Sunday, November 21, 2010

Shit My Kids Say

Isaac: Did you know that Grandma and Grandpa grew up in New York, and then moved to Illinois as adults?

Asher: (nods, knowingly) So that's why they know English.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Social Overload

I haven't had a weekend this social since the pre-kid days.

Friday night, we had dinner at a friends' house. They've got a music room with two drum kits, two electric guitars, and electric bass and keyboard. Before dinner, we had a kid-driven jam session. Asher sang into the mic and helped me play bass.

Saturday, we hit the usual Shabbat sing-a-long. Then, after Leah's nap, we went to a cookie decorating party in the neighborhood where Asher got in a fight with the host's kid over a train set.

Sunday morning was a latke-making birthday party where conversation drifted predictably to which of the local shuls was best. Later, we stopped by Scott and Nicole's house unexpectedly so that Asher could make use of their bathroom. And, we capped off the weekend with a visit from Amy, Dan, Ollie and Sylvie. The parents ate dinner. The kids wrecked the living room with a mop.

This is my life folks - at it's best.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Today, I:

  • accidentally dropped my keys down a storm drain.

  • took Asher to see Thurston Moore's noise band play a benefit for/at the Windsor Terrace library. It was me, Asher, and roughly 20 other parents who also looked like they dragged their kids because of a twenty-year-old love affair with Daydream Nation.

  • drank too much wine at Amy and Dan's house and later found myself dancing to Spin Doctors with the kids.

  • swept the kitchen, then tracked right through the pile of dirt before I had a chance to pick it up.

  • demonstrated to Asher with a hanger at home how I managed to get my keys out of the storm drain.

  • did not eat ice cream and a brownie.

  • did wear Sarah's clogs to take out the garbage.

  • successfully put Leah down for a nap.

    Tomorrow, my parents arrive for Thanksgiving week.
  • Tuesday, November 04, 2008

    Sixteen Years

    Sixteen years ago, I cast my first vote for President of the United States in the basement of an Evanston, IL apartment building. It took less than five minutes. Later that night, I watched from television production class as President Bush conceded the election to Governor Clinton, and the longest era of peace and prosperity in my lifetime began.

    This morning, I stood in line for nearly two hours with thousands of fellow citizens, many proudly defying New York City law by wearing Obama paraphernalia to the poll. Together, we're hoping to end the longest era of war and sustained economic turbulence in my lifetime. Tonight, I will be at ABC News, watching the returns with my co-workers. It's going to be a long night. I hope it will be a good one.

    Friday, October 31, 2008

    Electric Ephemera

    It would seem that I've all but abandoned this quasi-permanent blog in favor of the very ephemeral Twitter and facebook. Part of that is because blogs are simply not as good at capturing thoughts as they form. Part is laziness.

    Part is that I'm not in a position these days to live up to the level of candor that a blog requires.

    Quick life update:

  • We've been in our new home for about a month, and it's wonderful. We're a stone's through from the most woodsy area of Prospect Park, and have gone on a number of extended hikes. The kids (and the parents) love the backyard. The commute isn't noticeably different. And you can't beat double the space.

  • Work feels like 2001 all over again with this financial climate. But unlike 2001 where we all saw it coming a mile away (too many dumb companies cluttering the market, not enough ad dollars), this came out of nowhere and feels more... panic-inducing.

  • I'm leaving at 3pm today to take the kids trick-or-treating. Asher is dressing up as the evil Hacker, from the PBS Kids show "Cyberspace."
  • Sunday, October 05, 2008

    Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Outtake or Asher Stream-of-Consciousness?

    Please put on dress-up like a dentist because you’re doing an x-ray. Please sing the song that you know. Now whatever you want to do you can do. Please sing and play your guitar with your pick and everything else that you want do.

    The x’s above are so that you know how to do an x-ray and so that the computer knows where to take it. Please go wherever you want to go or to the zoo or to the pond or to our house every every every single day around perfect green. IT means that you can pick whichever color you want.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    Crunch Time

    8 a.m. - Movers come
    1 p.m. - Close on the apartment

    3 p.m. - Close on the 10th Avenue house
    5 p.m. - Start work on house, Move in and cram all belongings into two rooms

    2 p.m. - Conclude work on house, unpack. Welcome to Windsor Terrace.

