The Tutor Queen

Julianna (she’s 12):  Daddy, the school sent me to help a 3rd grader in math.

Me: That’s great, Honey.  You’re a Tutor.

J: A “what” now?

(Sub-story follows)


J: And, that’s how you get the answer.  X minus Y.

3rd Grader:  Wow!  That was so easy!

J: Yeah, when you know how to do it, it’s not that hard.  Carry the one…

3rd Grader: Thanks.  You must be so popular.

J (aww shucks):  No, not really.

3rd Grader:  Oh, that’s right.

Continuing:  You can’t be popular AND smart.


I must interject:

Me:  Nooooo!  That is absolutely NOT true.

J: Yeah, kinda it is.  It’s on TV.  The Popular People are dumb, and the Smart People are unpopular.

My blood literally boils (Obviously, it does not boil because I understand the meaning of the word “literally.”  Because I am smart.  Coincidentally, unpopular)

Me: Look, Honey…  Mommy is extremely smart and everyone loves her.  I mean, come on!

J:  Yeah but, you have no friends.

Me:  That’s not entirely true.

J: And, you’re not smart at all.

Me:  How did I become a subject of this…?

Isabella (she’s 10, from the back seat):  And, also.  You’re fat.


J:  Good one.

Me: No.  Not.  Fat people can be smart.


Classical Music

On the drive home from school.  The radio plays Adele and Katy Perry…

Julianna (she 12):  Dad, can’t we listen to something else?

Me:  Like what?

J: The Classical station.  Because, If I have to play the violin, I should listen that music.

I flip the station.

J:  Is that Beethoven?

Me:  No, Bach.

J: Sounds the same to me.

Me:  Oh, Honey.  I vastly different.

J: Wait, that’s a harpsichord!

There’s a tear in my eye.

Vegas Mega Meet

It’s gymnastics competition time of year, again.  So, let me open my wallet.

The first big meet is in Las Vegas.  They call it a MEGA Meet because there will be hundreds of competitors. Dozens of teams.  And many, many gymnastics Moms.  I will be one of them.  (In spirit, at least.)

Isabella (she’s 10) is excited, but the scheduling just sucks.  It happens over the weekend that Daddy/Daughter Fun Time’s mother is organizing the Academy Awards annual reception co-sponsored by the Society of Composers and Lyricists.  (You know, with Sting and Lin-Manuel Miranda and others…)

Also:  Isabella will need to miss a day and-a-half of school.

Iz:  Daddy, I just want you to know that I am Ok with missing school.

Me:  Really?  Shocking.  Let Mommy and me talk about it.

Iz:  Ok, but just so you know, I’m totally fine with missing school.  We’re just, like, learning stuff.

Now, long-time readers of this blog know that Isabella is quite accomplished as a gymnast.  And, they keep moving her up the competitive food chain.  Her coaches warn:  “Don’t expect to score high this time because everything is tougher now.”

So, Mommy and I discuss the logistics, the travel, the expense, the injuries, the threat of disappointment shown on a 10-year-old’s face.

Sounds like fun.  We’re in!

Iz:  Yay!  But, I’ll have to miss a day of my dear, dear school.

Me:  Oh?…  Or, we can also not go.

Iz: Well, when you put it like that…  Yay!  Vegas!

Crocodile tears.

So, Thursday mid-after school, Daddy/Daughter Fun Time rolls with Isabella and Daddy (Me!) in tow.  Mommy holds down the Oscars fort, and swings us incredibly cheap hotel accommodations at Circus Circus (Isabella’s favorite Vegas place.  Me, not so much.  But it’s her weekend.)

Friday morning, Isabella is nervous. She’s now competing on a bigger stage, against seasoned competitors, in a new class.

First up:  Floor exercise.  9.500. Gold.  Vault: 8.900.  Gold.  Bars: 9.750. Silver.  Beam. 9.025. Gold.

All-Around: 36.175. (You guessed it):  Gold.

Her coaches tell/threaten/challenge her, if you break 36.0 again, you’ll have to move up another level.

Mommy and I couldn’t be more proud of her.  Her 12-year-old sister: “Whatever.”

