Herbietown - Voted Most Responsible in 8th Grade

On The Grid

I installed a Personal Weather Station on my back deck yesterday.  It is awesome.

Loyal fans of Herbietown can now read my blog, read about my wedding, buy me presents, AND, AT LONG LAST, check the weather at my house.  Just what you always wanted.

Here’s a shot of the PWS bolted onto my back deck.

Herbietown PWS

And here’s a link to my personal forecast page on Weather Underground.

My kids are so excited.  Jack had dozens of questions about how the station works, how the solar panel converts the sun’s energy into power, and how it measures rainfall.  I essentially punted on all of these questions because I’m an idiot and science class was a long time ago.  But I look forward to learning together with him.

Maybe he’ll change his career path from paleontologist who wants to work at the Museum of Natural History to meteorologist who wants to work for The Weather Channel?

I Love You Infinity

dr-seuss-sleep-bookHe asked me why I tell him “I love you infinity” so much.  I explained that I didn’t want him to forget it.  He said he wouldn’t. Then he asked why I always tell him that I love him “no matter what.”

“Because I don’t want you to forget.”

“Even if I hit Charlie?”

“Yes, even if you hit Charlie…there will be times when I won’t be happy with you, like when you hit Charlie, but I will always love you.”

“Even when I die, Daddy?”

“Yes, even then, buddy.  Always.”

And he gave me a hug.  A spontaneous ‘I feel like hugging you Daddy’ hug.  He just reached out his little arms and knew I would come in to complete the hug.

That little man had so many questions tonight.

“When are our neighbors going to move here?”

“Which neighbors?  Like Mr Jerry and Miss Jill and baby Harrison?”

“Yes, like them, our old neighbors.  They could move here and they wouldn’t even have to wear coats!”

He was lying in his little bed in his ginormous room (his words) and he said “I can’t sleep good here.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Because it’s light out.”

There are street lights on the street here and they shine directly into his window.  Poor little guy waited 2 nights to tell us that he couldn’t sleep.

“We’ll fix them, buddy.  Mommy just needs to buy some curtains.  Don’t worry.”

Earlier, we played a silly game.  There is a picture on the front inside cover of the Dr. Suess book “The Sleep Book.”  It’s a picture of a child reading a book in bed, and it says “This Book Is To Be Read in Bed.”

We took turns reading that sentence aloud, in the funniest voices possible.  The boys were so excited to think up new creative ways to say it.  “Dis Dook Is Do De Dead in Dead.”  Uncontrollable giggling.  Little boy giggling.  The purest sweetest noise in the whole world.

Mommy, silently watching us play, finally came over and gave Jack a kiss.  A series of kisses that sound suspiciously like “This Book Is To Be Read In Bed.”  Amazing.  Then she said goodnight and left the room.  And we kept reading stories, just the boys now.

This is my favorite time of night, the best part of my day.  I read to my kids for purely selfish reasons, because it feels so good to stoke their imaginations and train them to dream.  I often go into it tired and grouchy and grumpy.  I bring a beer to help ease the transition from work to home.  But I do it.  And I inevitably set the beer down somewhere and forget about it.  Sometimes, on nights like tonight, we experience the tenderest moments of my day, the moments I wish I could bottle up and consume again and again.

In the future, there will be wireless video cameras in every room, and we’ll be able to access video of ourselves and our special moments, without having to ruin them by whipping out our phones and capturing them actively on tape.  Even then, though, I’m not sure a video would be able to capture the feelings in me on nights like tonight, when my boys do the sweetest cutest things you could ever imagine.

5 Things That Won’t Happen To Me When I Get Old


  1. I won’t dye my hair.
  2. I won’t be a slave to my children.
  3. I won’t turn into a judgmental bigoted asshole.
  4. I won’t stop loving my children unconditionally.
  5.  I won’t stop enjoying life.


I also won’t spend all of my time talking about other people’s lives, but instead will just live my own.

Ok, I’m done now.

Mountain Road

Mountain Road
Take Me Home
To a Place
I Belong
Wilton, Connecticut
Take Me Home
Mountain Road

What Doesn’t Belong In This Picture?


I’ll give you a hint, it says William Raevis on it

Man, I’m going to miss this place.

We got something like 18 inches, and in some parts it drifted to 3 feet.  Beautiful morning.  The wind is blowing and swirling but it’s not biting cold.  We got absolutely dumped on.

The air smells of crackling wood from our wood stove.

We’re watching Nemo coverage on The Weather Channel.  They interviewed a woman named Stephanie from New York City and Jack got really excited because he thought it would be his Aunt Stephanie.

We’re getting ready to trek outside to play and do an official measurement.  Here’s the first measurement from last night.

