Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

Ocean City, NJ

My sand-colored summer.

Last time I went on vacation, I enjoyed a week-long sojourn in Ocean City, NJ. There, I happily wasted my time on naps, The Office, margaritas, cornhole, two books by Joan Didion, a puppy’s company, sun, surf and hard-shell crabs. It was heaven in East Coast form. And I’ve missed it ever since.

But as of 5:45 or so tomorrow, I will again wade into the waters of vay-kay. This time, though, I’m going to…

Glittering, gleaming Cincinnati!

Glittering, gleaming Cincinnati!


I know nothing about this place, except that the Bengals are not very good (despite what the Eagles and Redskins would have you think) and the Reds blew their load on Griffey, Jr. I also know that you could call it “The Nati,” but I’ve yet to confirm whether this is considered cool or not.

I hear that the ethnic food is very good in Cincinnati, as are the chain-store shopping opportunities. And there are, of course, the WKRP associations.

I have some lovely friends-of-friends who live there and they’re very kindly putting me up for an extended New Year’s. Schoen family, get ready! I spill things and can’t cook.

And so, I’m excited! It’s time to leave this coast for a while, do a little anthropological work at the heartbeat of America. Ohio, here I come.



My Neosporin-improved nose.

My Neosporin-improved nose.

If you’ve seen me the past few days, you’ve probably asked me (or at least yourself), “What happened to your face?” Or, in Lily’s case, “Did you get rhinoplasty?”

I didn’t, in fact, get a nose job. (And if I had, I wouldn’t have picked the schnoz that’s currently stuck on my mug.)


I got hit in the face by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Here’s what happened. I was sitting at work on Monday morning, minding my own business. No wait! I was actually creating a spreadsheet of the myriad Christmas gifts I’d bought for my loved ones! Being a total angel!

…Little did I know that a 3 lb. picture of the Art Museum (with Salvador Dali’s creepy face emblazoned on the Rocky Steps) was ricketing and rocketing above my dome.

The rogue poster.

The rogue poster.

So I’m happily checking off what’s been ordered, what’s been delivered, and doing some charitable brainstorming. Should I get my niece Chase an artist’s easel? Or a mini piano? How about a classy coloring book?

Next thing I know, some gargantuan thing hits me square in the face!



And I scream, “AH F*CK!”

Right in the kisser

Right in the kisser!

I started to well up like a baby while I inspected the damage. One, because it hurt, and two because, why me? On a Monday? Trying to be a good kid, employee and family member?

But now, it seems, I’m cursed. Suddenly, I’m the klutz with the Rocky scar on her nose who injects “Are you looking at my nose?” into every conversation. And the very next day, I caught a cold that sidelined me for the entirety of this very festive week. Sucks!

But there’s a whole nother component to my trauma.

I love Philadelphia! It’s my profession! My livelihood! My rock! And now Philly’s smacking me in the face? What the shit!

Since I was born four days after the Sixers won Philly’s last World Championship in 1983, I spent 25 hard years blaming myself for our championship drought. Now that the Fightin’ Phils are officially the world’s best, is this Philadelphia’s way of continuing my curse?

My battle scar doesn’t look quite as bad as it did a few days ago. I put some Neosporin on that shit. But I’m still wondering, what’s the cosmic relevance of Philadelphia/Rocky/Salvador Dali crashing my face’s party?

Stop punking me, Philly. I love you.

On Gender and Religion

In lieu of an actual blog post, I’d like to share a lovely quote from my always quotable father, Bernie vO.

(When asked how woman came to be, he said…)

“And then He ripped the rib outta that sonofabitch and said, ‘You need a pain in the ass!'”

Helped me understand a lot of things better.

Teach The Children Well

My sister’s daughters, Olivia (9) and Charlotte (7), are getting older. They’re starting to get “cool.” And they’re starting to discover music.



But what should be a wonderful time of discovery in any young person’s life is getting muddied by the abundance of pure filth out there. It’s horrible. They’re rocking out to Rihanna, Fergie and Alicia Keys. These are kind of okay. But then — oh, it’s so bad — there’s the likes of Hillary Duff, the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus.

I can’t have them listening to this crap!

When I was wee, my brother and sister were teenagers. So I grew up watching Yo! MTV Raps, listening to Neil Young, and practicing the Moonwalk. Having been given a solid foundation, I’ve been able to steer clear of the *NSYNCs and Blink 182s of the world, for the most part.

Olivia and Charlotte, unfortunately, don’t have cool older siblings to guide them. They just have each other.

This is where Aunt Mary comes in!

For Christmas, I’m making each of them a mix. Pulling from my collection of soul classics, 80s throwaways and new-fangled, under-the-radar jams, I’m hoping to build in each of them a basic understanding of rock, as well as a solid grasp on the fact that rock isn’t dead.

The idea is to give them 20-odd songs each, plus a $25 iTunes gift card, so they can go off and discover even more good stuff. No crap allowed!



But this is a tricky endeavor. As much as I’d love to include, say, Anthems for a 17-Year-Old Girl by Broken Social Scene — a rather P.C. song beloved by girls everywhere — I can’t have my nieces discovering other BSS songs like I’m Still Your Fag and Handjobs for the Holidays.

And while I’d like to include such a great song as Heartbeats by The Knife, songs about weekend-long trysts simply won’t do. That said, the entire Liz Phair catalogue is out.

But anything’s got to be better than Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis, a Top 40 hit that 7-year-old Charlotte knows by heart. Sample lyric: “You cut me open and I keep bleeding love.” How is that appropriate?

So here’s my list (with tremendous help from Rawle) so far (and some of these are obvious, but remember, we’re starting at zero here):

  • Moby Octopad, Yo La Tengo
  • From the Morning, Nick Drake
  • Wild Wild Life, Talking Heads
  • I’m a Rocker, Bruce Springsteen
  • Maps, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • Starlight No. 1, Mojave 3
  • Lonely Teardrops, Jackie Wilson
  • Amsterdam, Peter Bjorn and John
  • Teen Angst, M83
  • Little Wing, Jimi Hendrix
  • Listen to the Band, The Monkees
  • Way Over Yonder in the Minor Key, Billy Bragg and Wilco
  • Wildflowers, Tom Petty
  • 14 Forever, Stars
  • Islands, Cat Power
  • Any Other Way, William Bell
  • Deep Red Bells, Neko Case
  • Bron-Y-Aur Stomp, Led Zeppelin
  • Back in Your Head, Tegan and Sara
  • Chinese Translation, M. Ward
  • The Laws Have Changed, The New Pornographers
  • Heroes, David Bowie
  • Waiting in Vain, Bob Marley
  • Velouria, The Pixies
  • Something So Strong, Crowded House
  • Boys Don’t Cry, The Cure
  • Mushaboom, Feist
  • Trapped, Jimmy Cliff

I could go on and on. Few things are more gratifying than passing on music you love to the uninitiated — I just hope this shit gets listened to.

And if you have any suggestions, by all means drop me a line!

Party All The Ti-ime

Happy Friday, one and all!

I won’t bore you with my tangents and whatnot. Instead, please enjoy this most amazing jam by Mr. Eddie Murphy, with some slick production and hand-clapping support by Mr. Rick James.

I might walk down the aisle to this song. I, too, like to party all the time!

Best part: When Rick James loses his shit at 2:50. Rick, I’m with you, this jam is the pinnacle of Jheri-Curl-Great!

(Further viewing: Boogie In Your Butt, by Mr. Eddie Murphy; and The Ice Cream Man, also by Mr. Eddie Murphy)