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Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Year in Review

As we move into the third cycle of Psychotoddler, I thought I’d do a “Year in Review” post. But I’m going to start it a little more than a year ago, to pick up after Psychotoddler 102. Feel free to read that one and Psychotoddler 101 if you want to experience me in my “angry young man” phase. This past year saw many interesting posts (you may want to set some time aside for this):


Not surprisingly (given the title of this blog), the topic with the largest amount of memorable posts has to do with my kids. Many of you identified with the post about the quintessential psycho-toddler who gets stuck on something and can’t shake loose. A first driving lesson with daughter fudge yields painfully hilarious results.

I’ve left comments around the J-blogosphere about my conviction that a Jewish education is vital for perpetuation of our people, but in this post, I try to sum up just what it is I want that education to provide.

A trip to the photography studio is always good for high blood pressure and stomach acid, especially when you try to get six children to smile at the same time. However, the resultant pictures give me a good excuse to come up with handy blog-names for my kids. In the end, however, I decide that kids look their best at the age of four.

In October, The PT reminded us why she’s the Melodrama Queen of the blogosphere. Finally, in February I discovered the wonders of Google Video, which allowed for the posting of this vintage PT Clan Movie, the first of many, and paved the way for this little gem.


I wrote surprisingly little about Judaism during the past year, or little that was good, at any rate. Desperate to come up with SOMETHING related to the Holidays, I finally concocted this post justifying my choice of Machzor (Holiday Prayer Book). With pictures! I also came clean about my difficulty with learning Talmud. Despite this, I managed to make and videotape a siyum on Masechet Bava Kamma. And to highlight my sense of inadequacy, I lamented never becoming the Baal Koreh I thought I would become.


It wouldn’t be Psycho Toddler without a bunch of self-promotional posts regarding my music! A big one for me (but maybe not for you) was this one describing the various bass guitars that I have owned. Last August, I wrote a song inspired by Hurricane Katrina.

Shlock Rock came to town in November, allowing me to post some video and proclaim people who help me shlep my stuff to be the ultimate mentches. Speaking of video, I reached back into the vault again to find this adorable video of daughter Iguana, then age 5, singing Louis Armstrong’s “ What a Wonderful World.” Take two was even better. This one touched more than a few heart-strings.

Summer came and I had a major gig at Summerfest “opening” for Foreigner. My daughter fudge managed to capture a side of this Prima Donna that you don’t always see in this behind-the-scenes clip from the dressing room. Many songs were also posted, too many to list here, so you may just want to peruse the archive for July 2006, but these two were my favorites.

Finally, a post that was overshadowed by some very sad events which followed, but at the time Doctor Bean and I thought this was pretty clever: I Got Your Blog.


Psychotoddler is a Gadget King! Do you doubt me?

Read on about how I agonize over where to put yet another device on my Bat-Utility Belt! Yes, I still pine to THIS DAY for the Wide Screen HDTV of my dreams. Too bad the people I care about most are CONSPIRING AGAINST my ever getting one. Do they understand me so little? Do they think I will be appeased with a measly new cell phone??

And, believe it or not, every day I still get more than a few hits on this post about Sabbath Mode Ovens (oops, I guess this one will get hits now too).


I started this blog for kvetchin’, and kvetchin’ I did aplenty!

First, for no apparent reason, I complained about speeches at Jewish Events. If I had a pulpit, I’d probably make a speech denouncing speeches! And I’d be more than happy to tell each and every one of you why I hate speeches, except, I’m sorry, I can’t remember who you are! I’d like to blame it on too much medication from my dental exam, but more likely it’s because I’m preoccupied trying to figure out how to pay for my kids’ education.

But why should I bother telling my opinions in person to people I actually know, when I can blurt them out loudly in public places to complete strangers! While I’m at it, why don’t I just yell into my new cell phone at the auto show and tell the world about how sad it is that a middle aged doctor like me can’t afford the sports car he’s been dreaming about getting since he was 2 years old!

Yes, this world is patently unfair. And when I say “patently unfair,” I mean it in the “I don’t really know what patently means in this context but it sounds like it usually goes before the word unfair” way. If I were elected to Congress, I’d change the World. And I’d start with Immigration Policy Reform. But that sounds like, y’know, a lot of work.

Illness and Death

In all seriousness, this has been a bad year for me and my family. I began writing last year about my father’s illness. In November, I traveled to New York to see him. I went back in January. It was the last time I ever saw him.

He passed away in May, and my friend Doctor Bean was kind enough to announce this on the blog. I was touched by the number of well-wishes that were left. I also heard from and received shiva calls from many bloggers, and not always whom I expected. I heard many interesting stories during my stay with my mother and sisters, and wrote one up a little while later. My life has changed dramatically since then. I’ve begun to pay attention to things that I’d ignored in the past, like the wall of memorial plaques near my seat in shul.


If there’s one thing that bloggers like to write about, it’s blogging. And bloggers. And blogs. I guess that’s more than one thing. Isn’t it interesting that blogger’s spellchecker never recognizes the word blog?

I wrote about the dual identities that bloggers develop, and compared them to superheros (we are, aren’t we)? When a blogger who is very close to me got “outed” in the real world, leading to much embarrassment and anguish, I admonished the perpetrator that what happens in the blogosphere stays in the blogoshere. I launched a new group blog. I fantasized about one of my favorite bloggers meeting my wife for lunch, and the embarrassment that it would likely cause for me.

