Monday, August 25, 2008

Slip 'n Slidin' Away

39 clever quips
When the central A/C decided to take a dive on the hottest weekend of the summer, leaving the Uncool household uncooler than usual, we did what countless thousands, nah, millions of other families did before us. We went to Flaw-Mart and bought a Slip 'n Slide.

Not your average Slip 'n Slide, mind you. The Double Auto Racer version with side-by-side slides. Yes, that means no waiting for the two Things. Unless, of course, their Dad has decided to go smack down the center, more out of need for his ever-expanding waistline as opposed to his sheer lust for all 148 syringe-like jets of garden hose love to caress his flabby self in the heat of the afternoon.

But I'm jumping the gun. First, the SnS needed to be properly installed. This required reading the instructions. Instructions that start with warnings printed in letters the size of the Costco Super Klutzy family-size of pack of adhesive bandages.

Warnings printed in the color of the blood that could be spurting out of your child's headless neck if you fail to heed them.

Warnings that all begin with words like NEVER, AVOID and AMPUTATION.

Warnings the genius folks at Wham-O are so serious about that they print them on all six sides of the box, on both sides of the instruction sheet, on a separate warning insert card, and on both sides and ends of the product.

Do people receive this kind of heads-up before they buy firearms? Vote Republican? Download Ashlee Simpson songs? I think not. This is just a flippin' sheet of plastic with holes punched in it, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission!

After putting the local ambulance service, National Guard unit and funeral home on speed dial, I wrenched the faucet open. The cool promise of summer refreshment spurted forth … and it was good.

At least, that what I keep telling the Things as they stood there silently watching little fountains of municipal hydration water the weeds where Kentucky Blue should have been.

"What the hey, spawn. You two nagged and guilted me into buying this while we were stuck in the checkout line. Start slippin' and a-slidin'."

"What do we do?" asked Thing 2.

"Take a couple of running steps, dive and slide. Whoo-hoo."

The Things looks at each other. You'd think I had just told them to perfect cold-water fusion. Or eat cauliflower.

Thing 1 ventured forth and offered a toe. "It's cold!" she declared.

"It's hot outside, hence you counteract the heat with cold. Slide 'n' Slide and have fun now, or I start singing 'Fat Bottomed Girls' in an extremely high register."

Thing 1 took a few tentative steps back. She ran like the girl she is, which means on her tiptoes with arms flopping every which way, and fell forward. She skidded about two feet.

"Lift your arms. You're stopping yourself with your hands."

She tried again. This time she went three feet.

Next came Thing 2. I held high hopes for him, not because he is my boy, but because he has seen enough Discovery Channel specials and animated films about penguins that he must have learned something.

"Come on, boy. Flop on down there! Surf's up, Happy Feet!"

He backed up about 35 feet. He jumped out of the blocks like the albino, suburban love child of Usain Bolt and Tirunesh Dibaba. He reached the bright yellow sheet of glistening, watery frivolity, leaped and landed smack on his scabby knees. And then his face.

"Crap in a wrap! Wait here," I said, uttering the most devastating threat I could think of. "I'm getting my suit on."

I returned, ready for action. Unfortunately, it took my more than a few minutes to find where the cleaning people had hidden my suit, and in my absence, our backyard had turned into the 2008 version of the muddy flats of Yasgur's Farm. Minus the free love, brown acid and Country Joe and the Fish, of course.

"Watch me. Slide on your belly and lower chest. Lift your head and arms up," I said. "And scream. I don't care if it's from the cold water, the pain of your body hitting a stray acorn or from actually having fun. Scream 'til it hurts. It'll help."

I took two deliberate steps back from the edge of the slide. I bent my knees and leaned forward. I started ahead. Then I remembered.

I hadn't done this in about 25 years. And 30 pounds.



Friday, August 22, 2008

When Nature Calls

34 clever quips
Thing 1 hobbled through the gate. Beneath her oversized safari hat and knock-off designer sunglasses from Claire's (the most evil of crap-filled chain stores in a mall near you if you are the parent of a tween girl), she twisted up her mouth in pain.

