Streets of Fire

Some things written by Jeff Kelley, a man in Richmond, Va. He likes aircraft carriers but doesn't really know the intricacies of them (weight, length, etc.)


Our daughter has a prominent birthmark on the top of her head, toward the rear of the parietal bone which makes me sound smart but in fact I just Googled before I finished this sentence. Prior to stepping into the dad role on Christmas Eve, I never really paid any attention to birthmarks and figured most birthmarks were brown spots on the skin or whatever. Nora’s birthmark, however, is a rather bulbous round red dot about the size if a dime. It’s completely harmless and will not only de-bulbify and disappear, but any trace would eventually be covered up by hair. My daughter is still adorable, is what I’m trying to say.

Most people consider her birthmark to be cute, particularly family and friends or those who are aware that the red thing is a birthmark. But sure, I certainly see how some folks would see the mark as unsightly or perhaps come to the conclusion that something is wrong. Outside of the birthmark, if anyone looks at my dear daughter and sees anything they want to criticize, well, may they die painfully in the fieriest of fires, and may their ashes be re-burned for good measure and their urn driven over by a taxi, and in that cab are six sumo wrestlers to add to the vehicle’s weight in order to ensure that the urn is crushed to tiny, irreparable bits.

I recall being on an airplane a few years ago and seeing a newborn with a red birthmark on the top of her head, but knowing nothing about babies at the time - and also having burned through a few of those tiny Smirnoffs that Delta sells for $8 a pop - thought the worst for the child. “Those poor parents must have gone through hell having a daughter with cancer or a tumor or whatever,” I thought then. I may have even nodded at the guy on the way off the plane as a show of solidarity for his daughter who, ultimately, I now know was completley fine. Looking back, he may have thought I was hitting on him, which I wasn’t, but that would certainly make for a humorous plotline in a romantic comedy (“Guy A meets Guy B due to birthmark on Guy B’s daughter’s head”).


Welcome to my House of Cards recap blog where I discuss what happened in the previous show, only I don’t really understand what is going on in this TV program so I do the best job I can.

In the previous episode, several politician types, one of whom was black, were in an office mentioning a lot of names and talking about political topics, I think. The president, who may have actually been the vice president, was also there. Outside of “Frank,” who is played by Kevin Spacey, I don’t know any of their names because there are a lot of names mentioned in the show, and I was on Instagram during most of the scene and sort of paying attention in the background because the show is really hard to follow. Frank wants to be powerful, and already is powerful. To gain more power, he does a lot of manipulating mostly during meetings that contain heavy dialogue. One of his powers, for example, is that he talks to the camera, but only us audience members can see that. The people on the show have no idea Frank is talking to us, possibly because they are on Instagram and not paying attention.

There was also a part about a commission, or the commission, or several commissions. They might have said “committee,” or perhaps both. These subjects were very important to the plot line.

A reporter texted Kevin Spacey. She was the same reporter whose sister was in Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and who I always hope to see naked on the show, but she only does partial nudity. There was also a prostitute part and she was pretty hot too and I think she has something to do with a congressman who drinks heavily in most episodes. He has clearly done something bad and I hope they will come back to this story arc in a later episode so that I can try to understand it better.

At one point there is discussion of a bill that is going through Congress or maybe it’s the House of Representatives. Or are those the same thing? One of the people talking about the bill said he was a senator if that makes a difference.

I am fairly certain that Kevin Spacey’s wife, Claire (sp?), is evil although in this episode you could totally tell that she has a nice side. She is a little bit of both good and evil. I think that she is very much symbolic of the Bible, or even God/Christ or the Virgin Mary, or Mary Magdeline. Claire also works with a clean water group, which, total Biblical reference there I’m sure. She and Frank (if I’ve lost you, that’s Kevin Spacey’s character) have no children and a cool house in the city, which I am like 98 percent sure is Washington although one can’t rule out nearby Arlington, Alexandria, or Bethesda.

The opening credits that feature Washington are pretty neat, and I even recognized a few locations as I try to make it up to D.C. once a month or so. Please return to my next blog for my recap of Episode 11 which I will probably watch because society claims I am supposed to enjoy House of Cards even though I’d much rather watch cartoons.


If I had a nickel for every time I lost a twist-tie from a loaf of bread, well, I would still probably only have like four or five bucks. The point is, I lose twist-ties all the time, but not enough to buy a car or anything like that.

I could probably buy a sandwich with all the money I’d make from a lifetime of losing twist-ties, but part of the reason I buy bread is so I don’t have to buy sandwiches by making them myself. Plus, an entire lifetime would be a long time to save up for only one sandwich, and there are far better ways to earn lunch money than by losing twist-ties. In conclusion, losing twist-ties is not a sound investment but selling methamphetamine is.

