Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resolving to Wake Up

28 clever quips
When it comes to New Year's resolutions, I usually keep it simple.

Try more new things.

Floss more often.

Avoid plotting the downfall and misery of others who have achieved far greater, yet undeserved, success.

But I've been kind of stumped for 2009.

Prevent myself from becoming a fashion intervention victim on "What Not to Wear"? (Luckily, Stacey and Clinton don't seem to bother with guys much any more.)

Re-learn my signature so something beyond the first initial is legible? (I blame those scan and sign credit card readers at the checkout for this development over the years.)

Master "Louie, Louie" on as many instruments as possible? (That'll teach you for never giving me proper music lessons, Mom!)

I'm open to suggestions.

However, there is one thing I need to do.

I'm half way past 40 and a day hardly goes by that I don't wonder who I am and what I'm doing with myself. My life is good in many, many ways -- I can count at least four of them that live under this roof with me -- but admit to not thinking beyond the next morning, beer or paragraph most times.

No one's ever accused me of being a strategic thinker and I've been fine with that. I've always been one who prefers to do more than devise a master plan, a fact My Love can verify based on my attempts at home repair. But I think I've reached that point where, unless I unlock what I've got hiding inside somewhere and follow it, I'm just going to continue to be rather than live.

So, in 2009, someway, somehow, I need to uncover what's sleeping in my soul.

I just hope it's not a bear.

Or a pissed Gallagher brother.

Take me home, boys.


Video: "Acquiesce," Oasis

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Game Boy

16 clever quips
The note from Santa was printed, signed and ready for hand delivery, but not a peep was raised about puppies, turtles or anything else that did NOT appear under the Christmas tree. After two days, I finally fed it to the shredder.

Lesson learned: Giving eight Nintendo DS games to two kids can save a life ... or at least this Dad's sanity. But I am worried about Thing 2's.

Outside of a few potty breaks and my convincing him to play a dozen rounds of Lazer Tag around the yard with me Christmas afternoon, this is all anyone has seen of our beloved 6-year-old since he ripped through all the paper and ribbons on Thursday morning:


In fact, My Love pointed out this morning that he is still wearing the same clothes he put on to play Lazer Tag ... three days ago.

The longest "conversation" he has held with us in that time was about how good Santa is at "Super Mario Bros."

"The box was open and I put the game in and it was already saved to Level 8! I've never gotten that high! Santa got it to Level 8 for me!" he said.

This is because Santa buys good little boys Nintendo DS games through Amazon.com -- used .

But I think I'll let the jolly ol' elf maintain his street cred with the boy. 'Tis the season.

Speaking of which, every time you vote for me at Humor-Blogs.com, an angel gets some.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Let 'Em Down Easy, Santa

16 clever quips
It is a few minutes past midnight as I start this, meaning I have at least 17 more hours to keep the kids away from any wayward white-bearded fat men in red suits.

Oh, I know what they want. I don't need chubby's help there. I just know he ain't bringing it.

Thing 1, my precious little girl who can't spell her way out of … well, anything that requires the spelling of "exit," has been banging at the computer since September. She typed up a meticulous Times Roman listing of the last three American Girl catalogs. Her ongoing Word document, at last glance, was up to 16 pages.

The other day, after finding a print out, I asked her to get a calculator. Add up the price of each item (which she dutifully listed, I should note) and let me know the total, I told her.

Her digits gave out by the third page.

Thing 2 took a simpler approach this year. (Normally, he takes scissors to any mail-order catalog or Sunday advertisements that feature toys that he sees and starts cutting ragged circles around indiscriminate items he "wants." The mounds of clippings are then stuffed into a manila envelope and tossed aside. One of us usually discovers it during spring-cleaning. )

This year, though, he declared all he wanted was a Target gift card.

For $100.

No, $200.

Uh-uh, $1,000.

It's all blurry now, but I think his last bid was $5,000.

Then there is the special request. The one the Things will make if they pay their annual homage to the Toy Dude.

"I need to tell him we want two turtles and a puppy," Thing 1 said to me as I stared vacantly into another simmering pot of rice pilaf for dinner.

It's not that don't sympathize. From preadolescence upward, I begged my parents for only two things every Christmas and every birthday: a 10-speed bike and a dog.

"You get a bike and next thing, you'll want a car" was my mom's standard reply to Option 1. Even after I got my first car.

Her message was usually less subtle, and much shorter, when the canine issue was raised. I always thought the look in her eyes was something akin to what men saw shortly before Medusa turned them to stone.

Needless to say, I ended up buying my own 10-speed when I was 22. I finally got a dog when I was married. Eight years later. And living in a different time zone.

Precious Things, it therefore tears me in so many different ways to read this note I found next to the stockings that you hung with care:

"Dear Little Uncools,

Even though you didn't come see me, don't think I haven't forgotten about you! I know you have your hearts set on me bringing your dog, Murphy, a blushing puppy bride and yourselves a little green floatable friend each.

You have both tried to be good. But trying isn't enough when it comes to pets. You both need to show you can take care of yourselves before you can take care of another life. For example, Thing 2, you'd be well advised to heed your father's words about brushing, wiping, showering and so on.

Thing 1, wipe off that smile, you can't remember to make your bed even though you have been offered cold, hard cash to do so. And I know you are all about the Benjamins.

It would help if you cared more for the pet you already have. Telling your father he needs to brush Murphy's fur, clean his teeth and the like, while showing you have management potential, is not actually caring for your dog.

Thing 1 -- feed him in the morning as well as at night. Take him out to play ball once in a while instead of watching another re-run of "Jon & Kate Plus 8." Thing 2 -- you gained valuable experience picking up after the horses and sheep in camp this past summer. Apply it daily in your own yard.

I'll be checking in on your progress in a few months. Meanwhile, please accept and enjoy these Nintendo DS games.

Your Friend,

Santa

P.S.: Mmmm - love those Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies!

P.P.S. : If you think you got screwed, check out these bozos on my naughty list."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Lose Weight: Empty Your Wallet Here

24 clever quips
My varsity baseball coach once told me you should be at your heaviest in the winter to help you stay warm. I'm not sure what his point was since he weighed about 320 year-round.

This holiday season, if you wish to maintain your slim, sexy svelte physique (c'mon, shake a tailfeather, honey … yeah, baby, like a bowl full of jelly) then you definitely should read my column in this month's Aetherial Relaxation Spa newsletter.

"Uncool," you say, "I've got presents to buy, cookies to bake, day laborers to hire to untangle those crappy icicle lights I bought on sale at Ace Hardware in 2004 so I can get them hung up on the gutters before frickin' Martin Luther King's Day arrives. Why should I click over to another Web site to read your column?"

I'm glad I had you ask.

First, Beth -- the world's most generous spa owner -- has agreed to donate $1 (up to $100) to the Cure JM Foundation for each unique visitor to my column. That money will help pay for some medical folks at Children's Memorial Research Center in Chicago to continue to look for a cure for juvenile dermatomyositis, the autoimmune disease Thing 1 has been dealing with for the past six years.

Second, my column (you'll click on it eventually) contains many great, simple tips for avoiding that holiday heft. As you expect, I unmercifully ridicule them all as being just the kind of phony baloney Dr. Phil-ish dribble that gives me periodic apoplexy.

Third, it's actually pretty funny. I mean, Beth laughed harder at it than she laughed the first time she saw me on the massage table naked. An assistant had to make her snort six bottles of lavender aromatherapy oil to mellow her out after that experience.

So go read my column. Please?

Still here? So am I. Could Match.com have done better than this?

I want to thank those of you who have been generous enough to contribute to or plug what we're doing with Cure JM Foundation. With your help, My Love and I have raised $20,000+ with a solid month left to find the last five grand to meet our goal (check the cool widget on the right of my blog home or our fundraising page for updates).

With few exceptions, most of you I know only through an e-mail address, blog URL or goofy nickname. Who the hell are you and why are you so good to my kid? Do you have a sister or maybe a cousin?

