Recently in Day to Day Category

French Names

| 1 Comment

The two men approaching the customer service desk were a classic odd couple.  The one in the lead was of slightly short stature, round in shape.  He wore a rumpled button down shirt under one of those well worn raincoats that might be brown or might be gray.  Balding wisps of hair extended from his head in most directions. 

His partner was a full head taller, a feature accentuated by the red and black plaid wool hunter’s cap, complete with earflaps, which topped his frame.  His face was long and thin, matching the rest of his body.  His raincoat matched his partner’s. 

“We’re looking for a book on how to pronounce French names”, the first stated as he reached the desk.  This was a request both broad and narrow.  “Pronounce French names” was typed into the computer but the search came up empty.   The two appeared crestfallen.

“How about I try looking for a book on using French names for a new baby?” the bookseller suggested.  The pair brightened with hope.  Sure enough, the result listed two books on French names for expectant parents.  Neither was in stock but both could be ordered and in the store within a few days. 

“That’s great”, number one said with obvious relief.  “You see, we’re getting a pair of French Poodles puppies next week and want them to have real French names.  Let’s order them both”.  Number two smiled with joy.

A smile crept across the bookseller’s face.  “I’m sure these will be very helpful.” 

Now the tall partner chimed in.  “Yup, and want to be sure that we pronounce the names right so that they’ll know when we’re speaking to them!”

The order was placed and the two left the store smiling and chatting with each other in anticipation.  

The bookseller was left with the image of two middle aged men earnestly calling “Jack! Jack!” to a slumbering dog who doesn’t respond until one snaps his fingers in realization, elbows his partner, and with a knowing look on his face now yells ”Jacques! Jacques!” - at which point the hound leaps to his feet and bounds happily toward the proud, beaming couple.


| 1 Comment
 Rossano Brazzi prepares to give mouth to mouth to a swooning Mitzi Gaynor

I grew up in a home where show tunes were played quite often.  My mother would glom on to the latest Broadway hit, buy the cast album, and then play it ad nauseum until we all were humming it in our sleep.   That is why, to his day, I’ll find myself bursting forth with lyrics like this every once in a while: 

Some enchanted evening
You may see a stranger,
you may see a stranger
Across a crowded room…

I’m not quite sure why this one from South Pacific stuck in my mind and I don’t remember all the words.  Often, the lines after “Across crowded room” become:

Duh blah blah blah blah
Duh blah blah blah blah...

To compensate I’ve invented my own lyrics over the years for those times when I feel compelled to sing past the “Across a crowded room…” part or when I’m in a particularly (peculiarly?) creative mood.

Keep in mind that I don’t have a good singing voice.  I don’t have ANY singing voice.  At best, you might describe my voice as similar to the noise made by constipated geese.  Thus Nancy has to be given a lot of credit for putting up with my spontaneous renditions of this song when the lyrics go something like this:

Sam and Janet Evening
They couldn’t be much stranger,
They couldn’t be much stranger
Than Spiderman’s costume…
Duh blah blah blah blah
Duh blah blah blah blah...


Convoluted meaning
Can be a source of danger,
And that source of danger
Can lead to an early tomb…
Duh blah blah blah blah
Duh blah blah blah blah...

Still, I’m happy to carry on the family musical tradition.  I know my mother would be proud.

PS – Here’s a link to the real lyrics.  How about giving me some of your own?  Leave them in your comments.

Clean Eggs


During the year after Nancy moved to the new job in Vermont and I stayed behind on Long Island to sell the house and finish off my last year at work, I became by necessity, somewhat anal about cleaning up after myself. It’s a big no-no that have that pile of dirty dishes crawling with vermin in the sink when the real estate agent walks in with the prim young couple looking for their dream house. Four pair of used underwear flung haphazardly about the bedroom leaves a similarly bad impression to some, I’ve been told.

Once done with the house I was in a little apartment where I spent weekdays working and weekends in Vermont. Here again, leaving crap on the counter only resulted in bad smells and the thought that the landlords were going to soak me for every dime of my deposit if they had to so much as wipe some dust from the floor after I left kept me channeling Felix Unger for the better part of six months.

This has, to a large extent, carried over to the present day. I clean up my dishes immediately after each meal, almost always throw my dirty socks in the hamper, and by and large lead a much more virtuous life than in my profligate youth - which leads me to this morning. On the mornings when Nancy goes to work I get up and make coffee and read the newspaper. Nancy arrives in the kitchen a little later and prepares her breakfast. After my coffee I go downstairs to work out. Before I go, I clean my mug and most anything else that is lying around the sink.

But the spirit of Felix waxed strong in me this morning. Not only did I clean my mug but I also washed the frying pan, spatula, and mixing bowl Nancy had used to prepare her eggs. Then, rapt in this possession, with a smug, self satisfied smile on my face, I wiped and arranged the pan, spatula, and bowl back on the stove and counter so that they would be exactly where they should be when I came back upstairs to make my own breakfast.

I climbed the stairs after my workout beaming with haughty conceit. I was an efficiency god. I’d crank up the espresso machine and scramble up those eggs. Everything would taste just a bit better this morning. Everything would taste, hmm - virtuously good. Nancy however, had been more in the “gotta make the doughnuts” mode. In the 30 minutes she has allotted, she ate her eggs, drank her coffee, and completely on morning autopilot, grabbed the pan, the spatula, and the bowl and dutifully washed them. And so I found them, stacked to dry next to the sink, double washed, sparkling clean. I made my eggs and ate my breakfast. The spirit of Felix Unger, now disengaged, once again floats free in the netherworld. I finished eating 45 minutes ago and the pan, spatula, and bowl lie dirty on the counter. I’ll get up soon and wash everything, but it’s not the same. My eggs tasted okay, maybe good, certainly not virtuous – more, I’d have to say – clean.

Mom's St. Patrick's Day


Transcript of my phone call to my mother yesterday to wish her a happy St. Patrick’s Day:

Phone rings and is answered by my mother:

Mom: Erin Go Bragh!

Me: (in really bad Irish accent for most of the rest of this conversation) Top ‘o the mornin’ to ya! Will I be speakin’ to Janey Trancho?

Mom: (warily) Yes…?

Me: Janey this is Cardinal O’Connor callin’ to wish you a happy St. Patrick’s day! You know, because of the time difference here in heaven, we started tippin’ a few back several hours ago and we’ve been sitting around and decided to give you a call to bring a smile to your face this glorious day.

Mom: Even though you’re dead?

Me: Ha - ha! Ya know, here in heaven it don’t make much difference. We figured that a woman who has popped out more piglets than the parson’s sow could use a little uplift on this glorious day. Fulton J. Sheen and I (Fulton - get off that skateboard! you’ll be killin’ yerself if yer not careful. - What am I sayin’ - he’s dead already too! - go ahead and enjoy yerself Fulton, but hike up the damned cape will ya!…).

Mom: (nervous laughter) So your having a good time are you?

Me: Gosh and begora Janey, yes! And we’re hopin’ that the day is as glorious for you as it is for us!

Mom: (warily) I’m sure it will be…

Me: (slipping back into my normal voice) So, how are you, Mom?

Mom: OH ROBERT!!! I didn’t know that was you! The accent was so real!

Me: (thinking to myself) Jeez - how often does Cardinal O’Connor actually call her?


Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Day to Day category.

Coffee is the previous category.

Felines is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.