom, people should have to urinate out back in the yard.

Dark Black Friday (for the Planet Earth)

I hope people are being mindful of their consumption today and not buying unnecessary goods . . . but I guess nothing dispels Thanksgiving gluttony, overconsumption, and hangovers like buying some useless shit.

Snakes in the Rite-Aid?

Alexander Plumbing came to the rescue this morning-- on FaceTime-- we had some work done Wednesday afternoon to stop the leak in our tankless water heater and the plumber also showed me how to rinse off the magnet filter that removes the iron sediment from our water-- but this morning our forced hot-water radiators were cold and winter weather is headed our way and I couldn't figure out the issue-- the hot water was on and the heating pumps were pumping; I bled the radiators but there was no air in them, just cold water-- it was a mystery so my wife gave it a shot and texted the guy who was at our house yesterday and though it was Thanksgiving, he called us back and took a moment to have her FaceTime the various valves around the tankless heater and he guessed-- correctly-- that he forgot to switch both dials back to green that surrounded the filter-- so it was a quick and easy fix and a Thanksgiving miracle that we have both heat and hot water (and no leaks) for the holiday weekend; I then went to play pickleball while my wife prepared several Thanksgiving dishes and when I got home, my wife assigned me one simple Thanksgiving chore-- go get a good bottle of wine to bring to Jim and LouAnne's place (my brother's inlaws) so I went to the Rite-Aid, found a good bottle of wine, and while I was paying I noticed that the young lady behind the register had a serious case of the hiccups and I was tempted to go into my whole "hey, hold still, hold very still, there's a spider in your hair" routine-- which always works on my high school students (and scares the shit out of them) but there were people in line so I went with something more economical and said, "Hey there's a big snake behind you!" which didn't make much sense inside a Rite-Aid-- the only things behind her were cigarettes, vapes, chewing tobacco, and little airplane bottles of liquor . . . so my ploy didn't work and she said said she wasn't scared at all, not even . . . hiccup . . . a little bit.

Tanks a Lot

I brought my son Ian to New Brunswick last night so he could get an MRI on his ankle-- he may have a lacerated tendon-- and when I arrived home, sleepy and ready to watch some TV and fall asleep, I found my wife in the basement, spewing profanity and amazement because not only had she discovered a large and growing puddle of water on our basement floor, but she also discovered the source of this water-- and it wasn't due to the rain storm-- our tankless water heater and the surrounding pipework was leaking from all sorts of places-- so we got the wet-vac and some towels, put a large container under the heater, and got up several times during the night to wet-vac the water from the container and dump it in the sink . . . hopefully we can get a plumber over today, but the lesson here is: just because it doesn't have a tank, that doesn't mean it can't leak.

The Subtle Art of Feeling Stupid

I found the breezily philosophical book The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck entertaining (and so did my son) but I probably didn't read it as closely and critically as Michael Hobbes and Peter Shamshiri-- because that's their job on their very funny podcast, If Books Could Kill . . . it's big fun but if they tackle a book you've read and kind of enjoyed, get ready to cringe at the silly stuff your brain will readily consume when it's not paying close attention to the details.

Monday Transforms from Wednesday to Monday

Monday is normally bad enough . . . but I was trying to maintain a positive attitude and think of this particular Monday as more of a Wednesday-- since we have off Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving so we're already nearing the end of the week . . . but I don't get on the email platform much, and so I found out this morning, just after I resolved to be optimistic, that we had a department meeting after school and then the Monday that I had transmogrified into a Wednesday did a Mr. Hyde and turned back into an ugly and malevolent Monday.

Capitalism . . . 1980s Style


Took me a while, but I finally finished this episode of We Defy Augury . . . it is called "Capitalism . . . 1980s Style: Capitalism Sucks (But It Sucks Less Than the Alternative)" and it is my thoughts on capitalism (loosely) based on three novels published in the 1980s: Carl Hiaasen's Tourist Season, Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities, and Martin Cruz Smith's Gorky Park . . . and the special guests include Oingo Boingo, Lloyd Dobbler, Conan O'Brien, and Anthony Bourdain.

There's a New DeVito in Town!

