Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Hardest Post

And now! Live from the “51st State Studios” in Alexandria, Virginia…It’s the grrrrrrrrrrrrreat Fobian family baby blog, Charlie Brown! With your host and future Dad…let’s give it up for Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrob!

(faded, patched rainbow hued polyester curtains part…)

Good evening to you one and all and welcome, welcome to another fine edition of our blog. How about that great introduction from our new studio announcer, game show great Jack Barry, eh? Jack’s under an open ended contract, with lots of vacation clauses, so I would expect we’ll have some guest announcers from time to time. As always, we have another top shelf post for you! Despite rumors to the contrary from last week’s post we actually DO have Pearl Jam for you this week (sort of…) as well as Apple Martin’s favorite band, Coldplay (also sort of…). Please stick around and as a recommendation from the home offices in Dulles, Virginia, one of our followers had great success reading our blog with the TV show “Deadliest Catch” on in the background. So fire up your barbie, find some shrimp and we’ll be rrrrrrrrrrrright back!

(cymbals crash, electric guitar chords blast, Rob tries to hit an imaginary golf ball on the tee with an imaginary club…and looks like a rusty gate…curtains close)

Much respect to the late great Johnny Carson for letting me horribly steal his golf swing and curtains. Conan’s good, Jay was better but the ONLY person who should ever host “The Tonight Show” is Johnny Carson. I have many fond memories of watching Johnny when I was but a lad. It’s still hard to believe he hasn’t done “The Tonight Show” in over 17 years. But the world, she keeps a-spinnin’…

Our blog’s content hopper has just filed for its own zipcode so climb up on my virtual knee and let’s get right to it…A bit of explanation about today’s title is in order. When I was a freshman in college, I enjoyed participating in the university’s communications program, specifically the radio station. We used to keep Saturday nights from midnight to 2AM open on the program schedule. If we had someone available to take the shift, great… if not, we pulled the pin, and threw “The Big Red Switch” and turned the station over to an autopilot easy listening station, which I’m certain had more listeners than our own campus-made programming.

From time-to-time we would get random students in the station office with the gleeful yet dreaded, “I’d like to do my own radio show…” usually followed by the sounds of their own uncontrollable giggling. It was as if they had been sitting in their dorm room with the drapes pulled and the lights off doing intros for songs on the local FM stations before summoning up the courage to come in and profess their life-long radio dreams.

From there they would meet with either the program director or his assistant and they would ask them a few questions to gauge the feasibility of putting the potential broadcast grenade into our service. Without fail, the discussion would typically end with the infamous, “Well, let’s see…slots on the station are REALLY tight right now, but we do have an opening this Saturday from midnight to 2AM. Are you interested?” The person would either: say yes (and then freeze for a second when they realized they just pressed the detonator on their social life), or they would say no (because they saw the imaginary detonator for themselves).

Nearly all the new talent would come in for their first show and do REALLY well. Then, virtually 99% of the new talent would come in before their SECOND show and say something like, “I had a GREAT time doing a show last week, but I can’t really come up with enough material for another show…” The program director would usually respond with, “Radio is a tough business and it’s definitely not for everyone. Are you sure you don’t want to come back and just introduce and spin records, and read our PSA’s? I can give you a song playlist and have your vinyl pulled when you get here…” (Note: This was the late 80’s. The use of the word playlist here means a WRITTEN list of songs and the numeric sorting code of the record so you could pull them from the shelves as you played each one. No iPods in those days boys and girls!)

“No thank you, I just wanted to come by and tell you I wasn’t coming back this week…”

“That’s too bad…really”, the program director would say, “I had to fight real hard to get you that spot. Is there someone else on your hall maybe that’s interested?” And the cycle would repeat itself. The point is, everyone has one GREAT radio show or one GREAT blog post, the challenge is coming back and duplicating your efforts. Of course, I have conveniently pre-empted this with my brash “content- hopper-zipcode” remark, so we’ll see I guess. As a reminder, your comments are ALWAYS welcome. It is after all, YOUR blog…I’m just living in it…

In reading over last week’s blog in preparation for this week, I realized that an egregious (thanks for the word, Jazz…) error took place. I forgot to mention the in-utero name for the baby! When Jasmine was in-utero she went by “Bosco” and we have elected to use this name, too. For those of you that were unaware of this, we (which is to say, I…) sincerely apologize. When Jasmine was Bosco she even had her own transport. Some of you may remember my in-laws’ “Bosco Bus”. For the uninitiated, Bosco Bus was a VW Westie Pop-Top Bus. Best of all, it was painted gastro-intestinal errrr…chocolate brown with matching scotch-plaid interior. The Germans have never been much for attractive vehicles, just well engineered ones. Those VW buses also weren’t much for performance. In fact, they wouldn’t pass ANYTHING--except the gas station, of course. I’m pretty sure the VW bus actually MADE gasoline as it burned it. That’s why they don’t make them anymore…Not to mention, there was never a better interview vehicle, right Papa Fran?