Speaking of embarrassment, don’t you hate it when you show up for a chat and someone is wearing the same avatar? Once again having nothing to say about the Holidays, I mixed Passover and Star Wars and came up with the story of the Four Bloggers.

Bloggers also obsess about meeting other bloggers. Why is not entirely clear. HINT: YOU CAN MEET REAL PEOPLE ANYTIME YOU WANT. IT’S CALLED “GOING OUTSIDE.” When that fails, you can try to arrange a transcontinental meeting of Orthodox Jewish Blogging Physicians.

Finally, proving once and for all why I have no life and neither do any of the people I’m related to, I posted a list of at least ten people who are first or second degree relatives who blog. Which is already out of date since Curly started his.


There was a time when hearing about and seeing pictures of people’s vacations was considered cruel and unusual punishment. That time was before blogs! Because if it’s on the internet, by definition, somebody wants to read it!

So you read eagerly about my family’s trip to New York last year. I gotta admit. I still go back and read it. And in all seriousness, I wish I had done this for my other vacations, because it’s a great way to remember them (stay tuned in October, hint hint).

In December, Mrs. B and I went to LA to meet the Bean Clan, and we had a great time, and generated 15 different posts. This was definitely one of them. Doctor Bean and I fought the Healthcare Battle so you don’t have to.

And more recently, the PT Clan took a trip to Minneapolis, on the way to which we encountered THE EXPLODING TOILET.


There are a number of posts in which I describe conversations with various members of my family, but I think if you really want to understand how screwed up I am, you need to examine the relationship between my mother and her Aunt Boba, as well as my other Polish relatives.

BTW everyone has Polish Relatives ™. They just aren’t all from Poland.


Cro Magnon Man made his debut last year, a stand-in for the Middle-Aged cranky caveman in all of us. CMM proved to be a popular character, and went on to do a review of King Kong and to describe his grooming habits in excruciating detail. He was featured in a pictorial over Purim. Little known fact: CMM was born in a series of emails between myself, Mrs. Balabusta, Doctor Bean and his wife Ball-and-Chain, in which Mrs. B stated that only a Cro Magnon Man would invite dinner guests to someone else’s house, which is of course what I was trying to do.

For some reason that now seems obscure even to me, Sean Connery did a guest post, too. I also had a guest-post by PsychoBarbarian (who was not officially named at the time). We later learned that PB has a regular Backgammon game with CMM.


Comedy comes from the most mundane sources. Is it funny to go through the contents of your wallet? Does food poisoning make you guffaw until you lose your lunch? Do you prefer high-brow humor or are you satisfied with a string of four-letter words? You decide(d). And you laughed.

Last year I also received my own authentic (unpronounceable) Indian name. I also explained why December 25th is so special to me. A trip to the Chicago Field Museum led to a kvetchy post. Finally, in the TMI department, I described the horribly wrong thing in the new work bathroom.

Tata till next year's roundup!


Kiwi the Geek said...

I don't know how I missed the one about the family photo, but I feel so much better knowing that my kid isn't the only one who doesn't smile normally!

essie said...

Terrific roundup! Gmar Chatima Tova.

PsychoToddler said...

What's nice is that this isn't just a review of what I've written--your comments are in there too--and they're great!

Also, it's a good idea to right-click on the links and choose "open in a new window" to make it easier to go back and forth.

Doctor Bean said...


Very very strong work. I wish all of you a year of much more laughter about inane stuff, and much much less grief.

PS: if you want to learn the HTML for making a link automatically open in a new window even if you regular-click on it, let me know. I think I can find it easily.

It seems like just last week I taught you to write your first link in a comment. *sniff* [wipes a tear humming the music from "sunrise sunset"] Now you're doing links to different sections of your posts. I'M SOOO PROUUUUD OF YOUUUUU!!!!

socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Great round up, gmar chasima tova.

PsychoToddler said...

The code is "target=_blank" I believe. I'd have to put this manually in every link (damn blogger!) so it would be a big job, but I'll see if I can get around to it.

kasamba said...

OMG!!! You were really busy this year!!!
Well done!
G'mar Chasima Tova!

Doctor Bean said...

I just appreciated now that you've actually got a bulletted list of links to the sections in the post. You are soooo cool with the HTML skilz.

orieyenta said...

I love it!

G'mar hatima tova.

Neil said...

Will there be more kvetching this year? Those were always my favorites!

PsychoToddler said...

Neil: the way things are going, I don't think I have any choice.

I've fixed the links so they'll all open in new windows.

Yes, thank me later.

ifuncused said...

Great overview of the year.
May this year be a better year.
Kol Tuv.

Nati said...

You've left me with enough reading material to keep me out of the library on Vleigh Place indefinitely - a good thing, since Main Street is overrun with probably every boy betw the age of 12 and 19 selling lulav & etrog sets. The Hillcrest Library is closed for renovations - is it possible that I saw your mom at Vleigh? Chag Sameach!

PsychoToddler said...

Nati: You're certainly welcome to print it out to read over the holiday. The library on Jewel and Parsons (is that it) is closed? Near the old bowling alley and across from Elechester?

You may very well have seen my mom at Vleigh. She's going through the memoirs of all the movie stars of the 50's.