"Daaaaaa-deeeeeee!" she sobbed. "I got stunged by a jellyfiiiiiiiiish."

I forgave her poor conjugation of verbs this time. It was obvious she was in a world of hurt.

"Where'd he get you?"

"On the beeeeeeeeach. I was fishing … with Mom … "

(Yes, Thing 1 and My Love were pointlessly sending XXXL bloodworms to their death on the Atlantic shores while I, Non-Sportsman of the Year, lounged about the pool of our rental home, mentally calculating physics and chemical compositions in effort to correctly determine which would be frozen first -- the Bucket O' Margaritas or Bucket O' Mojitos. This was important business as cocktail hour on our vacations commence promptly at 11:03 a.m. -- EDT.)

"I figured that much, honey. I mean where on your body did you get stung?"

"My foooOOOOOOoooooooot," she crooned pathetically.

In all the hours I have logged on the beach over my 40 summers of painful family and joyful non-family vacations, I had one fleeting encounter with Aurelia aurita. It left me with an itchy, scarlet rash on my inner thigh. Lest you think it was something else, perv, I was only 9 at the time and quite unskilled in the ways of women. Well, even less skilled than I am today. Regardless, I sucked it up and didn't breathe a word of it because I was raised Roman Catholic and we just don't talk about such things. Ever.

I sorted through my memory banks for some nugget of past learning that might apply to dealing with a jellyfish sting.

Let's see, let's see ... butter? No, no -- that's for burns. At least that's what they used in that pirate movie I saw on Channel 11 once when I was a kid. Besides, we only have Smart Balance.

Meat tenderizer? Accent! Yes! … No, no, NO, dam the Yangtze! All we have is Mrs. Dash. Curse this borderline blood pressure of mine!

Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling … wait for it.

Must-See TV Thursdays. Yes. Processing.

"Friends." Monica. Joey. Beach.


In preparation for the aforementioned cocktail hour, I had been downing pint after lemon-wedged pint of seven-time filtered Aquafina -- official sponsor of my four-waking hours of daily sobriety whilst on vacation.

"OK, come with me," I said, leading her upstairs to our bathroom on the third floor. "This is my time to shine."

Thing 1 sat on the edge of the whirlpool bathtub. "Owwwwie! It stings. It stings. Owwwwwie!" she cried.

"It's OK, sweetie pie. Daddy's bladder is fully charged with liquid gold painkiller."

"Huh? Mom said put vinegar on it. Noooooooow, Daddeeeeeee!"

"Look, your Mom was raised amid a zillion square miles of cornfields. The closest she came to a jelly was bag of Swedish Fish at the matinee. Look, I'm locked and loaded."

"Daaaddeeeee! Nooooooooooo!"

And then I whipped out … my laptop.

See, during this whole time, I had been stalling so my Wi-Fi connection could fire up and I could double check Sure enough, it confirmed vinegar followed by hydrocortisone cream, which we never travel without for reasons I'll let you ponder silently to yourself.

"All right, sweetie, what do you want: balsamic or red wine? Croutons? A little fresh pepper, perhaps?"

Hungry for more humor? Go to and give me a smile!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Go Ahead, Pull My Tractor

31 clever quips
I plopped down in front of the flat screen one day earlier this summer to see what wonders TiVo had wrought. That's when I noticed this:

So, I clicked.

Now, TiVo, I love you. Madly. Even when you spent many precious hours last year canoodling with the overnight lineup of the Logo channel (not that there's anything wrong with that), I forgave you. You are bound to experiment once in while. I understand. I don't approve sometimes -- especially when you short me the conclusion of "Rescue Me," you sexy technological whore -- but I understand.

But tractor pulling? Baby, let me show you what I REALLY like …

"I recorded that. Don't delete it!" said My Love, halting me in mid-fondle of my large, hard, black remote.

"Tractor pulling?"

"Whenever I get mad at you, I like to watch it. It reminds me how lucky I am because you could have a lot worse habits and hobbies than the ones you do."

