Just wear a hat

That doesn’t make any real sense

The mayor office announced congestion pricing the other day.

There were more cops than protestors but I suppose that’s a good thing.

At least everyone was dressed warmly – it’s been brick around here, lately.

If I told you that I opened up a can of coke and was shocked that no soda came out anywhere but the hole on top, you would think I was just being strange.

Obviously, if I opened a can of soda, the only place any soda would come out of would be the hole I created when I opened the can, yeah?

Conversely, if I didn’t open the can of soda, no soda would come out.

All this seems elementary, no?

But what if I said to you something like, “You should wear a hat because most of your body heat comes from your head?”

To me, it sounds precisely the same as if I said, “Most soda comes outta the can from the hole you made.”

Do you know why most of your body heat comes off your head when your head’s not covered?

Because: Your head’s not covered and the rest of your body is.

Like, if you go out into a wintery day, fully dressed, including gloves and boots – guess where most of your body heat would escape?

That’s right: Your head. Because it’s not covered and the rest of your body is.

So, it’s technically true that, “Most of your body heat comes from your head.”

But that’s super misleading.

It has the air of truth but only a little bit of actual truth to it.

It’s more accurate to say, “Heat’s gonna escape from your head because that’s the part of your body that’s not covered up.”

This has driven me mad for decades.


Thanks for coming to my TED talk.

Location: next door, having my third plate of shrimp and checking out heavy machinery
Mood: warm
Music: Baby, you can steal my sheets (Spotify)
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Slurping a norovirus

Three things

The kid’s been loving swimming lately – he just started doing the backstroke and it’s become his fave.

Probably because he can keep his face above water.

But, about a month ago, we had to skip his class – which we almost never do – because he got (what I thought was) food poisoning.

Long story short, had to buy him a completely new mattress and ran my washing machine three or four times before I finally crashed after 2AM on a school night.

Woulda been an all-nighter if not for the Firecracker’s help.

Fast-forward to this past weekend when I was supposed to do alla these things but ended up just staying in bed because I thought I ate something bad.

Me: I shouldn’tve had that can of Dr. Pepper.
Her: I don’t think Dr. Pepper’s gonna make you sick.
Me: Well, it had to have been something.

But I was only sick for about 35 hours. Now the Firecracker’s feeling rough.

Mentioned this to my mother-in-law.

MIL: Oh, it was probably the norovirus.
Me: Norovirus? What makes you think that?
Her: It’s all over the place here and popping up in NYC too.

Turns out, she’s not wrong.

The Firecracker’s still recovering, but after my – pretty gross – 36 hours, I really wanted to have some carbs.

Her: What do you want?
Me: Either pho or ramen.
Her: Oooh, I’d go for some ramen.

Because of my need to avoid carbs, the last time I had ramen in a restaurant was with my brother out in California – although I did make some myself a few years back.

So, we went to a joint that we’d walked by a few times but never went in – Zurutto.

I ordered some ramen for us, plus some dumplings for the kid.

While the kid was practicing his chopsticks…

Son: (growing frustrated with his chopsticks) This is impossible!
Me: Nonsense. Billions of people use chopsticks every day. You just gotta practice.

…the Firecracker and I just chatted.

Her: Ooooh, look those two are on a date.
Me: (whistling) Whoa, hopefully not their first date. Ramen’s tough as a first date spot.
Her: Oh, I know – I went on a first date at a ramen shop once.
Me: How’d it go?
Her: I spent the whole time trying not to slurp. But, of course, you kinda had to.

Found out later that zurutto means to slurp.

There, now you’ve learned three things:

  1. Zurutto means to slurp
  2. My son can do the backstroke
  3. The East Cost is lousy with norovirus

And you thought this was a blog about nuthin.

Location: getting the Firecracker some flowers and some Dr. Pepper on Broadway
Mood: well(ish)
Music: Things are easy when you’re big in Japan (Spotify)
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

The Holiday Train Show

An adventure in the Bronx

Me: (making fun of her) Why would you want to have a purse that looks like that?
Her: You should be happy that I like weird quirky old things. (glaring) And I’m not talking about the purse!
Me: I’m not unaware. Thank you.

The other day, the four of us piled into a train to head to Harlem…

…and transferred to the MetroNorth to head up to the Bronx Botanical Garden.

See, for years, I’d been intending to take the kid to the Holiday Train Show there.

But something always came up, so we never got to go.

But the Firecracker had gone twice before and was game to go a third.

