Category Archives: Family

47 Thoughts

Happy 47

  1. Thank you to all who helped make my birthday as great as it could be under these circumstances. Loved the messages, calls, texts, sexts, cards, emojis, balloons and general fanfare. Special shout out to Mrs. IDROS, who went above and beyond as usual with an incredible surprise recreation of one of my favorite restaurants, menus and birthday dinners.
  2. As usual in America, our policy du jour is about making cents, rather than making sense.
  3. #WearAFuckingMask
  4. #BlackLivesMatter
  5. Who is overseeing the testing sites…I fear those centers lack the regulatory oversight to be effective, and worse, may be spreading the virus (you know…bringing hundreds of likely ill people together to fester in a parking lot petri dish…)?
  6. America is a Cancer…as we celebrate our nation’s birthday, it occurs to me that our American Zodiac sign might be…fitting?
  7. IDROS does not agree with the removal of “all” historical monuments that celebrate racists and miscreants from a bygone era…many absolutely should be removed, and many others should be updated with plaques and inscriptions that detail A) why the monument or statue was erected, and more importantly, B) why the man/men (yes, it is almost always men, not women) are a stain on society, and, if known, whether they were more (racist, misogynistic, generally awful) than was the standard during their time (take Woodrow Wilson for example….)
  8. What kind of reading and self-guided education have you been doing vis a vis racism in America? It’s never too late.
  9. It’s a good thing America has been made great again, because we are not going to be allowed to leave our country again for a while as more and more nations close their borders to our citizens.
  10. What instrument would you rank 5th all time for rock music (after guitar, bass, keyboards and drums)? IDROS goes harmonica.
  11. If you enjoy non-fiction reading, I recommend any of the 4 books by brothers Dan and Chip Heath. Similar to Malcolm Gladwell, they write fascinating, research-based books that dissect important phenomena that affect all of humanity. A lot of what they write can be channeled into self-help and can add value to all of humanity. Dan works at Duke University, and Chip works at Stanford, in case University prestige and affiliation moves the needle.
  12. IDROS is almost as embarrassed to live in Florida as he is to live in America right now…neck and neck really.
  13. Facebook, Twitter and all other social media platforms need to be regulated more fervently in terms of “free” speech. It’s nice that large companies like Unilever, Starbucks and Verizon are now throwing their hats into the ring, pulling ads and hitting FB in its e-wallet…but this again proves that corporate conglomerates have more power than people in America and in the world…and so our politicians will continue to do their bidding, often at the expense of humanity.
  14. Watched “Joker” this past weekend. Uncanny how much Leaf looks like Phil Dunphy…perhaps scarier than the themes in Joker.
  15. I think my favorite moment from last month (#PrideMonth) came when the conservative majority court that our president and his lackeys fraudulently stacked in their favor, ruled to uphold LGBTQ rights…at least this time.
  16. A few celebs that share my birthdate (June 29): Colin Hay, Kawhi Leonard, Nicole Scherzinger, Richard Lewis, Theo Fleury, Pepper Johnson (remember that block by Byars?), Dan Dierdorf, Fred “Gopher” Grandy, Bob Evans (the producer, not “Down on the Farm”)
  17. What’s a tougher watch…the first 20 minutes of “Up” or the first 20 minutes of “Saving Private Ryan?” Any other movies with a more difficult opening to watch?
  18. It is not easy to come up with a list of 47 (he says after only 18 entries).
  19. A Monday birthday is not optimal. A Coronavirus birthday isn’t anyone’s first choice either. But both of those scenarios are outside my control (IDROS mutters to self, “not helping”).
  20. Sad to not be celebrating this lap around our sun at the South Jersey shore.
  21. 40 years ago, all 4 Philly sports teams were elite. This year, who knows…but the Phillies lead the league in positive coronavirus cases, so there’s that
  22. Remember when the Flyers were the best team in the NHL just before Covid shut the world down? Good times.
  23. Recommend Philly-boy-turned-rapper Lil Dicky’s show “Dave” if you need a reco.
  24. Who else is completely skeeved out by paper (and coin) money right now?