Seriously, and you know how hard it is for me to be serious, you're good eggs. A little cracked, maybe, but that makes me love you all the more. Perfection is boring; flaws are very sexy.

Shout-outs to:

All That Comes With It
Daisee579
DadCentric (for letting me write about my adventures with JM far too much)
Daily Piglet
Fairfield County Child
It’s My Life and I'll Blog if I Want To
Manager Mom (not dead, just not blogging)
MetroDad
Mediocrity Mockery (folks, always be nice to your temps)
Midwest Moms (PR is as good as money)
Mom of 2
Post Picket Fence
Saramerica
Seriously Mama
The FTF
Unmitigated (I saw your plug for BHJ, you sneak)

Special thanks to:

  • Anissa from Hope4Peyton: She's got a kid recovering from cancer and she still donated to me. May I dry clean your cape?
  • Anna from Life Just Keeps Getting Weirder: Out of the blue, you tossed not-so-funny money our way. I'll never rat you out to the Feds. Ever.
  • Kristine at Stamford Talk: One of the people who got me into blogging. My first commentor. A very generous donor ... on a teacher's salary, no less.

Finally, super extra non-sarcastic special thanks to Black Hockey Jesus of The Wind in Your Vagina. I goaded him into running the 13-mile half marathon in Carlsbad, Calif., next month on behalf of Thing 1. He responded by getting a mess of his readers -- who I'm sure fought suspicions of a major scam -- to donate more than $1,100 to date to support his fallen arches for the cause. Dude, Thing 1 has a special message for you:

If I failed to mention your generosity, I apologize. Drop me a line and I'll correct the wrong.

Or charge a few more bucks on your credit card at www.firstgiving.com/kmckeever. That'll teach me a lesson I won't forget.

And if you visit Humor-Blogs.com and vote for my posts, I'll untangle those icicle lights for you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bite Me, Jack Bauer!

20 clever quips
We returned from Nebraska with two zombies -- one moaning from strep throat (Thing 1) and another moaning every three seconds for another hit of Super Mario Brothers from his Nintendo DS (Thing 2).

The sickly state of our house, not to mention an unwieldy stack of unfinished Christmas cards on the kitchen counter, made My Love unusually eager to escape onto another plane, this time to fly overseas on business. However, for such a detail-oriented person, haste brings out her worst, exhibited by the following call home about an hour after the car service had whisked her to JFK International:

"I left my laptop at work. I can't be in London for a week without a computer. You need to drive to my office, get it from under my desk, and drive it here to the airport. Now."

This looks like a job for … uh, yeah, me.

With Thing 1's strep, Thing 2's sudden development of a headache (most likely DS DTs) and me needing to white-knuckle the Minivan of Manliness for 40 miles, I wrangled one of my neighbors to look after the kids, who by 8 p.m. were already passed out upstairs.

"Want me to turn the TV on before I leave?" I said, adjusting my cape and tights.

"No, no. I brought a book. Unless, you've got a good porn channel."

"Satellite pay-per-view gives you that magical option. However, given your house is just on the other side of that picture window note this," I said, "your wife will have almost as good view of the show as you."

"I brought a book."

Within 20 minutes, I'm at My Love's office building, circumnavigating the company's high-tech security system with a MacGyver-like trick I call "Swiping Your Wife's Card Key from Her Car's Change Tray." Once inside, however, I promptly get lost.

I ring her. "Dammit -- is your office in Building 16 or 17?"

"It's Building 18! Where are you?"

"Building 18? Who are you working for? Wait, just tell me -- do the buildings connect?!?"

"Yes. Stay along the perimeter of the floor until you see a brown door. It opens into a hallway leading to Building 18."

I'm hustling serpentine down the hallway, trying to avoid suspicious glances from the cleaning crew. If stopped and questioned, I'll confuse them with my rudimentary grasp of high school Spanish ("Donde es la oficina de la bossy blonde senorita? Necesito su computadora mother-humpinando!").

"Found it!" I yell into my cell phone.

"Good. My laptop is under the desk."

"It's wired! Tell me how to disengage it from the dock, dammit!!!"

"Run your left hand along the side. You'll feel a lever. Pull it and release."

"Got it!!!"

"Now, there should also be a yellow shopping bag there with running shoes. Take the shoes out and put the computer in the bag. Now, go! Go!"

"On my way," I said, "once take a leak."

A good shake later, I'm zipping along in the Minivan of Manliness. Traffic is oddly light in the 'burbs and boroughs. The GPS is fired up, news radio blasts weather and road updates on the 8s. I'm thinking to myself, "Man, I hope my neighbor was kidding about the porn channel."

I call My Love. "I'm entering the airport. Where am I meeting you?"

"Terminal 8. Departures. I'm on the way there. Hurry, Uncool, hurry!"

There she is, standing with a stack of luggage by the curb. She opens the passenger door, grabs the yellow bag with the laptop off the seat.

"You're my hero!" she says. "Love you!"

She tosses onto the passenger seat a different plastic bag, a white one, slams the door and disappears into the fluorescent airport haze.

I look at the white bag.

A reward for a job well done, perhaps?

Duty-free gin?

Upper-rack, shrink-wrapped gentlemen's mags from the Hudson News?

The snowy plastic crinkles under my fingertips. I reach in and pull out … another assignment.

It's the Christmas cards, dammit!

Looks like a job for Humor-Blogs.com.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Merry Me in Nebraska

21 clever quips
This weekend, I'll be at my niece-in-law's wedding in Nebraska. I'm sure it will be great, but it has a lot to live up to based on the two previous nuptials I've attended in Cornhusker Country.

The first was your standard church wedding followed by a huge buffet dinner at the local airfield Quonset hut. About midway through, a group of male party-goers kidnapped the bride, hauled her through the snowy night to a bar for shots of Wild Turkey and a drink of champagne from her shoes.

(Kids, on that last item, trust me -- sparkling wine is no match for sweaty bride toes. A nice Chianti, perhaps ...)

I, still a lifelong Northeastern at that point, was told that kidnapping the bride and getting her sloshed was a Nebraska tradition. A tradition, I should note, not approved of by her newly minted mother-in-law who, back at the Holiday Inn later that night, referred to her daughter-in-law as "that slut."

Divorce followed a few years later.

After that experience, I felt fully prepared for my second wedding a few years later. However, I failed to factor in two things: the bride-to-be was My Love's best friend and she, as well as her husband-to-be, were both morticians.
People, you've never partied until you've partied with Midwestern morticians in love.

To sum up the pre- and post-martial event highlights:

The night before the wedding much alcohol was consume. I may have danced on a table. Later, I may have ended up under said table. Someone definitely ended up in My Love's pants. While she was still wearing them. Elastic waistbands -- comfort and convenience, folks, it's all about comfort and convenience in Nebraska.
Said Pants-Dancer, a person My Love had been good friends with since they met at a college party and she promptly vomited on him, split the evening between a hotel room with two married women and the backseat of his car.

The marriage ceremony was held in the funeral parlor's chapel. Some call it circle of life. Some call it creepy. I call it a wicked contact high courtesy the formaldehyde being used in the embalming room downstairs.

The room the reception was held in also served as the local VFW hall. First time I ever bought scratch cards at a reception before. Cha-ching -- $2 winner, barkeep!
The bride's mom served us guests sausage and peppers on Wonder bread at the reception. Now you know why My Love brought pants with an elastic waistband.

Also in Nebraska, you have what is called a Dollar Dance. Everyone lines up and pays a dollar to dance with either the bride or the groom. One of the people collecting the dollars on behalf of the happy couple that night was Pants-Dancer. When my turn came up, I tucked a George in his cummerbund and folks, let me tell you, the boy can dip.

Now that you know this, if I'm not back here by Wednesday morning, alert the authorities. Tell them to bring more formaldehyde.
And some Odor Eaters.


Video: "Right Here in Nebraska," The String Beans

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Ol' Heave Ho-Ho-Ho

26 clever quips
Today's the big Secret Santa Can Suck It gift swap, hosted by Bee's Musings. This post is about what I bought the blogger I was assigned.

