The Rigged Election Insult

rigged-electionsGenerally speaking, I try to avoid politics as much as possible in this blog – for a bunch of reasons including there are so many other places for that, there is no upside to being political sometimes and generally everyone has an opinion.  However during this election cycle, since my kids are talking about this a lot in school – one recurring theme bothers me; the talk of a rigged election is an insult to everyone.

Rather than getting into the politics of the candidates or their positions – I’d rather look at the sentiment of standing before the American people and telling them (with a mostly straight face) that the electoral process is rigged (one way or another).

It’s insulting to hear someone striving to become the president of the United States say our election process – which thousands have died to protect – is rigged.  It’s self-sustaining hubris to even take that as a position.

I live in a state where there is no “early voting”  In fact, I had never even heard of early voting until Risa and I moved to Texas in 1997 – and while in Texas, the state legislature there in what it said was an attempt to stop voter fraud enacted ID rules at polling places that have since been mimicked around the country.  The goal of these laws was to stop voter fraud – you know, rigging an election.

When I vote, I refuse to sign any additional paper other than the official registry.  That is my commitment to voting – signing the registry and casting my ballot.  One man, one vote.  In a couple of years 16.5 will be able to vote, and I expect her to follow suit.

But how does a candidate think it’s OK to say the election is rigged?  Because the don’t like what is said about them on TV?  That’s not a reason to claim I and everyone else who goes to vote is taking part in a fraud.  In fact, by my reading of election law in New York State would make me a felon – to knowingly cast a vote in a rigged election.  Is that what I am being accused of?

It’s a bad argument.  In fact, talk of the rigged election is an insult to us all.

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New Routes on the Roads Once Traveled

Dead and CompanyTwo events this weekend made me realize that you can re-travel old roads, but as time marches forward, there are new routes to take.  My Halloween weekend was spent at Madison Square Garden in New York City re-acclimating with the Grateful Dead experience.  13.0 without knowing it, headed down a road once traveled too – she too on a new route.

I’m pretty sure this is the first time since 1995 I saw more than one member of the original Grateful Dead at a show.  Dead and Company did two shows at MSG and my Facebook timeline is filled with images of the night.  Sunday night we went out for dinner before the show – back in the 80’s, even in NYC, that would mean some kind of hot dog or falafel.

In 2015 the new routes on the road once traveled to the Dead wound through a nice little tapas restaurant in Chelsea – where we encountered several other tables of folks dining before the show.  Much different from the last time I saw a show.

Before the show Sunday night started, I checked in via text with the girls and 13.0 told me she started watching a new show on Netflix – Lost.

Maybe it was the nostalgia of the weekend, but I thought back to that show, and not because I every watched it.  Instead, it’s the last show I can remember Risa watching regularly.  When the show premiered in 2004 I was communitng five days a week to the city, and my schedule was all over the place – so I could not commit to watching a weekly serialized show.  At the time, our DVR was filled with whatever shows the girls were watching then (Dora?), so I never picked up on the show.

Netflix though is the new route for the road once traveled for TV as well.  All that is old, is available for streaming and binge watching – much like the Grateful Dead experience, very different from it was so many years ago.

I’ll call these new experiences, even though they are very familiar.  Afterall, we’re on a new route too, one that started nearly five years ago – and sometimes the new routes are on the roads once traveled.

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Steve Harvey Show: Tune In Reminder

Steve Harvey Show Family


(May 11, 2015)

I was able to find (most of) the segment from the show the girls and I appeared on:

Feel free to follow my Tumblr while you’re there.

A moment of shameless self promotion – and a tune in reminder.  Catch the Steve Harvey show today (Friday) to see the girls and me make our talk show TV debut.

Steve’s wife Marjorie treated the girls to a great day of make-overs, fashion shopping and a photo shoot.  Steve and I talked about raising two girls….

And we all had a good time.  See more about the experience here.

If you’re in the NYC area, the Steve Harvey show is on WNBC TV at 3PM.  Elsewhere check your local listings or click here.

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A Female Touch

Steve Harvey ShowMother’s Day has represents a unique challenge to me as an only parent.  This will be the fifth year the girls and I will mark the day without Risa.  The year before that she was in hospice and the year before that – while I can’t definitively recall, I can only assume she was finishing another chemo cycle.  We’ve been without a female touch on Mother’s Day for a while now.