I love it when she gets all "Nebraska corn-detassler who escaped the trailer park and made it in the Big City" on me. It makes me all ... you know.
Now, what's on Spike TV?
If you enjoyed this, fast forward to and hit replay over and over again, you beast.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Massage my panicky heart

25 clever quips
Lest you think I completely live off My Love's income (well, pretty much I do), thought you should know I actually got hired by someone. A reader, in fact. That is frightening on so many levels.

From today on, I will also be writing a monthly column in the e-letter of the Aetheria Relaxation Spa. It's not only a great spa that gives you personal attention in a friendly, healing atmosphere, but it is also located right next to a funky tavern with Smithwick's on tap. I know this because that's where Beth, the coolest spa owner in the world, plied me with drink and mozzarella sticks during negotiations.

"Look at me," I said, wiping crumbs from my chin. "Why would you want this (pinching love handles, staining shirt with zesty marinara sauce stuck on fingers) to write a health column?"

"The monkey broke his arm," she said.

"OK, I want $500 per column, unlimited massages for me and the wife and a bowl of Skittles -- greens and yellows only -- in my dressing room."

"I'll buy you another pint."

That's better than I was making as a reporter! Sweeeeeet!

So, without further ado ... Your Uncool Health Columnist makes his debut:

I had my first heart attack at 24. At least I thought I did.

Chest pains, shortness of breath, numbness in the arms. "Ooo, it's the Big One, Elizabeth! I'm comin' to join ya, honey!"

Two ER trips, a couple of EKGs and a visit to a general practitioner later, the medical profession copped out on me with these conclusions:

I definitely had a sinus condition.

I may have pulled a chest muscle.

I was apparently prone to panic attacks.

Mucus issues - agreed. The chest muscle excuse I still don't buy because, honestly, overexertion for me at that stage in my life meant carrying TWO cases of beer from the car to the 'fridge. But panic attacks?

Since I paid enough attention to "ER" on Thursday nights to recognize most of the signs of a heart attack, apparently I had convinced myself that I was actually having one when the first pain hit. My overactive imagination just filled in the rest of the blanks, the docs said.

That made sense. The problem now was unconvincing myself that that I was headed to the cardiac care ward before I had even moved out of my parents' house. I spent a week or two lying on the couch (yes, my parents' couch), watching cable and being afraid to make any sudden moves.

One of my co-workers' suggested I try massage therapy to help me relax. That his girlfriend at the time was a licensed masseuse showed great confidence either in himself as a boyfriend or in her as a massage professional. Turned out to be both.

Thinking about that first massage, to this day, still makes the hair on my neck get delightfully tingly. I remember leaving her office that day craving food for the first time in weeks (though, in retrospect, a bread bowl of chili and Heineken may not have been the best meal). The smell of heated lavender oil stayed in my nasal passages for at least two days, and every intake of breath was a reminder of that etherealness under her fingers.

And elbows. I think she also climbed on my back and used her knees at one point. I was one uptight puppy in those days.

I started seeing her weekly for next few months. Gradually I tapered off when I felt completely back to my old self. After that I went back for a "tune up" every few months when I was feeling low or achy or just in need of an hour of tranquility under someone else's nimble fingers.

See, here's a secret: Guys like to be pampered, too.

OK, maybe not avocado-scrub and seaweed-wrap pampering (we'll deal with the perils of mud baths some other time). But if a guy won't admit to feeling some of the world's weight melt off after 60 minutes of having all the right pressure points warmed, oiled and kneaded, then he's lying. In fact, he's lying more now than he did when he said he polished off that zucchini quiche you made (psst, look inside the empty milk carton, under the coffee grounds, at the bottom of the trash).

I won't claim that every massage I've had since makes me feel the same way that first one did. But I've never come out of one looking to the sky and clutching my shirt and quoting Fred G. Sanford. I've only come out feeling peaceful, rested and ready to take on the next challenge.

Or the next bread bowl of chili.

Hope I didn't rub you the wrong way. Now, please massage my status over at by clicking the link and giving me a smiley face. Thanks!

Friday, August 15, 2008

The 7 Habits of Highly Uncool People

24 clever quips
My view of all those "how to get your life together/succeed in business" self-help books is simple. They're all pretty lame.

