Monthly Archives: January 2007

“Don’t Make Me Come Back There!”

“Don’t Make Me Come Back There!”

I don’t think my own father ever said that to me when I was a kid. Perhaps I don’t remember. In any case, I got pretty good at passing the time on road trips … we took quite a few when I was younger. My brother and I didn’t fight that much … at least not in the car. So we never gave dad much cause to bark at us in that way.

Parents of today have all manner of technological innovations available to help them not have to yell back at their kids when they start whining about the length of the road trip. When you’re a parent, as I am, the temptation is frequently to use television as an anecdote to a child’s fussiness, whining, and other emotional manifestations of boredom. The debate on the talk show was about whether or not it was a good idea — philosophically speaking — to let your kids watch a DVD in the car.

I was invited by Kristen at Motherhood Uncensored to participate in an online radio talk show today on the subject of DVD Players in Cars. You can tune in by clicking here.

Once you’ve had a chance to listen to the show, let me know if you have comments!

Blog Tag – I’m “it”!

Anyone ever play Tag? That’s the game where you tag someone, and they become “it” and you chase each other around until someone tags you and you become “it” again and the game continues ad infinitum.

Well this is just like that, except we’re on the Internet, and when you become “it” you have to tell everyone five things about yourself that other folks may not (or, may, actually) know. SO … I’ll tell my five things and if I tag you, then you’re up next. Comment on your own blog, or comment on mine. Whichever works best for you.

I was tagged by Gerald Baron here.

So here goes. My five things. In no particular order —

1) Travel: I have visited all of the 48 contiguous US states. I have never been to Alaska or Hawaii. In fact, I have lived in seven of them (in descending order of time as resident: Colorado, Washington State, Montana, Indiana, New York, Ohio and Massachusetts). If you want to test me, go ahead. I can tell you a story from any of the states I’ve visited. Outside of the US, I’ve been to Canada (does that count?), Spain (twice), Greece, and had a brief layover in the Rome airport (but I don’t count that, usually. Though it is interesting). In spite of all this, I don’t consider myself particularly well-travelled.

2) Theatre: I got my college degree in Drama from The University of Montana. While studying there, a good friend and I founded a summer children’s theatre camp. The Montana economy being what it was at the time, we didn’t want to have to work at McDonald’s, you see. Sadly, the organization no longer exists, but in the memories of the scores of kids who attended during its seven years. I was first introduced to performing in Musicals while attending my high school, Colorado Academy. I played in the chorus of that most ubiquitous of high school musicals, Fiddler on the Roof. Since that time, I have been involved in more than 50 productions. I intend to do some more theatre at some point, though I’m taking a bit of a hiatus for now.

3) Religion: I check the box marked “None”. I’m an atheist. There are no gods, no devils, no heaven, no afterlife. This here and now is all we’ve got. I’d like to use this forum to clear up two common misconceptions about atheists. First of all, “atheist” is a description, not a label. It’s a subtle distinction, I know, but an important one. It describes my views about theology, not a club to which I belong. Which leads me to my second point: The word “atheist” comes from the Greek “atheos” meaning “godless one”. It does not mean that I am out to destroy religion and its followers. Being that America is a predominantly Christian nation, I have many friends and family members who are devoutly religious. I do not share their views and we share a mutual respect. I’m happy to discuss this subject at length with anyone who is interested. Just ask me. As my friend John P. is fond of saying “my religion doesn’t have a problem with other religions. I wish you the best of luck with your faith.”

4) My wife and I met online. We just celebrated our 3rd anniversary. Does that make me an “early adopter”?

5) I once was homeless in New York City. Well, not EXACTLY homeless in a sleeping-on-a-steam-vent sort of way. But my roommate (Phil) and I were evicted from our Manhattan apartment by the NYC Housing Marshal without having any knowledge that it was about to happen. Phil and I were sub-leasing our apartment on East 80th Street from a guy named Alex. Trouble was, Alex wasn’t giving our rent to the landlord. He was putting it in his pocket. For FIVE MONTHS. So she had us evicted. Trouble was, she didn’t know that Alex had even sub-leased to us, and we didn’t know that he hadn’t told her. Phil and I both assumed, because we’re good people, that this Alex character was a decent guy, an honest guy. Well, he wasn’t. So …

So for four days, literally all I had was the clothes I was wearing. I had no address, no clothes, no bed, nothing. Only when we made contact with the landlord and told her our story did she grant permission for us to get all of our stuff out of the City storage facility (which is located in a CHARMING neighborhood in the industrial section of the South Bronx, on a street where the rats do not fear human-kind). After PAYING $500 to get our stuff out of city storage, we had to arrange transportation and sort everything out. When the Marshal and his associates come to clean out your apartment, suffice it to say that they don’t exactly use bubble wrap or label the boxes. I’ll let you use your imagination about the level of chaos that was visited upon us when we unpacked.

After that, I lived on my own until I got married. No more roommates or subleases for me!

6) Okay, I know it was only supposed to be five things … but I couldn’t resist. The sixth thing is that I’ve found out recently that there’s a guy out there who has my same name. But he’s not me. In fact, he’s an author who lives in the UK. His website is here and his blog is here. Check them out. We’ve exchanged a few emails, and he’s commented here on my blog before, and I sincerely hope I get to meet him one day. He seems like a terrific chap.

And now, since I’ve revealed my Five (well, six, actually) Things, I hereby tag the following five (well, six, actually) individuals:

Jake Stanford

Brian Sibley (the other one)

Patrick Van de Wille

Nathan Behan

Matt Fiorillo

Phil Strumpf