Trolls suck. They make obnoxious comments on your blog then scurry off to hide under a bridge or as Fox News commentators:

Gnomes, on the other hand, are all right. They're good for a free beer, quick with a joke and willing to give you blog inspiration when you need it the most:

That is until you piss them off. Even the smallest mythical creatures have ego issues from time to time:


Next thing you know, they're organizing unruly "flash" mobs to bring you down:


Then, they really get out of control. They're running wild and causing havoc all over your home and blog:


So, to you, VE at VE's Fantastical Nonsense, to keep all those potentially rebellious gnomes lurking in your site header under control, I give to you this -- the "Gnome-Be-Gone Goodfellas":

Happy holidays! Find more great gifts at Humor-Blogs.com.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Have Yourself a Passive-Aggressive Holiday Newsletter

38 clever quips
My Love and I are ready to start our annual yuletide battle of the wills and, as mine is as squishy as the ancient Sunkists in our fruit basket, I'm preemptively conceding. Therefore, let it toll throughout our fair, deep-in-hock land that Uncool Christmas card recipients will again be subjected to an annual family holiday newsletter.

I know, I know. Most people hate holiday newsletters. As a fellow blogger recently wrote me: "Your life is not interesting enough to warrant a four-page, four-color tabloid, thank you very much."

True. In fact, most people's lives aren't that interesting yet here we all are, spewing our every thought, alleged bon mot and detail of our kid's last bowel movement on blogs, Twitter and Facebook.

Chew on that while I continue.

The first holiday newsletter we did, back in 1998, was completely justified. We had moved in midyear from the Northeast to an exotic foreign land where the hair is high and the pickles are fried -- Dallas, that is … the Big D, Cowboys and concrete strip malls, y'all -- so we inadvertently lost touch with some good friends. Our solution was a cute one-pager, laid out and written in newspaper fashion, highlighted by a guest column from our new puppy (the late great Kiner was a fine writer but a ham-fisted typist).

The format has changes over the years, but we continued to grind them out … mostly at My Love's behest.

"If people need a written synopsis of the past 12 months of our existence to know what's going on with us, doesn't it stand to reason that we are no longer that close to them and should take them off the Christmas card list, period?" I recently said to her.

She deftly countered with "no."

Therefore, newsletter naysayers, I will do my best to keep it tolerable. For those about to attempt their own newsletters, here's my advice:

Keep it short. I can summarize a year for four people and a dog takes me about 250 words. Twice, in pre-Thing 2 days, I summed up our lives in less than 152 words. Now I'm thinking of writing it Twitter style: "No one died or fired. Won't need to sell kids to pay mortgage. You?" Seventy-three characters to spare. Boo-yah!

Keep it entertaining. For a few years, Kiner served as letter narrator. He made many typos but still wrote better than the executive I once worked for who wrote (twice!) that the company would "use all the tools in our arsenal." Bob, if you are reading this, let me say again that tools are kept in toolboxes and weapons are part of one's arsenal, arse hole.

Avoid bragging, boasting and obnoxiously clever designs … but if you must, do all three past the point of obscenity. My favorite holiday newsletter annually comes from a family friend who, without fail, dazzles us with tales of exotic locales, brilliant career moves and over-the-top leisure pursuits (alpaca farming in Australia covered all three in 2005). These letters come fully packaged, one time as a glossy, UV-coated self-designed N.Y. Times crossword puzzle folded into an origami Ankylosaurus. On 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper, no less. Reading these always gives me a good belly laugh of self-righteousness ... followed by weeks of grave depression over my feeble existence. Well, nobody's perfect.

Uh-oh, My Love just asked me what I'm writing about.

"Holiday letters."

"You're writing this year's?"

"No, I'm blogging about how I loathe writing ours every year."

"Oh. I was hoping …"

"C'mon. Why, why, why must I do this year after year?"

"Because you're the writer."

"Cop. Out. Expand YOUR skill set, sweetie. Why don't YOU write it this year and I'll read it over and say, 'Hmm, I don't think we should say THAT!'"

"OK," she said.

"Really?"

"Yep."

Silence.

Crickets.

Mixed with a homeless cicada.

"OK, I'll do it," I relented, "but you need to finally clean the dog poop off your running sneaker that has been sitting in the laundry room sink for two weeks."

Lonesome train whistle, off screen.

Bare light bulb swinging in the dark night.

Tree falls in the forest but only a deaf, dumb and blind pinball wizard witnesses it.

"I'll think about it," she said.

Crap, literally, I'm on it.

Speaking of, vote me out of the bottom-dwellers at Humor-Blogs.com or else the newsletter is headed for your mailbox ASAP.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Spoons are for Snow

24 clever quips
I was roused yesterday, as I am many mornings, by a kick in the lower back. This came courtesy of Thing 2 who had climbed into bed between me and My Love at some proper bar-closing hour for want of a snuggle and, as I truly believe, to disrupt my ongoing attempts at having dreamily soft-focused relations with that woman, Ms. Jennifer Love Hewitt.

(This was my subconscious's third attempt on her in 10 days. She's subliminally teasing me for fast-forwarding past her Proactive acne commercial so many times. Frustrating, yes, but it serves as fair warning for the future. I wouldn't want visions of her sugarplums dancing in my head to be overtaken by Billy Mays and his Awesome Auger.)

Shortly thereafter, Thing 1 burst through the bedroom doorway.

"It snowed last night! And IT'S STILL SNOWING!!"

Outside of our second-floor window, a thin layer of frosting has covered our world and, sure enough, an icy haze continued to shower down, clicking on the pane and the gutter just above.

Thing 1 been casting the snow spell for three weeks now. She does this by sleeping with her pajamas inside out while a plastic spoon rests under her pillow, just as one of her pre-school teachers told her and brother to do years ago whenever a chance of falling flakes filled the airwaves. Her invocations have been mostly ineffective possibly because, having run out of plastic spoons, she resorted to sticking a plastic fork under her resting head. (We did get flurries on our walk to school a week or so ago. When I stripped the sheets for washing later that morning, I recovered from her bed a school-cafeteria spork.)

In a few minutes, I was in the kitchen, zipping, buckling and barking requests for hats and gloves. Thing 2's eyes quickly welled with cries that his new snowsuit was too tight. I instructed him to take it off and try it again, this time with the zipper undone and in the front.

Some children burst into the season's first snowfall and quickly ball a handful to toss at the nearest object. Others start rolling the stuff up into a new frosty friend or piling it into an impenetrable fortress. A few go right on their backs and flap their limbs into heavenly impressions.

Mine -- armed with mixing bowls, rinsed out potato salad containers and the good soupspoons -- gather then shovel the virgin coldness straight into their mouths.

Their routine is to scoop all they can off the patio furniture. If parental supervision is lax, they move from the deck to any spot of lawn that looks unvisited by our dog. They proceed to gorge until their tongues and bellies are numb. Leftovers go into the freezer for hourly snacking until they are gone or transformed into an unbreakable solid chunk.

Sunday's feeding frenzy lasted about 30 minutes. By lunchtime, the precipitation turned to rain. The last jagged patches of the morning manna disappeared by 2 p.m.

Come bedtime, Thing 1 appeared in the living room wearing her typical winter nightwear: a Dallas Stars jersey and a purplish pair of PJ bottoms with monkeys chatting on the phone while lounging on crescent moons. Both are inside out.

"Girl, it's supposed to be in the 50s tomorrow. No chance of snow whatsoever," I said to her.

"That's OK," she said. "It won't hurt to try again."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sex and the Working Spouse

33 clever quips
A couple of readers recently asked why I don't blog more about two things: sex and My Love. Oddly, these were posed as separate topics -- i.e., "Why don't you post more about sex?" and "Why don't you write more often about My Love?" -- as opposed to the compound subject, "Why don't you blog more about sex with My Love?"

