Magic Mountain

Normally, professionally, and genetically, we are a Disneyland-type of family. The Happiest Place on Earth. Umm… Heck, Yeah!

But… The deal offered by one of LA’s other major amusement parks, Magic Mountain, was too good to pass up… (Really cheap! No blackout dates! Free parking!)

Since it’s only 20 minutes away, we buy yearly passes.

After considering the frigid January weather (the high was only about 71), we head out for an afternoon of amusement.

Isabella, she’s only six, is too small for the “Viper Fly” and the “Batman Ride” and the “Lex Luthor Drop of Doom.”

Finally, we find “The Ninja,” a middle-of-the-road roller-coaster that will accept slightly lower humans.

Iz: Daddy! Daddy! (almost with Jazz Hands) The Ninja!

Now, during the summer, there is probably a 60 minute wait. In January, it’s barely 30 seconds.

We load in. Strap down. And… GO!

When we’re done, we realize there’s no one waiting for the next ride. Lynn (the Fun Time’s resident Mommy), asks the attendant if we can just stay and go again.



By about the fifth additional pass, I’ve pretty much reached my limit of Ninajness. Then, the attendant asks the girls: “How many times have you ridden?”

In stereo, Julianna and Isabella enthusiastically proclaim: “Six!”

Attendant: “Well, you know, the record is 14.”

Now, any of you who know my lovely and brilliant wife will know that she didn’t register that as information. No. This was a Challenge.

“We’re only NINE away from the record! It’s great to have goals!”

Goals? It an amusement park… Oh, God. We’re on a mission.

By about the eighth pass, I’m pretty sure I ruptured my spleen. By the tenth, I think I chipped a tooth. By the 13th, I briefly lost consciousness. All the time, Mommy is yelling “Woooo Hoooo!”

At long last, we make our 15th and record-setting ride. Thank God, it’s over.

Mommy: “We don’t want to just win by one, do we?! One. More. Time! Woo Hoo!”

The new record for The Ninja at Magic Mountain is 16 consecutive passes. And, I was there for every single gut-busting one of them.

There were no badges or certificates, in case you were wondering.

Life Insurance

I’m poring over my new Life Insurance policy with my lovely and talented wife, Lynn. Hopefully, I won’t get hit by a bus tomorrow. But, you never know. So, Honey… Fingers crossed.

I come to the box labelled: Beneficiaries.

Me (to Lynn): So, um… I guess… You?

Lynn (not amused): Yes. Beneficiaries. Me.

Me: So, you aren’t going to kill me or anything, right?

Lynn: Not if you put my name in the box.

Me: Ok… So, then… Um. 100 percent of benefits?

Lynn: Yes. Unless you have another wife. In which case we will need to re-visit the answer I gave to your previous question.

Manti Wh’o?

Can someone explain this whole college-football-player made-up dying-girlfriend news-storm thing to me? I don’t get it.

I don’t follow college football, much less Notre Dame. But, apparently, AFTER the season was over, this story has somehow become major news, because… why, exactly?

Why is this news?!

I mean, I’ve been writing about my fictional beautiful “wife” and my hilarious “daughters” and the funny things they “say” and “do” as part of this here blog. There’s a “hot tub” and vacations in “Vegas” and “mingling” with celebrities.

Why isn’t Anderson Cooper banging on my door? Is it because I won’t be drafted in the First Round. [Or, honestly, the Last Round (too old, bad back, bad heart, etc., and I don’t play football)?]

By the way, I was duped. Online. Or, something. I’m so gullible.

Where the Hell is Oprah? I need to confess. If it will help, I’ll admit to steroids. Because, why not?

Darren Oter’o

Strange Little Girl

Goofing around with Isabella (she’s six) at bedtime tonight, she makes a freaky, freaky face.

Me: You’re a strange little girl.

Iz: No. You’re a strange little girl.

Me: No, Honey. I’m a strange BIG girl.

Iz: Wrong, Daddy. You’re a strange little Pretty girl.

I laugh. Mommy laughs.

Mommy: Gotta post that one.

Iz: No, please don’t post that.

Me: You’re six. How do you know what “posting” is.

Iz (seriously, ominously): Oh, I know.

She’s six in the Facebook Age… Yeah, she knows.

