February 25, 2017 by 10 Comments
Cameron Hicks: “This was my family’s outgoing message on our answering machine from 1993 up until we got rid of our land line a few years ago. My dad wanted to save the recording of my sister, Jodie, and I as kids so he digitized it and gave it to us. I decided to animate to the recording and give it to Jodie as a birthday present. It wound up taking longer to finish than I expected so it became a Christmas present. I missed that deadline too. Nevertheless, it’s dedicated to her.”
Cam – We’re not home right now, but we’ll be back real soon.
Dad – Right, so leave your name and number and we’ll get back to ya. Thanks for calling!
Jodie – I wanna talk!
Dad – Okay.
Jodie – Goodnight.
February 5, 2017 by 32 Comments
I wasn’t a fan of Lady Gaga’s earlier music, all too much for me. But this Lady is something special. Don’t miss this CBS Sunday Morning interview. Don’t quit on this early. (Fascinating throughout but it starts getting most interesting at 4:30). Here’s an excerpt:
“If this were all to go away tomorrow, all the big success, I would still be very happy…the reason that I’m here at all is because of my relationship with my family and their encouragement of me to be a musician, and to work hard. So, as long as I stay there, in that space, I can do anything. That’s my truth… Making your Dad happy is, especially for an Italian Catholic girl, it feels really good…And I feel that today. All the awards in the world, you can get in all the nightclubs, they’ll send you the nicest clothes, there’s nothing better than walking in your Dad’s restaurant and seeing a smile on his face, and knowing that your Mom, Dad and Sister are real proud of you and you haven’t lost touch of who you are. That for me is real success.”
“Lady Gaga is the Super Bowl halftime show expected to be watched by more than 100 million television viewers. She’s been planning for this event since she was four years old. Gaga, 30, never lip-syncs or uses backing tracks for her vocals, which has become common for high-profile events. Last year, when she belted out a blistering rendition of the national anthem at Super Bowl 50, CBS wanted an emergency backing track just in case. Gaga refused.” (Source: wsj.com)
See related post: Gaga
November 23, 2016 by 43 Comments
Tuesday evening. Downtown Manhattan. I’m hailing a cab. Rich food swims in Chardonnay. Wind bursts chill the bones: Winter.
I flip on Waze with an eye out for a cab – 16 minutes to Grand Central. The 8:36 train departs in 18 minutes. Unlikely, but possible.
“Be great if I can catch the 8:36.” This is NYC Cabbie code – a much larger tip in it for you if you giddyap. It’s the American Way: Proper incentives = desired behavior. I buckle my seatbelt, grip the armrest and hope for the best.
He bolts through traffic – Rabbit with lock on the Carrot. Think bumper car or go cart sans contact, with the same weaving, bobbing, braking and jarring.
We arrive at the station at 8:36. I run to the gate, hopeful for a train delay. I watch the fading red tail lights down the tunnel, wheezing, trying to catch my breath. Damn! Next train, 30 minutes.
I walk to the next gate, board the train, find a seat, and get comfortable. Chardonnay burns off. Fatigue rolls in, eyes are burning on four hours of sleep. I pop in my ear buds, turn on soft ambient music, lean my head against the window, and close my eyes. Just 10 minutes, please, just 10.
The smartphone buzzes in my pocket, a text message. Let it go. Just let it go. [Read more…]
November 2, 2016 by 53 Comments
She started it.
With the taunts. The insults: “Jelly Belly.” “Man Boobs.” “Sad.”
This being Daddy’s Girl.
Daddy’s Creation. I built THAT.
She’s 2x younger. Or better stated, Dad’s 2x older.
And, then, she threw out the bait.
Dad: “Let’s compare daily step counts. Download this App. Maybe we can get that (pointing to the belly) in better shape.”
So, it has become a Father-Daughter ritual.
Each night, before bedtime, we check our step counts via a text share.
Week 1 was a partial week and a ramp up week – – and her gloating.
Week 2 is the first full week and both sides are in full stride.
She shares her report tonight. Her steps are shown above – along with her step count each day for the last 7 days.
My response: “Not bad Honey. 🙂”
I then reciprocate and send her my daily report. (Below) [Read more…]
June 19, 2016 by 18 Comments
They are attentive parents, building nests, feeding chicks and even showing their young how to sing.
Tally up the good dads and the bad dads in the animal world, and mammals come up surprisingly short. Males provide direct care of their young in less than 5% of mammal species. Some mammals, like grizzly bears, are notoriously bad dads, known to kill their own cubs…most mammal fathers are deadbeats with a “love ’em and leave ’em” approach, sticking around only to mate.
Then there are birds. For our avian friends, attentive care of the young by both males and females is the norm. True, females shoulder the full parenting load in a few avian families, such as hummingbirds. But in some 90% of bird species, the males stay around to help: They share the duties of nest-building, incubate eggs, feed brooding females and the chicks, even train their young for independent life. Birds, in short, have a system of parenting not unlike our own, despite being separated from us by some 300 million years of evolutionary history…
How could creatures whose brains are so much smaller than ours and so different from them possibly be clever? …In the past two decades or so, we’ve learned that some species of birds have relatively large brains for their body size, just as we do…Birds teach. They learn. They solve problems. They make tools. They count. They remember where they put things. They deceive and cheat. They argue and console.