    Somewhere in there, I have work and parenting.

    Monday, September 08, 2008

    It's Not The Economy, Stupid

    I just wrote this email to a friend who was asking me to help her out of these Palin-induced blues:

    Unfortunately, I don't have anything for you. Other than this picture, nothing has made me smile since last Thursday.

    It is as I feared. Obama keeps trying to make the campaign about issues. Every Democrat tries that. It's NOT FUCKING ABOUT ISSUES! Getting elected President in America is all about personality. And it doesn't even have to be about your personality as long as you (or your surrogates) can effectively lampoon your opponent's personality.

    I hate to say this, but we need a thousand Keith Olbermans - loudmouthed jerks with at least some populist sensibility (ie, not Bill Maher), a big megaphone, and a real hard-on for good soundbytes.

    We also need to get really, really good at righteous outrage at perceived personal attacks. If you say, "I can't BELIEVE Sarah Palin would stoop as low as to attack stay-at-home-moms" a million times, it does not matter if it's true. The media will cover it, and the McCain campaign will have to respond.


    Saturday, August 23, 2008

    Why Choosing Biden Proves Obama Is Ready To Lead

    Conventional wisdom cries that Biden was a foolish pick for Obama.

    He doesn’t deliver any States. He’s not tied to any critical constituencies. He talks too much. He’s a Washington Insider, and he further exposes Obama’s weakness in foreign policy.

    Bullshit negativism from the nattering nabobs (and that’s the only time you’ll ever hear me paraphrase Agnew). Here’s why I’ve been so keen on Biden for so long:

    Simply put, he’s the smartest guy in the room. He’s got the respect of leaders all over the world, and he knows how to get positive things done in Washington (banking bill aside). In short, he – more than any of the other short-listers - best fulfills the only real requirement for a Vice President: He’s ready to take on the responsibilities of the highest office in the land should something happen to the President.

    Anything else is just noise. The bottom line is that Obama chose the candidate most qualified to fulfill the obligation of the office of Vice President. Moreover, he is not intimidated by Biden’s foreign policy credentials, which is a tribute to his leadership. The golden rule of successful management is to hire people who complement you, and who could take over your job. Anyone who doesn’t adhere to that ends up hampered by a team of lessers and sycophants.

    Friday, August 15, 2008

    This Just In: Life Not Easy

    Roughly a week after our mortgage was approved for the new place, we got word that our buyer's mortgage (i.e., the people who are buying our current apartment) was NOT approved. That means we very well may have to put our current place back on the market, and incur uncounted months carrying two mortgages. Time will tell.

    * * *

    Sarah's got a gig with the Museum of Jewish Heritage that is exceeding the number of childcare hours available to us. Accordingly, I'm burning through a few days' vacation time to hang with the kids.

    Yesterday, Asher and I went into ABC News for about three hours. Things were fine until he got bored with his second DVD and started singing (in his best three-year-old high-volume voice) random words for the entire floor to hear. Later, I took Leah to the doctor for some shots (not fun).

    Today, I worked from home for three early morning hours, bought a hundred bucks of kosher meat, took Asher to the transit museum, cooked a kick-ass dinner, put out fires on blackberry all day, un-fucked a budget situation, drank a half bottle of wine AND cleaned the kitchen. Twice.

    I am the lizard king. I can do anything.

    And now I'm going to watch West Wing.

    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    Chronology of a Credit Card Company Screw-Up (and potentially life ruining consequences)

    Today, my mortgage broker informed me that - a week or so before I'm supposed to lock into a mortgage - my ability to secure a decent rate is in serious jeopardy due to an extremely late credit card charge that just made it's way to my credit score. Needless to say, this charge is fraudulent. Below is a chronology of my attempt to deal with this.

    8:49am - Mortgage broker emails me to say that my credit score has very recently gone from perfect (where it's been my entire life) to sub-par thanks to a charge of $20 associated with a Capital One card. The charge came on 2/04/08 on a card that I have not used in more than a year.