This year though, courtesy of the Steve Harvey Show I got a unique perspective on handling Mother’s Day.  Steve Harvey’s wife Marjorie treated the girls to a day complete with lunch, hair and makeup from her “glam squad” to picking out new and trendy clothes and a pro-photo shoot.  I learned a few valuable lessons, which you’ll have to tune in to find out about.

(In the NYC area its at 3PM on Friday on WNBC-TV.  For local listings elsewhere, click to find out where and when the Steve Harvey Show airs.)

But the broader realization that I had after spending five days across two weeks in Chicago with the girls – although we do pretty well, there is a missing element.  I think back to when I was growing up and it was time to start shaving.  I kind of had to figure it out on my own.  Today when I am faced with female type things with the girls I can always watch a You Tube video.

In many moments my girls miss a female influence.  It’s not that having me around is detrimental.  It’s that I’m not their mom, and the reality is no one will be their mom.  But that doesn’t mean there can’t be a female around.

Over the years I’ve become better about asking (and accepting) help.  It’s still not easy for me.  My mother – who I do try to make sure we pay tribute to on Mother’s Day helps.  As do many of our friends and neighbors.  I have extended family who pitch in for things like dress shopping (sister-in-law), quick questions (cousins) and other issues (all th rest).

The girls and I do some great things – from skiing, to Islanders’ games to vacations.  But day-to-day that female influence is missing and it won’t be there.  That’s probably OK, at the same time though I wonder about the female touch – and what it could have been.

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Living In A Seinfeld Moment

Seinfeld MomentsSeinfeld was a show about nothing.  Sometimes though when life – which isn’t about nothing – imitates the art of the show of nothing, we live through those Seinfeld moments.

Anyone in their mid to late 40’s can probably recite almost every episode of Seinfeld – certainly we’ve seen them all.  Sometimes though, life gives you Seinfeld moments.  Then there are days you get them back-to-back which as Yogi Berra said can give you deja vu all over again.

First case study is 12.0 and her current reading project for English.  They are working on mysteries in class and she’s reading a Sherlock Holmes story.  Now we’re trying to solve a mystery of just where the book went.  She took the book with her when we went skiing (I was sure she was never going to read it, but I let the pretense go).  What I didn’t count on was her losing the book.  Its final destination is somewhere between our house and Lanesboro, MA – destination truly unknown.

So, as of now I’m on the hook for replacing the book for the school library.

For quick replacement of the missing book, we went down to our public library to borrow the book – only to find out she is three-year’s overdue for a book there. 12.0 had a great solution to the problem, I can go buy her a Kindle and she won’t lose any more books – of course keeping track of the Kindle would be a different story.  But notification of the three year overdue book at the library launched my first Seinfeld moment.

My mind automatically goes to Seinfeld and flash back to the episode Lt. Joe Bookman confronts Jerry about the book Tropic of Cancer he checked out of the library in 1971.

“Let me tell you something, funny boy… You know that little stamp? The one that says New York Public Library? Well, that may not mean anything to you, but that means a lot to me. One whole helluva lot. Sure, go ahead, laugh if you want to. I’ve seen your type before — flashy, making the scene, flaunting convention. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking… Why’s this guy making such a big stink about old library books? Let me give you a hint, junior. Maybe we can live without libraries, people like you and me…. Maybe. Sure, we’re too old to change the world. What about that kid, sitting down, opening a book right now in a branch of the local library and finding pictures of pee-pees and wee-wees in The Cat in the Hat and The Five Chinese Brothers. Doesn’t he deserve better? Look, if you think this is about overdue fines and missing books, you’d better think again. This is about that kid’s right to read a book without getting his mind warped. Or maybe that turns you on, Seinfeld… Maybe that’s how you get your kicks… You and your goodtime buddies… I’ve got a flash for you, joy boy. Partytime is over.”– Lt. Bookman, in “The Library”

So now I’m trying not to laugh as the librarian is telling me we’ve racked up three years of over-due fees or can pay for the book ($5.99)  All I can hear is Phillip Baker Hall’s voice channeling his Bookman character:

The next case came after dinner when14.5 decided to use an episode of Seinfeld to complete an assignment on camera angles for her English class – where they are doing some film study work.  As I sent the girls upstairs to take showers, and settled in to relax and catch up with life outside work, she came downstairs, and turned on Seinfeld – and  I was now explaining Seinfeld.  The episode was the one where the gang heads to East Hampton and they see George’s girlfriend topless and George serves lobster to Jerry’s Jewish girlfriend who keeps kosher.