  25. Dave Chappelle – 8:46 is pure genius. No doubt he belongs on the Mount Rushmore of comedy.
  26. Who are the 3 others? (Eddie, George and Richard are consensus, but Mel, Carol, Larry, Lucille, Rodney, Jerry, Joan and Carl are all worthy of consideration).
  27. Neil Young’s latest new release of old material “Homegrown” is very good…great in spots. My favorite song on the album is “We Don’t Smoke It No More,” a drunken barroom blues nugget that should be categorized among NY’s greatest blues efforts.
  28. Phish, and especially Trey, have been prolific during the pandemic thus far. I will definitely miss seeing them this summer at traditional venues, but for my money, I prefer Tuesdays with Phish (for DAAM) to those with Morrie (sorry Mitch).
  29.  The selfishness of the “anti-maskers” is mindboggling, and their ridiculous stance is emboldened from the top.
  30. Speaking of ludicrosity, our citrus fruit in chief needs to READ ICCULUS (if he can read)
  31. I think that lost in the 125,000+ deaths so far from Covid (many of which I believe are the direct fault of DJT and state governors like him…yes I mean you, DeSantis) are the countless survivors of the coronavirus, who will become part of the data set that make this seem like a more docile beast than it is, but whose lives have been forever negatively impacted by the disease (breathing issues, lung scarring, organ damage, etc.). We don’t know what we don’t know, and the fallout from this shitstorm is far from realized at this point.
  32. There haven’t been any school shootings on Covid’s watch thus far…so there is at least one silver lining
  33. I have no real problem with calling Covid “The Chinese Virus” or “The Chinese Flu” per se…after all, we still call plenty of illnesses, viruses and pandemics by their place of origin, or by a country name (Spanish Flu, West Nile Virus, Ebola, etc.). I only take issue because of the buffoon who feels it necessary to make it a racist put-down by doing so.
  34. Chuck E Cheese’s declaring bankruptcy, obvious as it may be in these crazy times, is devastating to my son.
  35. The past 3 ½ months have been surreal.
  36. Family Feud style, top 6 answers on the board: Can I get a(n) ______________?
  37. Are the mobs coming for the White House? Will it inevitably become the Multicolored House?
  38. There isn’t a litany of great famous athletes who have worn number 47 in history: Jack Morris, Tom Glavine, Mel Blount, Jerry Lucas, John Lynch are the best of the bunch.
  39. Does 7 qualify as late? Like, am I now in my late 40s?
  40. As a time of day, 7 never qualifies as late (I realize you might be running late for something at 7am or 7pm, or you may have overslept till 7, etc., but that doesn’t make 7 late…it makes YOU late).
  41. How lazy was Susan? Would one instantly know upon meeting her?
  42. 47 is a prime number
  43. RIP Carl Reiner, a true American treasure. My heart aches for Mel, Rob, the entire Reiner family and all Americans who knew and loved one of the greatest comedic minds of all time. In a time where we all can use as much laughter as possible, his void will be hard to fill.
  44. A few more celebs that share the IDROS birthday: Harmon Killebrew, Maria Conchita Alonso (“The Running Woman”), Bret (not Jemaine) Mckenzie, Charlamagne Tha God, and, of course, Gary Busey
  45. America is, and always has been, a work in progress. Our forefathers, some of whom were asshole slave-owners, racists, and misogynists, were remarkable in many ways, especially in their time. And our constitution was drafted to allow America the flexibility to evolve, and to get better over time. Never forget, on this Independence Day, that those who broke from their colonial rulers, did so at great personal and collective risk and against great odds, to create a new land of opportunity for “all” (read: originally, all white men…but slowly, more and more inclusive).
  46. It is incumbent upon all of us to make our country better. Somewhere along the way it seems to have been lost on many that we have a responsibility to continue what our Founding Fathers started. We are truly only as strong and great as our weakest link(s). All of us must strive to do better, to be kinder, to be more empathetic, to educate ourselves and our children, to call out injustice when we see it, to refuse to remain silent in the face of oppression, and to make our nation better for future generations.
  47. Thanks for reading, and Happy 4th. Stay safe everyone!