    9:10am - Capital One Fraud Division agrees that this is likely fraud. They agree to investigate, and remove the late fees from my account. They say they cannot remove the charge, nor can they send a letter that documents the situation.

    9:31am - Capital One Account Management agrees to fax me an "emergency lender" letter that documents the following: (1) The charge to my card is being investigated for fraud; (2) The late fees have been removed from my account; (3) Prior to the mystery charge in Feb '08, there had been no account activity for seven months; (4) In my ten year history with the card, I had never been late on a payment.

    2:30pm - Letter has not yet arrived. I call the Capital One Fraud Division (the only phone number I have available). They have no record of any of the above. They hang up on me twice.

    2:50pm - I talk to a supervisor at the Capital One Fraud Division. He agrees to refer me back to the Capital One Account Management Division who eventually finds a record of the morning conversation. It had been misfiled. The Capital One account manager informs me that my request for a letter had been denied. Paradoxically, they cannot send an "emergency lender" letter until the Fraud investigation has been concluded, which usually days 30 business days.

    3:15pm - I talk to a Senior Account Manager at Capital One Account Managment. He says that the request was denied, because it is not company policy to reveal account information about fraud investigation or about the client side of account history. I ask then what an "emergency lender" letter is. He says that he does not know.

    3:30pm - The Senior Account Manager at Capital One agrees to send me a letter stating that the late fees have been removed from my account. He claims that my mortgage lender will accept this, and that all other information is irrelevant. I should receive this letter via fax by 6pm tonight.

    Stay tuned.

    Tuesday, July 29, 2008

    Things to Remember

    1. The smell in the kitchen is probably attributable to the poop diaper that's been in the garbage under the sink since 5am.

    2. Don't ever try to put kids to bed after a Johnny Black and a beer.

    3. Twitter sucks.

    Tuesday, July 22, 2008

    McCain's VP? Just a guess...

    The McCain campaign is desperate for something to re-set the playing field and dampen the Obama love-fest.

    Policy is not going to do it. Slick ads won't do it.

    The only proactive thing they can do at this point is to be incredibly bold with the VP pick:

    Joe Leiberman - Nah. That guy doesn't even excite the Jewish community any more.

    Mitt Romney - Not terrible, but not great. The guy suffers from the same "say anything to get elected" malady that's taken McCain from maverick to mediocrity. One of my colleagues says this could buy the GOP a chance at Michigan, but I disagree.

    Tim Pawlenty - A solid bet if you're doing the electoral math (puts MN in play). Also, a very boring bet. Look - the GOP picked a Midwestern White guy.

    Bobby Jindal - Young and and (sorta) exciting. But at the end of the day, what does a 37-year-old Indian-American from a State in the deep south and five years of legislative experience buy you?

    Condi Rice - This would take over the news cycle indefinitely. Sure, she's black, female, gay, and a concert pianist but hell - this is a change election. She's got the respect of the cloth coat Republicans, the admiration of (some) feminists, and so on. Even though she was shoe shopping during Katrina, she'll get a pass on domestic issues. Her realpolitik will soften McCain's war mongering on the foreign issue front. Bottom line: It's the ONLY pick that would make a story good enough and big enough to break Obama's stride.

    Thursday, July 17, 2008

    Health Care Sucks Fa La La La

    Four doctors of mine over the past two years have stopped accepting Cigna, the insurance offered by (family friendly) Disney.

    I've had pink eye for two weeks.

    Saturday, July 12, 2008

    Kinetic or Frenetic

    I'm staring at a stack of unpaid bills that owe their status solely to disorganization rather than lack of available funds. Beck's Modern Guilt is playing in the background. Leah is sleeping. Asher and Sarah are at the park.

    Life continues to drift closer towards the frenetic end of the kinetic/frenetic spectrum. I'm more invested in work than I have been in a while. The real estate madness is reaching an apex. Leah has become one of those kids who tears off in a random direction the second you turn your head. Sarah's freelance gigs are piling up - and on top of each other.

    Asher is..., well... three.

