Dec 22, 2012


For the first time, Papa is getting a warm Christmas. Hell, I might even sweat through my undershirt. We're going to LA. I don't know if its that hot in Los City of Angels, but I sweat a lot anyway, so the soggy shirt thing is a given.

We leave ma├▒ana. Spoiler alert: Me no rickey the flying. Papa is gonna need some help. My doctor is out of town, so I'm taking treatment into my own hands. "Nurse, we need two hotel bar bottles of vodka STAT." Oh yeah, that's right. You can't carry on a tube of Colgate, but tiny bottle of alcohol? You betcha and gawd blesses Hamerica.

So with that, the blog closes for a couple days. Have a great Christmas and a safe, happy New Year. And if you or I get a second, lets try and remember that some people aren't so merry right now. If you can send them a nice thought or a good vibe, I have to believe it'll help in one way or another.

Dec 18, 2012

The Last Class Picture

Does this look familiar? It does to me.  My daughter brings home a picture just like it every year.  My brother and I did too, and so did our folks before that. At some point, like a lot of parents, I'll find them, jammed in a drawer, covered by a tangle of wires for devices we tossed out long ago.  WIFE and I will take them and hold them. We'll sit, put them together, and marvel at how much MONSTA has grown in what will surely seem like almost no time at all.  

But this one is different.  It may not look it, but it is.  This picture is of 15 kids, all the same age as my kid, who were gunned down by a guy out of his head and stocked like a small army. This is their last class picture.  When their parents find it hiding in a deep, forgotten drawer, it will be alone.  For these children, there will be no more class pictures.  

I've tried hard to avoid looking at these faces. I pretended that like the other stories of tragedy, this too would be pushed from my memory by the million things vying for its attention. But it's not happening. This isn't going away.  My daughter is a first grader, and my wife is a school teacher.  And two years ago, we lost a beautiful, but too fragile, newborn baby. Sandy Hook has made a deeply profound and heartbreaking impact on me, and I'm not sure when that will pass.  But I think of their parents, and am quietly grateful knowing that for me, it will.  

Here's all I ask: take a close look.  Please.  Then look at your own kid, or nephew, or friend's kid.  See if you can't make out some resemblance. No matter where you come from, I bet you'll see at least some similarity. Then, when you get a chance, ask yourself: "Is this really the best we can do?"

Dec 12, 2012

PapaSee: "Working: A Musical"

Papa had the rare chance to cover a musical last weekend, and it was a pretty good one. Based on Studs Terkel's amazing book of interviews, the play has some important things to say about all that stuff we do between the hours of 9 and 5.

You can read my amazing and unmatched opinions here:

Dec 7, 2012

Thanks for the Heart Attack, Technology!

this, plus 3 missed calls.
Normally, I really like technology. Texting, the internet, iStuff.  I really do. But now and then, I want to murder technology. And not in a clean, Dexter way.  It needs to get messy.  The kind of crime scene cops drink to forget.  Take last night...

It's 6:30 pm.  I've worked all day, and am now sitting in my Advertising class.  We're waiting to start.  Suddenly, I get a text.  "PLEASE CALL."  It's from WIFE.  WIFE never texts.  It bothers me that we have this cool way of "talking", and she never uses it.  But now she's using it, and in ALL CAPS. This is not good.

In an instant, my brain is Usain Bolt.  It's one of the kids, I think.  It has to be. Something has gone terribly wrong with one of the kids. I'm certain. The only questions now are "what, which one, and how bad is it?" I know I should be calm and that it's probably no big deal.  But when you've met tragedy once, it's easy to imagine he's still out there, waiting to meet you again.  

If it's not the kids, I think, it's my parents.  Frantically waiting for WIFE to answer my calls, I imagine her picking up with "It's about your dad."  Both my folks stay in great health, but he travels a lot, so I worry.  I'm also a mama's boy, which means I naturally assume it'll be pops who goes first. 

I'm calling and calling.  Three calls to WIFE and no answer. I'm texting too, and now, in true WIFE fashion, she's not responding.  Now?!  Now you don't reply to my frantic texts?  

Finally, with me just shy of "hot mess", she picks up. "What is going on?", I whisper-scream into the phone. "Nothing's wrong," she says to me.  And she means it.  I can tell.  She sounds happy, and I hear both kids laughing in the background.  Totally cool and content, she tosses out, "Why would you think something is wrong?" YOU USED ALL CAPS, DAMNIT! HOW COULD I THINK OTHERWISE?!  

Only she hadn't. In fact, she didn't even text me. There was no emergency.  No drama. Nothing. There was, however, an incredibly handsome, very curious rascal of a son, who likes to chew on his mother's phone.  And while chewing, he gummed one special button that apparently fires off pre-written texts, like PLEASE ALL CAPS.

Next Question: how young is too young to stick a kid in time-out?