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?
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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).
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.
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?