Some additional history on Bosco (thanks Dad!)…There was a John Bosco of Italy who is a saint of the Catholic Church and possible Alfa Romeo owner and/or driver (more on that next week...). He is also known as Don Bosco. He founded the Salesian Order of Teaching Priests. There was a Don Bosco High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from 1945 – 1972, when it merged with another high school. The 50’s brought us a chocolate drink mix called Bosco (like Hershey’s or Nestle’s) which sponsored several children’s shows. Also, you may remember the character B.A. Baracus from the A-Team, and you guessed it, the B stands for Bosco, really. It wasn’t until we decided on Bosco as a temporary name that I found this out myself. I always thought B.A. meant “Bad A**”. B.A. was played by Mr. T whose real name is Laurence Tureaud, fools! If I missed any Bosco trivia, please as always, send it to our comments section…

But I digress! The first of many no doubt…moving on…

I’d like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and give much respect to our first round of 9 official followers. Thank you “AGrammy”, “jmd”, “andrew.martin”, “ice doctor”, “Chandria Slaughter”, “GLouise”, “Olivia Schramm”, “Chrissy”, and “Broccoli”! You are now all officially “THE NINE”. I know there are many of you also reading the blog regularly that in some cases share living space and or computers with “THE NINE”. And also there are many of you out there reading anonymously. Thank you all very much for letting us come into your computers each week.

Also, special recognition to our weekly prize winners “jmd”, “Tony P.” and “AGrammy”. Congratulations to “jmd” for posting the first comment! “jmd” has won an ALL expenses paid trip to newly re-discovered “Joe’s Place Pizza and Pasta” at their previously hidden franchise located in Vienna, Virginia. If you can find a better pizza and pasta buffet for less than $7.95 in the DC area, Mama mia, BUY IT and let us know! And by ALL expenses paid trip we mean inclusive of local ground transportation, lodging and of course, Joe’s!

Congratulations also go out to “Tony P.” for having the subjectively BEST comment post of the week! “Tony P.” wins a six pack of Natti light beer, or whatever domestically brewed beer is cheaper, his choice. Natti light…if you’re drinking beer, you’re not drinking Natti light! And yes, my “Bill Simmons Online Publishing Degree” shingle hangs proudly, right below my rec-league ice hockey trophy. As I said last week, what I lack in quality I more than make up for in quantity.

And a final congratulations to “AGrammy” who has won a golden movie ticket to the cinema of her choice in honor of becoming our first follower!

Well, this week was another really action packed week. It started with me locking all of my keys in our basement storage area at 11PM, then realizing in horror that we only had one key to the storage area. I actually did consider for a moment calling our building’s emergency line, but then thought the better of it and waited until morning when I could get a spare from the management office. This also meant I had to wake my sleeping pregnant wife by calling her on the cell phone to let her know she had to buzz me up when I reached the vestibule intercom. She of course wanted to know why I was calling home in the middle of the night on my cell phone when that is where I was supposed to be in the first place. You haven’t had insomnia until you’ve locked your keys in an inaccessible area overnight, I’ll tell you that! And yes, I’ve had multiple copies made since this incident.

I’m also beginning to wonder if everything one needs to learn about parenting can be learned at Harris Teeter…I saw a toddler giving his Mother the hand-sign for the word “more” because he was hungry. Stupidly, I said, “WOW! Your deaf toddler can sign really well!” After I picked myself up off the cold linoleum floor, she said, “Actually…children can learn to sign very quickly in their development…” Who knew? I mean besides informed people…

In yet another sign that a baby is upon us…Our beloved 2003 Saturn Vue “D’Artagnan” now has a broken CD player. Jasmine says it will ONLY play Disney CDs. I’ve looked it up, but there are no service bulletins on this. I guess even D’Artagnan knows he’ll be hauling a baby around soon. Sorry Papa Fran but rest assured, I received a notice from Saturn this week about ceiling mounted automatic noise-cancelling ear plugs. Jasmine finds this paragraph suspicious since when I picked her up from a conference today, the Disney CDs were still playing without her in the car.

BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL NEWS DIGRESSION WARNING! Speaking of Saturn, it was announced this week that Captain of Industry and auto racing impresario Roger Penske will buy Saturn from General Motors. The deal will be closed in the third quarter. Penske has stated that he only wants his company to handle dealership relations and distribution and NOT manufacturing. He is currently seeking a manufacturing partner. The early money is on Tata Motors of Mumbai, India. Tata stole…I mean “acquired” my beloved Jaguar also recently and is currently the nineteenth largest automobile manufacturer. Speaking of money…In my view, Saturn stock is a definite buy right now (or upon divestiture from GM). Penske is one of the most underrated moguls in the world. Everything he touches turns into a success. Just ask Rick Mears…but don’t take my word for it, DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

In the home improvement department, our manse took a great step forward this week towards accommodating our first baby. Wait a TIC!…I am finally receiving an in-utero transmission from an old soup can and some bailing wire which I rigged up for Bosco. “THANK YOU GREAT AUNT MARY K AND GREAT AUNT LEANNE FOR HELPING TO PAINT MY NURSERY THIS WEEK!” We have some pictures here, but since I can’t take good photos, the color really doesn’t come through very well. Apparently, you need balanced light to take a good picture…again, who knew? Besides good-photo-taker-read-his-camera-manual-guy, I mean…
Several years ago I took Jasmine to the beach for her birthday and the hotel we stayed in was painted sage with white trim. The calming effect of this color was extremely powerful to me. Of course, it may have been the 24 hour room service, ocean view and club-floor access, but I’m not sure…I always thought I’d like to have a room that color and now I do. Or Bosco does at least. Jasmine is still waiting for the 24 hour room service and ocean view.

Since Jasmine suffers from asthma, we looked into VOC free paints which would have no “out gas emissions”. We settled on a brand called Freshaire. As LeAnne will attest, the color went on well and indeed, no smell! Freshaire and other paints like them do come with some negatives. Freshaire is only sold by the gallon (we only needed one for Bosco’s suite), and it sells for 20% more than the other non-VOC free brands. Also, although we ended up loving the color on the walls even more than the sample, the Freshaire palette is much more limited than other non-VOC free brands. Jasmine picked non-Freshaire colors first and then we matched her favorites to the eventual Freshaire winner which is called “Northern Pear Tree”. It matches very well with the Pergo flooring, crib and the crib’s pachydermed mobile. I apologize that the photos do not show a completed nursery yet, but I ran into some hardware problems with the A/C access panel and am still working to solve them. So, it’s good bye “Man Land” errr…..I mean, “Guest Room” and hello nursery! Thanks again MaryK and LeAnne, it wouldn’t have gotten done without you, nor done as well without your guidance and labor.

Overheard this week at our Silver Diner: “Meatloaf is only supposed to be on the menu NOT the jukebox!” For those of you scoring at home, Silver Diner (a local 50’s retro-themed chrome diner) started celebrating their 20th anniversary this week. As part of the celebration they have re-tooled their jukebox with selections from the 70’s and 80’s to include the aforementioned Mr. Loaf’s “Paradise By The Dashboard Light”. The writers of this blog give the move, two gravy-covered thumbs up.

We’d like to take a moment of silence this week for Stephen Tyrone Johns, a security guard who was killed in the line of duty last week at the United States Holocaust Museum. If you are protected by security guards, please thank them. Your car’s battery that needs a jump after work on the coldest night of the year or your very life may depend on it. We’re also taking a moment of silence this week for Norman Brinker. Mr. Brinker developed several revolutionary concepts in the restaurant industry to include: founding Steak and Ale (the first, full service yet casual chain of restaurants) where he introduced the salad bar, and the novel waiter introduction, “Hi, my name is _____, and I’ll be your waiter tonight.” Also, his ad campaign at Burger King which took direct aim at McDonald’s and started “The Burger War”, and finally, his third wife was Nancy Goodman whose sister was Susan G. Komen. I can hear my father saying, “Well, hello to you. My name is _____, and I’ll be your customer tonight…” ;)