Whether it's breaking all the rules by moving the good-to-great cheese from under your one-minute manager's brown nose or creating raving fans by continuously improving Six Sigma during your 4-hour work week, they all boil down to this:

Plan. Communicate. Connect. Do.

See. I saved you $23.98 on the latest management fad. Chew on that, Kenneth Blanchard, Ph. D.

This all leads me into today's post. Wendy of Notes from the Sleep Deprived has ducktaped me to my desk chair until I produce "7 weird and private things" about myself. Like there are any other kinds.

So here goes:

1. Maintain the mystery. Create new middle names and titles for yourself whenever fill out forms not requiring credit checks. My current nom de plume is Cornelius the Ravager. Tomorrow, I'm test driving Sh'neuqua, Queen of the Cuticle.

2. Defy gender roles. For example, whenever an airline has me fill out one of those cards looking for suggestions to improve their service, I always write in: "Shorts for the stewards. Some of those guys got legs!"

3. Screw unto others ... I reply to Nigerian bank account e-mail scams. In fact, I always ask them to call me so we can discuss their dire straits ... or even Mark Knopfler's spotty solo work. The fact the names and phone numbers I give them match those of former co-workers and bosses of mine -- just coincidence. (UPDATE: Shortly after I posted this, I got one of these e-mails, except now it is from Kuwait. This will be my gift to you -- here is the e-mail.)

4. Emote at will. I tear up at the sappiest movie crap. I mean, "Kit Kittredge" had my sinuses stuffy by the end. Same thing when Homer lets Bart hold in the bomb in "The Simpsons Movie."

5. Embrace the technology at hand ... I, like millions of teen boys in the day, stuck tin foil in the slots of the cable box in a vain attempt to get the Playboy Channel to unsquiggle itself on the screen. Today, all I can say is "Internet, you're so beautiful … like a high-class prostitute."

6. ... even if you don't really get it. I joined Twitter. I know, I know. I've railed against it before. I still will. But all the kids are doing it. I'm jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge next week. Don't worry, I plan to cushion my fall by landing on John Edwards' ego. That's what I call social justice, punk.

7. Impress others with useless knowledge. Not only do I still own the "Lenny and The Squigtones" on vinyl, I still know most of the words to the songs. This simultaneously frightens and endears me to My Love. But, c'mon - this where the Spinal Tap guys got started. And Peter Criss (yes, of Kiss) appears on the inner sleeve as drummer "Ming the Merciless."

So make it your habit to visit, register and give me a big goofy smiley face.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sarcasm - Don't Leave Home Without It

27 clever quips
The quarterly trips Thing 1 and I take to Chicago to meet with her rheumatologist, more often than not, have their hitches.

Like the very first time we went. Thing 1 was all pumped up to visit the Chicago Children's Museum. She dug for dinosaur bones among the ground bits of old rubber tires, ran the cash register at the play supermarket and pumped 'tane at the pretend gas station.

Two hours later, she developed a staph infection and puked on the hospital sidewalk. And my shoes, too.

It went much better this time around.

We jumped an earlier flight that took off and landed … on time! The 85-degree Midwest sunshine was tempered by a healthy Lake Michigan breeze that made it feel more like late May than mid-August. I escaped the American Girl Place (never "store") with only $121 from my wallet and 20 minutes of my life disappearing.

The visit to the doc also went extremely well and I write about it today on (I also hit you up for a donation for Thing 1's foundation, but I understand that times suck. I'd be cool if all you did was read the post and gave me a comment).

Then came the attempt to get back home.

For once, our appointment with the rheumatologist sped along. No waiting for blood testing! Thing 1 peed in the cup on first try! (Let the record state that she REALLY needs to start getting that urine sample in the plastic cup without my assistance). We got back to O'Hare four hours before our scheduled flight, early standby on our minds.

Unfortunately, "weather" (I believe this is code for "incompetence") canceled all the days' flights up until our original one. We ended up hanging at Chili's Too and Wolfgang Puck's Café, eating junk and drinking ... stuff ... and getting on each other's nerves for five hours.

