Month: February 2015

Go to Hell


The Lemonade Chronicles


These are not words we use lightly around here.  Right up there with “Shut Up” in terms of a phrase turned by one of the Beadling Boys that will automatically trigger an icy stare, stern reprimand and loss of personal items.  As in, “Did you just tell your brother to ‘shut up'”?!  iPhone? — GONE.  iPod? — GONE.  Big League Chew pack you got from Santa in your stocking that you didn’t think I knew you’d squirreled away in your bedroom? — GONE.  That type-deal.  

We are very strict about words.  It is may be the most helicopter-y piece of our parenting.  Maybe because there’s not much grey.  Minimal ambiguity.  There is no detective work or forensic psychiatry that must be deployed to figure out whether something someone said at the lunchroom at school was prompted, whether something was a proportionate or disproportionate response, whether we need to call…

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Go Syraduke Orangebluedevilmen!

Repost from one year ago:

The Lemonade Chronicles

There’s a big college hoops game on today.  I know this because I’m in the Salt City, home of the Orangemen.  This town has embraced the Syracuse Orangemen basketball team for as long as I can remember.  But that embrace has turned into a crazed squeeze in the last decade or so, like the Abominable Snow Rabbit clutching Daffy Duck.  “I will name him George, and I will hug him, and pet him and squeeze him.”


Except that these Syracuse Orangemen love it.  They want to squeeze the Abominable Snowman right back.


Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a college town and college men’s hoops team so locked in such an unabashed embrace.  Public display of affection unlike any other.

And I think that’s awesome.  I went to Duke for undergrad.  And I still think it’s awesome.  Allow me to elaborate —

I have vivid memories…

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I Shot the Sheriff.


Actually, it turns out I didn’t. But for some reason, I thought I did, and I’ve been telling anyone and everyone that it was I who shot the sheriff. Moreover, I did not and do not deny also shooting the deputy. No one ever asked me about the deputy. But I have been, and remain, prepared to admit–nay, boast–about my central role in the deputy’s demise.

Man, I like Brian Williams. Always have. Same way I like Tom Brokaw. Tom gave the commencement address at my undergraduate institution nearly 25 years ago. I remember at one point he proclaimed that beer counted as “food.”

Then, he hoisted me above his head, grabbing me by my knees and neck. The assembled throngs at Wally Wade Stadium went absolutely wild. From my prone and sideways position, I spied a rabid, fanged javelina and dispensed with it by hurling a Swiss Army Knife through its eye socket at 250 paces. And the entire Duke community–undergraduates, graduates, and Tom Brokaw–all enjoyed a spectacular feast of boar that evening. And Coach K. All of us.

Yep, that is exactly how it happened. Ask anyone.

Wait a minute, on second thought, I may actually have imagined everything after the “food = beer” remark. I don’t know how I managed to conflate a stack of triangular finger sandwiches with a wild boar.

That I ripped asunder! With my bare hands! Putting its gristled skull on my head like a crown! Yeah, a crown. And the masses proclaimed me “King.” Of everything. And I appointed Coach K as my Sergeant-at-Arms. Ask anyone.

Oh gosh, I seem to have done it again. Forgive me.

Yeah, so I like Brian Williams. I like that he often returns to his anchor chair after a vacation with obvious tan marks from his sunglasses. I like that his face is imperfect, a little crooked. Maybe he broke his nose once and it wasn’t quite fixed back to the way it was. I like his straight-forward delivery, and the way he doesn’t seem to emphasize certain words a certain way and at a certain cadence the way every other journalist SEEMS…to…DO. The way Adam West’s Batman did. I don’t like that. Brian Williams doesn’t talk like that.

So I’m inclined to cut Bee Dub some slack. (No that is not his nickname, I just made it up, but I like this nickname too.) The dude made a mistake. Remembered something in such a way as to have someone else’s halo appear over his own head. This is not an admirable thing to do. And I’m not advocating stealing someone else’s thunder this way. But of all the potential transgressions perpetrated by people the rest of us watch on TV or on movie screens or on iPad screens, a tale of false bravado seems trivial.

Which reminds me of an epic wild boar feast back in 1990….

Thanks for reading.

I’m Bad (I’m Nationwide).

Screenshot 2015-02-02 08.36.09

I haven’t been able to muster the courage to get out of bed yet this morning.  Nor have my kids.  Nor my wife.  The dog is also on lock-down.  Dead-bolted in her puppy crate — now reinforced with cast-iron flankings I soldered onto the unacceptably flimsy “bars” last night — until further notice.  We are all simply too terrified to move.  To blink.  To inhale.  To exhale.  Well, I just inhaled.  And exhaled.  And by God I am still here.  At least for now. 

But I can’t shake this nagging feeling that something terrible will befall us any moment now.  We live in San Francisco’s Marina District.  You know the one.  Where Tom Brokaw singed the polyester on the backside of his gabardines whilst reporting live on the fiery aftermath of the Loma Prieta Earthquake back in ’89.  He stood in the same spot, more or less, where my children board their school bus each morning.  If I’m not completely throwing caution to the wind here and gambling carelessly with my kids’ lives, then I don’t know who is.  This whole place — my entire neighborhood — is about to collapse in on itself any second now.  Well, then, maybe now.  I may as well adopt a rabid hyena as a house pet; that would pose less danger to my boys than this liquefaction sinkhole on which our house sits.  

So there’s that. 

I pull the blanket up a little higher, just under my nostrils.  And instruct my family members to do the same.  The dog coils in on herself a bit more tightly, instinctively understanding Daddy’s “OK, everyone, transitioning to Defcon Four in 3…2…1…” requires something of her, as well.  I probably should call the kids’ school.  Let them know my boys will not be risking their lives today riding in that under-powered schoolbus over that orange colored bridge that must be ready to snap under all that tension.  I know, rationally, that there are probably no over-evolved apes swinging from the overhead cables with malevolent intent.  But until and unless I get the “all clear” alert from Nationwide, I don’t dare probe the vagaries between fact and fiction.  So I will stay right here, peering out over the top of my blanket, unblinking.

Because any minute now, shit is going to go down.  I know this because Nationwide told me so.

I’ve calculated the number of choreographed steps between my bedside and our Emergency Preparedness Kit in the garage.  Actually, we have two kits (way ahead of you here, Nationwide).  One of them is a yellow bucket covered by a shiny plastic toilet seat.  I’m having a hard time getting past the fact that said seat hovers inches over emergency food and emergency water.  But I think Nationwide would beam with pride at my willingness to ignore such trivia when it comes to life and death.  Nationwide, gosh darn it, you know what?  Shucks, I am prepared to rip into those provisions even if one of my family members is in the midst of using that emergency toilet seat for its intended purpose.  How ’bout me?

Yes, Nationwide, I do have those little dishwashing machine detergent packets under our sink.  They do look like candy.  They even sort of smell good.  And yes, the thought has occurred to me that I might just pop one of those little suckers in my mouth, just for an instant.  They do smell so good.  And no, I haven’t put those candies, I mean chemicals-in-a-blanket. under lock and key, to protect my family.  But I promise, Nationwide, this is the first thing I will do this morning.  To protect my family.  As soon as I am able to wrest back control from this paralyzing grip of anxiety.  Just a little longer here in Defcon Four.  For safety.  

Is it safe to get up yet, Nationwide?

Thanks for reading.