The Breakfast Inequality

I grew up in a family that could cook. My mom, my dad, they could both throw down in the kitchen. All of my other 7 brothers and sisters can as well. Sundays were usually my dad making us pancakes and bacon, waffles, eggs you name it. He’d have the griddle going, dish towel draped over his shoulder, singing the same two lines to the same Italian song, and giving my sister Mary Grace the same joke when she appeared in the kitchen; “Mary Grace Mary Grace, all the chickens are having a race.”

I can still hear my dad giving me the business because I always asked for fried eggs when he was making scrambled, then I would cut the fried eggs up to minuscule bits. He would go nuts. “There is no difference between that and a scrambled egg!” Yes dad yes there is. The yoke is different when it’s fried compared to it being scrambled. It does make the egg taste different. It does, I’m tellin ya!

That was breakfast at our house way back when. Much more way back, much more when.

Adam & Eve on a raft! Wreck em!

Adam & Eve on a raft! Wreck em!

Basically by osmosis I learned to cook too. Not so much a wannabe chef as I am a short order cook in the style Vic Tayback from Mel’s diner. Turns out it was good training for having kids. The day both kids agree on what they want for breakfast is the day humanity achieves the singularity, and thus signals the end of humanity. Who knew pancakes vs waffles could be so pivotal.

Anyway, with school starting the tables have turned a bit. No surprise here, Anne Marie is the beneficiary of the breakfast inequality.

With Frank having to be at the bus stop by 7:00am coupled with his desire to sleep till 8:00 am, his breakfast options are limited. Many was the day that me and some of my familial tribe ran out the door as my brother screeched, “Bus is at the corner!” with nothing more than a pop-tart in our hands. By the way, the bus was NEVER at the corner.

I’m not too concerned that Frank is retracing the path of some of his tribe. He’s a cinnamon iced pop-tart man like we were. There are times he’ll  sleep-eat his way though a yogurt or cereal. It’s those moments that make me proud of my parental skills. Yogurt, hell that almost makes him a health food nut job.

Both eating cereal at the same time. Holy cow!

Both eating cereal at the same time. Holy cow!

The inequality comes in after Frank gets on the bus at 7:05. Anne Marie doesn’t have to be to school until 9:00. And she is much more demanding and short on humor at that hour.

“Daddy I’m hungry!”

Well miss hungry what do you want?

“I’m not miss hungry! I’m Anne Marie Linardo!”

Yes I’m aware. What would you like to eat Anne Maire Linardo?

“Can I have eggs and sauseeeeeege daddy?”

No sauseeeege today. Just bacon.


And so it goes. In minutes the bacon is sizzlin and the eggs are being cracked. Then the request. “Daddy can I have cinnamon toast while I wait for my pancakes?”

You asked for eggs Anne Marie.

“But I want pancakes!”

Sorry the cook does not recognize the phrase “I want.” And your tone will get you back in your room. Try again.

“Daddy can I please have pancakes?”

See I am the king of my domain. Sort of. OK I guess I’m eating eggs and she’s having pancakes I’m about to start making. Either way she’s eating much better than Frank. And when I say better I am in no way speaking of nutritional value. I never consider nutritional value. All I’m saying is a dry pop-tart can’t really compare to pancakes and Benton’s bacon with a side of eat while you wait cinnamon toast.

Sometimes I wonder what will happen if and when Frank stumbles across this blog in a few years. Don’t think for a second I’m not trying to figure a way to blame this all on her. I know she’ll do the same to me.

Order up!





September 11th 2015

“Everybody’s shot! … let’s go!”

The quote is from the movie Black Hawk Down. After receiving an order, a young private looks at his Colonel in disbelief and says, “But I’m shot.” The Colonel returns that now famous line.

I remember a writer, in the Philadelphia Inquirer I think, using that line as a metaphor for September 11th. I won’t be able to do it justice here. So I’ll just steal his idea and pile my own words around it.

We remember this day for a lot of reasons. Face Book lights up with various pictures. Several channels replay the events, some like MSNBC play it real time. President Bush’s then press secretary Ari Fleischer tweets the events in real time. He starts with the closing hours of his day on September 10th and then picks up when he woke up on September 11th 2001. It’s compelling. Find his twitter feed here: @AriFleischer

September 11th 2001 might be the singular most horrible day in the history of all of us who lived through it. So why do we relight the flame as it were? Why do we drudge up the memories of such a frightful event? Why are people, like me, hooked on watching all the news coverage over and over again on this day, now 14 years removed from the actual event?

Well, I’m not sure exactly but I think it’s because we all were shot on that day of days.

Me, I was hold up at the Noncomissioned Officers Academy in Knoxville Tennessee, as were a bunch of my friends, watching and not believing. Honestly we didn’t know it then, but we were not in harms way. Safely huddled around a TV, watching and not believing. We didn’t know it then, but we were all shot on that day. It’s important to accept that, to realize that. This wasn’t confined to New York, the Pentagon, or Shanksville. We were all shot on that day. So we remember.

