Sunday, October 26, 2008

the tell-tale twin

Riding my bike to work up 6th Ave. the other day, I noticed the local gymnastics studio was feeling the Halloween spirit. Each of the space's four windows featured a smiling, tumbling skeleton.

Creeeee-peeeee. And so loaded where do I even start?

To me, this spooky festooning bellows, in the rigid, outlandish directives of the infamous olympic gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi,"Happy Halloween! NEVER EAT CANDY OR YOU'LL BE FAT AND BAD AT GYMNASTICS!"

On decidedly less eerie occasions, I pass by that studio thinking to myself, "One of these days I'm gonna sign up for a beginning tumbling class."

From the moment I watched Mary Lou Retton nail two perfect 10 vaults and clinch the gold in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, all I wanted was to enroll in a gymnastics program. I, too, wanted to be really strong, adorable, and airborne.

"So I can learn how to do a flip flop," was the solid reasoning I offered my skeptical mom.

She didn't bite. Ever. To my chagrin, my mom quickly and summarily relegated gymnastics to the Fat Chance Pile, stacked on top of playing ice hockey, taking drum lessons, and getting a dog. "You play soccer and violin and we have four gerbils. That's enough as far as I'm concerned."

This edict ensured an always-a-bridesmaid-never-a-bride relationship with a few of my favorite things. It also ensured that I would continue to be vaguely haunted by my memory of the one gymnastics class I attended two years earlier with my friend Justine, when I barely cared a whit about the sport.

The Memory. Justine was actually enrolled in the class. I was just along for the ride, because we just got out of school and had a play date immediately following. Justine's mom dropped us off saying, "I'll be outside in an hour." I walked in and roosted in the bleachers with a couple of moms, watching and waiting while Justine stretched and did handstands.

At the age of eight, I was a tried and true tomboy, acting and pretty much looking like a little dude with longer hair. At that moment in time, gymnastics fell under the same "Kind of Girly" genome alongside ballet and Brownies. It didn't repulse me, per se. Just didn't interest me at all. In my spare time I enjoyed riding dirt bikes, all things Star Wars, and, notably, episodically experimenting with telling gigantic lies.

So while Justine balance beamed and cartwheeled, I found an opportunity to strengthen one of my skill sets with a mother in the stands.

"So what brings you here today?" inquired a woman patiently watching, waiting for her daughter. I vividly remember thinking, "This lady is a hippie." This according to my very, very narrow understanding of the word "Hippie." She had long, straight brown hair, round wire rimmed spectacles, no make up, and invariably wore some version of a turtleneck, quilted vest, pants and sandals.

I looked straight at her and replied, "My twin sister Justine is in this class. I'm just waiting for her."

Right out of the gates.

Justine, my dear friend to this day, is *actually* a twin. She has a fraternal twin brother named Derek. As a second grader I found this riveting. My siblings were considerably older and having another someone closer to my age felt "lucky" to me. I thought I'd be king for a day.

"That's her over there [pointing to Justine]. We're fraternal twins, that's why we don't look alike."

She smiled and nodded, "Oh, well that must be fun to have a twin! What is your name?"

"David," I rejoined without skipping a beat and with a good measure of "yeah, i guess it's fun, but I'm so used to it I don't even think about it" nonchalance.

No biggie. It's just who I am.

She nodded, unfazed. "David, David, David.... That's a very important name. Do you happen to know the tale of David and Goliath?"

I stared at her blankly, wondering where on earth was this going. I had no fear of being found out. I felt positively fearless, in fact. She seemed to be sitting well with my stats. Mostly I worried she was gonna tell me a boring story. After all, I had a lot more fabulous tall tales to tell her before the hour was up.

"Well, David, it's a tale from the Bible of a fearless young man who fought a Giant and won."

I nodded my head hoping we could leave it at that and get on with the show.

"There's a song about this brave battle... and it goes like this, [pause, pause, pause] 'David and Goliath, David and Goliath...'"

And off she went, quietly, endlessly singing a Sandy Denny era Fairport Convention-style song, epic both in proportion and dirge-like melody. Just for Fake Me. I immediately felt bored and antsy. Didn't she want to hear more about *my* David life? Like the fact that I didn't do gymnastics because I played ice hockey instead? And that I was a really good drummer? And what about all of our adorable dogs?

Though distracted, I felt satisfied she had bought my story hook, line, and sinker. My remaining goal was to get out of there without her actually meeting Justine or Justine's mom.