Should I Change The Name of Herbietown?

I picked the name Herbietown in the spring of 2007, after passing the reins at The Tuck Profit, a fake news site I created in business school.  I thought Herbietown would be a site for posts and pictures about my kids, for the primary use of my family.  I also liked that the sheer idiocy of the name conveyed a certain tongue-in-cheek Colbert-like self-obsession, a type of humor that I love and often use.

But has the name run its course?  It is such an awful name.  It makes people think of Herbie the Lovebug, or worse.

The leading contender for a replacement name is “Damn Yankee Lad.”  It’s from an old civil war era bluegrass song, performed here by my friend Nick Reeb and his band King Wilkie.  (I posted this same video here a few weeks ago.)

I like “Damn Yankee Lad” because that’s really what I am.  A carpetbagging Yankee from Connecticut who fell in love with southern belle and is moving to the South.  It gives immediate context to all of my rants about the South, too, which is good.  Because everyone loves those.

One problem is the word “damn.”  My kids are getting old enough to read and I’m not sure they need to know that Daddy spends a lot of time working on a website called “Damn Yankee Lad.”  They’ll undoubtedly learn that word pretty quickly, and that’s not exactly accepted in polite society, especially in the South.

Oh, the dilemmas I face!



Why, Dad, Why?

I feel compelled to start this post with a few details about what kind of man my father is.

In 1983, he was the leading hitter for the World Champion fastpitch softball team, the Raybestos Cardinals.    No small feat.  He started a company from scratch, took it public and then sold it.  Also very impressive.  More importantly, when he took me to the Final Four in Tampa and we watched the UConn Huskies win a National Championship, our seats were 2 rows in front of the governor of Connecticut. That was awesome.  Even more awesome was that he owned a minor league baseball team for 7 years.  And I guess I should mention that he paid for me to go to college, too.

So yeah, my father has had both an impressive athletic and business career, and he’s done some amazing things for me.  I’m proud of him.  He’s definitely much cooler than your father.

But he’s not perfect, and that’s why I’m writing this post.  My father has the worst taste in cars of anyone I’ve ever known.

Growing up, we always had American cars.  No objections there (though a Harvard MBA should have read The Choice: A Fable of Free Trade and Protection).  So along the way we had a Mercury Sable, a Ford Taurus, a Chrysler Town & Country, a Jeep Cherokee and then a Jeep Grand Cherokee. No complaints so far.

The problems started when I turned 16.

We were looking in the Bargain News for a used car.  My mother refused to let me get a new car when I turned 16, even though my father was prepared to buy me a brand new Dodge Neon.  Not that I was in love with a Dodge Neon, I wanted a Jeep Wrangler.  But it was her religious conviction that 16 year olds shouldn’t have new cars. She felt that a used car would build my character. (Some good that did.)

Anyway, none of that matters now.  What matters is that while we were shopping for cars FOR ME, my father came home with a car FOR HIM.  A little $5,000 toy that he just couldn’t resist.

A used white convertible Mazda Miata.


It was so small that he practically didn’t fit in it. His head stuck up over the front windshield.  I know this is sexist but let’s be honest, this car was designed and engineered for a woman.  Just look at it.  It’s tiny.   It has this cute feature where the headlights pop up when you need them, and then fold back into the car when you don’t.  I’m sorry but that just seems so feminine to me.  Somehow Like Sally Carrera from Cars:

Sally Carrera

Sally Carrera

Except at least Sally was a Porsche.

Who buys a white Mazda Miata convertible?  I mean, come on, there are so many other better options for a sportscar.  You might be thinking “to each his own, stop making fun of your father…and after all he did for you.”

Well, you have to realize that his choices affected me.  I took that car on a date and thought I was so cool for having a convertible.  I remember loading up the CD changer with my music so I could roll in style, and on the way to the date I played Blackstreet’s No Diggity on full blast.  No Diggity, No Doubt.  Hmm hmm.

Shoot me now.

That girl probably thought I was borrowing my mom’s car.  No wonder things didn’t work out.

Later, when my father was fortunate enough that he could really afford to buy a nice car for himself, he got a Mercedes SLK-230, another car designed and engineered for a woman.  Just look at it.

Mercedes SLK-230 looks a little like this

Mercedes SLK-230 looks a little like this

By that point in his life, money was no longer an excuse.  He could have afforded a real Porsche, a BMW, an Audi, whatever.  A chick magnet car.  Instead he got a chick car.

He got it in blue, to match the logo of the Bridgeport Bluefish, the baseball team that he owned.  That was actually pretty bad ass.  But why such a small sportscar?  Why not get something a little bigger, a little more manly?