The drive home was mostly uneventful.  In fact, we got home before Mommy did.

And then the Oscars happened, and we didn’t know what to believe.


Summer Santa

Since November 9th (the day after the election), the radio station has been wall-to-wall Christmas music.  Isabella (she’s 9) is all about the music.  I have been subjected to countless versions of Carol of the Bells (really, David Foster?  Really, Manheim?  Really, Trans-Siberian?  Where the hell is Trans-Siberia?), Multiple versions of Wham’s “Last Christmas.”  Why is that Special?  (Special).  When did that become a classic?  Crappy, crappy song.

And, even Sir Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime.”  Good god!  It’s so awful that exactly no one has ever covered that song.  (And, I love Paul!  But, it’s crap.)

Julianna (she’s 12):  This song sounds like summer.

Me:  Because that is the Beach Boys.  Little Saint Nick.

J:  But why does it sound like summer?

Me: It’s the Beach Boys.  Think about it:  Beach.

J:  But they sing: Christmas comes each time this year.  Can’t Christmas come in the summer?  Like July the 4th?

(I sense you can tell I am annoyed.)

Me: Honey, you were born in Los Angeles, at Cedars-Sinai Hospital.  Where all the famous people go to die.  We dip our toes in the Pacific every year.  You absolutely need to know the Beach Boys.  They were America’s last gasp against the tide of British Invasion bands.  Who poisoned our ears with crap like “Wonderful Christmastime.”

She, like you, is tuning me out.

Me:  The Beach Boys sound like summer because they are summer.  Even at Christmas.

Iz (from the back seat):  Last Christmas, I gave you my heart.  The very next day you gave it away.

Me: British!

Iz:  Special….  Special.




Let me go ahead and copyright © the terms “troll-cast” and “trollcast”  (similar to broadcast) to mean any Internet misinformation, abuse, or hate-speech that is promoted immediately or within a limited time frame in a wide variety of contexts to impugn, denigrate, or cause emotional distress, without relevant evidence, to a subject or subjects, their posts, or their persona via media or social media contexts.. ® coming soon.  But, I’ll need some lawyers.

Jury Duty, 2016. Part I

I last shared my jury duty in Los Angeles experience with you here:


Anyway, here’s my latest story of my run-in with the Judicial System in Los Angeles.  No, I am not a defendant.

The story is slightly NSFW, because there is ill-repute involved, not on my part (so ya know).  [Mom, that means “Not Safe For Work.”  Don’t read this at work.]

My expositions are getting longer and longer.  They’re turning into a Beethoven coda.  (Music joke.)


So, I got called to serve on a jury in Burbank during Labor Day week.  The secret is out of the bag:  ALWAYS delay your jury service to a holiday week if you can: 4 chances instead of 5 to be selected.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s are the best.  Because, no one wants to be convicted on New Year’s Eve.

But, chances are chances.  I was called to the Burbank courthouse on the day after Labor Day.  Dammit.  Do I chance it?  Or delay?  The poker player in me says: let it ride.

Burbank is a sleepy city in Los Angeles County (any Johnny Carson fans?).  Nothing happens there.  I do the jury orientation online (:45 minutes) — I understand, don’t talk about the case to anyone, don’t record the case, don’t blog about the case…

I don’t expect to be called for anything.  Much less serve on a jury.

Burbank’s jury room is smaller than your Algebra II classroom. 50 chairs facing one another.  Knee to knee.  Really?  8 hours of this?  $1.25 Snickers in the machine.  Until the clerk says go home.

Big, meaty trials don’t come to Burbank.  They go downtown.  Which is why if you get called for Jury Duty, you opt for the smaller jurisdictions of Burbank, Glendale, South Pasadena.

Plus, it’s a holiday week.  What could go wrong?

Voice over the intercom:  Attention jurors, you are required to move to the Courthouse in Glendale at 1:30.

Shit.  They are moving these beautiful people to a different courthouse 10 miles away.  Is there a bus?

Court: “You can take a shuttle every 15 minutes.  Or get there on your own. Either way, you better be there or we will come after you.”  Again I paraphrase.  Park in the Marketplace parking lot 65 blocks away.  Take your ticket, we will validate.

