What’s Old is New Again

My son loves fire trucks. No, wait. That’s not right. Let me start over.

My son LOVES LOVES LOVES LOVES fire trucks.

While at my in-laws (where he stays during the day), he got a great treat — playing with an old Tonka fire truck that used to be my brother in law’s.

Well, seeing that reminded me of my old Tonka fire truck. I told my son to remind me about it the next time we went to my mom’s.

We were there this weekend. I had completely forgotten about it — until he came up to me and said, “Daddy old fire truck?”

A-ha! That’s right. Daddy’s old fire truck.

So, up to the attic we went. He climbed the steep dark stairs in a quest for another fire truck. And there it was. Just sitting there. Not covered. Just one really old (yet still really cool) red Tonka fire truck.

The cool feature of this truck is that its a bucket loader truck — or, apparently in fire truck speak, a snorkel truck. So, he immediately started raising the bucket.




Non stop. I’m sure we’d still be up in the attic unless I carried him (holding the fire truck) down the stairs.

We got home and there was immediately a comparison between “old daddy fire truck” and his others.

(Mine, of course, is the coolest.)

It doesn’t matter that this truck is more than 30 years old. It doesn’t matter that the two side ladders are missing. It doesn’t matter that part of the hose from the side is not working right.

What matters is that it’s a fire truck. And to my son, it’s perfect.

It was for me, too.

What else? I got nothin’.

Rain, Rain Go Away

It’s raining today. Pouring actually. Not to mention the 35 m.p.h. wind. These are not days you like when your basement can act up on you. Thankfully, the worst is behind us (I hope), and nothing bad has happened. Yet.So, it’s been a crazy week. I seem to be saying that a lot lately. Regardless, I owe you a few thoughts, so here they are — in no particular order.

My birthday is coming. It’s Wednesday. Forty is getting closer and closer. Ugh. Don’t feel anywhere near it, though, so that’s a good thing. Right?

The day before my birthday is Halloween. The boy wonder is 2 and a 1/2 this year. We are hoping this becomes his official trick-or-treating debut. He’s even got the “trick or treat” part down for when people answer the door.

So what’s the problem? Well, not sure if he’ll be in a costume or not. We finally landed on Thomas the Tank Engine as the preferred costume. The problem is that once we actually got the costume, he’s wanted nothing — and I mean nothing — to do with it. So, we’ll see!

Chocolate chip pancakes for dinner tonight. Love breakfast for dinner. I’m just saying.

Why am I so excited that the Dancing with the Stars tour is coming nearby?

Are you watching Six Degrees? You should be.

Speaking of TV, I do love the Vegas. Well, Las Vegas. It’s perfect mindless television. I also loved the old Vegas — remember Dan Tanna? Yup, I do. I don’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, but I remember Dan Tanna.

November 7 is election day. And, no doubt about it. I do have an incredible decision to make. A decision that could affect me in so many ways going forward. That’s what election day is about, right?

The decision I’m facing — do I buy both 90210 and Melrose on DVD when they come out that day? Now that would make for an interesting debate.

What else? I got nothin’.

Celebrity Sightings

Living near the world’s two largest casinos always makes for some interesting people watching.

And, well, when one of them celebrates its 10th anniversary, the stars come out to play.

Among those scheduled to be at Mohegan Sun this weekend were Jerry Seinfeld, Kevin Costner, the entire original crew of Laugh-In, Neil Patrick Harris, Carmen Electra, Matthew Broderick and some others.

There was also a basketball game at the casino — the Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks. I worked at the game, sitting courtside, so figured if celebs were going to attend, I’d get the scoop.

And, for you, loyal readers, it is scoop that I have.

Joan Allen was there. Who is Joan Allen? Well, most notably, she played John Travolta’s wife in Face/Off. She sat courtside. She’s 50, or will be this year. And, I gotta tell you, she looked great. I wouldn’t have said over 40. She was with someone younger — not sure if it was her son or her man. She basically watched the entire game.

Matthew Lillard was there. Yeah, I didn’t know his name either. Someone told me. But, i did recognize him. Most recently, he was Shaggy in the Scooby movies. But, you’d recognize him from the original Scream. He arrived late and left at halftime.

Sitting between Lillard and Allen was none other than Doogie — Neil Patrick Harris. You all remember him as the genius young doctor. But, you should know him now for his role of Barney on How I Met Your Mother. He’s brilliant. He had a few friends with him. Looked just like he does on TV. Seemed to enjoy the game — as well as talking with Allen and Lillard. And, you know what, he eats a hot dog just like the rest of us.