Finally, the icing on the cupcake, a few years ago he bought another little car for tooling around town in.  I’m not making this up, I swear.  This car is sitting in his garage right now, unless he took it out with him to the nail salon.

The color of this car is called "Passion Cabriolet"

The color of this car is called “Passion Cabriolet”

He owns a bright red convertible SmartCar.  Meep meep.

Dad, I love you, but next time you’re going to buy a car, please take me along with you.

Although I inherited my mother’s insane liberal guilt about wasting money on fancy cars, I have no problem helping you spend your hard-earned money.  You owe it to your other sons, who are at the age where they’ll be borrowing your cars for their own dates.  Don’t you want them to roll up in style?


footprintssnowWe played in the snow yesterday.  I didn’t have the heart to tell the boys that it doesn’t snow in Atlanta.  They are going to be devastated.

We only got about an inch, but it’s the perfect amount for a game we played.  The game is simple.  It’s called “Look at these footprints.”  Or maybe “Hey Daddy, look at these footprints.”  “Daddy, Daddy, look at these footprints.”  Over and over and over again, all the way to the mailbox.

First it was just stomping and jumping but then it got more creative with walking on toes or heels, walking sideways, crawling, rolling over, butt-scooching, sliding, etc.  Their creativity blew me away.

It was also fun to watch them play off each other.  Charlie would think of something new, like making “footprints” with his head, and then Jack would immediately do the same thing.

We left quite a set of footprints in the snow.

My children are very different from each other.  Jack was much more careful and controlled with his footprints, methodical with his creativity.  Charlie reimagined the canvas immediately, thinking way outside the box with each new turn, unafraid to get dirty or wet.

On the way back home, Jack started to write names in the snow with his feet.  First he wrote his name, then he wrote Charlie’s name, then he wrote “William Raveis,” copying it from the For Sale sign in our front yard.  It broke my heart a little bit when he wrote Sam’s name, and then his friends’ Ray and Jake.

More than a few times I wish I had my phone on me to take pictures of the footprints, but I had purposely left it at home so that I could just live my life.  It is ridiculous how addicted I am to my phone, how naked I feel without it.  Weekends shouldn’t be about obsessing over every new vibration in my pocket, staying on top of emails, and sharing every single thing I do.  Sometimes it’s better to just live my life and enjoy the present moment, without being so concerned with checking in, updating my status, tweeting every funny thought that comes into my head.

I would be much better off if I actually lived by this, and put my phone away during off hours.  At night, I should turn it off instead of checking it compulsively every time I wake up.  Our brains aren’t wired to check our mobile devices every few seconds.  However, they are wired to stay alert for danger. Those are 2 different things but I think our brains assume they are the same.  So we compulsively check our phones, thinking it will keep us alive.

On the other hand, I wish I had pictures of some of the uniquely brilliant footprints that my children made in the snow yesterday.  I guess I’ll just have to cherish the memory without any photographic evidence.  Maybe it’s better that way?

I’m the Mayor!!

supermayor_bigI became the Foursquare Mayor of a restaurant in Atlanta called Noche. It’s a great Tapas restaurant in Vinings with great food, a huge drink selection, live music, WiFi, and sports. And all reasonably priced.

The mayor gets 15% off their meal. The problem is that it doesn’t happen automatically. You have to ask for it. I feel like such a loser…I eat dinner by myself and then I have to explain “Foursquare” to the server and ask for a discount on my meal because I’m the “Mayor.” It goes something like this:

First, I walk in.

Big fake smile. “Hi, how many?”

“Just one for dinner, please.”

“Oh! Oh, no problem. Would you like to sit at our bar?”

“No I’d rather get a table if you don’t mind.” I hate barstools for trying to type on a laptop, but I feel guilty taking up a two-top. I can’t win.

“Ok, right this way.”

Then I order my food (which is delicious), they check on me a few times, and I ask for the check.

“Excuse me, so I’m the Mayor on Foursquare? And that means I get 15% off my food?” I show the server my iPhone. She clearly has no idea what I’m talking about. It’s like that scene in the Sex and the City movie where Carrie needs to make a phone call and someone hands her an iPhone and she has no idea how to work it.

“You’re the Mayor of our restaurant?”

“Yes, I’m the Mayor of Noche. On Foursquare. It just means I checked in the most times in the last 60 days.”

“Huh. And what does that get you?”

You mean, besides the satisfaction of knowing that I’m an early adopting digital NINJA? “Uh, 15% off my meal. See it says it right here on my iPhone.”

“Ok? I’ll be right back.”

It’s so embarrassing. The server already thinks I’m a total loser for eating alone, despite flashing my wedding ring around to show that clearly I’m here in town on business and someone at home does love me. She probably thinks I’m divorced or something.