As if the twain has never met, people. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

My Love has been home a lot of late, with "home" loosely defined as somewhere in a 20-mile radius of the place the rest of our family sleeps. Yes, she's still an international executive goddess, but her AAirpass has been revoked temporarily to help save her company some scratch. So instead of jetting off to some fascinating Marriott in a foreign land, most mornings she's been up and out by 4 a.m. to the 1960-ish beige reinforced concrete decor of corporate headquarters and then back home by 10 at night.

Still, some of you might expect there'd be an increase in quality time with the Mrs. based sheerly on physical proximity. Instead, you get scenarios like this one: The Things and I sit down to dinner, hear the garage door open below us and her car pull in. My Love comes bounding up the stairs to join us … two hours later.

"I was on an overseas conference call with our office in Phuntsholing and I didn't want to lose the signal," she said.

"Did you say, 'fun to schlong'?"

"Phuntsholing," she said with more clarity. "It's the New York City of Bhutan."

"I couldn't agree more if I actually knew where the hell you were talking about," I said. "Did you say, 'butt on'?"

The mounting piles of paperwork have even led My Love to try to escape "meeting hell" by invading my territory a few times by working from home. It's an art she's yet to fully perfect, in my opinion, at least in terms of multi-tasking. Like last week, she sat on a stool at the kitchen island, working on the computer with her Blackberry earbud welded in place for 20 straight hours. Good start, but she still shrugged off dozens of my best requests, suggestions and double-entendres to "have a snack," "get in some stretching" and "address those stubborn Tupperware stains."

Pretty much reminded me of our first trip to Las Vegas.

"I'm busted. Let's go get some dinner. The food trough is ready and waiting. I smell 10-cent shrimp cocktails!" I said, pushing away from the blackjack table.

"In a few minutes. Just one more shoe after this one."

"You said that five hours ago when I wanted to go for lunch. And three hours before that when we were supposed to meet your dad for breakfast."

"I can't break up the table. We're on a streak. You -- at third base! Split 'em and hit 'em. Now."

"Very well," I said. "I'm going out to the corner to find drug-addled call girls willing to use your toothbrush to pumice their bunions. Good by you?"

"OK. Just one more shoe after this one."

I admire her focus and dedication. In return, you'd think she'd admire mine, as best displayed in this clip from one of my favorite TV shows, "Ed" (uh, this is a name, not ED -- the abbreviation for erectile dysfunction, smartass):



How will My Love react to my blogging about this most intimate of subjects? Probably not well.

But this being a Tuesday during Thanksgiving week, not much of a loss.

---------------------------------
Are you randy? Then give me a smiley at Humor-Blogs.com because I'm desperate for your love.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nothing But Puke and Plugs

17 clever quips
I contend that you're not really a parent until your first reaction when one of your children starts to throw up is to cup your hands and try to catch it.

I speak from vast amounts of experience. Read about it today on DadCentric. This photo somehow plays into the whole story. Trust me.

Finally, you're not really an Apple iPhone owner in the New York City area until you download my drinking buddy Chris's app that gives you the Metro-North Railroad schedule in and out of Grand Central Terminal at the touch of button. I hear it's pretty good. I don't know because 1) I rarely leave home, duh, and 2) my cell phone is actually just a cell phone ... from 2004. I'm a traditionalist.

New posts next week ... maybe here, maybe elsewhere. We'll see.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Includes Sauce. And Allen Wrench.

22 clever quips
"What if meatballs were rocks?" said Thing 1 as she downed another mini-Swede, courtesy of IKEA (yes, they make great, cheap, DYI furniture and some scrumptious frozen cocktail vittles to go).

"I don't understand the question."

"If meatballs were rocks, could we sit on them?"

"Iiiiiii … guess so. Then would we eat rocks?"

"Yes," she said.

"Is this a critique of my microwaving skills?"

"Huh?"

"Nothing," I said. "Here, have some more."

"No thanks."
---------------------------------
Give me a smiley at Humor-Blogs.com before they revoke my whoopee cushion.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

When Love Walks in the Room

35 clever quips
His older sister invited him to a Friday-the-13th/birthday party for a mutual friend. The last party he attended with his sister was eight years earlier in high school. That bash ended with him in a doorway, swapping DNA samples with a future lesbian.

Yet he was ambivalent and depressed. He was 24 and still living with his parents. His job sucked ... and it was only part-time.

He relented. Maybe this would break the funk. Moreover, there was certain to be a keg.

A few hours later, he walked into their friends' house. Immediately he approached an athletic-looking woman with long curly hair wearing black stretch pants. He had his weaknesses.

She said she was from Nebraska.

"I've never met anyone from Nebraska before," he said.

The remaining conversation is lost, but he remembers disengaging from it when another partygoer, who looked suspiciously like his brother-in-law, started horning in on the action.

He meandered into the kitchen, and started catching up with some refugees from a past life. Among the group stood one person he didn't know.

She said she was from Nebraska.

"That's funny," he said. "You're only the second person I've ever met from Nebraska, and I met the first one a few minutes ago in the other room."

She laughed. "Next, I suppose, you'll tell me I'm only the second blonde you've ever met."

Her eyes were blue. Her skirt was short. The beer was Heineken.

Several hours of witty banter later, his sister interrupted and asked if he was ready to go home.

"I guess I'll go with you," he slurred matter-of-factly, "unless she wants to give me a ride home."

To his surprise, she said she would. Little did she know that his sister lived just three houses from him.

They drove to his house in her duct-taped burgundy Toyota Camary.

"I'd invite you in," he said as they sat there in the driveway's November darkness, "but I live with my parents."

"That's OK," she said.

Once inside, he offered to make her a cup of tea.

He handed her the steaming mug and a half-filled carton of milk. Without unfolding the cardboard spout, she tipped the carton on its side. A thin stream of milk shot out of the slit and into her cup.

"I don't know about Nebraska," he said, "but out here, we usually open the carton, then pour."

It was then, legend has it, that they knew that they we're perfect for each other.

Happy 16 years together, My Love. Earl Grey?



Video: "Message of Love," The Pretenders

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Famous Blue Raincoat

32 clever quips
In downtown Chicago today, we're waiting to see which extreme the predicted wintery mix will bring.

If snow, Thing 1 will send the revolving hotel door spinning, running out with mouth open, tongue out, sucking in every flake. I'll ask her if Chicago snow tastes better than what we have in the New England suburbs and I'm sure she'll yes. Everything tastes better when you're outdoors in the city. Air pollution must be urban MSG.

If freezing rain, she'll whine and claim the only thing that can save her is room service mac-n-cheese at $12 a plate. Me, I'll be worrying about whether her new pink-and-green marshmallow of a winter coat is water resistant in any degree.

This gets me thinking of her blue Snoopy slicker.

I saw it on the rack at Super Target some eight years ago, and tossed it into the cart without a blink. Of course, she was still in Huggies and attached to My Love's breast at the time of purchase, so a vinyl World War I Flying Ace rain jacket in size "youth small" was not an immediate need.

But it seemed like the right one.

As a child, a certain goggle-and-scarf-clad beagle saved me from many hours of boredom. The bookshelf in my room was packed with every "Peanuts" paperback on the market. A stuffed Snoopy and Woodstock sat on my bedspread, guarding it when I wasn't around. And hanging down from the ceiling was a mobile of a dog on top of his red doghouse, his paws grasping an invisible yoke as he circled around and around, going nowhere.

Thing 1 eventually grew into the raincoat. It served her well throughout pre-school and beyond. Then a few months ago, when the summer sky turned dark and threatening, I told her to grab it before we headed out.

"I think I need a new raincoat," I heard her say behind me.

The yellow-banded sleeves were up to the middle of her forearms.

"You can get by with it for an hour, let's go."

"I don't think so."

"Then wait here," I said.

I returned with my camera.

"Why are you taking my picture," she asked. "Are you going to sell it on the computer?"

"Maybe. Or I'm going post this photo on Craigslist and see if I can trade you in for a smaller kid who fits the jacket."