I sat there for what felt like an eternity. Listening to the singing story, then the spoken story. Class ended. My exit was seamless. We got in Justine's parents' passenger van and headed off for our play date. To Hippie Mom I remained David, fraternal twin sister of Justine. All was well in the world....

Until the next week when, during the frantic, grab-and-go routine of lower school dismissal I spotted Hippie Mom picking up her daughter from the fourth grade class room. SHE WAS A MOM AT OUR TEENY TINY SCHOOL. How could this be?! I was supposed to never see her again!

From that day forward, I saw her absolutely all the time. For years. Literally, years.

Hippie Mom never ever said a word to me. Never called me David. Just very occasionally gave me a polite nod or a middle distance smile that left me sort of relieved and sort of tortured with the wonder, "Did she fact check? Is my secret safe? Or am I still David? Does she actually even remember me or is she just acknowledging me because I am often frozen in my tracks staring at her?"

Until August, 1984 that episode categorically defined my opinion of gymnastics as: A Topic to be Summarily Avoided. "I shall take this to the grave" was my mantra.

Spotting the Skeleton-dancing-in-a-graveyard decorations in the 6th Ave. gymastics studio windows gives me appropriate pause.

The second installment of Gymnastics Memory Lane to follow....

Thursday, October 16, 2008

pig iron

Two weeks ago I went to see Pig Iron Theatre Company's production Chekov Lizardbrain. It was terrific. There are a couple of shows left. Here is a link to a rave review in the Old Gray Lady.

Here is the latest information from Pig Iron Theatre:

Pig Iron Theatre and Soho Think Tank have added an additional show at 3 PM on Saturday, October 18 - tickets are on sale and going fast already, so please book your seats for this performance. Advance tickets are also still available for the performance on Friday, October 17 at 10 PM.

If advance tickets are sold out, there are often a small number of tickets are available at the door. (There have been empty seats due to no-shows the past two nights! So come and take a chance!)

We must close on October 19.
All shows are at the Ohio Theatre, 66 Wooster Street, NY, NY.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

dennis the premise

I knew this would happen. On Saturday I drafted a post about Dennis the manatee, a wayward sea cow who wandered from warm southern waters way too far north to a chilly New England cove. Last Saturday he was rescued in Sesuit Harbor, East Dennis, MA, and rushed via van to Florida's SeaWorld.

As it turns out: He didn't make it. Now I feel so sad AND like a big jerk.

Instead of totally scrapping that post, let us turn-turn-turn it into a celebration of Dennis! Arguably, the more jocular moments feel like they may land me in hell. Particularly the gags. I'm sorry. Just bear in mind, this post stands as tribute to the gigantic trooper and his lovable kind!

My post:

Last week one particularly adventuresome, and arguably totally lost manatee wound up roaming his way into the headlines. "Dennis," as named by the press, appears to have wandered North from warmer southern coastal waters—mostly likely somewhere close to South Florida— all the way up to to East Dennis, MA where he dropped proverbial anchor in Sesuit Bay.

Say WHAT? Cape Cod?!! To my mind that seems impossible. When not hovering in the shallow warm waters of Southern Florida, the Caribbean, or the Gulf of Mexico, snacking like crazy on seaweed and algae, these guys move around at an average speed of 3–5 miles an hour. Aka: They mosey. So though it seems Dennis got himself into quite a pickle last week, he's probably been going up the country for many, many months. I like that kind of moxie. That said, the poor guy must be so tired now and too cold for comfort.

Another fact: Dennis weighs 1,000 pounds. One. Thousand. Pounds. That is completely enormous. How on earth do manatees maintain that kind of voluptuous physique on a steady diet of plants?! Answer: Dedication.

The Cape Cod Times describes the scene at the Harbor where Dennis was found and subsequently rescued:

Hundreds of people watched the drama unfold yesterday. "I was crying when I first saw the fish," said Kara Burke, referring to the manatee. "It's just an amazing feeling to be here in Dennis with Dennis."

Kara's sentiments are touching, yet also confusing, not to mention inadvertently obscene.

The description of the rest of the operation sounds straight from an eight year old's imagination:

And so set in motion the plan to drive Dennis back in an 18-foot moving van. A four-person team from SeaWorld will make the trip with Dennis, using large squirt bottles to keep him wet.

This conjures images of cartoonishly large squirt bottles from the store . Maybe they can also get an enormous name tag for Dennis. And hit the courts once they are back in Florida.

SeaWorld is also the star of one of my recent favorite Onion articles.

This is another Onion grand slam recommended to me by Kyle.