Invention Idea

So you know how baby monitors allow parents to listen in on their child from a couple rooms away? As a parent, you can go about your evening of watching Inside Edition and eating chips and still hear everything the baby is doing a few rooms over. If the baby starts crying or needs a diaper change or whatever causes babies to cry (sadness over inability to eat chips?), parents can attend to their kid, or of course choose to ignore the child. Look, this isn’t a piece about how to raise a child, you’re on your own for that. No no: this is a piece about innovation.

The problem is that baby monitors are one-way communicators: the baby can’t hear you, and I’ve found this out because I have screamed into baby monitors and the kid can’t legitimately hear anything, unless I am in close proximity to the nursery and the baby simply hears me screaming until I am red in the face. The other thing is that our baby is really young and doesn’t really react to sound or screams.

The other day it occurs to me that you could take the baby monitor product one step further: allow the baby to hear you. As in two-way communication. That way, you can talk to the child, and the child can respond back. This may even allow you to continue watching Inside Edition and eating your chips because you’d hear the kid rustling around but be like “Hey kid are you okay or do I need to come in there and change your diaper or feed you since you are incapable of doing anything for yourself?” and then your baby is all “Yeah Ma I’m fine, leave me alone, just need to roll around and cry a little bit.” Now you’ve just had a conversation with your baby through a machine, all while continuing to watch your favorite syndicated newsmagazine - not to mention television’s longest-running, top-rated, and most honored.

Now that you’ve got the concept of the two-way baby monitor, let’s take another giant leap forward - and bare with me because I am about to either blow your mind or completely lose you with all this future-speak. We take the two-way baby monitor idea, pull it out of the infant market, and expand it to general consumers. Boom! Suddenly you have a system that allows two people to converse by talking into little machines to one another.

With the proper technology infrastructure in place, you create a system whereby two people can speak to one another over long-range distances. Perhaps they discuss Inside Edition's hard-hitting investigations, exclusive newsmaker interviews and incisive human-interest stories, as well as celebrity and pop culture features. Or simply chip varieties, and why dill is suddenly popping up everywhere. Topic of discussion doesn't really matter; the point is, they can talk to one another through a machine

Of course, at first we would have to test out the technology by talking into the monitors from one room to another room in a house. Then the first guy walks across the street while the second guy stays back in the house. They go back and forth until the first guy walks as far as he can while still hearing the second guy’s voice on the other end. Depends on how far the signal carries. Perhaps the first guy walks upwards of one mile, and someday in the hopefully not-too-distant future, you could talk to someone through the baby monitor at a range of up to 10 or even 20 miles. 

I will likely need to hire an engineer, as well as someone who specializes in walking long distances.

Now I know you’re thinking: “Jeff, clearly you have not thought about the fact that many baby monitors today allow parents to watch their kids on video, not just audio.” Well, as an innovator, let me say that I am one step ahead of you. Imagine being able to chat over video to another person, even if they are all the way across town! Definitely part of my invention plan, although likely a third or fourth version of it. 

In time, you may also be able to record that video conversation, or snap photos of the other person. Again, this is Star Trek-like stuff so I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

Surely my idea has limitations. As an innovator, I understand that. Baby monitors require being plugged into an electrical outlet to operate, so you would only be able to use my concept in places with access to a power source. I would definitely sell an inexpensive cord-lengthener to allow people to use their communicator far away from power outlets; still, it’s not like you will ever be able to walk down the street talking into an adult version of a baby monitor. 

Also, if this idea is going to be adopted by the masses, I’ll need to figure out a way for people to communicate with a particular device. Maybe this means giving each baby monitor its own numerical or alphabetic code. Then if you want to call a specific person, you simply “dial” that person’s code to reach them. And now that I think about it, say you regularly talk to multiple people, you may therefore have multiple codes to manage. Hopefully people will be smart enough to store the codes in a safe place. 

Anyway, clearly some work to be done on my concept but I am hopeful that it has legs. I’ve shared my idea with a few people and to be honest most think I’m an idiot. But I’ve read the books about entrepreneurism and learned that it’s important to press on when people try to detract you. This idea is worth at least two million dollars and I can’t believe no one has thought of it.

Or is it “distract” you? Is “detract” a word? Detact. Detract. Detach?

Friend Texts Photo Of His Dented Fender

  • Friend: I will find who put this ding in my fender and then I will kill their family while they watch.
  • Me: From a financial and general personal reputation-slash-morality standpoint, I would recommend paying for the damage yourself, frustrating as that may be. Killing an entire family - particularly while the family member who dented your car watches on - will have severe legal, monetary, and ethical repercussions that far outweigh the cash cost of repairing a fender. Anyway, something to think about.
  • Friend: I think you're underestimating how good I am at killing an entire family without anyone finding out.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

One reason I like Super Bowl Sunday is because it is the one day each year where I allow myself to eat buffalo chicken dip, the latest dip format to hit the $6 billion chip-lubrication industry during the past decade.