"Noooo, Daddy! ... Really?"

"Nah," I said, "sometimes parents just need to take photos."

Three months have past. Snoopy still hangs in the basement locker back home, overseeing a mess of other crumpled clothing, stray Sippy lids, outgrown tap shoes and forgotten Crayola masterpieces piled upon each other.

He'll leave us someday to help another kid who needs shelter from the storm. Just not today.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Year of At-Home Dadness

21 clever quips
A former colleague dropped me a line to say she had a change in daytime contact information. Since we both worked in corporate communications (motto: "Using words, charts and video to tell you nothing!"), I knew this was code.

She'd been downsized, right-sized, RIF-ed, sacked, separated and sent packing.

She was one of many friends, neighbors, former co-workers and random strangers I've meet in the past few months who had also been shown the door at their places of work. Every time I hear of this, I have one and one thought only:

"You slackers! I got the heave-ho in October. Of 2007!"

Me -- a trendsetter, a pioneer. This must be how James T. Kirk felt every day at the helm of his star ship, but without the velour pants and vinyl captain's chair causing stickiness in the nether regions.

With this reminder of the recent passing of my first can-iversary (pink paper, naturally), I realized I was due for a performance review. Twelve months of emancipation from corporate dronery and, subsequently, as head of Uncool Enterprises Unincorporated deserved some serious evaluation. I sought guidance from our in-house executive HR goddess -- My Love.

"Sorry, I'm slammed," she said. "I've got 16 deadlines and three bosses breathing down my neck. Meanwhile, I've got to make PowerPoint deck salad for the Region Seven Niblick Overlay assembly and dial in to a conference call with Burpakistanbul in five minutes."

Still, it was one of the best meetings I've ever had with HR.

When I was told to meet with the HR rep at my last company for details on my separation package, she offered such insights as "I don't have any of your papers in front of me," "I'm not sure" and "I don't know how we handle that."

She ended up quitting a week before my effective termination date. I swear, I am innocent.

With no assistance from My Love, I went looking for some bottom-up feedback from the Things.

"Children, how's Daddy doing? Am I exceeding the expectations I've set for you as main proprietor of all-things parenting?"

"You're still a dork," Thing 1 said.

"I'll look into that. Thing 2, do you concur with your sister's evaluation of my performance as Dad-in-chief?"

"Can you buy me some more Pokémon cards?" he said.

"I'll have to see if you are within your budgetary allowances for this quarter. Do have the proper paperwork in triplicate with the pre-approval stamp and signature of the chief financial officer?"

"I have black stuff in my bellybutton."

Next, I tried my closest work associate, Murphy the Rabbit Killer. Unfortunately, he couldn't offer an opinion. He was in a meeting of the nasty bits with the fetid-smelling golden retriever next door.

Looks like, as usual, I'll have to fend for myself. Rather than dwell on the past, I'll move right into the goal-setting portion of my review:

Take more naps. I'm not much for siestas, but medical evidence of their benefits continues to grow. Who am I to argue with science?

Wear pajamas all day. If I'm going to be stereotyped as a work-at-home parent, why not go full throttle? This, of course, will require me to buy some pajamas. Bright side, walking the kids to school will be less breezy.

Play more golf. I remember one division president at my last company telling an audience of employees about his meeting with the executive management consultant the CEO hired to evaluate his top people. The consultant told the DP he spent too much time in the office and on job sites. Instead, he recommended the DP get out and play more golf during business hours. Which reminds me …

Expand consulting services. Time management skills, perhaps?

Practice my bass. It looks really cool on the stand in my office, but what if I finally have a potential business client over and he demands I nail The Who's "The Real Me" or else the deal is off? I heard that's how the Microsoft-Yahoo deal collapsed. Frickin' Bill fumble-fingers Gates.

Get blog readers to vote for me at Humor-Blogs.com. Why? Because I expose you to rockin' song parodies like this one:




Video: "Stay-at-Home Dad," Jon Lajoie

Monday, November 3, 2008

Who Won't Get the Uncool Vote

17 clever quips
To the Honorable U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas),

My Love and I want to thank you for your repeated phone calls over the last few days reminding us to vote for you Tuesday. We were most impressed that you weaved our names so clearly and seamlessly into what were otherwise pre-recorded robo-calls. That's the kind of ingenuity and technical skill that will make America great again, sir! Have you considered sharing your talents with those poor folks at GM?

However, we must inform you that we have not lived in Texas since 2004. Selling our house, turning in our driver's licenses, and not paying local taxes for four years should have tipped your staff off. The area code you called might have also have been a giveaway -- dude, it's from the left-most region of the latest, gayest state in the union! Eh, well, who can tell with cell phones and the unsettlingly liberal use of number portability these days?

Still, given your zealous support of the Patriot Act and wiretapping without judicial approval or just cause, we were sure you would have been better informed of our whereabouts. Frankly, Senator, we're ... uh, relieved, actually.

Therefore, it is with regret that we must inform you that neither of us will have a say in your pursuit of a second term Tuesday. Be assured it is only a matter of location and has nothing to do with your stand on the issues.

You lucky bastard.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Boo!

13 clever quips
This Invisible Man costume seems to be working out for me this year.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Detox or Die Trying

48 clever quips
My body is a temple that each summer is desecrated by Mr. Sam Adams; his London buddy, Mr. Gordon; and assorted hangers-on. Thus, with a chill in the air signaling the end of elastic-waistband shorts, I knew it was time for something radical.

Detox.

Not Betty Ford (that would be "rehab" for those scorin' at home), but a detox diet. Get all the poisons out of the ol' system, reinvigorate the ol' noodle and recover all the randomly dropped "d's" and "g's" in my writin'. Maybe I'll even lose a few pounds and be worthy of the post-Jenny Craig Valerie Bertinelli. Rrrrowl.

Someone I trust recommended a best-selling three-week regime. This person lived to tell, so it must be a winner.

Then I read the detox details.

People, be leery of a 200-page book in which 126 pages are testimonies from Twinkie-stuffed bozos. Fred flippin' Flintstone, I didn't pay $24.95 (plus tax in you liberal, unpatriotic, unreal-American states) to hear about your problems!

Next, be suspicious of chapters dedicated solely to explaining why enemas are your best friend. Sorry, but coffee only enters this body through one portal and, pal, it is on a different end of the digestive system.

Then, worry if you need to buy a warehouse of supplements to fill the nutritional gaps caused by the cleansing. (Note: To save money, most of the supplement ingredients can be scraped off the floor of your local nursery. Also, did you know aloe vera leaves your skin soft and supple when you apply it externally and your intestines' smooth and silky when you consume it? Consider yourself educated.)

The actual detox instructions came down to this: eat only vegetables, especially dark leafy greens, but only after you boil them beyond recognition, toss most of the nutrient-filled water, then stick the remnants in a $500 juicer that renders them completely unrecognizable and tasteless.

(Oh, there was also a warning that detox-ers with unresolved "issues" in their lives may experience suicidal thoughts and bouts of unexplained public nudity. But this is just "a hiccup in the healing process," so don't panic.)

Sounds fun -- let's go!

Day 1: Not bad. You eat every two hours. By "eat," I mean you drink quarts of enzyme concoctions and herbal teas. All these things all fruit flavored, yet a nice crisp Macintosh violates the detox. Go figure.

Day 2: I'm peeing every two hours. Dear Lord, am I pregnant?

Day 3: Lost 4 pounds. Still, chamomile tea tastes like ass. And not Victoria's Secret quality, either.

Day 4: Neither light-headed nor dizzy today. I feel like I lost an old friend. I eye the stale box of donuts in the trash. Hmmm …

Day 5: Down 6 pounds. I make "cleansing soup." Gallons of vegetables and seasonings later, mmm, it tastes just like ... water.

Day 6: Since I no longer chew anything, I give up brushing and flossing. Bonus!

Day 7: Dear God, no more [radio edit] herbal tea. They all [censored] SUCK! SUCK MY [digitally altered] MOTHERHUMPING [bleeeeeeeep]!!