Obviously, I'm completely rooting for Dennis to pull through.

And in the meantime, my friends Drue and Mark M. would most certainly offer this clip from Dr. Katz as required viewing while cheering from the sidelines:

Friday, October 10, 2008

upstairs at erik's

Three weeks ago, the song "Only You" by British band Yazoo ended up on my ipod shuffle. Suddenly, "Only You" was the only song I wanted to hear for the first time in a long-long time. I'm in a teenager-in-love-style play and repeat phase. The last time I got stuck on this song was in tenth grade. I had a lot of pining to do for my big time high school crush. A lot of slow dances to imagine. A lot of interactions to over-analyze and ponder. And a lot of hoping to do. This song was made for those moments. "[Sigh.] No one understands how I feel. Except for Yazoo." Only Yazoo.

"Only You" and the album "Upstairs At Eric's" are to my mind, in and of themselves, infatuation-worthy. Especially to young, coming-of-age ears. It certainly stands as a soundtrack of my formative years. It is the sound of sharing a room with my very patient older sister Kristin when I was seven and she was sixteen. At that time "Bad Connection" was my jam. It replaced The Police's "Every Little Thing She Does is Magic" as my peppy, feel good anthem to demand. I had no idea it was actually a song about Alison Moyet feeling frustrated she can't get through to her Baby on the phone. I also had no idea a woman sang the song. I thought someone named "Yaz" (as we know them here in the US) sang the song. And in my mind, Yaz was a genderless, numinous being. I mean, look at the album cover. It's confusing who's behind the music. To me it looked like *no one* was upstairs at Eric's. Just some scary mannequins in a post-apocalyptic apartment.

All I knew was I just wanted to hear "Bad Connection" so many times—which was potentially annoying to my teenage sister who was mostly interested in solitary activities. I'm pretty sure she just wanted to draw or scrapbook and listen to "Only You" seventeen hundred times. But she is a terrific sport, and a doting sister, and so she patiently honored all my requests.

It was also the soundtrack of impatiently loitering outside my fourteen-year-old brother Erik's room, hoping he'd unhitch the velvet rope and "please lemme in.....I mean, can I?"

These are the things I understood about Upstairs at Eric's in 1982: "Only You" was pretty but boring. "I Before E Except After C" was terrifying and the sound of insanity. "Bad Connection" was the greatest song of all time.

"In My Room" was a league of its own. "In My Room" was the song Erik used to terrorize me on our walks to school. Our ten minute walk would proceed as follows:

[Half a block walked in silence]

And then:

Erik: [In a deliberately affected, forced singing voice] "The WALLS are WHITE and IN the NIGHT the room is lit by ELECTRIC LIGHT"
Me: What is that? Stop.
Erik: "The WALLS are WHITE and IN the NIGHT the room is lit by ELECTRIC LIGHT"
Me: [already losing it] Erik stop. I mean it.
Erik: I'll think about it. "The WALLS are WHITE and IN the NIGHT the room is lit by ELECTRIC LIGHT"
Me: [Desperate] Shut UP! Why aren't you listening to me?!
Erik: Shut up? That's a badwordthe..WALLS are WHITE and IN....
Julia: SHUT UP.
Erik: [Stops and turns to look at me] Maybe if you asked me to stop NICELY, I would consider stopping.

[we keep walking]

Erik: [humming quietly] "do DO do DO..."
Me: [muttering politely] Please don't sing.
Erik: la-LA la-LA...
Me: Please don't sing
Erik: la la la la-la la la LA!

It was a particularly effective torture tactic because the lyrics made no sense to me. They were confusing and unsettling. And he was persistent. And so good at mind games.

[Note: A few weeks later the chorus to "Loverboy" by Billy Ocean replaced "the walls are white..." as the Verse to Curse:

Erik: "Wannabeyo LU-vah, LUvah, LUvahbooyyy..."
Me: ERIK.]

I finally got my revenge the summer before going to college. Erik was well out of college and I had all-access access to his room. While freely trolling around for new music for a new mix, and a tape I could tape over I found an unlabeled BASF cassette. I put it in my boom box for review. Initially there was nothing but the sound of muffled shuffling around. Maybe one of his fake radio programs recorded with best friend Chris? Suddenly I hear Erik clearing his throat. And then: A miracle. Fourteen-year-old Erik Rydholm begins to sing, very, very earnestly, very, very, very, awkwardly, a capella, and pretty loudly:

Lookin' from a window above
it's like a story of love

can you he-ear me?
Came back only yesterday but moving farther away

wantcha nee-her me

[starting over, many, many many octaves higher, and REALLY loudly]


It really was a Christmas miracle. It was glorious. I stared at the middle distance, glowing, drunk with power, just imagining the possibilities and, suddenly, knew what I had to do. I had to put it on a "Flashback!" mix for my friend Fatima. As the opening to Side B. Followed by "Automatic" by the Pointer Sisters.