And Now I’m asking for a discount on my meal because I’m using some weird service. It doesn’t have to be this way. Foursquare is already linked to my Amex card; it could happen automatically. And it doesn’t even matter. I leave a whopping tip to show that it wasn’t about the money anyway, it’s about reaping the rewards of mayorhood! (I also leave a big tip so that they’ll like me)

Last night, I got the same server as the night before. “Didn’t I just have you in my section last night?” Big smile.

“Yes, I was here last night, too.”

At the end of the meal, I said “So, I’m still the mayor, can you apply that same discount?” I hold up my iPhone again.

“You get it 2 nights in a row?”

“I get it for as long as I’m Mayor, you know, until someone unseats me by checking in more times than me.”

“Oh. Ok.”

“I promise I’m not making this up, you should look it up!”

“I totally believe you, I just never heard of it before.”

Yeah, right.

A Bathroom Vignette

You know how you make your kids go to the bathroom before they leave the house?

So last night I had a work dinner.  A couple drinks, nothing crazy.  It was one of those nice restaurants where they have servers hovering over your table, filling up your water glass every time you take a sip.  Like Chinese restaurants in the 80s.

I was consciously forcing myself to drink water, because that’s what I do on days when I fly.  That dry reprocessed air on the plane is terrible for you.  So I drank and drank and they kept filling me up.

Also, and very germaine to this story, I was wearing my tight jeans.  I have this one pair that run small.  They look great on me, so people say, but they’re a little, uh, restricting.

Right at the end of dessert, nature called.  I figured I would just hit the men’s room on the way out.  But then I got caught up in a conversation on the way to the door and next thing I know I’m on the sidewalk waiting for the valet.  It was like 30 degrees, which helped me forget that I meant to make a pit stop.

As soon as I sat down in my car, I remembered, with a vengeance.  Too lazy (or too stupid) to go back inside, I set the GPS and drove back to my brother-in-law’s.  I was about to explode and yet I got behind the wheel anyway.  It hurt.  I felt like a bloated whale.  I supposed I could have done the Dumb and Dumber thing, or just pulled over at a gas station, but there were no good options and it was mostly highway.  So I drove like 85 mph and rocked back and forth in my seat, miserable.  It was the longest ride ever.

There is no punch line to this story.  I made it.  My bladder didn’t explode.  It was gloriously relieving.  Thank you.

Killer boots, man

Killer boots, man

Dad Lays Down the Law

It was around 6pm, the witching hour for little kids.  They get tired, they don’t want to eat dinner, they don’t want to go to bed.  They get whiny and need attention.  Last night was a particularly brutal example of this.  Charlie was complaining about having to eat corn cake that Greta made (the little boy is as stubborn as his parents), and just rolling around on the ground fake-crying in protest.

“But I don’t want cake. I’m not hung-ie for cake.  Ehhhhh….ehhhhh…  I’m not HUNG-IE!”

For like 25 minutes he just whined and fake-cried and Greta was about to pull her hair out in frustration.

Jack was talking up a storm, trying to get some attention amidst all the noise.  I was writing an email at the kitchen counter, trying to ignore everything and focus, but it was increasingly difficult.

Eventually, I had enough.  So I turned in my chair and just strapped on the deepest, most authoritative voice I could muster, and said “Guys, it’s too loud and crazy in here.  ENOUGH!  Charlie, stop crying IMMEDIATELY or you’ll go sit on the stairs.”

It worked.  Everyone shut up.  It was dead silent.  I kept typing on the computer and all you could hear was the glorious click click click of a Mac keyboard.

gorillaDad laid down the law, and the law won.  It felt glorious.

I rarely raise my voice with my children.  I don’t want to be the type of Dad that yells all the time.  I don’t want my children to be afraid of me.  Plus it’s not usually effective.  But sometimes there’s nothing like some good old-fashioned Authority to get the kids in line.  And make me feel powerful.

I Wish I Could Work With My Hands

A Man's Workshop

A Man’s Workshop

This is a picture I ripped off Facebook, from my friend Andre.  He built that thing.  He calls it a “KTM” though I have no idea what that means.

Impressive, huh?

Take a look at his workshop.  The man knows how to build stuff.  With his bare hands.  He’s a tinkerer, an engineer at heart, a guy who knows how to work with his hands.

I couldn’t be more jealous.

I don’t have those muscles.  I barely have muscles at all.  I spend my days behind a computer, and my nights and weekends too.  I can’t build shit.

Sometimes, when I’m feeling sorry for myself, I blame my father for not teaching me how to build things in a workshop.  He taught me plenty of other very useful stuff (don’t worry, Dad, you did a great job) but not this.