Also sitting courtside was none other than Kevin Costner. He had a few people with him as well. Taller than you’d think. Getting grayer, that’s for sure. He’s apparently a basketball fan — or camera happy — or both. He got there earlier to meet the Celtics during their shootaround. Then he left for a bit and came back. He only stayed for the first half. Didn’t seem thrilled with people asking for autographs.

So, as I’m walking out after the game, I figure, why not check out the high roller area and see if I recognize anyone.

It didn’t take long to recognize the man himself — Big Papi aka David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox. He was dressed very casually. However, he had to have $50,000 on each wrist between his diamond Rolex and then some other bracelet like thing on his right hand. It was bling city. And, I guess the contract is OK for him, as well as endorsements. He was playing at a table with a minimum bet of $500 per hand. I watched him for probably 10 minutes and he seemed to be about even during that time period. It was cool to see him.

So, no Seinfeld sighting for me. He was there, though. I did see the copter he came in on. Same with Broderick. Didn’t hear about my girl Carmen, so not sure if she made it or not.

What else?

I got nothin’.

The Domino’s Dilemma

Ok, first of all, let me say this.

Yes, we eat Domino’s pizza. First of all, it is good. But, more importantly, it’s pretty convenient. Heck, they even have online ordering. Haven’t done that yet, but I’ll be checking it out.

Now, to the issue at hand — the tip.

A few months ago, Domino’s started adding a $1.50 delivery charge on all orders.

(Now, OK, I can forgive them for dropping the 30 minutes or less or your pizza is free promotion, but this little move has only caused confusion.)

You can see the dilemma, right? What do you tip the driver? Do you tip the driver? I mean, who is getting the $1.50? Is the driver getting it or is the store getting it?

Being creatures of habit, we always order the same thing (medium sausage, medium mushroom and breadsticks with parmesan peppercorn sauce). The bill is $17.41.

What would you give the guy when he shows up?

You just can’t give him $17.41…and assume he’s getting the $1.50. Or can you?

You can’t give him $18 and tell him thanks, because then if he’s not getting the $1.50, you just tipped $.59. And that’s not good.

You can’t really give him a $20 bill and ask for a $1 back. That’s just cheap. Isn’t it?

So, you see my point, the only option is to give him the $20 bill. Now, the “tip” comes to $4.09.

Isn’t that a little much for a pizza guy?

I mean, I’m all about the tip. I really am. I do what’s right. And if I get better service, the tip goes up. But that’s an entirely other blog.

Right now, I’m still trying to solve the Domino’s dilemma.

What would you do?

What else? I got nothin’.

Walk, Don’t Run

Why do we do it? And, admit it, you do do it. We all do.

Recap with me. You need to cross the street. If you don’t have the chance to jay-walk, you make your way to the cross walk. Stay within the lines. The lines are your friend.

Not too mention it’s the law. We’re supposed to walk there. And, more importantly, the cars are supposed to stop and let us.

So, why do we run.

You know you do it. I’ve seen you.

The cars eventually stop and you start across the street, often picking up into an outright jog. Why? Those white lines are our haven. Our safe zone. Yet, it’s almost as if we feel like we’re holding up the drivers so we decide to quicken our pace.

I’ve done it. You’ve done it. We’ve all done it.

The question is….why?

What else?

I got nothin’.

Monday’s Random Thoughts

Welcome to the big show. It’s Monday. Not sure what that means for me.But, what it means for you is a few random thoughts. I guess what it means for me, then, is that I can’t put a few hundred words together about one topic. So, here we go:

Venison anyone? Yup, we could be serving that this week at the homestead. Nope, didn’t hit a deer (have already done that). But, someone else might have. Otherwise, how could I explain the dead deer in the side of my yard. Discovered it Saturday morning while taking a break from gutter cleaning (ah, the joys). Could have been there a week for all we know. And hopefully it won’t be there much longer. Public Works is supposed to take it away.

Happy Birthday, Gramma. My Gramma turned 100 this weekend. That’s right. One hundred. Wow. There was a party for her yesterday. Among the cards and assorted well wishes she got was one from Pennsylvania Avenue. Yes, faithful readers, your tax dollars at work. Let the White House know you’ve got a special event coming and George W will take the time out of his hectic schedule to send your gramma a card.

I love to chew gum. But, here’s the thing. I can’t chew one piece. Has to be two. Every time. And, right now, it has to be Orbit Citrusmint. Or Bubblemint.

The weekend is also used to catch up on TiVo shows. Here’s a brief synopsis. LOST is fantastic this year. Of the new stuff, totally digging Brothers and Sisters. And I thought my family put the fun in dysfunctional. Wow.