And it was done. A masterpiece.

Fatima and I listened to it in her Renault jalopy all summer long and *wept* with laughter. She made copies for her sister Bibi and our friend Nicole. I made one for my friend Leigh. We always played it in the car. And each time it came on: Laughter. Eventually we just started singing along, perfecting each perfect part.

Today Erik recalled the moment the turntables finally turned and I played the recording back to him. It sounds not unlike the horrible realization that "the call is coming from inside the house." But more like the horrible realization that the song is coming from your private teenage home studio:

"It wasn't just that you found it. It's how you decided to reveal that you found it: on a mix tape being played inside the car during a family visit to Bowdoin [College]. As I remember, I was in the backseat. I don't think we were a second into the song when I realized what was going on. Something lurched in my stomach and I lunged over the front seat for the eject button. While you cackled."

He explained he was probably singing out his feelings for his teenage crush Marcy.

If I were a real wise guy I would make an mp3 out of the recording. I'm not that mean. Unless Erik says I have permission to be that mean.

In college, "Bad Connection" was nearly summarily ruined for me by seeing a college women's a capella group doing a completely overblown rendition of the song. 8000 harmonies. Pantomimed hanging-on-the-telephone choreography. Huge, crazy smiles. You get the idea.

For years I couldn't listen to "Only You" because I only heard it in Erik's voice. It was confusing. And made me feel a little guilty. Recovering from that, I shelved the song as "cheesy." Several years ago, however, the BBC program "The Office" made brilliant use of it in their Christmas special during a seminal slow dance between star-crossed lovers. I wept. A song was reborn.

And reborn again three weeks ago when it sneaked into rotation on my ipod shuffle and I couldn't stop listening to it. It's pretty heartbreaking, and yes, pretty cheesy. At the beginning of this week I decided to fill my ipod with my Yaz favorites and listen to them ad nauseam. My interests this week? Goats and Yaz.

The playlist:

Too Pieces
Mr. Blue (from the album "You and Me Both")
Only You
Bad Connection

The selection does not disappoint.

While riding my bike home over the Brooklyn Bridge Wednesday night at midnight, the song "Midnight" came on just as it started to drizzle.

And now it’s midnight it’s raining outside
And I’m soaking wet,
still looking for that man of mine

And I ain’t found him yet
Well all of this rain can wash away my tears
But nothing can replace all of those wasted years

In all of this I tell you I have learnt

Playing with fire gets you burnt
And I’m still burning

You and me both, Yaz! It *was* midnight! And I was *also* starting to get drenched! Alison Moyet no longer sounds paranormal to me, she sounds like a woman experiencing some serious feelings. I can relate to that, too. Just like Erik, upstairs at my parents' house singing for Marcy and meaning it.

I'm sorry I made fun of your serious feelings, Erik.
But I'm glad Yazoo understood you. Only Yazoo.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

goddess dressing / legal not eagle

I actually have no intention of holding forth about politics on this site. I am deeply unqualified. Maybe some day soon I'll ask my friend Alexa to guest blog and then you will really learn a thing or two. For now I will mention the one thing I took away from last night's debate: "That one." I thought about that phrase most of the day. The first half of the day I pondered it in an analytical, critical, worldly way; the second half of the day I considered it in a decidedly otherworldly way—specifically, I literally only heard it said by Luke Skywalker in this scene from Star Wars. Over and over again.

In other news, I picked up a copy of the NY Metro today to occupy myself on a short subway ride. Two highlights:

Headline: New Living Goddess Chosen. The AP explains:

Hindu and Buddhist priests chanted sacred hymns and cascaded flowers and grains of rice over a 3-year-old girl who was appointed a living goddess in Nepal yesterday....Wrapped in red silk and adorned with red flowers in her hair, Matani Shakya received approval from the priests and President Ram Baran Yadav...

This blows my mind. Mostly because all I can think about is myself as a three year old (see photo above). I dressed like a crazy person (yes, that is a fraction of a great white shark face on that t-shirt) and was nowhere near equipped to commune with high priests and politicians.
I probably could have told you a lot about animal crackers, though. I still can.