And they parent—most often together, with an equitable division of labor between nest and “office.” Many birds share incubation duties. Male and female double-crested cormorants swap that role about once an hour, so that the stay-at-home parent gets a chance to forage for itself. Woodpeckers relieve one another during the day, but the male alone incubates at night.
Some male birds go to extraordinary lengths not just to find food for their young but to participate in the actual feeding. The anhinga, or snakebird, which is found in the southern swamplands of the Americas, puts his whole mouth and neck into it, creating a kind of feeding tube to efficiently deliver partially digested fish down the throats of his young. (The chicks are soon shoving their heads down their dad’s beak to speed up the process.)
The Namaqua sandgrouse, which lives in the driest regions of southern Africa, acts as a living flask for his brood: A male bird flies up to 20 miles to find a watering hole in which to soak his belly feathers, absorbing a few tablespoons of water—then flies back to his chicks to let them drink from his feathers… [Read more…]
June 7, 2016 by 62 Comments
Four days later, and the tops of both thighs still burn, sensitive to the touch. No, nothing to do with running, which is another sad story, left for another day.
I load my canons, yes one “n”, and fire.
- The Tort: “You entered into a verbal contract. You said you would stay.”
- The Economic: “Manhattan is nose bleed expensive. You’ll drain whatever savings you have.”
- The Nostalgic: “I’m turning your room in an extension of my Den, and calling it my West Wing.”
- The Desperate: “You know in Italy, kids live with their parents until well into their 30’s.”
- The Fear Mongering: “I’m cutting you off Netflix, Amazon Prime and yes, AT&T Mobile Service.”
Nothing works. And we’re off.
The family caravan departs in the Resettlement. Eric (Son) drives the U-haul with two friends. Mom, Dad and Rachel are up ahead in a separate car. Waze estimates 44 miles – a whopping 1 hour 42 minutes to lower Manhattan.
The rain falls gently, setting the appropriate back drop.
It’s a five-floor walk-up. I now know what a 5-floor walk-up means. No elevators and narrow stairwells. Walk-up means walk-up. With furniture, furnishings and oversize and overweight boxes, all up five floors – on foot. With adequate resistance provided by non-ventilated, A/C-free hallways. The musty carpet fibers are pulled deep into the lungs with each trip up and down the stairs. [Read more…]
And he reads to them, as he does every night, as if watering them, as if turning the earth at their feet.
March 28, 2016 by 20 Comments
And he reads to them, as he does every night, as if watering them, as if turning the earth at their feet. There are stories he has never heard of, and others he has known as a child, these stepping stones that are there for everyone. What is the real meaning of these stories, he wonders, of creatures that no longer exist even in the imagination: princes, woodcutters, honest fishermen who live in hovels. He wants his children to have an old life and a new life, a life that is indivisible from all lives past, that grows from them, exceeds them, and another that is original, pure, free, that is beyond the prejudice which protects us, the habit which gives us shape. He wants them to know both degradation and sainthood, the one without humiliation, the other without ignorance. He is preparing them for this voyage. It is as if there is only a single hour, and in that hour all the provender must be gathered, all the advice offered. He longs for the one line to give them that they will always remember, that will embrace everything, that will point the way, but he cannot find the line, he cannot recognize it. It is more precious, he knows, than anything else they might own, but he does not have it. Instead, in his even, sensuous voice he laves them in the petty myths of Europe, of snowy Russia, the East.
~ James Salter, Light Years
March 26, 2016 by 44 Comments
She’s 23. Her Brother, 22.
He orders a Tom Collins, and gets carded. She, a Zinfindel. Dad, a tall ice water. “Sparkling, or Flat for you Sir?” “Tap, Miami’s finest please.” After dinner cocktails in a hotel bar, with of-age children. Embrace the memories, block the melancholia. I fail, it seeps in and then overwhelms me, water around stone.
It’s a quiet Friday night. The Sushi Chef leans on the glass case and flirts with the cocktail waitress. She’s wearing a smart black skirt and jacket. On the other side of the bar, middle aged lovers huddle, whispering.
A one-man band blows on an electronic wind instrument, alternating with a brass trumpet with a black trumpet cap. His supporting cast, multi-colored bars flashing on a laptop and pumped out of tall, thin, floor standing speakers. He sways to and fro, lips pursed on reed. The Chill music hangs, a sweet fine mist over the valley. One could drop this, all of this, in Ramblas in Barcelona, in Gastown in Vancouver or the Dièse Onze in Montreal. Vibe, Same.
The eyelids are heavy, barbells. The body, from its all day soak in the sun, the wind, and the ocean salt, aches for rest.
I watch them leave together, bar hopping. She leans into him with her shoulder, they laugh. How many times in their lifetimes? Hundreds of times where Mom, and Dad, the Heavy, broke up skirmishes, and worse. Salter’s Light Years: “Passing of life together, a compact that will never end…lives formed together, woven together.” And Parents stitching, braiding, weaving it all in the hope of This. Look, This, a tapestry. Full body warmth rushes in.
I ride the elevator up. Melancholy, a Tsunami now. [Read more…]