Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Move along... nothing to see here

My blog has moved to my new blog over at Click here to visit the new place....

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

About books

The very lovely and talented Debra over at deblog and book-blog is sponsoring a contest to win a free book! All you have to do is answer a bunch of questions about books and then tag three people before September 30th. Now that I host a bunch of blogs I have plenty of people to tag! Ha ha! Now my evil plot can finally be revealed!

The book is an autographed copy of John Shors's historical novel Beneath a Marble Sky. Click on the book to read Debra's review.

1. What are you reading now?

The Good Soldier Švejk and His Fortunes in the World War by Jaroslav Hašek. Hašek is one of the most famous Czech writers other than Kafka, of course. A friend in the Czech Republic had mentioned the book to me. Hašek was sort of an odd bird and it would be worth reading a biography about him if someone would write one! ;)

2. What's the best book you've read this year?

This hasn't been a great year for reading but I would probably say 1776 by David mcCullough even though parts of it felt like it was written by a committee and could have used some editing for grammar!

3. What's your favorite work of historical fiction?

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. This really was a book that I could not put down. It is not anything like Follet's regular genre which is spy novels. This story takes place in the 12th century and involves the building of a cathedral. Sounds dull? It isn't! Almost 1,000 pages and when I was done I wished it hadn't ended.

4. Pick a random book from your shelves and write down its first sentence. Does it make you want to read more?

"On the first day of Februray 1328 King Charles IV of France, third son of King Philip the Handsome and last of the Capetian dynasty, lay dying."

Pretty good first sentence for a book about the Hundred Years War (by Desmond Seward) and it does make me want to read more.

5. Have you ever read a book and wished that you'd written it? What was it?

Yes! Lots of books. I wish I was an historian so I could write like Shelby Foote. Or that I could write novels like Umberto Eco.

6. What book on your shelves do you wish you'd never bought?

Genius by James Gleick. But only because I feel guilty about never reading it.

7. Have you ever bought someone a book for BAFAB?

Yes. I bought a book for Beth but I can't recall what it was! Maybe it was To Kill a Mockingbird. I bought it for her but I can't remember when.

8. What book do you really wish someone would buy you for BAFAB?

non-fiction: Redemption by Nicholas Lemann
fiction: The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards.

9. Go to and leave a comment mentioning your post. Remember to include your permalink in the comment.


10. Tag three people.

I tag Stephanie, Amy, and Ali. Maybe this will get Ali to blog!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Another blog

I have been blogging on my web site since I installed blogging software that integrates with my forum. I'm not sure if I should be repeating my entries here or if I will abandon this blog. Or maybe keep them separate? The thing I like about the blog on my site is that I completely control the software. Plus it lets me host blogs for my members which is really cool. This shows the flexibility of the new forum software that I am using now, phpbb2.

My new blog.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Does it hurt?

It was her knee this time. And the answer is, "no, it didn't while in recovery" and "yes, it does now".

Michel in recovery

The surgery went very well and Michel is feeling better than she has in a long time. We should be home in about an hour.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

The house is too quiet

Mikey isn't home. And the house is way too quiet. He is away at camp until Sunday. No therapists. No aides. Just Beth bouncing around the family room playing Dance, Dance Revolution and Michel and me trying to figure out what to do with ourselves.

On Tuesday, we took Mikey to his school to meet the bus to go up to the camp. They use these big buses with fancy seating and ceiling mounted DVD players etc. like you take when you go to Atlantic City. Last year when we took him to the bus, we couldn't get him on. He was crying and kicking and we finally decided to just drive him up to the camp. This year he was a trooper. He didn't want to get out the car when we arrived at the school so I had to carry him but he didn't cry at all when I carried him on the bus. He just sat down, crossed his legs, smiled, and looked out the window. He gave me a big kiss goodbye and that was it. We left him on the bus, Michel cried a little, and we went home.

Michel called the camp last night to check on Mikey and they said he had a great day. When they arrived, he didn't want to get off the bus, not because he didn't want to to go to the camp but because he had such a great time on the bus! He was the first up yesterday morning and had everyone outside to play soccer (or as the director who is from Wales calls it, football) by 7 AM. He even ate in the cafeteria without any trouble, sitting with the rest of the campers. The director told Michel that she sees a lot of growth and maturity in Mikey since last year.

I miss my little guy, even though a little break is good for everyone, especially since tomorrow Michel is having surgery on her knee. Yep, that's right. I'll blog more about the surgery tomorrow.

Monday, August 21, 2006

On my iPod...

Here Comes Your Man by The Pixies. Stupid song (according to Beth) on my iPod: I Melt with You by Modern English.

An off day...

Yesterday was a bad day for me. Every once in awhile I get these days where my pulse or blood pressure drops and I'm just not myself. I spent a lot of the day confused about what exactly was going on and drifting in and out, if that makes any sense. Apparently I said something that really upset Michel and she slept on the couch. The weird part is that I have no memory of this whatsoever. I remember trying to get Mikey to sleep (he didn't fall asleep until 2 hours after his bed time) and I remember Michel being annoyed at me about something but then it's all just a blank. I feel much more myself today although I'm still a bit tired, almost like a mild hangover. For those of you who don't know, I have Vasovagal Syncope, although it has been a year since I actually passed out.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

No more braces!

Thursday was a big a day for Beth. The braces that she has had for the last 2.5 years are gone. Her teeth are nice and straight and beautiful. Even her orthodontist was impressed at what good care Beth took of her teeth while she had the braces on. She had the braces taken off first thing in the morning so I told her she could stay home from camp but she wanted to show everyone. I'll give a shout out to Dr. Michael Katz in Plainview for anyone who is looking for an orthodontist. Beth has a retainer that she is supposed to wear at night that will help keep her teeth straight and she has been very good about wearing it so far. The best part is that Beth can now start high school without braces. How cool is that?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Two months!

I'm not depressed. Really. I'm just drained. I feel like the energy has been sucked out of me. I have been very busy at work and things are crazy at home (Michel needs surgery on her knee... more on that in a future blog entry) and I just feel like I'm worn down. It's not that I'm tired. I have been taking Ambien and have been sleeping great and usually wake up alert. I just feel... drained. I'm not sure how else to describe it. I haven't even felt like doing the things that I normally enjoy. I haven't felt like blogging or reading blogs or even reading. I looked in Bloglines and I had about 2,000 entries from the-deblog that were unread. But I'm starting to feel better. Perhaps now that Michel has a firm diagnosis and I know that her knee will be fixed, I feel better. Or maybe I just have finally got tired of letting things suck the life out of me. Anyway, I have lots of things to catch up on and I'll start by re-starting The Good Soldier Svejk tonight. And I think I'll go to the library tomorrow and see if they have DVD to learn Czech.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Notes from the Cat House

We have always had cats. When Michel and I married she had two cats, Bowie and Bounder. They both lived until they were 18. Cats do pretty well with us because we keep them indoors and take good care of them. Biggles (left) was a cat I found outside a bar when she was a kitten. She was a scrawny little thing covered in fleas (which she gave to the Bowie and Bounder). She was a funny cat and had psychological problems. She once lived in our basement for 3 months because she decided she was terrified of Bowie. We even had her on Prozac for a little while!

Anyway, Biggles was getting old (she was about 18). She had been staying in our bedroom almost all the time lately and didn't seem to be her normal self. And then one day about 6 weeks ago she disappeared and we haven't seen her since. Cats tend to go off by themselves when they are sick so we think Biggles may have sneaked out to find a quiet place to die. Bounder had done that when her kidneys failed but her quiet place was in the basement in Beth's old baby carriage. Anyway, she was an annoying and insane cat but we loved her and will miss her.

We now have four cats. Malibu, Kokie, Inky, and Tuttle. Malibu and Kokie were adopted from the animal shelter a couple of years ago. Malibu was dumped by her previous owners because she has a heart problem and they didn't want to take care of her. She's a grumpy old cat but gets along great with my daughter. Kokie is a younger, long-haired cat who likes to sleep on top of the TV. We got Inky back in November. He is the first male cat we have ever had. We got him as a little kitten from Mikey's Physical Therapist who had found the kittens in her back yard. Inky is the friendliest cat we have ever had. Inky and the dog are best friends and chase each other around the house. The dog likes to clean Inky which means Inky usually smells like a dog. Tuttle is a tiny little kitten that had been left outside of our vet's office. He took care of them until they were old enough to be adopted. Tuttle and her siblings were so tiny they had to be bottle fed. So we now have four cats and a dog. And Michel wants another dog!

Monday, June 12, 2006

What People Are Made Of

I got banned from posting comments on a blog. Why? Why would someone ban me, a perfectly harmless guy? Because I had the nerve to defend four women whose husbands were murdered by terrorists. Let me explain. Dawn Eden has a blog in which she discusses mostly her recent conversion to Catholicism and her hatred of Planned Parenthood. She's a friend of Michel's cousin Kevin so I generally follow her blog. She recently wrote a blog entry that attacked four women whose husbands died on 9/11. These women call themselves The Jersey Girls and try to use whatever notoriety that they have to promote issues and candidates that they believe will reduce the likelihood that others will suffer the way they have. Ann Coulter recently wrote a book in which she attacks these women, mostly because she doesn't like their politics. Ann Coulter is, mostly, a shill for Ann Coulter and has become very wealthy being nasty and cruel. Dawn quotes from Coulter's book and then makes the bizarre claim (one not even Coulter tried to make) that these four widows claim to be non-partisan and apolitical. She then goes on to say that this makes them hypocrites.

It's hard enough to lose someone you love and planned to spend the rest of your life with and then to be told that you are a witch for trying to use his death to prevent the death's of others. But to be told that you are a hypocrite is worse! Coulter is mostly just expressing her twisted opinion. Dawn is actually telling lies. I could not let that stand. I had to comment on Dawn's blog. What I told her was that what she wrote was a serious sin. For that she banned me.

As bad as that was, Dawn then called cousin Kevin to complain about me! Imagine the chutzpah to try to come between family members over something as trivial as a blog! What is especially weird about this is that Dawn writes for the NY Daily News. You would think that someone who writes for a newspaper would have a little spine and would be able to take some criticism. Dawn, apparently, only wants people who agree with her to read her blog.

Which brings to me one other thought. Why would Ann Coulter make the claim that The Jersey Girls are enjoying their widowhood? "I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much." The only explanation that comes to my mind is the psychological term, projection. Coulter has probably never loved anyone (other than herself) enough to feel the pain that these women do. Coulter has probably never been so in love that she would give up everything for another. That is probably why she thinks that a few million dollars should make the pain go away... because it would for her.