There are so many Seinfeld moments that come up in everyday life.  Marble rye in the bakery,  we’re just days away from Festivus – but living the Seinfeld moments is a little surreal.  So maybe we can all air our grievances  – or perhaps just have a cinnamon babka. The moments keep on coming – not imagined, and sometimes they’re even beyond being about nothing.

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Appreciating the Classics, Or Not

Get Dad The Single Guy’s New Book

The Beginning of the Middle of the End of the Beginning now

on all e-readers

This new year’s day (like others) I’m able to catch up with some of great TV shows that pre-date even my youth but I fondly recall from my youth.  Some 12 hours after the last guest left from our small party, I’ve been flipping between Honeymooners (on WPIX in NYC) and The Odd Couple (channel 10 in NYC) and loving it.  My girls not so much.

These shows, along with Twilight Zone (Sy-Fy) are in their annual outing.  364 days before the next marathon.  Being a product of the TV generation, I remember watching these shows over and over in the early days of what I learned in college was TV syndication.

There are a myriad of arcane TV rules as to why these shows get rolled out once a year, and you can go Google that if you are so inclined.

What is striking to me though is how little my girls have an interest in any of this.  They aren’t even humoring me today.  One is on the computer playing Roblox.  The other is on the iPad updating her SIMMS.

Now being the product of the digital age, I know what these things are too.

As for the shows, being children of the digital revolution, my girls would not appreciate these shows until they were on Netflix or have an app.

I can still recite the shows (especially Honeymooners) line for line.  Maybe my generation is the end of the line for these shows-like some shows ended with my generation (Ed Sullivan I think is a good example).  I guess for my girls, Futurama, My Name is Earl and Malcolm in the Middle are the new Honeymooners, Odd Couple and Gilligan’s Island.

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Progressive Progress, Maybe, I Guess

In a concession to my creeping old age and my need to actually see things when I am driving I broke down and went to the eye doctor knowing that I will need new glasses.  What I did not expect was the drastic changes that occurred and that I now should be wearing glasses full-time.

Well that’s not completely true.  That knowledge contributed to the two-year gap between my visits to the eye doctor.  In 2010 when I last went they tried to talk me into bifocals.  I don’t see bifocals working for me, so back then, we decided to let it go for a year and revisit it in 2011.

2011 was a kind of eventful year and a lot of things like the annul visit to the eye doctor got skipped.  Which takes us to 2012.

And sure enough, the subject of my reading vision (which honestly is not bothersome to me) and my long distance vision came up again.  Since my position on bifocals has not changed, I am now wearing progressive addition lenses-or at least trying to get used to wearing them.

On the practical side, I have not quite figured out the best way to carry two pairs of glasses.  This means I am often inside (say a supermarket or shopping mall) with only my sunglasses and not my clear glasses.  Not a huge issue, but part of getting used to these progressive addition lenses is wearing them.

Another issue I have to kind of understand better is the eye position for reading.  Because of the way the lenses contour there are significant “blind” spots to the sides where everything is blurry.  For me, this most often is an issue when I am reading.

Finally, it’s nearly impossible for me to find the right position to read in bed.  The ophthalmologist told me its a matter of understanding eye position and head movement.  We’ll see (I meant that pun).

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Teaching the Good Neighbor Philosophy

In our house, I have long espoused the “treat others as you want to be treated” philosophy.  But rather than giving lip service to that, to the sometimes chagrin of one child or another I try to embody that philosophy and espouse it by example.

Looking back it’s easy to pick out last summer when parts of our town were victimized by Hurricane Irene.  Not only were we relatively unscathed (a small tree in the back lost a few limbs), we didn’t even lose power.  So we opened our house to friends who lost power-storing frozen stuff in our freezer and a spare freezer someone brought, sharing the AC and the TV.