Developed by dip scientist-chefs who trained in Paris and who were loaded off Miller Genuine Draft before deciding to combine their two favorite food groups, the creamy concoction involves a cream cheese base along with shredded chicken breast and like six tubs of hot sauce, and probably butter and a few other ingredients that I’m unaware of. Mix together and eat with Fritos. You could certainly use Tostitos or Doritos or any of the -os suffixed chip brands, but I prefer the Frit variety.

I’ve never actually made buffalo chicken dip but everyone knows I am a super fan. Since we are close friends, I told the hostess at the party house tonight that while I didn’t want to impose, and that it was gracious of them to have people over, if she didn’t make her buffalo chicken dip recipe I would never fucking talk to her again. I was sure to drop the f-bomb in there for added effect to let her know I was absolutely serious about my dip wishes, as she makes the best fucking buffalo chicken dip of anyone I know. SBS is my one day a year to eat BCD and I couldn’t take any risks in having it not be present at tonight’s SBP.

When I think back on it however, I realize Super Bowl Sunday isn’t my first rodeo this year; “rodeo” being an idiom meaning events this year where I’ve eaten buffalo chicken dip. I suppose I could have just come out and said so in that way, as some readers may have gotten confused and believe that I think the Super Bowl involves cowboys riding bucking bulls (or broncos, ha!) or that I somehow attended a rodeo this year where food vendors served buffalo chicken dip. Buffalo chicken dip would be an awesome food to eat during a rodeo, though, no question, because I went to one once and it was pretty cool. The cowboys poured kerosene all over the sandy rodeo arena floor or whatever it’s called, in the shape of a cowboy hat, and then lit it on fire. It was so rad, in part because we were loaded off Miller Genuine Draft, but I have to imagine the experience would have been heightened even more with the presence of buffalo chicken dip. Anyway, to be clear: I am not talking about rodeos. I am also going to write the word “seahawks” right here since I used the other team’s name above and I don’t want to come across as biased.

Other “rodeos” this year: I requested a Golden Globes edition buffalo chicken dip a few weeks back for the eponymous awards show (have not seen American Hustle but have heard mixed reviews and the dip that evening was outstanding); ate all the leftovers during the following week; then had a Golden Globes II edition buffalo chicken dip whipped up last weekend for the Grammys (that Imagine Dragons performance was dope as was the dip).

I also ate buffalo chicken dip during Christmas and New Year’s along with each of their respective Eves, and I reckon you could also count Thanksgiving, which, despite not having an officially recognized Eve it did not stop me from eating my favorite dip then, only we substituted chicken for turkey and Christ’s birthday for one of those harvest cone things with all the fruits and vegetables pouring out of it.

Or is it “substitute turkey for chicken?”

Buffalo chicken dip also made an appearance during 2013’s Halloween, Labor Day, beach week, Memorial day, Father’s and Mother’s days, and Easter. At any given time, there are no less than six one-gallon tubs of buffalo chicken dip in my freezer prepared for when I might need it, such as when a rodeo is on television, or if I ever go to a rodeo since it is unlikely the food vendors will serve it. If I ever get to American Hustle in theaters, or go to an Imagine Dragons concert, I will likely bring a small Tupperware container of buffalo chicken dip and a bag of Fritos to enjoy during the show.

In the end, I guess you could say that Super Bowl Sunday isn’t the only day I eat buffalo chicken dip, today is not my first rodeo, I’ve been to one actual rodeo in my life, and today is not much more unique than any other day except that there is a major football game on TV tonight and my favorite dip will be present. It also occurs to me that I never reminded the hostess to buy fucking Fritos. I have to hold out hope that she remembered; after all, this isn’t her first rodeo.


On a recent trip to Boulder, Colo., I remarked to a friend about the sheer number of Subarus driving around with kayaks or other forms of outdoor gear strapped to the roof racks. “This place cool and all but just completely filled with earthy types,” I said.

And as soon as I said it, I realized what I was saying. You see, not only did I buy a kayak a few weeks earlier, but I bought one in part because, months before that, my wife got a Subaru Outback with a roof rack able to hold all of our outdoor gear.

Then I saw a small Cape Cod for sale, the size of my house in Virginia. I Zillowed it, and wouldn’t you know, it was seven times what we paid for ours. The place is cool and all but just completely filled with really super rich earthy types.

Watching Captain Phillips

  • Her: "If I was ever captured by Somali pirates, would they send the whole Navy like they did for him?"
  • Me: "I think you mean 'when' you are captured."

Concordia movie (a synopsis)


Here’s what I’ve got thus far on my script for Concordia, the movie about the doomed cruise liner in Italy, due out Summer 2013.

So this dude, Giampiero Consigliere, is just nailing this hot chick. This goes on for about seven minutes before the opening credits start. There is graphic nudity. “Walt Disney Pictures Presents.”

I was bored and going back through my own Archives (I am a selfish prick), then came across this. It made me laugh, so I’m sharing it again.