 

All the best,

IDROS

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Six Million Stories

I volunteer as a docent at Miami’s Holocaust Memorial. This is a book we have in the office there. A simple and profound book. The word “Jew” typed six million times creates an incredibly large tome (it’s as thick as an encyclopedia volume as you can see), but it is imperative to remember that each of those words represents a life cut brutally short. Each “Jew” has his or her own story to tell. I do my part to bring some of those stories to light, to honor the memories of those six million. Much of my own family was ravaged by the hatred embodied by the Shoah, and as the last of the survivors near the end of their lives, I strive to be a bridge to younger and future generations, passing on the critical message of NEVER AGAIN!

When considering the current COVID-19 crisis gripping the world, most people point to the Spanish Flu in 1918 to be the most recent example of a global pandemic.

Today, on Yom HaShoah, I challenge that assertion. The rise of Fascism, and in particular, the Nazis, posed a far more virulent threat to mankind…and make no mistake: The Nazis and all they represented, were, and continue to be, a virus…a plague on humanity.

Defenses were down after the War To End All Wars and its aftermath crippled the global economy, foisting our planet into the Great Depression. Germany, as the instigator and loser of WWI, was hit hardest. And so the Nazi virus began its invasion using a path of least resistance, enveloping central Europe in a fever-dream of swastikas and a promise to Make Aryans Great Again.

At first, a majority of Germans and their neighbors didn’t take the threat seriously. They had ample opportunity to snuff the early flames before it spread. But through a combination of denial, selfishness and policies of appeasement which focused on local problems (be it within one’s family or municipality inside of Germany, or on fellow countrymen and national strife beyond the German borders – particularly in England – I’m looking at you Chamberlain), they failed to take early decisive action.

In fairness, those who unleashed the virus on their fellow man were deceitful. They propagated a campaign of lies, slyly undermining any efforts to slow the spread. Propaganda ensured rapid infection by way of sleight of hand…the virus was…get this…hailed as the cure – the magic elixir that would solve all of Germany’s rampant and real problems: unemployment, stagflation, poverty…helping the once-proud nation and it’s people to a return to glory. How? By blaming all of these problems on the Jews, of course.

By the time the NAZI-88 virus annexed the Sudetenland and bulldozed Poland it was too late. The disease had mutated. Local populations with dormant but no less virulent strains of the insidious ailment actually helped spread the disease. NAZI-88 preyed on hubris. And the weak, the elderly and the disabled were ravaged. Certain members of society were quarantined, and forced to produce munitions to bolster and help spread the infection.

But millions of ordinary European citizens had a choice…they could help stop the spread of NAZI-88, or they could aid and abet the virus in its death march across Europe. NAZI-88 could not truly take hold throughout the continent without the help of the ignorant masses…both those who actively spread the infection and those who passively sat idly by as the disease ravaged their communities.

Let the lessons of NAZI-88 be forever etched in our minds. In times when the ground below us begins to crumble, and the flames of hell begin to pierce our foothold, it is up to the masses to join together and extinguish, not fan, the flames, and to reinforce the barriers that protect our weakest brothers and sisters from slipping through the cracks. For it is ignorant to believe the sacrifice of the old and frail, of the disabled and infirm or even of the Jews or some other minority will smother the raging fires below; rather, doing so will serve to feed those dying embers and erode the earth that protects us all from their grip.

#NeverForget

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When I Was A Kid, The World Shut Down…

HistoryBook

I don’t roll on Shabbas…and now, you won’t catch your author anywhere near a bowling alley any other day of the week either.

Bowling has to be one of the highest-risk activities to spread a contagious virus (maybe second to a trip to Chuck E Cheese’s?) Just thinking about reaching my fingers into those three holes (get your mind out of the gutter…see what I did there?) in any of those colored balls at a local bowling alley makes my stomach churn and the little hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Add to that the shared rental shoes, the touchscreen automated scoring apparatus, the arcade games, the bowling alley bathrooms and the other patrons (many of whom would fit right in on Tiger King) and you may as well reserve an ICU wing at the local hospital.

But I digress.

There are a number of distinct memories I have from childhood, both good and bad, that are forever etched into my mind, along with certain imagery…just thinking about the events below brings me back to a certain time and place in my life. And conversely, reminiscing about certain times in my life, I immediately recall these events which are forever associated with those specific ages and moments.

