Thursday, August 31, 2017

Throwback Thursday: 1985

                                                                                                      "Hey, if you get a chance while you're in the states...didn't you say your sister kept the clipping of us in the paper in high school, with my dog?"
Michelle DiPoala, left, and Diana Tramontano, both of Roxbury, chat Tuesday afternoon at the Roxbury tennis courts off of Route 67. Meanwhile Grover tries to take in a bit of the conversation.


"I was a rocket ship filled with untapped potential. 
With Year Up, now the sky is the limit."

Dear marketer,
Advise hiring a writer if your transit marketing campaign
forces awkward metaphor and leans on tired, old cliche.
You probably spent a lot of money on this stuff.
It should be better.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

God is no longer an explanation of anything,

but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining. 

“I don't accept the currently fashionable assertion that any view is automatically as worthy of respect as any equal and opposite view. My view is that the moon is made of rock. If someone says to me 'Well, you haven't been there, have you? You haven't seen it for yourself, so my view that it is made of Norwegian Beaver Cheese is equally valid' - then I can't even be bothered to argue. There is such a thing as the burden of proof, and in the case of god, as in the case of the composition of the moon, this has shifted radically. God used to be the best explanation we'd got, and we've now got vastly better ones. God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become sometht would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining. So I don't think that being convinced that there is no god is as irrational or arrogant a point of view as belief that there is. I don't think the matter calls for even-handedness at all.” 
― Douglas Adams

Monday, August 28, 2017

The Great Purge: The Monday After

Dear Diary
Monday. Today I woke up late, ate a buttery English muffin, dropped a whole thing of iced coffee all over the kitchen floor (same floor I'd just washed yesterday, natch) and then I did nothing of any value to anyone the whole rest of the day. Except for cleaning up the spilled iced coffee. If I'd put the coffee into my body instead of onto the floor, maybe I'd have gotten more done today. But here's what I've been doing all week...
  • I re-arranged the porch furniture and fixed it up so it looks nice. Joe's been enjoying sitting out there of an evening, with his feet up, enjoying our little urban oasis. I brought one of my stone gargoyles out there to sit with my little plants (basil, thyme and rosemary). 

Sunday, August 27, 2017


The peach trees are full and gorgeous. Heather and Thalia say they're gonna pick soon!
I said, "I'm gonna just stand underneath this one with my mouth open."

Just to clarify, I took these photos from the window of the piano room.
This little tree has grown tall since we moved in!
I think he must like the piano.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Hey, that's perfect for Throwback Thursday

Centre Pompidou, Paris (mid-2000s)

Diana's son is 12, and I only just met him yesterday.
I did everything possible not to make the kid feel weird when we met for lunch.
From his babyhood I've thought he had the eyes of an old soul.
Nice to meet you, son.

I visited Diana in Paris, way back in the early 2000s, just once.
This is us, the only photo from that visit (taken by her *asshole husband.)
We forgot to get a photo yesterday.
We look just like we do here, only twenty-something years older.

The 90s were so weird
I loved the ribbed mock turtleneck I'm wearing. 
It was so soft, and it traveled well for my job at the time.
I also bought one in black, red and hunter green.
This one is the color of vanilla bean ice cream.
I insisted on rocking "The Jennifer Aniston" on my head.
Someone should have punched me in the face.

*I'm sure his friends think he's great. But we have never gotten along. 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Originals: "I Can't Believe I Fell For Another Damn Vampire"

Jenny and I are both binge-watching The Originals on Netflix. I called her today to find out where she's up to in the series. I myself have finished all four seasons in record time. I do not recommend pursuing such specious glory. You will rot your brain, plus your eyeballs might fall out the front of your damn skull. It's just that it's hot out, and I am unemployed at the moment. (Please hire me.)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Monday, August 14, 2017

I need to tweet Hal Sparks that this shit really happened today

"Small black coffee, please."

"We don't have small, we only have medium."

"...that's impossible."

(blank stare)

I tried again, "What's the smallest size?

"We just have the one size."

"What is happening right now?"

For a good three seconds I thought I was on a reality show. Like Hal Sparks was going to come out from the back and give one of his comedy lectures. When I say that I need to tweet that dude, it's because he did this material years ago and I have never had it happen in real life. Here's the thing, and I'll put Hal's bit at the end. A size Medium is, by definition, the one in between the smaller and the larger sizes. I THOUGHT EVERYONE KNEW THAT.