Where did that extra hour come from? Well, our plane arrived on time … but then it was relegated to the scrap heap because of a "mechanical failure." I think a wheel locked on the beverage cart.

When the secondhand plane arrived, we boarded with Group 6, the last ones to enter the cabin and always the ones with the most carry-on luggage.

As we made our way up the aisle, I stopped in the first-class section and turned to ask Thing 1 to hand me one of her bags since the overhead compartments here were mostly empty because these people can afford to check bags at $15 a pop ($25 for your second! What a deal!).

"Hey! Watch it! You are hitting me with that!"

When I turned, my backpack apparently nailed some blue-hair in 3C. I apologized quickly, sincerely and just as Mom had taught me. Then it got ugly.

"Well, you need to pay more attention to what you're doing, blah blah blah …"

"Ma'am, I'm sorry. I apologized. There's not much more I can do. There's no need to get upset and make a fuss. I'm sorry. It was my fault."

"Well, I'll get upset and raise a fuss if I want to! I blah blah blah …"

I rolled my eyes, turned and went up the aisle. Then I looked over my shoulder and out it came:
"Oh, go have another free drink and get over it!"

I felt good with this all the way back to LaGuardia. Then as we disembarked, I saw the blue-hair on the bridge into the terminal.

She was in a wheelchair.

So, I ask you, what circle of hell does this move me down to?

If you know, tell them at I'd like my room ready when I arrive.

Monday, August 11, 2008

My Son, The Budding Racist?

30 clever quips
Thing 2 gave us the dinnertime rundown on his day at the local nature center's day camp. The usual -- washed a sheep, played running bases, got kicked in the 'nads.

"We were walking and one of the older boys turned around and hit me with his knee." A spasm of giggles shook his oversized, 6-year-old body. "Right in the peanuts."

This news sends a hollowness into any man's gut. It's a sympathy pain like the one you should have felt when your wife was pushing the kid out her privates, but you were too busy gawking and thinking, "Huey Lewis! Look at that! How is THAT frickin' possible?!"

"Are you all right?"

"Yeah. I fell to the ground. It reeeeeally hurt," he said, snorting and covering his face with his grubby little man hands.

"Buddy, why are you laughing? Dad's been hit there before and it is usually NOT a laughing matter. Unless it happens to someone else, of course."

"I don't know. Heeee-heeee-heeeee."

"What happened to the boy who did it? Why did he do it?"

"I don't know. They made him take a time out."

Needless to say, the next day's pick up at camp required a more thorough debriefing before we arrived home. So when Thing 2 scampered up into the minivan, I Mike Wallaced him.

"How'd it go today, buddy? Any one pop you in the sack?"

"Nope. We picked corn from the garden. And I got to use a rake and a garbage bag to pick up horse poop. Country makes big poop. Missy's are small. She's a pony."

"You," I gasped. "You picked up horse poop?"

"Yep. I picked up sheep poop yesterday."

Hamster starts running on the wheel. Light bulb flickers on. "So, now that you are so experienced, I can have you pick up the dog's poop around the yard for me, right?"

"Daaaaaad! No! This is CAAAAAMP."

Worth a shot.

"And what has been your favorite part of camp, buddy?"

"Hmmm … Cleaning the pig's house."

Geez, I'm shelling out $325 a week ($340 if you include the camp T-shirt) so Thing 2 can to do the counselors' chores?! What the frick?! I can't get him to brush his teeth most mornings, but he's picking up sheep squirts like it was piñata candy.

"So," I said in disbelief, "you REALLY like this camp, huh?"

"Yep. And best of all, there are no purple people."

Ow ow ow ow! My socially liberal, agnostic-fearin' heart! Someone at the hospital accidentially gave me David Duke's son!

"Uh, come again."

"Purple people smell funny."

I'm hoping he means campers like himself who come home every day covered in mud -- and now, I'm guessing, various barnyard excrements -- but I have my doubts.

"Buddy, have you gotten a whiff of yourself lately? You're not a batch of sugar cookies fresh from the oven."

"Purple people aren't very nice to me, either."