  • Gas station lines during the oil crisis in the ’70s
  • Phillies 1980 World Series Victory
  • Iran Hostage Crisis (in particular, the yellow ribbon – replete with its own song)
  • USA Hockey victory over USSR – The Miracle on Ice
  • John Lennon’s Assassination
  • Reagan’s Assassination Attempt
  • 76ers 1983 World Championship
  • We Are the World
  • Challenger Explosion
  • Stock Market Crash of 1987
  • Earthquake Disrupts 1989 Bay Area World Series
  • The Gulf War – “This Aggression Will Not Stand!”
  • Tiananmen Square
  • Exxon Valdez Oil Spill
  • Berlin Wall Comes Down (And the subsequent dissolving of the USSR)
  • Magic Johnson Reveals He Has HIV
  • Rodney King Riots
  • Duke Back-to-Back Championships 1991-1992 – (in particular, the UNLV game in ’91 and the Kentucky game in ’92)
  • OJ – The car chase and the trial

*The list is not exhaustive and shows a clear bias toward negative stories (one wonders if that is a human thing, a media thing or an IDROS thing). IDROS included impactful events from early childhood through college graduation. Also, please note these are all shared events. Obviously, like IDROS, all of you have personal memories and life-altering events of which only you and your closest family and friends might be aware. But this COVID-19 affair affects the entire planet and so this list includes only events shared by much of, if not all of, humanity.

IDROS would love to hear from any readers who have other watershed events to include in the comments below.

Thinking back on the list above, IDROS can’t help but wonder how his and all children will remember this dark and unique time in our world.

How will it be taught in schools? What will be the lasting images and photos of the pandemic that will fill the History textbooks? What would be the impacts on our world? Did humanity change as a result? And how so? Do we look back at this time nostalgically? Did any good come from this crisis? Did society learn anything from this? What, if anything, was forever changed by Coronavirus? Was our response effective? What could we have done better? Where did our efforts fail? How are we more prepared going forward for another such threat?

A few of IDROS’ stray observations so far from the Coronavirus Pandemic:

  1. No school shootings – an underrated benefit of this craziness
  2. My kids don’t realize the fears my wife and I have when doing mundane things like going grocery shopping or getting gas in this new world
  3. They also don’t know what we do once we return with our haul, or have it delivered – the hours wiping down all the boxes and packages with Clorox wipes, etc.
  4. If you weren’t a hypochondriac and/or germaphobe before this pandemic…you are now!
  5. IDROS fears even more than usual for all women and children living in an abusive home during this crisis (please read this great piece)
  6. Doctors, nurses and hospital employees are true heroes (as are grocery store employees, delivery men and women, and all first-responders)
  7. Yardwork is more fun when you are quarantined, but only marginally
  8. Little to no traffic on the roads is a pleasant and welcome benefit of these times
  9. IDROS believes the current situation must be especially difficult for anyone working a 12-step program (or similar) and prays for your continued strength – on the plus side: zoom meetings are available and the coffee is likely better
  10. IDROS is legitimately scared…for his family, friends, all who are protecting us and helping us through this time, America, and for humanity
  11. America’s greatest challenge in this pandemic, in IDROS’ humble opinion, is the vast amount of freedom the citizens of this country enjoy…to truly contain and defeat this enemy, a full lockdown is necessary and should have been instituted long ago (think, February). But Americans would never allow this en masse and will need to see much more devastation than a couple thousand deaths before allowing the government to claw back their freedoms. Nations with citizens who are more accustomed to dictatorial rule, or at least fewer liberties and freedoms in general, have fared much better during this pandemic.
  12. That said, IDROS is humbled by the overwhelming selflessness of the majority of American (and global) citizenry. Most people are sacrificing everything for the greater good, forgoing sanity, their careers, income and most that life has to offer outside the four walls of their homes to ensure the safety of the first-responders, medical professionals, elderly and immuno-compromised in our communities…and frankly, have done so with no real clear leadership. There is no precedent for this situation and still, by and large, the response has been amazingly awe-inspiring…at least so far.
  13. IDROS would like to thank all the kind people out there like John Krasinski who are trying to keep us focused on the good during these trying times.