And, yet. Did I tell you about putting Isabella (she’s six) to bed tonight?… Try to stop me.

Dancing Queen

I witnessed the most remarkable modern dance performance, ever, masquerading as the “Weather Report” from last night’s 11 O’clock News broadcast….

The weather-caster/ballerina flitted across my Hi-Def screen, her arms wildly, sexily gesticulating, and her girlie giggle abounded. She twirled around, her almost-mid-thigh dress lifted flirtingly into the air. A high-pressure area was building, she said. Tell me about it.

I thoroughly enjoyed her performance. But…

After her “weather-cast,” all I wanted was to do was to flip over to the old guy named “Fritz” on Channel 4 to hear if I need to wear a jacket tomorrow. Turns out: Yes, I do.

Because an old guy named “Fritz” is going to give it to you straight.


I know that Television prefers beautiful people. And, yes, I know that women often, often, very often find great difficulty in being taken seriously in the workplace.

But, of all the beautiful, serious-minded women that I know (and, I know a lot of them), exactly NONE of them finds it necessary to wear extremely low-cut, clingy clothes (in the clichéd areas) and slather their bodies in oils that, in the wild, would threaten coastal marine wildlife.


Isabella (she’s now six) is playing: Name That Animal!

She’s on the floor, pretending…

Iz: Roar! Roar! … I’m a lion. Daddy, what am I?

Me: Ok, you’re a lion.

Iz, referring to her sister: Julianna (she’s 8) is a seal! Say she’s a seal! Arf! Arf!

Me: Yes, she’s a seal.

Iz: Daddy, you’re a snake. Say you’re a snake.

Me: I’m a Ssssssssssnake.

Iz: And Mommy is a cow. Say she’s a cow.

Me: Ok. Umm. Honey, let me explain something to you. Nothing Good has ever come from a man calling a woman “a cow.” Never in the history of time. Especially, not his wife. So, yeah… No.

Mommy looks over, and nods an approval.

Iz: Ok… Mommy is a dog. Say she’s a dog!

Me: Along the same lines, let me explain something to you…

Like I said, Twinkle Twinkle…

It’s bed time once again for the newly-minted six-year-old Isabella…

Iz: Daddy, sing “Twinkle Twinkle.”

Me: Ok… “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star … (blah blah blah)”

Iz (drifting off): Daddy, now sing “Twinkle Twinkle…”

Me: I just did. Are you not listening?

Iz; I didn’t hear you.

Me: Really, I’m RIGHT HERE. Ok… “Twinkle Twinkle… (etc.)”

Iz: Daddy, now sing “Twinkle Twinkle….”

Me: You’re really not paying attention, are you? Typical. OK. “Twinkle…”

Iz: Zzzzzzzz.

Note to self: Don’t trust a groggy kindergartener with the nuclear launch codes.


Doing her well-honed funky chicken dance, eight-year-old Julianna is flapping her wings at the radio blasting Beethoven’s First Piano Concerto.

Me: Honey… Do you have rabies? Or, are you conducting?

Isabella, the five-year-old (who is always happy to join a conversation to which she was never invited) is matter-of-fact: Daddy. She has rabies.

Me: She does?

Iz: Yeah. I don’t know what rabies is. Or, are.

Me: Really?

Iz (pointing her finger): But, THAT is not conducting. Even I know that… So, it must be rabies.

Julianna continues flailing her arms, deaf to the criticism.

Ironically, just like most conductors.

Bart Simpson

The girls are watching “The Simpsons Movie” from a few years ago. (Yeah, I know, terrible parenting.)

You may recall the scene where Bart is skate-boarding in the nude, and various fences and birds and bouncing balls and passersby cover his “specific” nakedness. Then, there’s about a five-second span where “Bart Junior” makes an appearance.

Julianna (she’s 8): Hahahahaha! He’s naked!!

Isabella (5): Yeah! Show it again! Show it again!

Me: No, Honey. It’s funny, but let’s keeps going.

J: No, Daddy! Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!

Iz: Repeat!

Me: Ok. I guess it’s natural. I guess.

I rewind a bit, and replay the scene.

J: Hahaha! That’s sooo funny.

Me: Well, not really THAT funny.

Iz: But, Daddy… You get to see one of those every day!

Me: I “get” to see? Not how I’d phrase it.

Like I said. Terrible parenting.