The most I ever saw my father build with his hands was a large wooden table.  He lacquered it and then used a wood-burning pen to write the nicknames of all his softball teammates on it.  Skuppa-C and The Zop and The Italian Stallion.  Chris Herbs even made it on that table, and Eleni Penny.  It was a really cool table and I’m pretty sure he built it by hand.

Greta’s family is different.  They are insane, actually.  Her father and brother can take apart cars and put them back together again.  I don’t think they’ve paid a mechanic a dime in the past 10 years.  They all have engineering degrees and could probably have a great conversation with Andre about the work he did to rebuild his KTM.  I would get bored quickly, they would talk for hours.

And it isn’t just the men in the family.  Greta is 10x handier than me around the house.  She does all the Mr. Fix-It stuff.  I make the budget spreadsheets.

One time I overheard my kids talking about our hammer that had been left in the family room.  “Why is Mommy’s hammer here?” Jack said.  Can you believe that?

Maybe I need a small DIY project to get me excited?   Sometime I could pick up for an hour or two on the weekends.

Maybe when we move to Atlanta I’ll build a pong table.  You know, for the kids.

The South, Where Men Can Be Men

I have a theory.

I think, in the South, that men can be men.  Real Men.  The kind that go hunting and fishing and watch football and drink beer.  The kind that go on weekend camping trips with their buddies, whenever they damn well feel like it.  The kind that emerge from the womb knowing how to use chainsaws and guns.  The kind that grill out.

What they don’t do is dishes.  Or laundry.  Or diaper-changing.

And how do these men, these Giants, get away with it?

A Southern Man

A Southern Man

I was wondering the same thing.  Then I met some real Southern Men.  They were not what I expected.  Sure they appeared gruff from afar, but up close they talk all syrupy sweet.  That adorable southern twang, thick as honey and sweeter.  That’s the secret.  They get away with all sorts of facial hair and drive pickup trucks and go mudding, and they get away with it because when they come home they talk sweet.

Mmmmm, I could just drink up a manly southern accent, and I would piss lemonade.

In Connecticut, we do the opposite.  We talk with clenched jaws.  We pride ourselves on having no accent whatsoever.  We look down on New Jersey and Long Island and Brooklyn and Massachusetts for their provincial accents.  We can’t even understand people from the South.

We peer over our wire rimmed glasses at the New York Times crossword puzzle.  We remark on education and wine and cheese.  We strive to send our kids to Choate and Deerfield.  We drive BMW’s and Audi’s.

And we Connecticut men prepare salads and do dishes and change diapers and wash clothes.  We stay home on weekends and ferry our kids to birthday parties.  We rarely hunt or golf or ski.  We sacrifice our very manhood on the altar of Yankee superiority.

What good has it done us?

I’m not saying I want to go back to the days of gender segregation.  Far from it.  I look down on unliberated men with scorn and derision.  I enjoy an equal partnership with my wife, and even if I wanted to revert to something more antiquated, anyone that knows her knows that I wouldn’t have a prayer.

But still.  I can’t help but wonder if she’ll let me have cable TV once we move to the South.  Will she bring me beers when I ask her?  Will I be allowed to upgrade my Subaru wagon to a truck, now that I’ll be spending so much more time in it?  Will I be able to go off hunting or golfing on Saturdays while she tends to the children?

I’ll try my best to talk Southern.  I really will.  In fact, I’ve already started to use y’all instead of you.  It’s far superior to have a plural you, like Ustedes in Spanish.  I just need to slow down my speech, smile more, and work on a few tweaks to my vowels.  Perhaps there are some expressions I could add to my vernacular, like “reckon.”

I promise I’ll work on it.

Will that help?

How many more stereotyping posts can I get away with before I get run out of the South?  Bets?

I Like to Sing in My Car

Best Radio Station in Atlanta

Best Radio Station in Atlanta

My car is an extension of my shower.  A place where I can sing without anyone hearing.  Singing while driving is amazing.

As I trade my 80 minute Metro-North train ride for a 30 minute Atlanta traffic jam, I need to find new ways to entertain myself, new routines.  One new routine is waking up at 5am to write, because I can no longer write on my commute.

But that doesn’t mean that I can’t find ways to satisfy my spiritual needs while commuting.

I had been listening to 98.9 The Bone in my rental cars.  It’s an awesome Atlanta rock station with lots of new music that makes me feel young again, but enough old stuff that I know the words to most of it.  For example, they’ll play Bush or Green Day or Creed and I’ll just rock out in the car.

Well I just heard the news today
It seems my life is going to change
I close my eyes, begin to pray
Then tears of joy stream down my face

With arms wide open
Under the sunlight
Welcome to this place
I’ll show you everything
With arms wide open
With arms wide open

There’s always that awkward moment when traveling on the highway, when another car sort of pulls up alongside mine and we’re traveling at the same speed for a few moments.  They glance over, perhaps because my rocking head catches their eye, and they see me belting out the lyrics, not just humming or singing under my breath either, but going to town like the lead singer at a rock concert.