The other notable moment in today's paper was a letter to the editor from perturbed reader Sasha Clements. (The letter appears to be unavailable on their website so I will really have to take this blog seriously and SCAN it.) The title of Ms. Clements' platform:

WTF is wrong with Obama-thusiasm?

WTF, is right. Dear, dear Editor of "the world's largest global newspaper." My rejoinder to the Editor and Ms. Clements is as follows:

WTF? Is "WTF" fit to print?

Or rather:


Just as I finished the Metro, three well-heeled, thirty-something professionals walked onto the train gabbing away. There were two business casual men, and one woman who sort of looked like a tall Cheri Oteri dressed head-to-toe in beige—beige high heels to boot. As they boarded one of the men said, "Oh he's a real legal eagle." Cheri paused, then countered, "More like a legal NOT eagle!!" And at that, the three of them burst into raucous, uncontrollable, hee-haw laughter. One of the men was literally slapping his knee. I am pretty sure they had been drinking. Especially because next thing I knew, Cheri plopped down onto the seat next to me, stretched her leg out and put her foot up on the subway car pole. Ah yes, all in a day's work.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

lil goat view

This guy is one of the gems I found during my goat research day. Such a happy goat.

Also so happy? Lil Wayne. In his newish, completely amazing ESPN forum, Lil Wayne pretty much describes EXACTLY how I feel about blogging:

First of all, wow. I am overwhelmed by the response to my first blog entry. I think I read the first 402 comments. A lot of them were crazy. A thousand comments in the first day? That makes me happy. I've been telling people, "Man I got a blog on ESPN," and they go, "Yeah, boy, but you're latest song is crazy!" and I'm like, "I know, but did you see my blog?" I am so excited to have this opportunity. You don't understand.

I know how he feels. I felt that good on my first day back-in-blog, when I got one comment. And it was from Gary! To repeat, just like Lil Wayne: I am so excited to have this opportunity, you don't understand.

In other news, I'm gonna go out on a limb and say Google Street View is the best thing to ever happen to world news. Since 2007, the gift that keeps on giving. Australia, especially, does not disappoint. Seriously, what's going on over there?

There are a lot of sites tracking this phenomenon. This one is equal parts points-of-interest/tabloid Hollywood tour/bloopers reel.

My overall impression of this initiative? Basically, I imagine the Google Street View van slowly rolling down every street followed by a wake of women in hair rollers, face masks, and robes shrieking and throwing the curtains closed, cats covering their faces with their paws, robbers mid-robbery dropping their satchels marked "$", men dropping the afternoon beer they are sneaking in the garage, teenagers freaking out trying to extinguish and jettison forbidden cigarettes...etc.

Meanwhile, the goats keep grazing atop Al Johnsons Restaurant.

And at that, I actually just tried to Google Street View Al Johnsons Restaurant. The van has not made it that far North. If that grassy roof top and grazing friends showed up on Street View it would have been all over for me.

Monday, October 6, 2008

this is our youtube

My brother Erik and I live to make each other laugh. He has the gift of finding that special something that will send me careening around the corner to full on laugh-crying. Growing up, Erik's favorite venue for that move was church (where else?). To this day, my mom sits between us at any deadpan family event because she knows, even as adults, we cannot be trusted. All he needs to do in a serious setting is move his hand or clear his throat or breathe and I am in my own private emergency: head down, shaking, tearing up inconsolable laughter/desperately chewing on my cheeks or pinching my leg in order to slam on the behavior brakes—never to any avail.

The past couple of days, Erik and I have been sending each other youtube links at work with the implicit hope of driving the other person to leave their desk and call from some remote hallway, laughing. The odds are against me. I work for an office that is often as quiet as a morgue and distraction is never a course of action. I try to behave. Erik is a Mucky-muck at a television production company where he and his staff send absurd links to each other and consider that a job well done.

Last Friday, a complicated backstory led me to research video footage of highschool productions of Guys and Dolls. My brother was actually in Guys and Dolls during highschool so I passed a few of the doozies along. He was mildly amused and responded with links of his own. Not to be outdone, I quickly spiraled into searching terms like "awful Guys and Dolls" and "Guys and Dolls accident" in hopes of finding a complete catastrophe. No such luck. In the meantime, Erik sent the following email:

"Sky Masterson as played by 1963 Ralph Rydholm?"

I got through a total of five seconds before throwing my headphones down and running away from my desk choking. The resemblance is truly uncanny. I attached the only vintage Ralph photo I have scanned at the moment (as seen with my mom c.1976), but trust us on this one. Erik called because he made himself laugh so hard.