Please be safe everyone. Humanity will prevail! Have faith and stay the f*c@ at home!

All the best,

IDROS

#FlattenTheCurve

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“Perfect” Poem Penned Prior to Pittsburgh

Stronger than Hate

This is Us. (See what I did there? Pittsburgh….sadness.)

Unfortunately, there has been no shortage of seminal moments in our world that showcased the abject and baseless horror human beings can inflict on one another. History is littered with prime examples. And literature teems with responses.

A little more than two years ago, in the wake of another hate crime (Pulse, Orlando), just as Hillary and the Donald were wrapping up their victories in their respective Primaries, a young lady sat in one of the most American establishments there is, deep in the heart of a battleground state, and wrote these powerful verses:

Good Bones

Smith’s opus deftly captures the paradox of our planet, our world and humanity. It is at once breathtakingly beautiful, and horrifyingly awful. It makes you gasp in wonder, and cry tears of fear and futility. It is simultaneously optimistic and pessimistic. And in my eyes, if a person can take the human condition and our imperfect world with all of its flaws, decay and unbearable cruelty, and bottle them up in fewer than twenty lines of lyrical free verse, mixed with hints of optimism and belief in our children, in our future…well then perhaps not all is lost…even after Pittsburgh…and Parkland….and Las Vegas, and Charleston, and Sandy Hook, and so on down the line.

Still, they are just words. So while I encourage you to read them, re-read them, pass them on and focus on the hint of optimism at the end, please know that words are powerful, but actions always speak louder. I urge you to vote. And choose kindness. And teach kindness.

Warmest regards and Happy Halloween,

IDROS

 

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Things

1) Pretty sure I saw the big DJ from Maloney’s circular bar a few weeks ago when I was at the shore…I did a double take and may have even stared a second or two too long…but that guy played Bon Jovi and Bruce and kept the party going until hours I only see when my baby cries in the middle of the night (because my two year old woke her up crying and I am useless).

2) Where in the world did Tia Carerre (her real name is Althea Rae Janairo, BTW) go? First off…her real name is Althea. I love the name Althea. But she was one the hottest actresses on the planet for a hot cup of coffee in the early to mid-90s…almost ubiquitous. Then she took a wrong turn with Pauly Shore and a second misstep with Eric Roberts and then found herself mired in B-Movie hell with a veritable who’s who in the netherworld of straight-to-video C-Listers from Stevie Baldwin to the pro’s pro, Steven Seagal…

3) A day on Venus is longer than a year on Venus. That’s right…look it up (or just click this link). Not only that, Venus is the only planet in our Solar System that spins counter-clockwise…so the sun rises in the West and sets in the East. Talk about an Axis that’s Bold as Love

4) These two guys:
Things 1 and 2

5) I just finished watching The Wire, which was tops on my list for shows to be snarfed down like a box of Bugles or Thin Mints or anything else that it is extremely difficult to stop eating/drinking/doing once you start…binge watching at its finest. As promised, the show now rests firmly in my own pantheon of top five dramas of all time (where, exactly, I am still not sure)…but I can say this unequivocally: Whereas The Sopranos and Lost had endings that irked and disturbed me because they were executed somewhere between questionably and poorly (for Lost, that might be kind)…David Simon’s opus (vastly different than Mr. Holland’s) disturbed me at its end because the subject matter is just incredibly frustrating and vexing and well, disturbing…from beginning to end and everywhere in between.

6) I recently learned that Quentin Tarantino has the exact same IQ as none other than Steven Hawking…yeah, I wasn’t sure what to do with that either, but on some level it just makes sense. You will all get a kick out of this link

7) And lastly, there is a time when you and your partner/spouse/significant other are pregnant, but you are mired in the delicate period of “loose lips sink ships,” unable to tell anyone but the closest of relatives for fear of jinxing everything. It’s a weird couple of months, and as the safe zone approaches, I find it more and more difficult to keep the secret. Recently, in our eleventh week, I ran into a couple while out with friends (wifey wasn’t with me)…the woman was probably eight months preggo…it was so obvious I felt comfortable breaking rule number one for men when speaking to women…assuming (or asking) if she is, in fact, knocked up. I was excited as a father-to-be and so I found myself blurting it out to these two complete strangers just because of the bond of pregnancy.