Her: It’s a tradition for us. You should come too.
Me: We’re there!

It was a pretty dismal day when we got there. But once we were inside, both kids were pretty joyed to be there.

My kid borrowed my camera phone and took so many videos and pictures that I took it back.

Him: But why?
Me: Because you’re focused more on taking pictures than seeing the exhibit.
Him: But you do that all the time.
Me: Not completely true, but I’ll take the pictures and video and you can focus on seeing everything.

The crazy thing about the structures is that they’re all made of plant materials – like leaves and bark and twigs to make the structure. Pretty impressive.

We were there for only about 90 minutes but, because the weather was so bad, the Firecracker told me that there were a lot less people than usual there.

That worked out fine for me, seeing as I hate crowds.

Afterwards, we dashed to the train so that we didn’t have to wait 30 minutes for the next one.

Him: Why are we running!?
Me: Gotta catch the train!
Him: OK! I can run fast!
Me: That’s my boy!

We made it with just a couplea minutes to spare.

Another nice family outing successfully accomplished.

Now, what to do with the millions of pictures of trains made outta plants in my phone?

Location: In the rain, getting my knives sharpened across the street
Mood: hurried
Music: The more I learn, the less I know about before (Spotify)
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Coming back to the UWS

I’m a (50-something) comeback kid

After having Thanksgiving dinner at my family’s, my brother and his girl came back to our pad for a little bit.

One of my fave places to bring people to eat, pre-COVID, is this tiny little restaurant tucked away above a supermarket in my hood called The 74th Street Cafe.

Mentioned it once to you in passing, over a dozen years ago.

Well, that closed during COVID and it remained closed for the past three years. BUT a few weeks ago, it reopened – so off we went.

It was the first time I’d been there in years. The supermarket sold to new owners a little before the pandemic, so it was both under new management and pretty different looking.

But the food was still top-notch and we lucked out in that it wasn’t particularly packed, despite it being the weekend.

Gotta figure that people were just away for the Thanksgiving holiday maybe.

Her: These fries are great! They have rosemary on them.
Me: I’ll still eat a couple of them.

Another restaurant that I went to with regularity since I first moved here almost three decades ago was a restaurant called La Caridad, which was a Cuban-Chinese restaurant that had been in business since 1968.

The restaurant expanded two decades ago into the restaurant next door to it but, just like the 74th Street Cafe, closed over COVID.

But that just recently reopened as well – also under new management and in a new location – BUT with the same menu that I’d loved all these years.

Things are coming back in the Upper West Side of New York City.

Very different but still substantially similar to their old iterations.

Suppose I can relate.

Her: You didn’t tell me that you had a good Thanksgiving with me. I had to read about it in your blog.
Me: I thought you knew I did.
Her: It’d still be nice to hear.
Me: I had a great Thanksgiving. Thanks for coming.
Her: Thanks for having me.

Location: watching the kid do a double-leg takedown to side-control in the UWS
Mood: accomplished
Music: You can knock me out, you can hold me down. I’m a comeback kid (Spotify)
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Thanksgiving 2023

Quartering an entire turkey

Her: Happy Thanksgiving!
Me: Thank YOU! And SAME! (later) OMG, it’s pre-brined! This is glorious. Thank you so much again!

A few days before Thanksgiving, I actually won a HUGE turkey from a woman who was giving it away; I didn’t think I’d win so I just entered my name for the heck of it.

But, I won it and then had to figure out what to do with it.

Now, in between winning it and entering, I decided to see my mom and sister for Thanksgiving this year, which is the first time I was doing Thanksgiving by them in a while.

For the past six years, I’d been going to my in-laws; and before that, it was Alison and me. So, this year was already gonna be different.

Winning the turkey meant that it was gonna be very different as I found myself quartering an enormous turkey by myself for future meals for the kid and me.

And making broth until 2AM.

Because I knew that my family was gonna have Chinese for Thanksgiving, I braised and then roasted a leg and thigh for the Firecracker and myself, which is what you’re seeing above.

Me: What do you think?
Her: It’s great!
Me: (to son) And you?
Him: It’s ok.
Me: (sighing) Everyone’s a critic.

My brother was in town with his girl and the Firecracker didn’t have any plans so I invited her along with us.

So, to be a good guest, the Firecracker baked that pumpkin pie you see above. Of course, you know, I prefer pie to cake.

She couldn’t do a water bath because she did it in an electric oven but the taste was on point.