Day 8: Down 9 pounds. I haven't gone this long without alcohol since high school. I don't seem to have the DTs. Confirmation that I'm not an alcoholic.

Day 9: I'm craving a cigarette, though I haven't smoked in eons. Is detoxing like sex? Assuming sex is like "vegetable" juice, distilled water and gallons of [redacted] herbal [cuckoo] tea.

Day 10: Seeing the 180s again! This is because my body is free of all heavy metals, insecticides and other poisons. Or because I'm consuming only 348 calories a day.

Day 11: The book's last chapter warns about coming off detox too soon. Could send my body into fatal shock. Now that's incentive.

Day 12: Dropped 13 pounds. It's not that I miss food. I just miss flavor. Any flavor. Except [deleted] herbal ass tea flavor.

Day 13: Screw it. Going for a latte and a maple nut scone. Life's too [buuuzz] short to be thin, healthy and miserable.

Day 14: Went to Humor-Blogs.com and fattened up my rankings with many a smiley face.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sleeping With My Daughter

19 clever quips
It started innocently enough. Thing 1 began navigating the prison walls known as her crib at about 16 months, so we moved her into the spare double bed across the hall. That became my first mistake.

The bed was big enough and comfortable enough for two -- obvious, given it came from my swingin' bachelor days. (Did I mention it was only lightly used during my bachelor days? Insert your best guess as to why.) Nearly every night Thing 1 and I snuggled in until she fell asleep. One successful strategy consisted of me yawning as often and loudly as possibly to pass on the nighty-nighty contagion. It worked so well that most nights I conked out right next to her.

We were at the point of breaking this relationship off for the first time when she developed a horrible muck-filled cough. It was aspiration pneumonia -- a complication of what we later learned was her adventure with the autoimmune disease juvenile dermatomyositis. Now I felt a need to be there next to her in case she started choking on her own gunk during the night. That, and -- I was assured -- I was not required to assist in any way, shape or form with the breastfeeding of Thing 2 going on in the master suite.

Flash forward a few years to a new home, our current one. The bachelor bed has gone to a mysterious Mexican man from Craigslist under condition he'd used it only for religious experiences. It was replaced in our home by an even more comfy, more roomy model from Ethan Allen. The cough is gone but now Thing 1 had another issue -- monsters.

I assured her the contract we signed on the house had a "no monster" clause. I produced a state-and-county licensed inspector (who looked and smelled much like our old newspaper delivery guy) who certified the entire property as sprite-, spirit- and demon-less. I even walked her about her pink bedroom with a lit candle while I chanted sacred anti-beastie hymns that only the most discriminating ear would have recognized as vaguely similar to what the monks sing before the Holy Hand Grenade sequence in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

It took quite some time, but in the Year of Our Republican-Endorsed Lord 2008, we finally had two breakthroughs. First, Thing 1 stopped requiring me to cradle her head with my arm and shoulder. This has helped restore full feeling and circulation to the arm I use to change our home's many lightbulbs. Ah, my screwing skills haven't been this sharp since the Clinton administration. Second, one day this spring, Thing 1 made a proclamation:

"I'll stop needing someone to sleep with me when I start third grade."

Third grade is now entering its eighth week. It's been a slow, gradual withdrawal as we've tapered our co-habitation time from five minutes to now just 30 seconds. In a week or two, I expect to be able to give her a peck on the forehead, flick the switch and walk away.

Unless, of course, someone, say, leaves the front door open a little too long on Halloween night …
If I didn't put you to sleep, go to Humor-Blogs.com and give me a smiley face before I fall any lower in the rankings.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Treadmill of Reverse Sexism

14 clever quips
I had three main fears about taking the stress test:
  • I'd have a heart attack on the treadmill.
  • I would survive the actual test, but the results would definitively prove I did have a something more than an overactive imagination causing my occasional chest pains.
  • I'd survive, have a clean bill of health, but My Love would kick my ass in the time trials.
Face it, I have ceded most of my so-called manhood in this married life. She brings home the bacon, I save the drippings in a Martinson's coffee can for unspecified use at a later date; she manages the household expenses, I clip the coupons and take them to the Stop 'n' Shop on triple bonus cash back day. I'm cool with all this … because the chicks dig it … once they pick themselves up off the floor from the laughing … and call their husbands or boyfriends to goof on me.

However, I will not lose to My Love in a foot race.

Sure, she's completed four marathons and one half-marathon in the 17 years we've known each other. She's also kayaked across Long Island Sound while I was sidelined with panic attacks and seasickness. However, on land, in anything under a few thousand yards, she's eating my dust … assuming one creates dust when running under the weight of an imaginary elephant on his back.

No sooner did I stumble out of the torture chamber, uh, stress test room, I came across My Love in the waiting room, sipping on a vitamin water with a wedge of lemon and a little umbrella in it. (I might have been hallucinating from lack of oxygen, but I also think she was using a Crazy Straw.)

"How'd (cough) you (hack) do?" I asked.

"I did well," she said. "Made the 'good health' category."

"So (blech) did (wheeze) I!"

"I could have made 'excellent' but it would have meant two more minutes of torture on that machine."

"Me, too! (groan) Wanna find (ack) a supply closet?"

"Stop it."

"So," I asked, "what was your time?"

"I got the 'good' category."

"I know that, but what was your time?"

"I didn't know this was a competition?"

"It's not," I lied. "I'm just curious. I've given up on you ever telling me your weight, so humor me on this one."

"Bite me."

"Any time. Now what was your time? I did 22 minutes, 17 seconds. 'Fess up."

After throwing on my "concerned spouse" face and laying it on thicker than Cindy McCain's foundation, she confessed to doing a little more than 17 minutes.

"What?! Women only have to do 17 minutes to qualify for 'good'? What happened to equal rights? Did Bella Abzug wear those horrible hats in vain? I declare reverse sexism! Bi-as! Bi-as!"

But deep down, under the façade of protest and insult, I laughed the laugh of man whose freshly shaved chest was swelling with personal pride. Or cardiac fluid.
Can I get a defib over here, stat? Go to Humor-Blogs.com, register and give me a smiley to jump start my heart and ranking.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Stressing about testing

23 clever quips
Some people celebrate the onset of middle age with a new Volvo C70 hard-top convertible (uh, that would be My Love). Me -- I spent it trying to maintain my dignity by not flying off the back of a moving treadmill.

If you've never taken a stress test before, you've probably seen one done on any of the zillion of medical shows on TV these days. My turn on it resembled a cross between "Mystery Diagnosis" and "Scrubs."

In retrospect, I'm happy it just didn't turn into "CSI." After all, who hasn't heard the following story at least once in their lives:

"(INSERT NAME HERE) was doing just fine. Then he went to the doctor for a physical and BAM! Coronary on the treadmill. Had to scrape bits of him off the walls."

I asked my test technician about this, hoping to uncover an urban myth.

"Oh, sure," he said. "It happens."

Someone should tell him that such an honest answer is not the way to an "exceeds my expectations" score on the patient satisfaction survey.

"But," he continued, "if you are going to have a heart attack, having one of during the stress test is the best time. You're already hooked up to all the right monitors and you're surrounded by doctors and the necessary equipment to save your life."

Then he started shaving my chest.

This was the second time a man had ever shaved me before. While not on my list of life's pleasures, this go-round did beat the time it was performed by the urologist.

And, we're moving, we're moving …

So, now, I've got circular sticky patches and wires galore on my body. Zero hour has come.

"You'll be walking at a brisk pace, 3.3 miles per hour," he said. Every minute, the incline will increase one degree. Don't hold onto the bar. Just use it to balance yourself briefly when you need to. Let's go."

The first few minutes were deceivingly simple. I'm on a lovely stroll! Up a little hill! Watching "SportsCenter" and debating the evils of the designated hitter with a man in a white jumpsuit! How pleasant.