Today I struggled to unearth the most random, possibly youtube-able, shared childhood memory I could muster and the restaurant Al Johnsons came to mind. Growing up, our family occasionally drove up to Door County, Wisconsin during summer vacation. As a special treat we would have pancakes at Al Johnsons Swedish Restaurant. For a kid, this place is a veritable shangri-la both because nearly every dish is festooned with a Christmas tree of canned whipped cream AND because the restaurant boasts a grass roof with live GOATS grazing around on it like it's an actual, normal pasture.

And thus, this morning, completely without preamble, I sent Erik the following footage:

I'm not sure he even laughed. He wrote back an unadorned one-liner to the tune of: "Your memory is frightening."

I, however, ended up getting caught up in all kinds of random goat video and photography for the duration of the day.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Weekend Roundup

No dice for Ralph Rydholm's Chicago Cubs. We talked today and he was down, but not out...because the Bears were lookin' good! Also looking good, according to my dad AND mom? The Killers on last night's Saturday Night Live. Both of them in their individual phone times mentioned how much they enjoyed The Killer's performance, and proceeded to discuss their "stage energy" and "fun lyrics."

I am nervous to see what the lyrics actually say.

Particularly as: Years ago my mom called me to tell me how much she enjoyed Shaggy's performance of "It Wasn't Me" on Saturday Night Live. Slightly panicked and more than amused, I said, "Mom, do you know what that song is about?!" And proceeded to recite the verse about the bathroom floor. She replied, "Oh, well, I didn't know about that, but I really liked his energy. And the beats."

My mom finished her review of The Killers saying she was confused about the lead singer's feathers. I have no idea what that means. But apparently, "He didn't really need them."

Today my friend Justine told me the following At the Movies vignette: On Friday, she and my friend Karen went to see an early show at the Union Square Theater. Upon arrival, she headed off to find the bathroom. Across from the concessions stand she spotted an LED display reading "WOMEN". She aimed straight for the door and nearly blasted through like the Kool Aid Man...until she realized it was actually the theater showing THE WOMEN starring Meg Ryan, Bette Midler, and Annette Benning.

Later, she and Karen watched several other people make the self-same mistake.

On the topic of gaffes: This evening I went to buy a slice of pizza on the way home from the park. Counter Man wrapped up the slice, looked directly at me and said,"$14, please." At first I thought he was trying to be funny, but suddenly it was clear he was actually just very distracted. I looked at him. He looked back, not flinching. Then quickly came-to, shook his head and said, "Oh man. Ha. Phew. What am I saying? $2.50, please." The entire staff was literally doubled over in hysterics.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

bad news cubs

So usually I just pester a friend with my quotidian "know what just happened?" moments, but tonight I decided to spare my undoubtedly weary audience and put my blog to better use. (Er, any use. I think I've signed in to this thing three times. And in order to actually log in I had to find an email Gary sent me a year and a half ago detailing my user id and password information.)

At any rate...

This evening, while I was glasses-on-sitting-up-straight glued to the VP debate, my dad sent me a text message. You must understand, my dad only ever texts me when we are on tour overseas with the primary purpose of confirming our arrival at every scheduled destination. And, let's face it, most likely at my mother's urging.

In person and with an audience, however, my dad is rarely at a loss for words. He was a creative director in advertising for 30 + years. He's whip smart, has nearly total recall, quick with a pun and long with lore about most any given subject. I'm convinced he secretly wanted to be in pictures. When he is quiet, his brow furrows, his eyes search the middle distance. He walks around like a detective struggling to put the pieces together.

To the average bystander, the contrast can be mysterious. During one such moment recently Kyle asked, "What do you think your dad thinks about all day?"

To the family, it is no riddle. "The Cubs, the Bears, Must See TV, reading the paper, Gino's Pizza, Pixar films. I bet if you ask him right now, he'll say he is wondering where Wall-E is playing."

"Huh. Really?"

To this point, tonight, as I stared intently at Must See VP, brow furrowed, eyes fixed on the middle distance, trying to put the pieces together, out of nowhere, my phone chimed, announcing the following missive:

DAD: "I don't know if you're watching but I've been at Wrigley [Field] for two nights now and it's like watching reruns...for over 60 years."

I can't stop laughing. It sort of felt like someone suddenly talking out loud and loudly in the middle of a movie. Like maybe in the middle of the first 40 wordless minutes of Wall-E.