    Since I can't talk about work in this public forum, let's check in on real estate: Our buyers go before the co-op board some time in the next two weeks. On the flip side, we're still not in contract with the new house. Logistics have held us up thus far, but now it looks like there may be a minor sticking point in the contract. Hopefully, that will be resolved on Monday.

    If all goes well, we will be out of the old and into the new by the end of August. Everyone's invited over for dinner.

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    Thursday, July 03, 2008

    Playing with Fire

    It is appropriate, I guess, as we approach the Fourth of July that I am playing with fire.

    Thursday, June 19, 2008


  • There's a guy whom I've never met face-to-face, a friend-of-a-friend, a business contact who is now linked to me through facebook. This guy, it turns out, also has kids. He also lives in Park Slope. He also logs onto facebook around 7am while his kids are watching Sesame Street. And, he also occasionally updates his facebook status with some riff on what Grover (or Big Bird, or Elmo) is doing on screen at that moment. We finally noticed the shared experience a few days ago. Amusing.

  • Our bid was accepted on a house. Our friends Amy and Dan (who live a block over and have two kids ages 4 and 1) are also moving two blocks from this house. Now we REALLY have to sell our place. Come on, make me an offer.

  • The first of my two business school-bound team members leaves tomorrow. Still no replacement.

  • We're taking the kids up to the Catskills this weekend for a little hiking, swimming and general family time. Should be a good break from Brooklyn.
  • Thursday, June 12, 2008

    I Was Born Too Late



    Washington, DC 20503

    For Immediate Release:
    Thursday June 12, 2008

    New Report Finds Highest-Ever Levels of THC in U.S. Marijuana

    Increased Potency of Smoked Marijuana May Be Responsible for Serious Mental Health Consequences for Teens

    (Washington, D.C.) – Today, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) released the latest analysis from the University of Mississippi’s Potency Monitoring Project, which revealed that levels of THC – the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana – have reached the highest-ever amounts since scientific analysis of the drug began in the late 1970s. According to the latest data on marijuana samples analyzed to date, the average amount of THC in seized samples has reached a new high of 9.6 percent. This compares to an average of just under 4 percent reported in 1983 and represents more than a doubling in the potency of the drug since that time.

    Friday, June 06, 2008

    Leah Walks

    Wednesday, June 04, 2008

    Biden the Prophet?

    Did we just nominate "the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy" (thanks, Biden) more or less because he is, err.. the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy?

    Did we nominate someone who won't be able to carry Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, New Hampshire, Michigan or Minnesota?

    Did we just kick someone to the curb who would make a serious play for those states, plus Arkansas?

    Did we just put New York State in play?

    Did we forego someone who can play the politics of soundbyte and image with the best of 'em in favor of soaring rhetoric and honesty?

    Did we nominate the best person to win?

    Did we?


    Friday, May 30, 2008

    Friday Night With The Josephsons

    Sarah's editing a wedding video while I contemplate our checkbook with confusion and mounting dismay.

    The L.A. trip was not as painful as expected. The weather was nice. The corporate rah-rah was toned way down. The professional conversations were more substantive than not, and the comradeship was nearly real.

    Our meetings were at a hotel within the Disneyland complex. Some of my colleagues ducked out to go to Space Mountain one night. I settled for a beer, a book, and an early bedtime. Alone time is so rare, that I'll take it whenever I can.

    I'm presently faced with a question: Which is more important - to love what you do or with whom you do it? And what about the gradients? Is it better to be okay with what you do and not despise your colleagues, or like what you do and revile some key co-workers? Ah, vagueness. It's been a while since you've shed your gauzy light on this blog.

    * * *

    At any rate, the weekend's here. Maybe, we'll go to the duck pond in the park...

    Friday, May 23, 2008

    "How Are You Today?"

    For some reason, Asher is asking this question to everyone he sees. I suppose it's polite. It could be cute. I think it's a little odd in a Stepford sort of way.

    Let's see...

    We're scrambling to put together bids on the aforementioned houses. We got lowballed on our place. That's real estate.