"What are you talking about? What about Quinten and Tarantino in your kindergarten class? You seemed to get along fine with them. Tarantino even came to your birthday party. He gave you the Spiderman glove thingy that shoots Silly String. You loved that."

"Well, I guess some purple people are OK. We do have one purple kid in camp."

"Does he smell?"

"Daaaaaad, it's a g-IR-LLLL."

"I sit corrected. Does she smell funny?"

His eyes roll upward in deep thought. "No. I can't smell her at all."

"Is she mean to you? Does she knee you in the peanuts? Does she?"

"No. She doesn't talk to me."

"Soooo … you admit that not all purple people …"


"And not all purple people are …"

"Mean to me?"

"Boy, that is so right. People come in all different colors, sizes and, uh, smells. Doesn't make them bad, just different. You don’t have like everyone, just be nice and try to get along. Capesh?"


Eh, close enough. Besides, I think the minivan just took out someone's mailbox.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Me: A to Z

20 clever quips
You've heard of stuff of the Internet going viral, right? Seems to be that way with me and "awards" from fellow bloggers.

First, it was the attack of ARTE Y PICO, the Spanish featherduster sweeping the 'Net and sex shops near you. I got four in two weeks. My doctor says one more and I would never play the flute again. Oh, so lonely.

Now, it is this gem:
The Brillante Weblog Premio. It, too, is Spanish (damn our weak immigration policies and lack of border patrols!) and it means, literally, "shiny chain letter."

I like this one because it is actually cited in the Museum of Hoaxes. I also like that it was given to me by two classy ladies who were obviously confusing me with the more digitally dexterous Backpacking Dad. Talk about a flautist.

Nonetheless, I thank them and their misdirection: Wendy of Notes from the Sleep Deprived and Anisa of Hope4Peyton -- bless you. Here's a tissue.

According to Anissa, I need to answer these questions. I'll try to make this painless for you:

A. Attached or single? Welded and waterproof
B. Best friend? The one who is buying
C. Cake or pie? Vanilla birthday cake with butter cream icing and pecan pie filling
D. Day of choice? Morris (don't you never say an unkind word about The Time!)

F. Favorite color? No discrimination here. I love them all equally.
G. Gummy bears or worms? Sour Patch Kids (you should have seen that one coming)
H. Hometown? Truth or Consequences, NM
I. Indulgence? Una mas cerveza, por favor, senorita.
J. January or July? Depends on her measurements, accessories and the staple placement
K. Kids? Constantly. That's why I'm on
L. Life isn’t complete without? The comic pages
M. Marriage date? I could've taken a date? Dang!
N. Number of brothers & sisters? (7-9)+(-5+8)
O. Oranges or apples? Granny Smiths because I like them apples tart and sassy.
P. Phobias? Smooth jazz
Q. Quotes? "I'm the player to be named later" and "Don't let those swill merchants rewrite you."
R. Reasons to smile? Groucho, Chico, Harpo and even Zeppo
S. Season of choice? Oregano
T. Tag seven peeps! I hate labels, but if I must:

U. Unknown fact about me? I own the "Lenny & the Squigtones" album on vinyl.

V. Vegetable? Tabasco
W. Worst habits? Compulsive sarcasm
X. X-ray or ultrasound? Either beats a colonoscopy
Y. Your favorite food? See "Cake or pie?"
Z. Zodiac sign? Taurus (that's why I'm so good as tossing this bull)

You want the Brillante Weblog Premio, too? You really want it? It CAN BE YOURS!

Just leave me a comment that unabashedly pimps your blog as the greatest piece of ones and zeroes since that stupid Dancing Baby from "Ally McBeal" or explain why Huggy Bear was the most compelling, yet least explored character in the original "Starsky & Hutch." Just as long as it make me giggle and snort.

The seven people who give the best giggles and snorts take one home. The rest of you, I'll respect you even more in the morning because, let's face it, I'm a loser most of the time, too.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My Son, The Monkey Boy

24 clever quips
I have expressed my periodic doubts about my son, Thing 2, in this space before. That's what fathers do. We worry about our sons repeating the mistakes we made in our own lives.

Meanwhile, us Dads worry about our daughters driving us broke and then needing to live off greasy, dollar bills earned twirling around a shiny brass pole while being leered at by sleaze like A-Rod. Fatherhood should come with better warning labels.

As I was saying, I had just settled in for a few chapters of Jane Leavy's excellent book about Sandy Koufax (I have fondness for biographies and Jewish lefthanders who can bring the heat) when My Love crawled in under the sheets. Seems she had just completed a heart-to-heart with our 6-year-old wonder boy … about his career path.

This is a good sign, I thought. He knew to bring this up with his PowerPoint-wieldin', six-figure-earnin', HR-executive goddess Mom rather than his slovenly, semi-employed Dad -- a man whose bank deposits are so small and infrequent that Quicken Home & Business edition won't even pretend to go through the motions of trying to find and download them anymore.

"He said to me: 'Mom, I want an exciting job ... like working with monkeys."

"Having spent my working life mostly in newsrooms, PR shops and corporate headquarters, I think he's on to something, hon."

"Me, too," My Love said. "But he's worried about one thing. The monkeys might jump on his head."


"So he said he'll need to wear red or blue clothes. Definitely not green or brown."

monkey"Uh, why not green or brown?"

Here, My Love broke into the classic Thing 2 whine of disbelief: "'Because, Moooom! The monkeys might think I'm a tree.'"

Good reasoning again (see photos). At barely over 6 years of age, Thing 2 stands at an impressive 53 inches high (that's 4-foot-5 for the math impaired among you). Only one kid was taller than him in his kindergarten class. That was only on days when she wore her hair up.

"And what if the monkeys end up tap dancing on his noggin?" I asked.

"Then he would prefer a job swimming with sharks."

(Fill in your favorite lawyer joke here. My response to her was just, "Well, it's always good to have fall-back plans.")

My Love continued. "I said to him that I guess we did a good job sending him to the camp at the nature center this summer because he's learning all about animals. His response was, 'But Moooom! I don't get paid at camp!'"

"He wants to get paid to go to camp? He's spending waaaay too much time listening to his sister again."

"So I told him he didn't get paid because he wasn't working …"

"Just like his Dad …"

"… and he wouldn't get paid until he got a real job, and for that he needed to go to school, learn to read and learn math. Then it was all, 'MOOOOOOM! I know math,' and he made me test him with a bunch of addition questions. He's pretty good, too."

This conversation made me realize one thing. I need to worry less about the boy and more about my own lack of paid employment.

Hmm, monkeys are kinda cool.

But before you start tripping over yourselves to give Thing 2 some comment love, ponder this: My next full post will be titled: "My Son, The Budding Racist."

Finally, monkeys love applause. Go to, register and give me a smiley face. I dare ya.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Double Your Pleasure

14 clever quips
Remember when your local rock station did "Two for Tuesdays" in which they played back-to-back cuts from your favorite band? Or more likely, some crappy band that made your skin crawl?

(Great. Now I've got Tears for Fears stuck in my head. "Shout, shout, 'I think I've got gout!' ...")

Anyway, I have two goofy ones for you on other sites today:

1. As part of the ingenious Great Interview Experiment, I was interrogated by the lovely fly-by-night, Winter, at Sunlight Sucks. Read it to learn:

What mainstream movie gets my hormones racing!
What I really think of all you "Mommy Bloggers" out there!
Whether Barry White is my favorite musical aphrodisiac!

You can find those answers and many others about my idiot self by visiting her site today! Please drop her a comment so she knows you came by.

2. I have a brief tale on about love on the fade that is given one last desperate chance to reignite. I won't give away the ending completely but the following tune by the poorly coifed Tim Hawkins will give you a clue:

Enjoy 'em and thanks for your patronage.

(Dang it! "Ev' -ry bud-dy wants to drool on Earl ... ")

Friday, August 1, 2008

This is Not An American Girl Production

33 clever quips
I thought I had escaped the latest American Girl juggernaut when my sister volunteered weeks ago to take Thing 1 to the "Kit Kittredge" movie. My little scheme, however, was thwarted when the appointed day to pump more cash into Barbie's pseudo-profound (and naturally, more expensive) cousins came and the flick was no longer in town.

Because I love my daughter and, in place of my real name, her birth certificate lists the father as "sucker," I hit Matinees were playing at three multiplexes in the area, provided you define "area" as within the Eastern Time zone.

"My Love, these are my choices," I said, seeking her infinite wisdom. "Each theater is roughly the same distance from here, time-wise. We can go to Burpport, which is easy access right off I-95 but … it's Burpport. We could very well miss a turn and find ourselves in midst of a Blood/Crypts rumble. Next is Ritzfield, which requires me to rough it on 26 different back roads and risk hitting a nanny goat in panties. Or, there is Snorethorne, which requires me to cross state lines -- always a risky proposition when I am without other adult supervision."

She contemplated via a sip from her glass of the house red, Smoking Loon.

"Snorethorne. I'd rather drive on the parkway than battle the trucks and nuts on 95."

She, as always, was right. Moreover, Snorethorne is bucolic like Ritzfield but without the funny looks from the locals because the minivan bumper doesn't have multiple Cape Cod off-road permits stuck to it.

"I love you," I said. "Can I take you right now? Here, on the granite countertop?"

"Stop it. It's Wednesday."

Next morning, I loaded Thing 1 and a Scooby Doo movie into the minivan and off we went.

It took three tries and four extra miles to gain entrance to the parkway. Each normal path was blocked and detoured because of road resurfacing. Must be an election year.

When we finally hit the parkway, we cruised at 55 for a whopping 18 seconds before we hit bumper-to-bumper traffic. This day, the state had decided to finally chip up all the dead tree branches that fell along the road in the storms we had … back in January. Is the frickin' governorship up for contention this year, too?

When we reached the state line, we encountered five miles of bumps and Jersey-barrier narrowed lanes. It's 10:46 in the morning and this theater better have a full-service bar with cocktail waitresses dressed in "I Dream of Jeannie" outfits or else there will be blood.

We arrived at the Snorethorne Multiplex. At 11:15 on a Thursday morn for a G-rated flick, I am the sole male among a half-dozen moms and grandmoms with two-dozen female spawn in tow. This, I can handle.

Not so much the world's slowest concessionaire. He talked like and had the same hair and cheesy mustache as the flair-pushing restaurant owner in "Office Space." He made you repeat every item in your order twice and then repeated it back to you as he took his sweet, minimum-wage time fetching it. He snapped opened every popcorn bag with a Pete-Townshend-style arm windmill. He counted your change back to the penny -- very carefully. Then he asked if you wanted a receipt.

"Enjoy … the movie … and come back … again."

Finally, we were ensconced in our seats. The lights dimmed. The previews commenced.

Here, I jest not, are two of them:

Now, I appreciate a good threesome as much as the next guy (at least in concept and from what I know from late-night pay-per-view). I also don't believe in putting my kids in a hermetically sealed box. For example, Thing 1 is a big fan of "My Name is Earl" which, I believe, teaches the values of being kind to others as well as serving as a sociological exploration into the mores and fashion stylings of the trailer park crowd. However, even I was a little concerned about these previews, though I'm pretty sure each will later appear in our NetFlix queue.

"Hunny bunny, hold my popcorn. I'll be right back."

An outraged red-haired mom of three had already beaten me to the lobby and the manager.

"I can't believe this! What is going on with you people! This is a film for little girls! Making love! Going to bed! Women kissing!"

"Yeah," I said, now in mock indignation because this was one of the people causing the concession stand experience to be even more tortuous by making snack and drink substitutions in each of her three kids' value packs, "Brad Pitt just said 'screw the pooch,' 'shit' and 'dickwad.'"

"Shit and dickwad!" outraged Red said. "Well, the damage has already been done."

Apparently, they had sent us all to the wrong theater. We were quickly ushered into the one next door and treated to previews of a crappy DreamWorks' animated flick about flies going to the moon and then, finally, "Kit Kittredge: An American Harlot."

Maybe not. Nevertheless, it's nice to think that it could of ended that way.
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My Uncool Past