Oh, speaking of TV. Since it’s Monday, that means tonight is The Class and How I Met Your Mother. It also means I am completely unavailable between 8 and 9 p.m. Heck, it’s like when 90210 used to be on. Wait, was that out loud? Hate it when that happens.

Here’s a left over from Friday. I’m playing with my son and start to say the alphabet. I get to C and then ask, “What’s next?” I’m sitting there thinking, ok, I’ll get D, maybe an E, F, too. What does he do? Nothing except go through the rest of it. Talk about wow moments. That was pretty cool.

Saw a girl I went to high school with Friday night. We started talking about the usual stuff. Who is where and married to who and how many kids. Then we started talking about our next reunion. Yup, 20th. Gulp. Where does it go? Or, where did it go?

What else?

I got nothin’.

My Montel Moment

Yup, it’s true. I’m going to be on the Montel Williams Show.

No, it’s not true that I’m going to be on a show about paternity tests.

My appearance, believe it or not, is actually work related. Honest.

My show will air on Halloween. Set your TiVo now. I mean, come on, this is not to be missed.

They sent a car to get me. That was cool. They even offered me an overnight in the city, but I passed on it. I’m away at night enough, didn’t want to do it if I didn’t have to.

So the black Mercedes picked me up with a driver who didn’t speak much English. So, we didn’t talk. Which was fine. I wanted to do some work on the way down. I tried — then started to get car sick. So, just put the iPod on and fell asleep until we arrived.

I didn’t tip him. Not sure what the protocol is. But I didn’t like him, so I didn’t tip.

I get to the show and they put me in the green room — which, by the way, isn’t green. In my case, it was a very faint yellowish/creamish kind of a color. There are also a number of green rooms. Mine was number six. There were seven total.

Then the producer came in to go over things. Then the interns came in every 20 minutes to make sure I was ok. Did I need anything? Could they get me something? They were very pleasant and definitely made me feel like a guest.

Then it was time for lunch, which was not good, but I was starving, so that was fine.

Hair was next. I mean, come on, what could they possibly do with me? Not much, apparently. I was in there for 30 seconds. Some very feminine guy ran his fingers through my hair while spraying me with stuff and his co-worker (a female) kept saying, “Yes, that’s it. Yes, that’s perfect. Oh, this is good.”

I could not make that up. But, I mean, have you seen my hair?

Back in the green room for 15 minutes before being called to make-up.

I sat in the chair while this woman took the shine off my forehead. The best way I could describe her? All I could think of was a rock groupie. No, not a modern day groupie. But someone from like the late 1970s, but still in her groupie clothes and still wearing her groupie hair.

At last, time to go down to the studio. There were seven or eight of us guests. We were behind the stage at first where microphones were put on us. Then we were on the side of the stage, waiting for our cue to go out to our seats. While standing there, we heard Montel interacting with the crowd, giving them instructions on how he’ll call on them for questions during the show.

This was a big issue because psychic Sylvia Browne was the featured guest and everyone there wanted to ask her a question.

After 10 minutes, we were led out to our seats and mine was front row — six feet from Montel and Sylvia. The set was decorated with mums, pumpkins and corn stalks — all fake. Like most shows, the studio is very small — actually cramped is a better word. It always looks bigger on TV.

We were the second of three shows taping that day.

Montel was going to introduce each segment by showing a videotaped piece — then he comes out of that and talks to the guest in that piece. I didn’t know when mine was going to come up, but it ended up being last. I was more nervous than I thought I would be. I was fine in the taped piece, but he then asked me something, I answered. Sylvia asked me something, I answered. Then, I asked her a question and then he was moving on to someone else.

It was very fast — probably four minutes total. But, you’ll see me a lot on the show because of my location.

I was happy with the result — at least I think I am. The real test will be when it airs. I was surprised at the nerves I had. I’ve been on everything from Good Morning America to CNN to local TV, yet I had more butterflies here. Not sure why. Maybe the live audience had something to do with it.

After the show, I was ready for my car ride home. I got in the car they had for me and asked the guy how he drew the short straw to drive to Connecticut. He was like, I’m going to Penn Station. I said, well, I’m not.

They goofed on my travel plans. Had me going back on a train. A train that wasn’t going to get in until almost 11. So that wasn’t going to work. Twenty minutes later a new car was there to get me.

I liked this driver. I slept for about 45 minutes — and then we chatted quite a bit. I tipped him whe we got back.

That’s about it. Tune in on Halloween and let me know what you think.