    I have a new office, with a window, some space, and enough privacy to play Stephen Malkmus at the appropriate volume. I'm flying to California next week for a Disney-ABC TV Digital Media offsite. It's being held at Disneyland. That's work.

    Leah's cutting more teeth, which means she's cranky. Asher has a bit of a cold, which means his moods are a mixed bag. Sarah's got a ton of freelance work. We have no solid plans for the weekend other than to spend quality time together. I think my old high school friend JR - recently back from a stint in Iraq - is in town and may swing by on Saturday. I think we may go to a beach or something with Pinko and her family on Sunday. That's family life.

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    It's Never Easy (Real Estate Redux)

    We got outbid (just barely) on our preferred house. Now, our choices are:

    1. A house that's 2/3 the size in the same neighborhood for virtually the same price as the one that we got outbid on.

    2. A Park Slope house that needs some serious work.


    Wednesday, May 07, 2008

    Sunny Side Up

    Things have been pretty hectic lately. And while I don't only report the positive here, sometimes it's better to say nothing if you've got nothing good to say, eh?

    But fear not, dear readers, the sun is shining again!

  • Per Obama's NC victory speech last night, he's got his game back.

  • Leah is this close to walking.

  • We may be able to sell our apartment and buy a great house one block from Prospect Park.

  • It's 65 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.

  • Sarah's got a steady stream of freelance work.

  • Asher is fully toilet trained.

  • Two ABC News projects I've been championing for nearly a year may actually launch soon.
  • Friday, April 18, 2008

    Quick Hit

  • I've got a nasty cold.

  • My boss quit, and is not being replaced.

  • It's really nice outside.
  • Thursday, April 10, 2008

    Warning: Do Not Read If You Are Not A Parent

    I got back from a meeting this afternoon, and had the classic toilet-training voicemail waiting for me:

    (says Asher in his excitable, 3-year-old voice) "I pooped Daddy! In the toilet!"

    No hello. No goodbye. No "It's Asher." That's it.

    It was awesome.

    It Got Better

    It's going up to 67 degrees today.

    Leah's illness is a thing of the past.

    It's 7:15, and Asher's still sleeping. He's got five minutes until I wake his lazy three-year-old ass up.

    Monday, April 07, 2008

    Leah's Birthday

    Leah's first birthday party was this past weekend. It was an intimate affair - family only. Asher and Sarah baked a cake. There was rye bread and lox aplenty.

    The only problem: Leah got sick the night before, and spent her entire party either sleeping, crying, or enveloped in Sarah's lap.

    Friday, April 04, 2008

    April 4, 1968

    The anger of the Lord flared against Israel, and He made them wander in the desert for forty years until the entire generation who had done evil in the eyes of the Lord had died out. (Numbers 32: 13)


    Thursday, April 03, 2008


    Hey - I'm on a panel next month with some important, smart people.

    Being on panels is nothing new, but something tells me that this one will be especially well-attended.

    Saturday, March 29, 2008

    Anatomy of a Birthday

    4:15am - Leah wakes up with a scream. Sarah rolls over and grunts, "happy birthday." Irony before 6am. Heh.

    6:00am - I go back to bed, and hand Leah over to Sarah.

    7:30am - The kids wake me up by climbing all over me and screeching "happy birthday!" We make pancakes, some of which are shaped like Mickey Mouse.

    1:00pm - Nap time for the kids. I clean up a bit, then dash off to get a haircut.

    3:00pm - Kids wake up. Sarah puts together an impromptu birthday party for me, with the kids clapping as I blow out the candle on a delicious coconut cream pie fashioned by Asher and Sarah.

    4:00pm - We hook up with Sarah's sister Debbie and head up to Prospect Park for a little playground and soccer fun. Leah masters the slide.

    8:00pm - Kids are in bed. Dan comes over to babysit, so Sarah and I can catch Roy Hargrove play around the corner at the Brooklyn Conservatory.

    10:30pm - We get home. Dan leaves. Leah starts screaming. Sarah's in with her now. And there's wet laundry in the basement. And the kitchen still needs to be cleaned.

    All in all, my best birthday in years. Seriously.