Guilty Pleasures

The internet can be interesting and informative, but it can also be silly, entertaining, or down-right creepy. I have written previously about sites that I really like , such as The Brick Testament or Post Secret, but over time I have aggregated a number of sites that I consider a guilty pleasure. I enjoy them more than I should, especially at times when I should be working.

A new favorite has got to be My Parents Were Awesome, a photoblog that collects pictures of people’s parents before they became… well, parents. I over-share as it is, so I’m not about to submit my favorite parental image… but let me at least post it here on my home site. My parents at a night club in 1960 or 61.

scan0045 klein

With the 50,000+ images that exist of Karen and me, I doubt the kids will ever print one and say “Wow, check out how cool they were…” That’s probably because the old prints are fewer in number, and because the color-balance of faded Polaroids will always be hipper than another poorly compressed .jpg file… It is more likely that pictures of me will be found on the Poor-Cousin version website, Dads in Shorts.

While our parents were speedily abandoning any coolness, we were somewhere in school, going through our own agonies of self-invention and self-definition… or at least trying not to be blatantly, obviously UNcool. The last week before summer break came with a Year Book, which gave the nerds and dorks a chance to sidle up to pretty girls and otherwise important kids (within the brutal hierarchy that is high school) to ask for a quick, memorable quote for the front inside cover. Well, some of us forgot to bring in the money and were never issued our book, but there was definitely some people who asked for it… And that “it” can now be enjoyed by everyone, thanks to a brand-new site called Awkward Yearbook Signatures. Oh my!

As if Year Book entries aren’t awkward enough, the next step up from that would be bad dating experiences. Of course, there’s a site for that now, too. It’s called A Bad Case of the Dates, and gives people a chance to recount their worst first date. Some of them are funny, but it gets creepy pretty fast. Seems to me that some of the issues being described border on mental illness, whereas some of the comments are slightly inappropriate, if not down-right juvenile. Nonetheless I found myself reading  just one more… I guess it’s not as hostile as Why the F*#k Did You Have A Kid, which is egregiously over-the-top… but just as captivating.

A totally different kind of time-killer are the Hot-or-Not sites that really don’t require a lot of coding, but provide hours of entertainment. My favorites are of the “Can You Tell The Difference” variety. Check out Steak House Or Gay Bar?, a site that makes you guess whether the name you’re being shown is a place for beef or beefcake. For the truly geeky among us, there is Cheese or Font, a place where the epicurian technorati can test their ability to discern between Helvetica, and a good Swiss Emmenthaler.

…and finally, because there really is no bottom end to the internet, you can always check out Failed Blog Ideas, which gets tasteless REALLY quickly, but is hilarious nonetheless. Particularly promising was and

Sign on a Building

Just a quicky, but this one made me laugh!

I’m going to have one of these made up for the new house. Very funny, and really appeals to my sense of humor.


Babies are like Celebrities

This made me laugh out loud… It’s true! An article about why babies are like tiny celebreties: frighteningly self-absorbed, all id – and frequently half-naked!

Written by the TV Show Host and Author named Touré:

Earlier this month, my son Hendrix turned one. People have been asking me what I’ve learned over the past year. I tell them: I’ve learned that babies are tiny celebrities. As Bonnie Fuller might say, they’re just like stars. I know a little about being a celebrity—several people think I’m a quasi or semi-celeb (my wife is not one of them)—and I’ve interviewed and observed countless stars. When you walk in a room a few feet behind Jay-Z or J-Lo, you see everyone’s face light up and you watch the focus of the room taper into full attention on them. The same thing happens when you walk into a room with a little baby: every face explodes with joy and all eyes turn to the little one.

That’s the least of it: when you’re a star, even at my low level, people come up to you on the street all the time—strangers just start talking to you as if they already know you. Stardom is a great familiarizer. Babies get the same treatment. No matter what block I’m on with my boy, a passersby will stop and just start talking to him, even though they’ve never met him and know that he won’t respond to them. He’s too big a celeb to talk to any commoner on the street.