After five minutes, I'm eying the clinic's "stress test record holders" who are framed on the wall in front of me. I recognize a few names. They're all marathon runners. Hey, only 26 minutes more to go before I kick their asses!

Then, somewhere around Minute 13, I started rocketing through the Five Stages of Grief over my own body's flabbiness:

Denial -- That clock has got to be slow. It's been at least an hour!

Anger -- I am going to kill my wife for talking me into this stupid physical!

Bargaining -- If I live, I'm never even THINKING about cheese again. Or red meat. I'll give up sugar, too. Jane! Get me off this crazy thing!

Depression -- Dear Lord, I'm going to die in a backless paper gown.

Acceptance -- This gown is a lovely shade of blue, isn't it. Carolina? Mmmm, more of a periwinkle, I think. It will go nice with the blood splatters.

I made it to 22 minutes, 17 seconds before my legs went jelly. I probably could have stumbled and sweated another two minutes to move from the "good" to "excellent" health category; however, being wheeled out on a gurney would have been so anticlimactic.

If you enjoy my pain, go to Humor-Blogs.com, register and give a smiley face ... and some oxygen -- stat!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Touch Me, Touch Me Not

19 clever quips

To learn the story behind this note, you will need to read my post on DadCentric today. Or you can just hang here and make your best guess.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Six Degrees of Quirky Uncoolness

25 clever quips
One day last week, for no apparent reason, this blog received about 200 random visits, two-thirds of which were from people searching for "Kari Mythbusters Mentos" or some derivative thereof.

Now, I did make a brief mention of my occasional daydreams of this red-haired vixen geek.

Once.

Back in July.

Sorry to disappoint you, Google oglers. However, if you had anything to do with the fact that a few days later my blog subscriptions increased by 33 percent, then God bless every horny one of you. For your trouble and your patronage, I give you this:

One random quirk deserves six more. For iMommy, MattDaddy and the many other bloggers who tagged me or awarded me yet more Pico y Arte (Spanish for "contagious lack of cash equivalent") awards in the last month, here are six random quirks of mine:

1. When my copy of Newsweek arrives, I employ the following methodology:
-- First, find and chuckle at the quotes and cartoons on the "Perspectives" page.
-- Skip back to read the "My Turn" column then curse myself for never submitting something because most of the ones they print are totally lame.
-- Finally, flip to the back-page column and, depending on the week, either wonder a) if Ambien CR pills are really ground up, compressed George Will columns that mention baseball, Tocqueville and/or the Federalist Papers, or b) how a woman as successful as Anna Quindlen can't get a better stylist for photo shoots. I mean, look at this:

Her new column photo is a bit better. But not much.

2. I roll the toothpaste tube from the end. My Love, however, is a squeeze-from-the-middle kinda gal. When the police arrive, please let them know this.

3. I put Tabasco on lasagna. Homemade or store-bought frozen, fresh from the oven or straight from the fridge, meat-filled or vegetarian, I douse it. My handiwork is rumored to have inspired that "smell of Napalm in the morning" line in Apocalypse Now.

4. When telemarketers cold call me for "charitable donations," I always say, "Yes! Please! Put me down for $50!" When the pledge form arrives, I feed it to the paper shredder. Eventually they call again, ask what happened to my pledge, I apologize and they send another form that I again shred. I got one alleged state firefighters' association to send me pledge forms six times. Suckers! **sniff** Is that smoke? Nope, just my lasagna.

5. See this scar on my knee:

Thirteen stitches from successfully blocking home plate so the go-ahead run wouldn't score during a baseball game at age 14. Unless you are my wife, my doctor or my massage therapist, don't touch it. Gives me the heebie jeebies. But if I pass out after one too many, it's fair game for you to draw smiley faces on it.

6. When the words won't come, I listen to one of two never-fail CDs: Utopia Parkway by Fountains of Wayne and Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy by The Refreshments. I've drafted many quarterly letters from CEOs to the beat of "Well I've been saving for a custom van/And I've been playing in a cover band/And my baby doesn't understand/Why I never turned from boy to man." Or the irony of this:



Oops, subscription numbers dropping again. Let's go down together, down together … and over to Humor-Blogs.com so you can give me a knee-worthy smiley face.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

"There's This Girl"

11 clever quips
my love and thing 1Bittersweet defined.

Today, My Love celebrates her 40-somethingish birthday … and our family marks the sixth anniversary of Thing 1's diagnosis with juvenile dermatomyositis.

I'm not sure My Love was too big on the whole birthday thing before, but I know that memory doesn't make the triple-layer carrot cake go down any easier for her. She's told me a few times about the guilt she feels because of the whole giving birth/possibly passing on the bad gene thing.

Those are the few times I can call her "stupid" without soliciting a smack in the head. (Note to self: Make her remove engagement ring before using "s" word. Those carats hurt in more places than just the wallet.)

Here's another one:

My Love yesterday celebrated a day early by getting herself elected chairwoman of the Cure JM Foundation, the all-volunteer nonprofit that raises money for find a cure for Thing 1's disease.

Like she doesn't have enough to do. She's all over crazy stuff like that. But I guess someone has to be. Bless her.

As for me, rather than burden her (and you) with the details of that day again, I will make one request and one Casey Kasem-ish long-distance dedication.

REQUEST: For My Love's birthday, please dig into your spare change jar to find a dollar or two to support My Love (runner) and me (Gatorade hander-outer) in the Carlsbad Marathon and Half-Marathon as we raise funds to find a cure for all juvenile myositis' diseases. Make your tax-free donation at http://www.firstgiving.com/kmckeever.

DEDICATION: To you, birthday girl. You’re my island miles from all that's wrong.


Video: "This Girl," Jordan Zevon (yeah -- he's Warren's son)
For the lyrics, go to this site.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Canadian Connection

15 clever quips
sam from temporarily meToday, we have a special guest -- Samantha from Temporarily Me.

I interviewed Samantha as part of Neil Kramer's
Great Interview Experiment (I was on the receiving end of one of these interviews over the summer), and I must say, she held up far better in this prime-time interview than certain vice presidential candidates I won't name. This is especially notable because she had to deal with the fact my interviewing skills and legs are definitely no match for Katie Couric's.

One note: There may be a bit of a culture barrier for those of you not skilled in the mysterious ways of The Great White North. That is why I have included as many links, photos and videos as possible to help build your knowledge.


Also, Sam swears a bit. But with a way cool accent. Cheers!

Uncool: You want us to believe you are Canadian. Prove it in 38 words, four of which must be "eh."

Samantha: I was eatin' poutine, eh? While watching "Strange Brew," drinking my double-double, eh? Then it occurred to me that I forgot to feed my sled dogs today, eh? I put on my parka and toque and headed out, eh?

Well played. Can you hook me up with some cheap prescription meds? I'll pay the postage.

Can you really afford the postage, I mean ... after that bailout and all? I'll toss that in too, eh?

How conflicted do you feel about buying Molson now that it is owned by an American named Adolph?

I always knew he was a Yank, but dammit -- Adolph? Anyway, I don't buy Molson, I buy Labatt.



Enough Canadian talk. I see you are in the construction industry. Explain your job and how you respond to the apes who taunt your pink tool belt.

I work on construction sites. My job is to refer to the design drawings from the civil engineers draw up and make sure that the construction workers aren't cutting any corners, I help with troubleshooting and documentation during drilling. They guys are pretty well behaved; there's pretty strict sexual harassment laws here now, eh?

Is there any part of "Escape (The Pina Colada Song)" you take issue with?

The fact that they were going to cheat on each other. Ironic that it was with each other though. Suckas.

Interesting. Me, I find singing about pina coladas denigrates my yardman's Mexican heritage. Now, why did you start blogging? Fun? Profit? Sentencing by a federal judge?

I was bored. I am a computer nerd and have no friends; to take over the internet and beat Bill Gates at his own game.

You've been blogging since mid-2006. How has your process and attitude toward it changed?

Totally. When I started I COMPLETELY sucked. Not even worth reading, then I began to read people that could actually, you know - write and I learned a little about how to create a decent read-worthy entry. *COUGH*BULLSHIT*COUGH* It was totally because I thought I would be able to pay my mortgage.

Have you really made friends through blogging or are they more like those "Facebook friends" everyone has but never really pays attention to?

Honestly, once they got over the fact that I'm not a stalkerish 90 year old pervert, I've actually become friends with a few bloggers. I mean, there's not really anyone that I talk to on the phone regularly... but there's a couple that I have talked to and met. I would say I still have some "Facebook friends" in the blogworld too. Fuck Facebook!

On a serious note, you've written about your marriage worries and problems. Why expose yourself like that? And do I need to slap some sense into the man? Because I know a guy in western Manitoba

I've taken to exposing myself and my marriage because I think too many people are very fake about the reality of marriage. Many appear to believe that if you fight and argue you're doomed for divorce. I don't think that way at all, marriage is fuckin' hard work and I'm not ashamed to say that living with someone 24/7 and having to agree on parenting styles, money and life changing decisions is stupid hard. I wouldn't be kidding anyone but myself if I tried to blow rainbows up your ass and say that everything was perfect all the time.

(The guy in Manitoba? Is his name Bob? Because I think I know him.)

Aren't they're all named Bob in Manitoba? Anyway, speaking of exposing oneself, if showing your last childbirth live on your blog would guarantee you 5 million hits and all the swag BlogHer can throw your way, would you? Why or why not?

Totally not. There is a line. And my cooch ain't gonna on the net for all the swag in the world. Those 5 million may be there for the day, but I can assure you they ain't comin' back after that. Plus, I believe child birth is a very personal and life altering act. Since becoming a parent, I've become very against exploiting child birth for television/internet whatever. I really hate those shows now.

You seem very worried about your parenting skills, or lack thereof. Why so freaked? Is it because your afraid they'll come back at you some day for naming them after a failed Democrat president and a bad Bruce Wills movie?

Har, Har, Har. You much be old because only old people make that reference. You're old, aren't you?

I am rapidly aging during this interview. Now, answer the question.

I worry about my parenting skills because this blog doesn't generate any money so I can't afford their therapist bills. Fair?

Quite fair. So, if you were not parenting (or fretting about it), what would you do with all that free time?

Probably do interviews like this every day.

Lightning round! Respond quickly with what pops in your head. Ready? Go:

Geddy Lee. Rush, dude! And poutine.

Earwigs. Fuckin' SICK {shudder}

earwig x-ray
Knickknacks. My stepmom.

Alex Trebeck. What is?... and moustaches.

Kiwi. They taste like strawberries.

Satan. Home.

Celine Dion. Her son looks like a girl. Not that there's anything wrong with feminine (why does that look so weird? I spell checked it and even listened to the creepy dude on Answers.com say it ... feminine...) looking boys. *ahem*

celine dion and sonPoop. Fuckin' toilet training. I saw the biggest log of my life just a month ago and it came from my three year old.

McLovin. Sexy time. Wait, wrong movie.

Mike Myers. Git in mah belly!

I'm tapped out. God bless you, and God bless the beaver-rampant provinces of your homeland, eh?
And if you also love beaver, go to Humor-Blogs.com and give me a big ol' grin because "Beaver" is my nickname.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Back to your old tricks

17 clever quips
After last week's episode, I'm not sure whether I should congratulate you or crate you.

Maybe this regression is a good thing. Hmmm ...

Dealer's choice, doggie dude: your analyst or mine?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bite Me

27 clever quips
Dearest Doggie o' Mine,

I know my friends made fun of you and your timid approach to the surf of the Atlantic Ocean this summer. You, I know, are accustomed only to the gentle lapping of the Long Island Sound upon your tender paws. Swells and spicy tides were new territory to you. You're just past the puppy stage, buddy; you'll gain confidence with more experience.

I know they questioned your pedigree when you refused to no-holds-barred dive into the pool at every opportunity. They don't know that this is a good thing. They've never experienced diving down to retrieve a child's toy or lost hair tie only to have a 75-pound cannonball of flailing claws on their unsuspecting backs. (I speak, of course, of your predecessor -- a similarly suburb-sedated lad I loved dearly but did loathe in this one respect.)

In addition, yes, you have no balls. Nevertheless, you are so much more than your physical shortcomings, my fuzzy friend.

So, you must agree that this recent transgression smacks a tad bit of overcompensation on your part, no?



Don't worry, my faithful furball. You're still all wild animal to me.

Love,

The One Who Walks on His Hind Legs and Picks Up Your Leftovers

P.S. If you want a little extra kibble in your bowl, go to Humor-Blogs.com and put your big paws on a smiley face for me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Greenbacks

32 clever quips
Everyone in my immediate family is or works for an accountant. I -- not once, but twice -- scored at least 130 points higher in math than verbal on my SATs.

Naturally, I became a writer. I blame a middle-school classmate who convinced me that, just prior to our taking a career-aptitude test, no job could be better than one in which you get paid to sit around and tell stories.

(Said classmate, the son of a minister, also had a premature taste for hard-core porn magazines. He kept out them out back, right across from the church.)

Still, from time to time, My Love asks me to handle simple financial matters. Why? Beats me. She has an MBA and spends most of her day converting world currencies and dissecting international monetary bylaws so someone who lives in Cheboygan, Mich., can be paid in British sterling via Turkish lira that has be filtered through Mexican counting houses because the person once saw a Taco Bell ad in magazine while flying over the Samsun province.

(Scene: My Love, lost in the thought at the kitchen table.

ME: "Honey, wha'cha thinkin' 'bout?"

HER: "Oh, you know. Sometimes I just like to compound interest in my head.")


Last week, My Love phoned home with a mission: Go to our local Wank of America branch and have them make out a bank check to a car dealer. The check was for a tidy sum that made me gag on the store-brand peanut butter I was having for lunch.

"If we have that much in the bank, why don't I just hit the ATM?" I asked, mentally picturing such a thick stack of Jacksons. "I'll go change into some cargo shorts."

"No. I need a check made out by the bank because … (I zoned out during this part, probably as I was focusing on removing the generic Jif from my wisdom tooth) …, OK?"

"Yes, My Love."

I grabbed the checkbook she left for me on the countertop and headed out.

Hmm, if I have a checkbook why do I need a bank check?

God, this peanut butter is being feisty!

I arrived at the bank and informed the teller of my need.

"There's a $7 charge for that," she said.

Then she looked at my checkbook. The account I wanted to use was actually with another bank down the street.

Quarts of flop sweat later, my minivan pulled up to the nearby PityWank branch. As I do, it dawns on me: I was in this building many years ago … when it was an S&H Green Stamps redemption center. What did we trade our stamps in for? Blender? Mixer?

So, into the bank and another line. The teller asks for my bank card.

"Uh, I don't have one."

"You don't have a card for your account?"

"No. But I have this checkbook."

She looks exasperated. Then she asks for my Social Security number.

"It's not in the system. Do you know your wife's Social?"

"I don't know my wife's phone number at work. … But I have this checkbook. My name is printed on the checks. See. Do these checks serve any purpose at all?"

She commences banging away furiously on her keyboard. I feel like I just asked to upgrade my seat on the last chopper out of 'Nam.

Triggered by waiting impatiently and impotently at the counter, just as I did with my mom 35 years ago, The Green Stamp store flashbacks begin. Yellow linoleum floors crammed with vacuums standing under soiled throw rugs. Peeling wallpaper with crooked posters of smiling housewives in checkered aprons. Jesus, what did we get here?

Sewing machine?

Rowboat?

Dang it, that's an old episode of the Brady Bunch.

"You know," the teller interrupted, "there will be a $10 service charge for issuing this check?"

"You know," I countered, "it's only $7 up the street."

"Pardon me, sir?"

"Hey! Do you know what?" I said in mid-epiphany. "My mom and I got a toaster over in this building once and all it cost us was a few books of sticky green paper."



Video: "It's Money that Matters," Randy Newman

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