Congratulations to The Pittsburgh Penguins for knocking off my hometown Detroit Red Wings 2-1 on Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena to win Lord Stanley’s Cup, 4 games to 3. After Detroit won game 5 by a score of 5-0, I thought for sure with two chances to close out the series they would, but it was Pittsburgh who would win Games 6 AND 7. Sidney Crosby becomes the youngest captain to win the Cup at age 21. With all due respect, may it be his last. I was disappointed to see that Crosby failed to shake hands with all of the Red Wings’ players, after the series ended as is hockey’s grand tradition. Most notably, he did not shake hands with Wings’ captain Niklas Lidstrom who could be seen in the background patiently waiting. Why was he waiting? Because NBC didn’t want to miss their big, post-game interview with Crosby and grabbed him before he went through the handshake line. As my Father said, his teammates should really just have grabbed him and told the reporter, “We’ve got something to do first…” And what’s with the Penguins’ PR department trying to spin this by saying “no one respect’s hockey’s traditions more than Sidney Crosby.” Really? I don’t see how that’s possible, when he didn’t shake all of his opponents’ hands.

Congratulations to NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Mark Martin, the old man of the circuit winning at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday! This is his third victory this season and he jumped 5 spots Sunday and is now eighth in the standings. He is the best driver to never have won a championship and was trying to retire not too long ago. Will this finally be the year? The “Loud Pedal Circus” goes to Sonoma, California this week for hot road racing action at Infineon Raceway! Even if you’re not a NASCAR fan, I recommend you tune in and give it a try as the cars will be turning left AND right this week! If you miss it, they also race August 9th at historic Watkins Glen International, also a road course. Jenn and Patrick, how far are you from Sonoma and/or Fontana? I smell road….errrr, air-trip! And yes Dad, I know stock cars weren’t really designed to run competitively on road courses…

Hang on, Jazz is yelling from the other room…Oh yeah, back to the baby. In health news…..Overall, we are all doing well. Jasmine continues to experience infrequent mild fatigue especially if she doesn’t eat. So, we have been working together to monitor that, so that she is eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. She has been feeling the baby beginning to kick this week, however I have been unable to personally substantiate that, but can’t wait to feel Bosco myself. Our next appointment with the OB is next Tuesday which will be our 20th week check-up. We are also anticipating the scheduling of a Level 2 sonogram in the near future. This is an enhanced resolution sonogram which should tell the doctors a great deal more about the baby’s development and (we are hoping) the baby’s sex. Once again, we WILL be announcing the sex here on the blog so, please look for well marked warnings in advance of that announcement.

In this tough economy, for those of you looking for a nice freebie, Babies R Us is giving out one free BAP free baby bottle with each new baby registry while at Buy Buy Baby you can score a comp pack of grape scented (I’m SO not making this up…) “booger wipes”!

At the top of our show, I mentioned visits from Pearl Jam and Coldplay and now, HE’RE THEY ARE! Sort of…Mike McCready, Pearl Jam guitarist, suffers from Crohn’s Disease and has become an outspoken advocate for Restroom Access Laws (near and dear to pregnant families, also) in the band’s hometown of Seattle, Washington which has caused me to take an interest as well. For more information on this important issue, check out this link which also contains footage of Mike on a local Seattle TV show being interviewed:

And NOW! It’s Coldplay! (again, sort of…) While waiting for Jazz in the dentist’s office this week, I read a short article that Coldplay released a new live album last month called “LeftRightLeftRightLeft”. The best part is…IT’S FREE! Just go to, click on the butterfly on the top of the page, give them your email address and it’s yours.

Well that’s all for this week! Happy Father’s Day to all of the Dad’s out there and everyone, please keep the comments, support and of course, the love coming and we hope that you all keep safe and eat your green vegetables! Tune in next week where you’ll read about the next OB visit, the tackiest lamp ever made by man and a new feature called “The Rundown”! Thanks again for stopping by, we’re glad you’re here. Whew, I did it! “The Hardest Post” is done!


  1. Roberto, you are too funny. But seriously, look up the word CONCISION. Oh my. I think you need a separate blog for your commentary on world happenings, current events, and news of the weird.

    Don't worry,Bosco, Auntie Alex will save you--you'll like Vegas, I promise...

  2. Don't worry, honey, you are going to be LEGENDARY when Bosco says, "Dad, make up a story!"

  3. Jesus Christ! I feel like I just drank from the firehose. BTW, I also have no "out gas emissions" no matter what my wife says about me.

  4. Who knew pregnancy, Nascar, and hockey could be so similar!? Just one point of historical clarification...when Jasmine was still Bosco, she was riding around in Sammy Subaru...who then got traded for Clara Corolla, who then was traded for Bosco Bus on Jasmine's first birthday...I have a list of all the family car names if it fits into the blog:)