The second part of the Colonel’s response is just as important. Let’s Go! I know you’re shot. I’m shot, she’s shot, everybody’s shot! Let’s go, keep going. Let’s get on with getting on.

And we have gotten on with it, on with recovery, on with life again. Obviously there are some amazing stories of triumph on and since that day. So, we remember. We remember as low as we sank, as high as we climbed, and that life did get on with it. And so did we.


Knowing that makes it safe to remember.



What do you remember most from that day of days?









Soccer, Piano, & Scouts: Oh My!

Tis the season. The season to overload the boy in any way imaginable. Let me be clear on this, and I mean actually clear, not presidential candidate clear. I’m all for extra curricular activities. I wish I had done more and been interested more as a kid. My laziness has been well documented here. My hope is against all odds the kids won’t be.

So I’m glad Frank is showing interest in things other than the iPad or his favorite show on TV. But we’ve gone from his father being a lazy, least resistance path taker to let’s join everything. I got tired just typing that sentence. It’s not just joining so many things at once, it’s what he’s joining.

I mean soccer I get. Me and the runt (my 3yr old daughter) have become hooked on Premier League Football. Go Arsenal! Sometimes Frank will watch with us for a bit and that may have encouraged he renewed interest in playing. I dig it.

Piano was not something I would have thought interested him. Grammy has a piano and he bangs on that once in a while. But that sounds more like a very cheap vase breaking as it bounces down the stairwell of a parking garage than anything resembling music. However, having said that, the kid has an aptitude with math. As it turns out kids good with one can be easily drawn to the other. Plus the piano teacher has a son a year or two older and Frank busted through the door after his first lesson yapping about making a new friend.

So victory on day one of piano. My back is already breaking when I think of the next logical step in the piano learning of my oldest spawn. Oh, if you’ve read this blog at all you know what’s coming. I imagine I won’t even be notified by management until the damn thing needs to be moved into the house. Frank’s next door buddy got drums for Christmas, so maybe there is a garage band in our hood’s future once the piano arrives.

Of course I’m not sure when he’ll have time to play since it appears we’ll be camping and helping old people and selling popcorn marked up at astoundingly high prices. That’s right the boy is in scouting. Cub Scouts to be exact, he’s a Tiger in Den 1.

I absolutely cannot believe I just typed that last sentence with a straight face, devoid of snark.

So yeah, scouting. Needless to say I was never a cub scout, weeblo, boy scout or what have you. To be honest I don’t know much other than their popcorn prices make the girl scout cookies seem like a fire sale. I have no issue with scouts in general. I’m just surprised how excited he was/is about it.

That's a good looking Scout right there.

That’s a good looking Scout right there.

Apparently the head shed of the Great Smokey Mountain Council went to Frank’s school and pitched to all the classes. Well this guy must be a great salesman cause Frank ran home from the bus waving his sign up form. Again he was yammering about bow & arrow, BB Guns, and camping. Only golf used to get him that excited.

My only issue at that moment was how much after school stuff he had going on, but no way I was going to throw a wet blanket on his excitement. Not overly thrilled about his excitement to shoot guns, BB or other wise. And yes I was in the military for 22 years and was trained and qualified to use a gun, the M-16 automatic rifle to be exact. I’m glad I never had to pull the trigger other than when I was required to qualify.

If he develops a love of guns through this I guess I’ll just appreciate all the safety they’ll teach him first. Ultimately that’s not even the big deal. The bigger deal is he’s only in 1st grade so that means I have to go with him to den and pack meetings and of course the big enchilada – camping trips.

Again let me remind you, I was in the Air Force. I went to Central America for the drug wars of the 1990’s. For the final two of those years I had my own room. I had a TV, a fridge, a phone. I had maid service and I ain’t ashamed of it. If it wasn’t for the blazing heat I probably would have gained weight.

All that to say this, dirt sleeping in the “wild” ain’t my idea of a trip. Hot dogs on a whittled stick over a fire ain’t my idea of dinner. The only fire I want to see is the one lightly licking my rib eye steak, bringing it to a medium rare perfection. Are cub scouts even allowed to eat steak?

Sharpie McSharpton

Sharpie McSharpton

Still I’ve never seen the kid so excited about anything. He was even stoked about the uniform. Anytime we get him some nice clothes he takes one look and gives us the stink eye, “I don’t want to wear that.” Not with his cub scout uniform. He couldn’t wait to try that on.

Of course that explains this little piece of art work to the left.

I wasn’t sure what he was thinking here. When I realized his age group is referred to as Tigers in the Scouts it all started to make sense. Sort of.

Gonna need a little work to earn the face painting badge I think.