I don’t stop either, I just keep my eyes forward and stay in the groove.

Since I shipped my own car down to Atlanta, I no longer have to rely on The Bone for my music.  I have my CD’s.  There are 6 in the changer:

  • Goodie Mob’s Still Standing
  • Outkast’s ATLiens
  • Outakst’s Southerplayalisticcaddillacfunkymusic
  • Outkast’s Aquemini
  • Gilberto & Getz (the one with The Girl from Ipanema)
  • Radiohead’s OK Computer.

OK Computer has these soaring lyrics that are perfect for rainy days – nothing beats Karma Police or Exit Music for a Film.

This is what you get
This is what you get
This is what you get when you mess with us

And for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself
And for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself

For for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself
For for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself
Phew, for a minute there, I lost myself, I lost myself

I never listen to Gilberto & Getz because I’m rarely in the mood for elevator music while driving (it’s a great disc for background music while writing though).

The rap music from Atlanta artists gives me a surge of love for my new hometown.  I especially like Andre 3000.  I love when they rap about Atlanta, though it’s usually the places they came from like East Point, Decatur, and College Park, and not the places I’m likely to live, like East Cobb, Marietta, or Buckhead.  That would be awesome if they rapped about those places.  A girl can dream.

My favorite verse from Andre 3000 is either this one:

Friends, Romans, countrymen lend me yo’ eardrums
It was a beautiful day off in the neighborhood
Yellows and greens and blues and browns
and greys and hues that ooze beneath dilapidated woods
Ain’t a thing could explain what pertains
to cocaine it’s a stain that rain
See summer roll around niggaz holla bout change
Then they steady move them ki’s like Bob James
Cause old man winter’s arrived, the temperature dives
November just died, December’s alive
Thus it ain’t no typical ride
Just individual’s way to bring home
the bacon when bacon was all gone
Makin it our own, takin me all wrong
We’ve all indulged in the bulge of those no-no’s
No you ain’t solo, it’s even lower levels you can go
Take sun people, put ’em in a land of snow

I’m not sure what it means but it’s beautiful.  The other one I like is from Ain’t no thang:

3-5-7 to your fo’head, there’ll be mo’ dead
Cuz I’mma po’ kid
So Lord forgive me, I got to keep my milly right here near me
When I be doin fine until these niggaz want to clear me off my street
But in my hood hood, they hollerin ghetto
Don’t have no neighbors that hit the pipe but never let go
But I feel for them like Chaka Khan feel for you
Ain’t shit that we can do but rest in peace, pour a brew
On the concrete, remember when we ran deep
Remember at the party when we served them niggaz dandy
They know not to test us, test me, do me, try me
Trippin with that drama, my Beretta’s right beside me
One is in mid-air and one is the chamber
Y’all ask me what the fuck I’m doin, I’m releasin anger
Quick to dodge danger, I’m takin it one day
At a time, I got the fattest dimes around my way
You can sway with Andre, I’ll take her to the ho-jo, bitch
Just let you know, yeah

[Chorus (2X)]
Ain’t no thang but a chicken wang
We havin a smoke out in the Dungeon with the Mary Jane
It’s just a pimps (players), Mack daddies (East Point)
It’s all about that ses in yo chest (It’s the joint)

I like to think that they’re not really rapping about guns.  That “Ain’t no thang but a chicken wang” is just slang meaning it’s not a gun, it’s just a chicken wing.  We’re just getting creative and trying to be hard, because it’s gonna sell some records.  Really we’re into the beats and the rhymes.  But I doubt it.

Yes, it brings to mind the amazing opening scene of Office Space, where Michael Bolton raps in traffic on his way to work, then locks the door and turns down the music when a black guy walks by.

I’ve got my pistol pon cock
Ready to lick shots non-stop
Until I see your monkey-ass drop
And let your homies know who done it
Cause when it comes to this gangsta shit
you muthafuckas know who run it
So when you put this muthafucka to the test
You gotta realize somethin, nigga: (you fuckin with the very best)
I’ve got this killer up inside of me
I can’t talk to my mother, so I talk to my diary

That’s me.  All passion at 7:30 am.  Ready to attack my day.

Now I just need to find a good recording of Damn Yankee Lad by King Wilkie.

Cleansing My Filing Cabinets

I just purged hundreds of pieces of paper from my life.  Here they are, pre-combustion in the wood stove.

I burned all of this down

I burned all of this down

I went through my filing cabinets and removed all unnecessary pieces of paper.  Old bank statements, old balance transfer offers, old medical bills.   It felt incredible.

