Rockin’ the Robe


The Son loves his bathrobe.  My mom said ten years ago, “I think he might need a robe,” thus launching the long tradition of robes, a new one each year, as needed, depending on what part of his leg at which they stopped.  At 15 he’s now into the one-size-fits-all program, ending with enormous feet anchoring him to the floor.  During his two weeks of vacation he’d wake up, float some frosted flakes in $4.79 worth of organic milk and fold himself up (just like a good Pac Island/European boy) in front of MLB 2011 The Show, hitting imaginary bombs off Justin Verlander.  Not a bad life.  Once he said to Mr. Halfstory and me, “I’m taking the rest of the day off,” – having just returned from the batting cages – to which Halfstory responded, “so if we asked you to actually do something, you would refuse?”

The robe, on a brief hiatus from its room.

Which brings me, rather clumsily, to The Book of Jonah, the story of a 15 year old boy from a war-torn Muslim country, who has been relocated to America following a harrowing experience involving the U. S. military, the details of which unfold as the book progresses.  Stephen Dau (the author) writes very well, using his sharp descriptive details in all the right places.  He risks the reader’s attention by presenting a not-immediately-likable protagonist with other characters who are half-broken and self-absorbed.  It’s a good mystery, only a little predictable, but I didn’t mind; the characters were interesting enough.  Situations get out of hand quickly and brutally in military operations; Dau portrays in great detail the mental processes involved with decent young men becoming misled killers.  If there is one flaw, it’s the spiritual piano key being plunked a few too many times, like the incompatible wild animals who nurture each other.   Dau uses metaphors so well you just don’t want to see him cheapen it.  Talented writer, though; I wouldn’t mind seeing him at a literary cocktail party.  I really liked it, even though I admit, shamefully, to being a little jaded about any book in this genre.  These are important stories, even the fictionalized ones, and Americans should read them.  The danger is becoming conditioned to their formula, their template, whatever you’d like to call it.  As a reader you have to approach things with open minds.  So here’s my recommendation: don’t read too many of these in one stretch.  Mix it up.   I picked up Sense & Sensibility immediately after – that may have been a tactical error, so blown was my reality – but you get my drift.

So.  2012.  The year everything is supposed to end.  Maybe that’s why Mr. Halfstory and I went out on NYE.  We normally walk our incontinent and unfriendly dog for awhile, pick out a movie, make dinner and celebrate New York New Year’s with our kids, in the sincere hope they will then go to bed and stay there.  As they are teens, this is no longer the dream.  They stay up until the cereal and milk run out and the snack drawer empties, then complain about this unacceptable situation and go to bed on top of their laundry.  We changed it up this year.  A true pal treated us to a nightclub where a friend was also playing with his band.  Double points!   I slapped on contact lenses and re-upped the deodorant situation – I was finally going to reveal my dancer’s arms!  It’s what I cling to when the lower half of my face looks particularly creased.  Mr. Halfstory changed from the prison jeans (way too baggy) to jeans and tasteful shoes.  He’s always had a great fear of looking like Non-Profit Man, but he shouldn’t have worried.  We danced and managed not to hurt ourselves.

Thought I’d share a few favorite and random websites, blogs, etc.  Yes, you have to love baseball.

stress relief duck on youtube.  Many have already viewed this but it’s worth visiting every few months.  I want it as my ring tone., founded in part by the author Vanessa Diffenbaugh.  She brings attention to a segment of our society that is all too often forgotten or ignored.

Eddie Izzard’s bit on youtube that has him doing the voices of Lego Star Wars characters: Darth Vader in the Death Star cantina.  A friend’s blog, it’s brave and funny.