We took the train out to see my mom and my sister picked us all up.

Unfortunately, while exiting the car, she slammed the door on my foot – thank goodness I was wearing shoes because it woulda been really bad if I didn’t.

Her: OMG, I’m so so sorry, are you ok?!
Me: Can’t. Talk. Hurts.

Luckily, I was wearing shoes so it was bad but not terrible. I was 90% normal by the next day.

But I was pretty uncomfortable for most of the night, although I tried not to show it.

And alla the absolutely killer food helped for sure.

She and I both loved the fried shrimp you see above as well as the lobster rice, also above.

There was also fish for my brother, who was a vegetarian.

His girl seemed to like everything as well, which was good.

I was really happy to have Peking Duck, since it’s been ages since I last had it, but the Firecracker was already too full from everything else to eat too much of that.

Me: There’s dessert!
Her: I’m so full…
Me: Rookie mistake.

Afterward, my brother, his girl, the Firecracker, and I all headed back to my place for the night.

Spoke to my therapist about it not soon afterward.

Her: Why was this year different?
Me: (thinking) The last time I had Thanksgiving with…someone…
Her: (interrupting) A partner?
Me: (nodding) Yes, yes, a partner. The last time I had Thanksgiving with a partner was with Alison like six years ago. It’s been a long time.
Her: But it was good, right?
Me: Yeah. It really was.

Location: Earlier tonight, walking the kid back home in the freezing cold with him belting out gospel songs down Broadway.
Mood: busy again
Music: I say I’m not visiting cause I’m here to stay (Spotify)
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Proud of the work we do

Korean BBQ at home

My boiler’s been acting up again – I had an emergency appointment the other day because there wasn’t any water in it.

A boiler without water can crack so I shut the whole thing down and called up our old boiler guy, who sent us someone within two hours.

Within three hours, we were back on track.

So, not horrible but not great either.

The Firecracker’s sister and fella live just a few blocks south of us, so we had a kinda pre-thanksgiving get-together with them and their kid.

Because of the Frenchman and his wife’s amazing food the other night, we did our own version of Korean BBQ.

They brought over drinks.

Her: You’re not supposed to eat the cranberries!
Me: (grimacing) Ooooh, waaay too late.

We ate our fill of food and then decided to play a round of Codenames, with couple-vs-couple.

Her: Three [is the clue]. Two words.
Me: (after getting only one word) I’m stumped as to what the second word is. (after the game) OK, which other one was three?
Her: “Trip.”
Me: “Trip?!” Are you on drugs? How is “three” the clue for “trip!?”
Her: “Triple!”
Me: It said “trip,” not “triple.” No one would get that.
BIL: Well, I saw it.
Sister: Yeah, I did too.
Me: (grumble) You’re all clearly insane.

After a few rounds of that, we decided to up the ante a bit with the Firecracker’s BIL and me versus the Firecracker and her sister.

The Firecracker and her sister won both rounds BUT only by a single point.

Me: I’m not sure this is really a huge win. After all, you two have know each other more than 30 years while he and I only met like four months ago.
Her: But we still beat you.
Him: By a much smaller margin than I would have expected.
Sister: But we still won.

It was a fun night.

We’ll most likely do it again.

Oh, the kid got his first new belt in BJJ. I was thrilled.

Him: Are you proud of me?
Me: Of course I am, kid. But more importantly, are you proud of yourself?
Him: Yes. I worked really hard.
Me: Then that’s the most important thing. You gotta be proud of the work you do in life.

Location: Earlier tonight, the Bronx, looking at trains.
Mood: exhausted
Music: gonna twist your game, raise the stakes (Spotify)
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

His First Concert

We’ll see

There’s a band that my kid likes called Kidz Bop – really, it’s just random kids that sing clean covers of current and older pop songs.

While walking past the Beacon Theatre the other day, the kid noticed that they were gonna play in town this month.

Him: Can we go, can we go?!
Me: Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know.
Me: We’ll see.


I figured that I’d let the Firecracker be the deciding vote. If she and her kid didn’t wanna go, I wasn’t gonna go – the tickets were at least $120 each so it was a pricey gift for them.

Her: I’m not sure [my kid] will wanna go, BUT we can try.
Me: Really?
Her: Sure! This will be the first concert for both of them.

Considering how much fun they had on the Disney cruise – including the live music – I figured we’d be ok.

Once we made it into the theatre, the kid bounded up the steps. He was so excited.