I enjoyed it so much, I obsessed over it, I exulted in it.   Productivity porn.  It was so cleansing and refreshing to get rid of old files and make those overstuffed filing cabinets roomy again.

bedfordfilingcabinetsI still want another filing cabinet, and plan to buy one in Atlanta (see pic at right), so that I can spread the files out even more.  Each folder should have its own sleeve, for example.  But going through and cleaning things out is so therapeutic.

I also started our taxes, finalized our 2013 budget, and made sure every user on our Mac desktop had updated software.

Finally, I went through realtor.com and found every house for sale in the Atlanta metro area and saved my favorites (there were 52) and rated them on a scale of 1 through 5.

I am a nerd.  It’s that simple.

What separates me from normal Connecticut nerds is that I the words that formed my thoughts as I conducted this cleansing.  I didn’t say to myself: “Let’s clean out these filing cabinets.”  I said: “Let’s cleanse this station.”  I called my desk a “station.”  Like a battlestation.  Where I got to do battle.

I cannot wait to move to Atlanta and have a proper office.  I don’t need dark wood-paneling, though it would be nice, I just need a dedicated room which I can outfit for productivity.  A place to wake up at 5 am and go to.  A place for solitude and writing and bill-paying and generally doing the things I enjoy doing when I’m not working and not playing with my children.

I would love a television in there, and it needs a door, and it would be awesome if it had a safe (for passports and other documents).

My current desk in in the corner of the family room, a great spot when you’re hanging with your family but not great for working from home (I use the guest bedrooms upstairs for that).


My workstation.

This was a fun day for this damn Yankee lad.  While my new Southern neighbors enjoyed 70 degree weather by riding in swamp buggies and hunting for game and watching the NFL playoffs, I was cleaning out my filing cabinets (and watching Baby Einstein).



We had 2 showings yesterday.  We usually go to Little Pub when we have showings; it’s the best restaurant ever and very kid-friendly.  But yesterday the showings were at 11 and 3, so not the ideal times for Little Pub (it doesn’t open until 11:30).  We went to Orem’s instead and got waffles and grilled cheeses.

Then at 3 we decided to go on a hike at Woodcock Nature Center.  The first 10 minutes, pictured here, were great.  We ventured into the woods and stomped through slush and mud and show.  The kids loved it.  Sam squirmed all around in the Baby Bjorn, ecstatic to be strapped to Daddy’s chest on a hike.

Then he started to cry and didn’t stop for about 90 minutes.  I had a screaming 17 pound baby strapped to my chest. Not fun for either of us.

We got back to the house at 4:30, and the realtor for the 3p showing was just pulling into our driveway.  Ugh.

Off to Caraluzzi’s.  We needed to pick up coffee anyway.  Check out the boys pushing their own grocery carts.

There really ought to be a system where we get notified when someone has entered our house, and when they’re done.  The lockboxes already have a way of notifying our realtor as to which agent entered our house and when…why can’t it notify the homeowner of when someone is in the house?




Damn Yankee Lad

KingWilkie-1Holy crap.  I just discovered a song called Damn Yankee Lad.

It is my new personal theme song.

Here’s my friend’s bluegrass band, King Wilkie, performing it at Telluride Bluegrass festival a couple of years ago.  My buddy Nick is the guy on the fiddle.

Here are the lyrics:

I’m just a damn Yankee Way down in the South
And I love to kiss Southern belles on the mouth.
I laugh when they say all damn Yankees are bad,
‘Cause nobody knows I’m a damn Yankee lad.

CHORUS: And I’m having fun like I never have had
‘Cause nobody knows I’m a damn Yankee lad.

When I found old Sherman had left me behind,
A very strange notion came into my mind.
I dressed up in gray and I made up my spiel,
And I headed straight for the town of Mobile.

I stopped in Atlanta and met a Creole.
She captured my heart and she captured my soul.
She fed me on cornbread and peaches and ham,
Not knowing that I was a damn Yankee man.

I’ve raised a fine family of girls and young men.
They think that damn Yankees are plum full of sin.
They’d call you a liar if you said that their dad
Had marched to Mobile as a damn Yankee lad.

When I get so old that I’m ready to die,
I’ll put on my uniform blue as the sky.
They’ll march round my coffin, and won’t they be mad
When they learn that I was a damn Yankee lad?

Little Dogs


So I walk in the door last night, after being in Atlanta all week, and I discover my kids curled up on the couch watching Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2.

It’s a movie about a talking chihuahua.

I should have ripped the TV off the wall at that very moment.  I HATE little dogs.  I hate everything about them.  I hate the way people treat them as little pets, ferrying them around in little dog carriers, bringing them to the hair salon like they’re some kind of toy.