Anyway…that’s my show for today. Enjoy the day and fruits of your labors.

Love and peace,

IDROS

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Upon The Birth Of My Daughter

Many people have requested a blog entry commemorating the birth of my daughter, Zana Maya. I have no intention of depriving my readers of their every wish, plus, I really can’t think about anything else right now. So it’s clearly a win win.

Since the moment Zana was born, here are some of the thoughts swirling through my sleep-deprived and ecstatic mind:

1) Getting to this point was not easy (mentally, physically, financially or in any other conceivable way), but it was incredibly above and beyond worth it;

2) No matter whether you have a boy or girl, as long as it is a healthy baby, the surprise is amazing, mind-blowing and like nothing else I have ever experienced;

3) I keep circling back to my favorite scene in My Blue Heaven, when Steve Martin says in his awful Italian accent, “You know, it’s dangerous for you to be here in the frozen food section.” The target of his charming admonishment, Shaldeen, replies, “why is that?” To which Steve quickly replies, “Because you could melt all this stuff.” Well over the course of the past four days, my daughter has melted my heart and everything else in my body over and over again. When the doctor first showed her to me, when her little footprints were inked onto her records and into her baby book, when her little hand first wrapped around my index finger with a tighter than expected little grip, when she first opened her little eyes and mouth, when she stretched for the first time, her first little noise…even her first cry (thought that got old pretty quickly);

4) Thankfully, I enjoy the color pink. I am no Andy Walsh, mind you. But pink is alright with the Floyd, and it’s alright with me too;

5) 9-10 months is a decent amount of time to mentally prepare yourself for the fact that you are having a child, but not nearly enough time to actually get ready;

6) I am quite certain that the speed of the average car leaving every hospital with a newborn child on board is at least 10 miles per hour slower than the posted speed limit for the entire drive home;

7) Thank the effing lord I am not Chinese, cause those A-hole commie bastards would never have let me keep my precious daughter…I can’t even imagine what that must be like for those 50 per centers…and what is really mind-numbing is the shear numbers: there are like 4 times as many Chinese 50 per centers as Americans Mitt claimed not to care about;

8) I cannot wait for my first father-daughter dance;

9) I can’t help but wonder if my daughter will end up in a binder of some sort (sorry to get a tad political, but I couldn’t resist);

10) When your wife has a Caesarian section, you “miss out” on the entire birthing chapter known as labor, popularized in movies and television throughout the years as a prolonged, frightening, painful, loud, often drug-addled experience. I am not sure whether we would have had a similar experience had our daughter not been breech, but I do know we were preparing to go au natural and had been taking hypno-birthing classes. Then again, our experience added plenty of more credence to the old adage, “if you want to make god laugh, make a plan.”

11) If I had to choose, my favorite cinematic depiction of birth probably comes from She’s Having A Baby, primarily due to Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work” tugging at your heartstrings throughout the ordeal;

12) With my wife in surgery during the birth of our first child, I can honestly say that I have never feared more for the general well-being of two people simultaneously than I did this past Monday. It was truly gut-wrenching, and I feel blessed that everyone emerged healthy and safe;

13) I am incredibly lucky to have not only my amazing family, but my wife’s as well, to assist us and support us during this special time. Everyone has been great, and I am glad we could all share this experience together;

14) Amazingly, those that shared in Zana’s birth were all first-born children…including Zana. My wife and I, all four of our parents as well as my grandmother are the oldest children in our respective families (this is sort of like a factoid that may interest only me, for those that read Peter King’s MMQ column);

15) I am already so excited for next Halloween;

16) How friggin’ cute is that punim?

17) I absolutely believe my daughter is a giant extended middle finger to Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich;

18) I can’t wait for all of you to meet our new princess.

Yup, I had to go 18 for Chai…and no, not the tea.

Love and warm wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving to all of you and your families.

We certainly have a great deal more to be thankful about in our home this year.

Thanks for reading,

IDROS

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