We settled into our seats and I figured that we would have room to stretch out.

Her: Oh, no – this whole thing was sold out pretty quickly.
Me: You’re kidding me.
Her: Nope. Some people really love their kids.
Me: Seems that way.

She was right; the whole joint was packed – there wasn’t an empty seat in the house, including on the main Orchestra level, which I think was going for at least $400 a ticket.


Well, my kid was thrilled; her kid was pretty bored by the whole thing. He’s not really into music but he was definitely a good sport about it all.

But my kid was dancing and singing in the aisles – that’s him in the middle singing his little heart out.

Me? I was a little less enthused.

But, at the end of the day, he had a blast. And I think the Firecracker’s son, while not nearly as interested, enjoyed the next experience.

Him: Aw, why does it have to end?
Me: All good things must end.
Him: Is that true?
Me: Unfortunately, yes. But that’s a good thing, because it makes you value these kinda things.
Him: I guess. (thinking) Can we go again next year?
Me: We’ll see, kid. We’ll see.

Location: My kitchen, making turkey stock
Mood: busy
Music: Last Friday night, yeah, we danced on tabletops (Spotify)
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

A Hidden Find

The Irish Hunger Memorial

Me: (hobbling home after a workout and groaning the whole time)
Her: You’re really selling this, “Look at me, I’m so young for 50” thing.
Me: I need a nap.

The Firecracker and I were trying to figure what we could do to entertain both kids when we decided to take a long bike/scooter ride down the West Side Greenway to Battery Park City.

We ended up at the Rockefeller Park Playground for a few hours where the kids had fun…

Me: (watching him start playing with some new kids) Man, this kid can be friends with anyone.
Her: That is impressive.

…and the Firecracker and I continued with some stupid human tricks.

Her: I want a cuppa coffee. Do you want some?
Me: It’s getting late. Can I just get some of yours?
Her: Fiiine.

Afterward, I ended up going to the coffee shop myself to use their restroom when I passed the Irish Hunger Memorial.

I’d read about it in Times a little while back and saw a quick little video on CBS Sunday Morning on it.

This isn’t it but you get the point.

I thought about Alison, who was fiercely proud of being both Irish and Italian, as well as the time I went to Boston and saw the Irish famine artwork there.

It was a quiet and peaceful place and, weirdly, it really does make you feel like you’re somewhere else. Now, I’ve never been to Ireland before but I can picture it looking similar.

Took this with my phone and it’s way overexposed. Sorry.

Sometimes, I wonder how Chinese and how American this kid will be. And will he have any interest in the Irish and Italian sides of himself?

I’d love for him to be able to speak Chinese, though. Unfortunately, my Chinese is so crappy, I avoid speaking Chinese to him but maybe I should just do it.

Although, at the end of the day, he’ll be whomever he’s supposed to be, I suppose.

Me: Are you listening to the Backstreet Boys?
Him: (stops singing) Yeah, I like this song.
Me: Where on earth do you find these songs?
Him: (shrugging) I dunno. (starts singing again)
Me: (shrugging also and join him)


Location: Two different supermarkets, trying to bake some pumpkin pies
Mood: fat
Music: Looking back on the things I’ve done, I was trying to be someone (Spotify)
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

A night of stupid human tricks

Silver and Gold

Forgot to put up pictures of the cooked purple sweet potatoes (on the left) and the regular purple potatoes (on the right); the sweet potatoes tasted a bit mediciney while the purple regular potato tasted exactly like a regular potato.

I bought a bunch so I’ll keep messing around to see what I might be able to do with them.

The Frenchman invited us to his pad the other night for hot pot.

Me: We’re in! What should we bring?
Him: Awesome. Food-wise, I’m covered.
Me: I can bring an assortment of sticks and knives?

The Firecracker and I brought our respective kids as well, so it was a full house.

The Firecracker never had hot pot until this past summer with my college friends, so I told her that this was a Japanese version of it, which she was excited to try.

Now, the Frenchman is half Japanese so he did a bang-up job with everything, making a hot pot version of Chanko Nabe, which is a special type of Japanese soup that was designed for sumo wrestlers to gain weight.

Her: Wow, that looks so great!
Me: I’m particularly excited for alla the mushrooms.
Her: Me too!

The cool thing that no one realized was that it was the Frenchman’s birthday just a few days later so his wife Tess ended up turning it into a surprise birthday party – the Firecracker and I felt honored that we were invited.