(This becomes an issue)

So, I dash home (10 minutes), click click through email, have a ham sandwich, then head to the parking lot in Glendale and grab a ticket.

End.  Part I.


Jury Duty, 2016. Episode III. A New Hope. (Ewoks need not apply)

Did I mention the parking structure.

(By the way, thank you for reading this far into my silly blog.  Also, don’t yell at me about  the Star Wars Episode III A New Hope thing.  Yes, A New Hope is episode IV.  Here’s my back.  Get off it.)

So, the bailiff has scribbled some sort of number on the top of the parking ticket.  Ignore this, she says, that’s for book-keeping.

The hell you say.

I walk the 33 blocks to the structure and get in my car.  I pull up to the gate, insert my ticket.  “Please Pay $9.00.”  Um, no.  The bailiff said Ignore…  I take the ticket back, 180 degree spin, re-insert.  “Please Pay $9.00.”

Crap.  Cars are lining up behind me.  I flip the card around, upside down, inside out.  origami the hell out of it until it looks like a credit card.

“Please Pay $9.00”

Now, civic duty is one thing.  And, I actually took a shower and shaved.  Deodorant, maybe.

“Please Pay $9.00.”

Dammit.  Now, there’s a line of about 5 cars behind me.  And, everyone wants out.

Out comes the credit card.  $9.00 ransom.  I am not happy.  In my haste to get past the arm, I forget to push the Receipt button until I am 4 feet too far.

Grrrrr*  (*not the actual expression I used.  It was something Factually Funnier and rhymed with Ftuck.  There was also an exclamation point, but I didn’t want to offend anyone.)

So, Home I go, gnashing my teeth about the nine bucks, this stupid trial, and the LA Traffic.

Can I please have a beer when I get home?

Crap!  We’re out of beer?!

Jury Duty, 2016. Part 4. I AM your father.

Yeah, Empire Strikes Back is “Episode” 5.  But, really 1-3 are not three complete movies.  Amiright?

Ok, back to the subject at hand.

Easy Jury Duty in Burbank Glendale.

On the second day of jury selection, I’m already pretty screwed.  I’m number 15 of a 12 person jury pool.  The guy behind me tells the judge that the whore is a prostitute because she was arrested by police and should go to jail.  Or be stoned to death.  (Again, me and the paraphrasing).  The judge tells him that no evidence has been presented.

Doesn’t matter to Juror number 6.  Guilty.

He is excused.

Juror number 8 asks why can’t computers determine a persons guilt.  The prosecutor tells him that the defendant has a Constitutional right to a jury trial.

Juror 8:  Yes, but computers are much more capable of determining facts than flawed people. Why aren’t we using computers?

He was excused.  Then texts someone on his Samsung Note 7 before the fire department was called. (I kid.)

Juror 9 was a police academy graduate but, sadly had a brain tumor which cut short his career.  He has many, many friends in law enforcement.  The prosecutor likes him, the defense attorney, not so much.  They pepper him with questions about bias, and his friends, and what he knows about law enforcement.

Surprisingly, he stays.

Juror 13, a spry 75-year-old woman who whispered to me earlier that she always believes the police before I shushed her.

She is excused.

Juror 15 (Hey!  That’s me!) admits that he has family members who have been involved in law enforcement in Los Angeles.  And, that over Thanksgiving dinner a tale or two was told.  You know, about the gang-bangers and the drug deals and the guns. And, maybe some rules that were bent.   While I never implicated anyone over any wrong-doing, the prosecutor looked at me and told the judge:

Prosector:  The people object to Juror 15.

Judge: Juror 15, you are hearby excused by the court.  We appreciate your service.  Have your parking ticket validated at the window.

You know how in elementary school when they pick teams for dodgeball and you’re the least capable player.  For the first time, I am not the least bit offended.

Now. About this parking ticket.


I talk with the parking attendant guy.  He has no power to offer a refund of my $9.00.  He calls the Boss.  They offer me two all-day parking passes at this random garage in Glendale.  Valid through January 3rd.

And, after my 2 days in court, I get a check for $17.62.  $15 for jury duty (second day only, by the way) and $2.62 for mileage.