Let it be known: for many many years, the reigning DeVito from Jersey was, of course, Danny DeVito . . . but for one special day (Sunday, November 19th, 2023) Tommy DeVito wears the crown-- in his victory over the Washington Commanders, he threw three touchdowns and his passing rating was 137 . . . more than double his typical passing rating-- and he did this behind the worst offensive line in football . . . congratulations Tommy DeVito for winning the MVD of NJ today . . . Most Valuable DeVito of New Jersey (and I thought I was done watching the Giants this year but if DeVito keeps tossing touchdown passes and quips about living with his parents in Jersey, such as "I don't have to worry about laundry, what I'm eating for dinner, chicken cutlets and all that is waiting for me when I get there" then I'm in for the long haul).

Two Good (But Dark) Stories

I recently finished two horrific stories-- one fiction and one true-- and both tackled systemic corruption, immorality, and overreach . . . 

1) the first is quite fun and I highly recommend it: the Netflix mini-series The Fall of the House of Usher . . . which reimagines the gothic world of Poe through the sepia-toned lens of the filthy-rich Fortunato family and their opiate empire; 

2) the second is the new Serial production: The Kids of Rutherford County . . . a fine piece of journalism that uncovers incredible and absurd legal overreach in Tennessee-- Rutherford County juvenile court was illegally jailing children for over a decade, mainly due to a conservative judge, Donna Scott Davenport, who decided to run juvenile justice by her ethical tenets instead of the actual laws on the book . . . and it's also the story of the two underdog lawyers who challenge this insane but entrenched system and finally get some retribution and resolution for these much-maligned children . . . but you'll have to decide if it's enough retribution for the shit that went down.

Note to Self: Take a Break

At the start of this week, I played 6:30 AM pickleball Monday morning-- a healthy and vigorous start to the week-- and then the weather turned balmy . . . what was once known as "Indian Summer," a term with ambiguous origins that the historian Daniel Boorstin believes originates from the "raids on European colonies by Indian war parties that usually ended in autumn”-- but because of the genocide perpetrated on the indigenous tribes of North America by the European settlers, there is no worry of raiding parties taking advantage of warm weather and scalping me and my family, so it's quite safe to play pickleball late at night at Donaldson Park, where the Lenni Lenape once roamed-- so I played Tuesday night with my adult friends (and my wife) and then figured I would rest my knees and ankles, but Wednesday I got a text from my young pickleball friends-- these 23-year-old pharma and med kids who switched from high-level tennis to pickleball, so I went out and played with them for a couple of hours Wednesday night-- I played until 9 PM! . . . which is pretty much midnight for me-- and then the weather got even warmer so I played again Thursday night-- the first time I've ever played pickleball four days in a row, and by the end of Thursday, I pretty much couldn't move-- my ankles hurt, my hips hurt, my knees hurt-- so even though the weather is beautiful today and everyone (including my wife) are down on the courts, I'm drinking some beer and taking it easy, because my game really deteriotates once I can't hustle.

Note to Self: Lisa!

There is a window of opportunity to learn a new colleague's first name and then, abruptly, that window slams shut-- and even if you see this person every day for a few minutes, it's still tough to pry that window open, and make the required effort to relearn the name that you immediately forgot after perfunctory introductions-- but today-- months into the school year-- with the help of another colleague (thanks Liz!) and her ability to access a list with the names of every teacher in the school on it, alphabetized, I smashed that window open and climbed through, and while I my brain may have gotten a bit bloody and abraded during the process, I'm now going to prop the window open by calling this lady that I share a homeroom with "Lisa" tomorrow-- although I hope I remember her name tomorrow, as I can't think of a good mnemonic device for the name "Lisa," as it's a fairly plain name and not epiphanic, like the "Dolores!" moment in Seinfeld . . . I suppose she looks more like Lisa Lisa from the Cult Jam than she does like Lisa Simpson, so I'll have to go with that . . . the idea that our homeroom is chaperoned by Lisa Lisa and the Dave Man (not that I'm going to tell her any of this).

What Does Dave's Dog Think?

Every morning, my dog anxiously watches me retrieve her can of food from the study, pour it out, use a fork to scrape out the last few chunks of food from the can, add a little dry food, and then serve it to her-- after she sits and gives me a paw . . . which has evolved into an enthusiastic leaping high-five-- so does she think she's eating all her meals at one of those open-kitchen restaurants where you can watch the chef prepare every step of your meal?

A New Sentence Every Day, Hand Crafted from the Finest Corinthian Leather.