Afterwards, we got to know some of his other guests – some of them, he’s known for over 25 years, which is pretty impressive.

Like that old poem: Make new friends, but keep the old; Those are silver, these are gold.

They’re both in finance so their apartment’s view was full-on gorgeous.

The food was so amazing that we stuffed ourselves silly. At the very least, I did.

Now, I brought a six-pack of beer to go with dinner and the Firecracker brought a bottle of rose. However, considering that I drank five bottles of the six-pack and the Firecracker drank several glasses of wine, we essentially showed up with drinks for ourselves.

It also meant that, after several hours of eating and drinking, I started doing some stupid human tricks.

Now, the Frenchman is super athletic – we met in our gym, after all – and I mentioned that the ability to sit and stand without the use of one’s hands is an indicator of overall health and strength.

Well, we went one step further and did this drill I did in my 20s, which is sitting down, hugging your knees, shooting a foot out, holding that foot/ankle with your hand, and then standing up with one single leg, all while never allowing your held foot to touch the ground.

I had eaten – and drank – waaaaaay too much that night and kept falling down.

Me: Welp, honey, looks like this may be the first and last time we’re ever invited over.
Her: (laughs)

But the very next day, in the park with the Firecracker and our kids, I tried it again and was able to do it every single time – AND I have video proof of it.

I’m sure I’ll find ways to embarrass the boy even more as he gets older.

But more on that in another entry.


Location: earlier today, my kid’s gym, watching him get his first coloured belt
Mood: tired
Music: probably with that blonde girl who always made me doubt (Spotify)
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

Purple (Potato) Eater

Unlimited food and Listerine

Me: 10 mins to next train!
Her: Boo!

Been on a different quest lately, this time to find purple sweet potatoes – that is to say, purple fleshed sweet potatoes, versus just purple skinned sweet potatoes.

I’d been searching for it for a while now, including at various green markets throughout the city, but it’s almost always the purple skinned but white fleshed variety.

With that said, after leaving the gym this past Saturday, it was a 10-minute wait until the next train, so I decided to look around for paw-paws.

No paw-paws were to be found BUT I came across this tiny little sign on a small table with purple potatoes and grabbed a few pounds of it.

With that in hand, I decided to continue looking for the paw-paws when I came across some Adirondak Blue potatoes from Cornell University.

Me: Are these sweet potatoes or just regular potatoes?
Him: Just regular ones. (long pause) Except they’re purple.
Me: Noted.

These I’d never heard of, so I picked up some of these as well.

Him: I dunno. One out of ten?
Me: (shaking head) No, man. It’s one outta three.
Me: (shaking head) For real, man.

Alison’s sickness has had a profound effect on me as a parent.

The reason why I’ve been searching for things like purple sweet potatoes is their amazing health benefits – particularly because those that eat it as a staple carbohydrate often life to 100.

I cannot tell you how many times during a week that I meet people that think that I live a particularly rigorous life, when it comes to diet and exercise but what is now normal for most Americans.

But the normal American diet and lifestyle means that one outta three people will get cancer in their lifetime.

That’s just insane. That means, outta a group of a dozen friends FOUR will get cancer in their life.

So, I do what I can so that the kid’s lifestyle is as anti-cancer as I can make it.

Nuthin’s guaranteed in life but I’m trying to do whatever I can to make this kid’s life better.

He’s my treasure, after all.

Hopefully, his seeing me drink predominately green tea and eat things like purple sweet potatoes and head to the gym four times a week will have a lasting effect on his own choices.

That is, of course, if they actually like it.

Me: What do you think?
Him: (makes a face) I don’t like it.
Me: (to Firecracker) What about you? What do you think?
Her: I dunno. It has an aftertaste of…Listerine?
Me: Wha?! I don’t taste that all. You’re crazy. (much later) OK, I taste it now.
Her: See! I told you! Listerine!
Me: (grumble) Lemme think about this…

The kid(s) have been talking about going on another cruise non-stop.

Honestly, I kinda wanna retire completely just so I can go on cruises indefinitely.

Great views, unlimited food, exotic locales, unlimited food, instant vacations, unlimited food…

Really, what more could one ask for?

Location: this evening, sitting on at playground, hearing a teacher at a French school talk about the wild horses in Chincoteague, Virginia
Mood: sore
Music: It’s a hunger that never ends, it’s an urge you can’t comprehend (Spotify)
Like this post? Tell someone about it by clicking a button below.

%d bloggers like this: