Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Two Years Later

Today marks two years since the horrific shooting at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life synagogue. I shared my thoughts and feelings immediately after the tragedy and tried to put things in perspective one year ago. Seeing videos and reading articles about this day have stirred up all types of emotions. It certainly doesn't help that we're a week away from the presidential election. So yes this post is going to be political.

Last month, I wrote a post about Donald Trump and the Jewish vote. My conclusion was that Jewish voters who see Israel as the top reason to vote for Trump should reconsider. Even last week, when Trump should have celebrated a peace deal between Israel and Sudan, he tried to get Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to insult Biden. 

Therefore, I commend Washington Jewish Week, not exactly a liberal publication, for endorsing Joe Biden. I'm getting way, way off topic here.

As a Jew in America, I feel less safe than I did 4 years ago. Yes, this is a rather simplistic statement that has a lot to do with the fact that I attended Tree of Life for the first 16 years of my life. Still, you can't ignore the significant increase in anti-Semitic activities and violence over the last 4 years including in Poway, Jersey City, and Charlottesville. Now, is Donald Trump responsible for the violence? Of course not. Sadly, this is a trend that's occurring in other parts of the world too. However, Trump has certainly empowered, or at a minimum emboldened, white supremacists in the United States. Please check out the 12:55 mark of this PBS' Frontline video. That's Donald Trump after Charlottesville. That's not what you expect to hear from a leader trying to unite the country.  

Trump's "stand back and stand by" line was only a few weeks ago too, so it's not like he's grown into the position or changed his views on anything. Look, I know that voting Trump out of office isn't going to stop anti-Semitism. And this brings me back to Tree of Life. How do we make sure that this doesn't happen again? I don't have the answer. As I mentioned last year, religious institutions of all faiths now have increased security and police at every function. I guess that makes most people feel safer, but that's not how people should live. 

Education and trying to understand each other couldn't hurt. Of course, that Frontline video shows plenty of people in Charlottesville who had no interest in conversation or learning. How about not saying that Biden is a "die-hard globalist" like a particular person who currently resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is currently doing on the campaign trial? There is a history of anti-Semitism with the words globalist and globalism. That only helps to spread hate.

So I'm just going to try to spend a few quiet minutes today to remember the people who lost their lives two years ago and hope that our country is in a better place soon. We are and need to be stronger than hate!

As a slight tangent, Integrity First For America is leading a lawsuit against the neo-Nazis responsible for the Charlottesville violence. I'm just sharing this here since I think it's an interesting case.

Friday, October 23, 2020

I Lost To My Son In Fantasy Football

My nine year old is obsessed with sports and particularly fantasy football. I know this is my fault. Therefore, although I was disappointed and a little upset that The Moose made two transactions in our league IN THE MIDDLE OF HIS SCHOOL DAY, I wasn't really surprised. When I mentioned this to a few friends, they asked me if I ever made fantasy football transactions during work. I changed the subject.

Anyway, I'm in a fantasy football league that's made up of a lot of kids, either by themselves or with their parents. While The Moose has his own team, I have a team with my six year old Pedro Tulo. Last week, we faced off against each other. With our team having multiple players injured or on a bye (and being run by a six year old who really doesn't really know what he's doing), I knew our chances weren't that good. I was right. We got crushed.

For this match, The Moose and I made a bet. The loser would have to wear silly socks for a day. I lost, so here are my silly socks. 

I had a striped "dress" sock on my left foot while my right foot featured a sock that I got from the hospital when I had surgery on my wrist. The Moose didn't think it was silly enough, so he added a tissue sticking out of my right sock.

Is it mean of me as a dad to hope that we face The Moose again in the playoffs and defeat him?

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

No More Crib

For nearly all of the last 9 years, 6 months, and 3 weeks (or so), the crib in our home has been used by one of our boys. The Moose stayed in it until he was almost 3, but with his younger brother set to arrive, we transferred him to a "big boy" bed. Sure, we made it sound like he was growing up and talked up moving to a bed, but we really kicked him out so that the newborn could sleep in the crib. Of course, we moved him a few months before Pedro Tulo arrived since you can't just have one kid in the crib on Sunday and then have another kid in there on Monday, Tuesday, or even Wednesday. That's a great way to have the older sibling resent the new sibling immediately. We got bunk beds for the boys not long after Pedro Tulo turned 3 in preparation for Luigi to get the crib. And now, Luigi is in his own bed.

So how did this happen? I mean, I guess Luigi turned 3 recently, so it's about that time. Luigi's bedroom has a crib and what was originally The Moose's twin bed. When I put him to bed recently, he said that he wanted to sleep in the bed. He was in mid-tantrum when I originally said no, but when I said I would discuss this with his mom and maybe he could switch over the weekend, he was perfectly fine with the explanation. This is the same kid who had a 15-minute meltdown on Tuesday morning because I raced outside to take a trash bag out before the garbage truck arrived, and he wanted to help. Reasonable and 3 year old usually don't go together in the same sentence! (Unless it's something like my 3 year old is not being reasonable.) So on Saturday night, it finally happened.

Over the last few weeks, Luigi has wanted me to stay in his room as he went to sleep. My other kids had phases of this too. I've actually welcomed this as I end up taking a power nap as he falls asleep. On Saturday, he went into his bed around 8:30, and I stayed in his room on the floor. About 40 minutes in, he was still wide awake. Luigi seemed to like being able to go in and out of his bed. Meanwhile, I dozed off on the floor only to wake up thanks to him dropping stuffed animals on me from the bed. I tagged out after about 50 minutes and mom went in. 5 minutes later, he was asleep. Or not. After she closed his door, he opened it, walked out of his room and into our bedroom.

We got him back into his room, but the going to sleep part still didn't happen...until close to 10:30. And even then, I have no idea how his feet hanging over the rail was comfortable.

Fortunately, Luigi went down fairly quickly the last few nights. While he seems to like the bed, Ziggy loves the bed. I mean, the bed hasn't moved in three years, yet with sheets and someone sleeping there, that's become his go to sleeping spot during the day.

Update: I finished drafting this blog post on Tuesday evening after Luigi went to sleep. At about 2:30 on Wednesday morning, he woke up, left his room, and climbed up into our bed with two toy cars. While he slept fairly well after that, I did not!

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Sheffield Wednesday & Random Ramblings

This will be an odd blog post. I'm going to start by discussing Saturday's Sheffield Wednesday-Birmingham City game (including some random thoughts that have nothing to do with the game) and finish with some random ramblings. So if you're not interested in Sheffield Wednesday, scroll down. If you're not interested in my other ramblings, I'll let you know when to stop.

Sheffield Wednesday moved closer towards 0 and getting out of last place on Saturday by earning 3 points in a 1-0 win at Birmingham City. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, Wednesday started the season with a 12-point deduction for breaking spending rules. After five matches in the English League Championship, they are now at -4 which continues to look extremely odd.

Just a few days ago, Wednesday signed Aden Flint on a loan from Cardiff City and Jack Marriott on a loan from Derby County. Despite not knowing their way around Wednesday's facilities yet, they both played on Saturday. Flint was pressed into service thanks to several injuries on the team's back line. Marriott also came in late in the second half. Both are experienced players, particularly with Flint's nearly 400 appearances, and they seem excited to join Wednesday. This gives the team even more depth. At the very least, the team should be able to get some good hotel rates thanks to the Jack's connection with Marriott.

Wednesday has now faced two music superstars over the past month. While they didn't fare well against Chris Martin and Bristol City, U2's Adam Clayton tripped Wednesday's Callum Paterson in the box, and Barry Bannon converted the penalty kick for the only goal of the game. Yes, Adam Clayton was stuck in a moment and couldn't get out of it.

There have been so many matches over the last few years where Wednesday had the lead only to concede a late goal. Birmingham City came close, but for once, Wednesday held on. That's nice to type.

I'm sharing this post-match video of Birmingham City defender George Friend, not for anything that he said (though he thought his team deserved a better result), but for him being a professional. When someone with a lawnmower or a leaf blower walks by around the 2:00 minute mark, Friend just talks louder. I'm guessing this isn't the first time this has happened to Friend in the middle of an interview. True professional!

Here are the match highlights:

And now for the non-Sheffield Wednesday portion of this blog post.

On Saturday night, we let three year old Luigi move from a crib to a big boy bed. It didn't go well as it took him nearly two hours to go to sleep. I think this deserves a separate blog post.

Broadway actor Aaron Tveit and I have a lot in common. We both did theater in high school, and we both graduated from Ithaca College. I'm sure there are other things too. The main difference between us though is that Tveit is probably going to be a Tony-award winning actor after being the only nominee in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical category. The key word here is probably. Despite being the only nominee, he's not guaranteed to win the award. Tveit still needs to earn 60% of the vote. I really hope he wins, and it would be insulting and sad if he doesn't.

Random question. Do you put a dryer sheet in the dryer before you put the clothes in or after you put the clothes in the dryer?

I may be the only person born in Pittsburgh never to have seen the movie Sudden Death. That's going to change soon.

Finally, I'm really amused that someone in the Burning Bush neighborhood posted this on Nextdoor.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Friday Video: A Reflection on Bird Collisions

Today's video post is a little different. Actually, it's a lot different. Instead of featuring a video of a song that I like, this post is an Eagle project to help prevent bird fatalities. As I watched this video, it occurred to me that we've never had any birds fly into our windows. I started to think that maybe the birds in my neighborhood are more intelligent than birds in other places. As it turns out, I may not be intelligent in this case. We have paned windows in our home which have been here since before we moved in. I think it's actually a requirement of our home owners association. Apparently, our HOA cares about bird safety! That and making sure you mulch your yard.

Some of the measures in the video below seem pretty easy. Enjoy!

For more information about this project, check out The Scouter Digest and the Audubon Society of Northern Virginia

Monday, October 12, 2020

Midnight Sky

Miley Cyrus and I have an odd relationship. Maybe I should start again. I believe that Miley's "Party In The USA" is one of the best pop songs over the last 15 years. You can fight me on this. She probably knew that she would never have a song as good as this, yet, it's not like she was going to retire from the music industry before turning 18. Back to me and Miley, I also admitted to liking the song "See You Again" in the early days of my blog. However, I selected her "Dooo It!" as the worst song of 2015. It's like the opposite of "Party In The USA" in how terrible it is. See, we have an odd relationship. Fine, I have an weird relationship with her music. And I really like her latest song "Midnight Sky."

By the way, the "oooh" said by Miley several times during the song (the first at the 1:05 mark) sounds a lot like Stevie Nicks in "Edge of Seventeen."

Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Hiking Fun

During this pandemic, we've taken social distancing very seriously, particularly with the kids. While they play outside on our street everyday and have some interaction with other kids in our neighborhood, who we know are also adamant about social distancing, they really haven't done much outside of our neighborhood since March. The one exception are some trails that we recently discovered. Behind a soccer field at elementary school are various trails that lead to a creek. I'm not sure many people know about it as we've only seen a couple people (and dogs) each time that we went. The kids really enjoy the trails, so we're definitely making this a regular activity even after the pandemic ends. Here are some pictures of our adventures:

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Pups Can't Save Grammar Mistakes

I have read many, many books to my kids over the last decade. There are ones that I enjoy reading like pretty much anything by Dr. Seuss and Eric Carle. Sandra Boynton books are easy reads that the kids like too. There are certainly books that I don't like as much and quietly groan or roll my eyes when one of my kids wants me to read it for the 4th or 5th time in a row. However, I think it's safe to say that Fire Truck Pup is in a class by itself.

On the surface, this seems like a fairly standard Paw Patrol book. Take the plot from a TV episode, put it in book form, and sell thousands to Paw Patrol fans across the country. While the story itself is fine, the grammar and punctuation in the book is appalling. While I know that I'm not the best writer and I make plenty of errors in my posts, I have not published a book. Presumably, this Paw Patrol book had an author, an editor, and a publisher to check these things. Apparently not! Let's take a look.

There should be a period after find Marshall instead of a comma. There should not be a comma after "He's late!"

To rescued? To rescued?

There should be a comma after bell, not a period. In addition, City Hall is capitalized on this page and is lower case on a different page.

This is where city hall is in lower case.

There should be a period, not a comma, after said the mayor. In addition, the quotation marks don't match around The Great Fire Pup.

I don't understand how all of these mistakes went unnoticed. It's sort of like James Caan before he meets Will Ferrell in Elf.

I contacted the company with its name and website on the book, and they were surprisingly receptive to my email. They thanked me for explaining the errors and indicated that they would forward this to the "Creative Team" to make the corrections. Apparently, I'm the first person to contact them on this.

This is probably the end of the story. I don't expect to hear anything more from the company, and I certainly have no plans on trying to find a revised printed copy of Fire Truck Pup anywhere. I guess I can add kids' book editor as part of my list of jobs!