Medium has a purpose in the beverage industry. People want to argue that quibbling over the definition of Medium makes me look like a giant nudge, but here is what I know: we NEED Medium so we can feel like we are treating ourselves by ordering the not-smallest size. Everything else is so lean, money is so tight that we never get to do anything indulgent. So we should be ordering the small but we can go big today and get Medium. We can also feel righteous about not being a tubby little piggy and getting the LARGE when we haven't earned it. So maybe I just need to suck it up and get used to this new, non-specific vagueness of modern day Medium that's anywhere between ten ounces and fourteen ounces, and I won't pick a fight over the technicality that you cannot have a Medium unless you also have one size smaller, and one size larger, to bracket that shit. Let's agree that I'll work with you on this stupid island of a Medium.

But this place only sells the one size.

So why did this happen HERE.

Why say "We don't have small" and start right off confusing me? I haven't had coffee. Right now I'm like a baby when you shine a light in its eyes and you're holding hostage my coffee while you make me play you in a game of 20 Questions that I don't understand.

I don't like going out. Dealing with people. - Sebastian Maniscalco

I'll detail what you did wrong. It's okay, I can help you improve your Customer Experience (CX). What should have happened is this:

"Small black coffee, please."

(Holds up the only cup to show me) "This is the only size we have, but I could just fill it up part way if you'd like?"

Don't start off the transaction on a negative. If the first thing out of your mouth is a negative ("we don't...), you're souring the customer's entire feeling about your store. Straight off, there's a problem. Guys, I got enough problems. Every transaction, especially when someone is standing before you in need of coffee, should go smooth like butter. Why give me this gatekeeper puzzle. I'm going to buy a coffee here today. Your goal is to make me want to buy a coffee here tomorrow, too, and then pick this place to meet my writer's group next week. You should want to leave me smiling and feeling good about the day's first accomplishment: getting started with coffee. What you're doing is sending me out the door perturbed. Customer Experience (CX) Fail.

Retail Marketing 101: Turning a Problem Into a Promotion

Just in case you are hearing "stock more size cups," let me be clear: don't. It's fine. What I am saying is, do not make your store logistics into a problem for the customer. Sell the "one size" coffee but why not use the "we only have one size" thing as a marketing tool. It will cost you nothing to stick the cup on a funky little display with a pleasant-looking sign (write it ON THE CUP) saying "One Size!" and make a joke about it. Something like "One size fits most! But you tell us when to say when!" People love stupid old-skool shit like that. Go real old-skool: you can have a can of coffee beans on the counter and make a contest out of it. Raffle a branded cup or make it a charity donation thing. Customers love when you are a giving brand. ∎

"The only way that glass of iced tea is a Medium is if it can talk to the dead." - Hal Sparks

What Story Will You Tell A 6th Grader?

Mrs. Dorozinky's 8th Grade Class, 1984
St. Margaret's School, Waterbury CT
I'd say that 5th grade was approximately the age when a poor-to-middling American Catholic school began to escort my group of plaid-clad, doe-eyed whelps outward into the news and show us how current events connect us to history. We had brains of soft clay when we first began to engage with the outside world. I respect teachers in general, but threefold for those Catholics that helmed the U.S.S. Gen X from 4th through 8th grades. It was a wild, windy, sticky affair.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

These People Are Nazis. We Had A Whole World War About This.

Dear Everyone,
Please stop staying "Alt Right" like it's an actual platform.
There is no "Alt Right." 
The term you're looking for is

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Thrift Stories: Nobody Wants This Jacket? Edition

I saw this jacket at my favorite thrift store for $4.
I'd never fit into it, even at my smallest, but I asked my Facebook friends if anyone wants me to get it for them.
Nobody said yes. Bitches be trippin'. This is a great jacket.

I think I need to start an Etsy store.

...hey, the new guy at the mattress store is super into it.

Where did I get this?

Having a smoothie at Union Cafe.
Took out my iPad and headphones...
...and this small white cat figurine.
Aw. A purple Croc egg fell out of a Croc nest.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Hey, Old Friends!

Mary stopped for lunch on her way back to New Jersey.
(Photo: Mary Katherine)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Joe had the guys over for a game of Lord of the Rings Risk.
This game is Jacob's (in the hat).
They usually play Star Wars X-wing.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Happy Birthday, Lucille Ball

You fantastic, immortal superwoman.
The world would be so beige without your brilliance.
Happy Birthday, Lucille Ball!

I admit that I was skeptical about this "garden in a can" thing.
Porch basil! 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Polish Mustard

When we finally do leave city life for a more serene lifestyle, the one thing I'll miss terribly is food shopping in the city.
We'll have to stock up on staples from our favorite little markets and bodegas.
Tonite I'm making Joe a real Polish dinner.
He is so excited for brats & cabbage.
Mustard is important.