They are 1 step removed from rodents.  They are not real dogs.  And they should all be shot.

My father has a 1/2 chihuahua, 1/2 Jack Russell terrier.  He named it Ringo.  Everytime I see that dog I am overcome with an overwhelming desire to kick it.  My foot would fit perfectly under its little body, and I bet I could launch him across the room and against the wall.  It would feel so good.  He would yelp and slither away and I would be satiated, at least for a few moments.


Check out this pic of my old man at a baseball game with his little Paris Hilton dog in tow. It makes me want to puke.  He looks like a little rat.

And if you could hear him yelp, you would agree.

Sorry, Dad, but there is something wrong with you.  I question your status as a man.  I am calling you out.  That dog should be put out of its misery.

I don’t think very many people in the South have little vanity dogs like this. At least, I hope not.  I imagine in the South it’s all about dobermans and pitbulls and other, tougher, breeds.

It’s a good thing we’re moving, before it’s too late.

Look What I Discovered on My Running Shoes

I’ve been in Atlanta all week, apart from my family.

One of the best moments of the week was Wednesday morning when I pulled out my running gear and got ready to go for a run.  I discovered a lego scotch taped to the laces of my running shoes.  See picture.

My son Charlie loves scotch tape.  He’s always making these elaborate creations using rolls to scotch tape and his crazy imagination.  Then he comes and finds me or Greta and explains his creation.  He blows my mind sometimes.

What did he imagine this little lego piece was going to do for my running shoes?  Was he trying to give me turbo boosters so I’d run faster?  Was it a tracking device so he would always know where I was?  Or maybe it was some sort of weapon to keep me safe?

He brought a big smile to my face, even as I struggled to tear it free.  I’ll have to ask him what he was thinking.

Sometimes I miss my boys so much it hurts.

Mocking The South

The response to yesterday’s post surprised me.  I wrote about house-hunting in Atlanta.  I made sweeping generalizations about the types of people that live in the different neighborhoods we are looking at, and said that I wanted my kids to grow up with open minds.  It was supposed to be ironic and funny.

But some of you dear readers commented or sent me private messages that you were offended by my post, that I should have a more open mind, that I shouldn’t mock the South.

Here’s a comment from Facebook:

“Wow, generalize much. I’m quite surprised by your post. in the real world, you know-outside of Ct, there are Republicans, and people who own guns, people who enjoy monster trucks and swamp buggies, even some who own them. There are people who live and die with their sports teams, but what you will find out is they really might not be that different from you if you allow your self to be open to knowing them. There is something we can learn from everyone and your kids will learn that too. I know you know this, maybe just needed a reminder.”

I’m sorry, but you’ve missed the point entirely.  I’ve earned the right to make fun of the South.  And I’ve earned it the hard way, by marrying a Southerner.  If I have to put up with her southern drawl and her mother’s passion for college football, I get to say whatever I want.  Like a Jewish comedian making Jew jokes, I can’t be called out for making Southern jokes.  How dare you try to take that away from me!

There’s nothing better than hanging out with my in-laws and putting on my Forrest Gump voice and pretending to be dumb and slow.  Hell, I married a girl from Georgia precisely so I could mock my mother-in-law with Southern jokes.  She loves it!  And furthermore, now that I’m actually moving to the South, and am going to live here, and am going to raise children here, I have FULL CREATIVE LICENSE to say whatever I want.

“Allow yourself to be open to knowing them” is my favorite phrase from that Facebook comment.  As if marrying into a Southern family isn’t proof enough of my commitment to know true Southerners.  Unbelievable.  I know them alright.  I know them well.  And I get to make fun of them whenever I want, however I want, and to whomever I want.  Y’all hear?

If you want to own a swamp buggie, you deserve to be ridiculed.  I don’t even know what a swamp buggie is.  But surely it’s a redneck device used for passing the time until the next college football game.  And so I will mock it.

If you want to live and die with your sports team, even though you didn’t go to that college, that’s your right.  But when you buy flags for your front yard with the logo of a state university on it, that you didn’t even go to, you will be mocked.   And I’ll be the one doing the mocking.

If you actually have a store which gives away free guns just for voting, well, that’s your right.  But I’m going to call you out for being totally ridiculous.

It’s not like you don’t ask for it.  Check out this pic that’s been circulating on Facebook.

...because nobody can afford it!

So buckle up, rednecks.  This Yankee is coming to town.  I’ll eat your cheese grits and watch your college football and let my kids play monster trucks and go to the Varsity and order Coke.  In return I get to say whatever I want on this blog.

It’s not like I’m not equal opportunity.  I make fun of people from Connecticut too.