Sometimes it means a mid-week sleepover when other parents in the area are child-care constrained.  It happens to me probably more than I want to admit and I rely on others to help me out last-minute, so I return the favor.

Other times, like last night, we open our doors to neighbors and share our background and invite them to celebrate a holiday with us.

Passover is a great holiday to allow this.  In fact, if you want to look at the story line, we open the door for the prophet Elijah to come in-perhaps this is a metaphor for opening our doors and sharing the story and the experience?  While I am not sure I completely concur with what I just typed, I do know that part of being a good neighbor is sharing experiences.

So last night, 9.0’s friend from across the street and his mom joined our seder and the celebration.  And to keep the “celebration” going (and to give my neighbor a night of downtime as I had on Thursday night) her son slept over.

It’s all good.

Both girls, fueled more by 11.5 have taken to watching My Name is Earl on Netflix.  For those who are like me who missed this great moment in TV (2005-2009), the main character after winning the lottery decides to work on his karma and creates a list of all the people in life he wronged in some way-and goes back to them to make amends.  Karma is the driving force his path on life.

Well, my name is not Earl.  I have not won the lottery.  But still I hope to do the right thing more often than not, and hopefully teach my kids to do the same.

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Deja Vu All Over Again

After three days away with the girls and a friend skiing (and limited/different TV) it dawned on me that I am living through what my mother lived through with me-just on different channels.

Around the time I discovered TV and the “beauty” of the medium (I spent a long and successful career in TV and still work in video) I took to what were called reruns at the time of “I Dream of Jeanie,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “F-Troop,” and in later years “The Honeymooners,” and “The Odd Couple.”  Later in life I learned I was watching these in syndication-but to this day I will still watch any of the above at any time, can pretty much do the scripts off the top of my head and do well at random trivia about any of the shows.

As anyone who grew up in the 70’s and early 80’s in and around New York City can tell you, predominantly you watched these shows on channels 5 or 11.  There was the occasional channel 9 dropped in.  Yes, the channels were numbers-as in on the dial-back then.  They certainly were not named.

Flash forward to 2012 and you can catch my kids eagerly watching TV “classics” like “Friends,” “The Nanny,” “That 70’s Show,” Futurama,” “George Lopez,” or “My Wife and Kids” in “reruns” over and over-so they know the scripts and can answer random trivia questions.

And much like my mother did when I was somewhere between 8 and 13 there is the occasional question about how can you watch this? Or the comment that the show was awful the first time it was on-but it doesn’t deter the viewing.

The major difference quite honestly now is gone are the channels from the dial, and replacing them is a near non-stop feed from Nick and Nite, TV Land and Netflix.  No more waiting for 5:30 or access from 7-8.  It’s basically on-demand and nearly always available.

11.5 wondered about that today as we were talking about this on a ski lift what shows from her life will her kids watch?  I kind of wonder too.  It will be interesting to see what TV is like 30 years (and it better be 30 years) from now.

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Instant Review: Fred the Show on Nickelodeon

My girls are both big fans of iCarly, and honestly it is a very watchable show.  I don’t mind when it’s on.  Tonight was the iMeet the First Lady” episode with Michelle Obama-and it was pretty funny.

Then came the moment I shuddered.  The big announcement from Fred.  Fred the Show was about to premiere.

For those un-initiated to the world of Fred, it started out as a screaming kid doing web videos which became viral in the tween and pre-tween set.  Here’s a sample:


Now the good news for this debut-it was mercifully short.  Fred thinks the music teacher in his school is missing and he goes on an all out search for her.  See which other Nick stars you can spot helping Fred out:

  • There’s Bertha who is Fred’s neighbor.  She’s played by Nick fave  Daniella Monet, who you may know as Trina from Victorious.
  • Another neighbor Thalia has a bit of a dark side.  She’s played by Ariel Winter. She stars in Modern Family as Alex Dunphy and she’s lends her voice for animated roles for The Penguins of Madagascar, Phineas and Ferb and more.
  • John Cena of WWE fame reprises his role as Fred’s dad.

Fortunately, it’s all a big misunderstanding and only 15 minutes long.  What will be very scary as a parent though is the Saturday morning when Sponge Bob is mixed in with Fred the Show.  That will be a long morning for sure.

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