Like most big stars my boy’s got an entourage—personal assistants to get him whatever he wants (Mom, Dad, nanny), a chauffeur (Dad), a stylist (Mom), a bather (Dad), a private chef (Mom). And he can just grunt at his people to get what he wants. When he makes a mess, someone else will clean it up and when he gets in trouble there’s always someone right there to bail him out. For Britney it’s the lawyer, manager, and publicist who hide her arrest from the media, for Hendrix it’s me grabbing him when he’s about to fall off the bed and hurt himself. But that’s just a difference in scale.

The similarities between babies and stars go on and on: people are always taking pictures of them. They’re frighteningly self-absorbed. They’re all Id. They go by one name. They spend all day playing with their toys. People travel great distances just to see them do their thing. And they’re far, far more likely than the average person to spend time in public half-naked.

But I think the best baby/star perk of them all is being able to get away with murder. To enjoy this one you have to be way higher on the celeb food chain than I am. And I think somehow my son knows I envy him this perk and he shamelessly flaunts it in my face. For example, at his birthday party he pimp-slapped his five month-old cousin Petra. Seriously. He looked like Ike Turner in ’76.

Of course, like real celebrities, the true test of character happens when the moment fades, and when a hotter, younger star steals the spotlight. My oldest son seems to be working on one come-back project after another, while the middle one is glad to have the spotlight move away so he can focus on his real calling in life: eating, and building architecturally important houses with Lego.

Quick, only two months left!

We only have eight weeks left in 2008, time to get into the market now! My friend Michael G is planning on calling Robert Zuccaro before time runs out!

No rush though, according to James Glassman and Kevin Hassett good times are just around the corner anyway.

Not to be to outsold, David Elias then published the market leader (in irrational exuberance)

Personally, I don’t trust the stock markets. I perfer more tangible assets, so I bought David Lereah’s book.

My God I miss the Dot-Com days.

Taking care of Baby

Now that we have a third baby, I’m realizing that I’m a little out of practice. Like a lot of modern parents I go online to seek the best possible advice, and I found a book that simplifies a lot of the day-to-day stuff for a “new” father.

Here are some excerpts from Safe Baby Handling Tips by David and Kelly Sopp, the same parent team that brought us the Wheel of Responsibility. It’s a great gift, buy this book for all new or recurrent parents in your circle of friends!

Really, I think all of life should come with a User Manual as simple as an aircraft evacuation pamphlet.


I love Hamburgers. I do. And I can’t find a good one in Berlin. Europeans (or at least Germans) have some kind of misconception about Hamburgers, whereby they assume them to be junk food – bad for you, tasteless, and low class. But that’s not true. They may be fast food, and God knows there are plenty of junk food chains built around the mighty Hamburger, but they are not bad. In the US, even the fanciest restaurants will have one on the menu, and often use the finest ingredients. In some weird way, the best Hamburgers in the US can be gotten in French bistros. Go figure – probably because they go so well with Pommes Frites.

By the way, Americans reciprocate the food misunderstanding by mistrusting sausages. They assume every sausage is a hot dog – a casing filled with the least usable meat (snout and anus, baby!) as well as chemicals and preservatives. But Europeans (especially Germans) know that a good sausage is delicious and relatively healthy.

Hamburgers come in every variety. From the quotidien and mundane to the extravagant. And because Americans enjoy a restaurant with a gimmick, some of them are extreme.

I cannot believe the post I found on diet-blog yesterday. It just made me laugh in that incredulous way. I don’t want to verbatim plagiarize it, so I will simply excerpt my favorites, and link to the rest.

Big Daddy Barrick’s Burgers in Las Vegas (where else) hosts an eating competition, and Sonya Thomas was this year’s winner by polishing off a giant 19 pound burger in 17 minutes. Sonya Thomas, by the way, is the reigning world champion in the “sport” of competitive eating.

Another winner comes to you from The Heart Attack Grill. It’s known as the Quadruple Bypass, and comes with “…four burger patties with side orders of Jolt Cola, unfiltered Lucky Strike cigarettes and French fries deep-fried in pure lard.”

…and finally, the Luther Burger (named after Luther Vandross). A Bacon-Cheeseburger, served between two glazed doughnuts. Oh yeah baby! Available at Mulligans in Georgia.


Oh my, look at what my friend Rob just sent me…

The Bird!