Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Company You Keep

20 clever quips
I'm posting at DadCentric today with a tragic tale of men, minivans and garage doors. Click the link, read and comment.

I'll be over there about once a week or so, or at least until they realize I'm not the answer to increasing their readership and ad revenue. That could be as soon as tomorrow. I'd Twitter you when I post there, but that would require me to sign up for Twitter. However, I'm lazy and already a twit, so why emphasize that in yet another communication vehicle.

Honestly, I'm as surprised the DadCentric dads asked me to be a regular contributor as I am that I accepted their offer. First, I don't know diddley about any of them. They may be abused former Congressional pages with ties to gun-totin', organized-religion-followin' lesbian park rangers who dig "Little House on the Prairie" reruns. Can't blame 'em. Half-Pint's mom has got it going on.

Second, I'm definitely a member of Groucho Marx's "I don't want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member" club. (Wait for it ... double paradox, yes. I'm a word geek.) I turned down an acceptance to a fraternity in college simply because I realized, "Crap, are these the idiots I really want to reminisce nostalgically to my kids' about someday?"

Instead, these days I fill The Things with tales of all the Thursday nights me and my nine-and-a-half-fingered roommate sat around splitting a case of Keystone, trying to write the next ZZ Top hit. "Chicken Pants Dance" -- coulda, woulda, shoulda, dude.

So who am I? Why am I there?

I haven't a friggin' clue. Maybe that'll help me fit in. For once.

If you giggled at this post or "Of Minivan and Men" on DadCentric, give me a big ol' smile at Humor-Blogs.com because this being a loner schtick isn't schtick.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Aftermath (but Before Science)

17 clever quips
Thanks to everyone who participated in the rest weekend sleepover with the kids from Camp Candid Carrie. Hope you had fun and you're heads have recovered.

BTW, who left his pants on the treadmill?

Next, My Love appreciates all the women who offered to make out with her, but it's not her bag. I've asked before, and I'll keep asking on your behalf, though.

Congrats are in order to Jen Gray of Two Knit Monkeys! Not only did we all love her as Baby in "Dirty Dancing," but she also kicked tail in the scavenger hunt! As her reward, she has chosen to receive her own home-version of Drinkin' Jenga (personally inscribed by me, My Love and some of our imbibing friends) and our "secret" neighborhood eggnog recipe. The recipe serves, I don't know -- 100 people, maybe. We bottle it and distribute it on Christmas Eve like the reeking-with-cheer elves we are.

The hunt answers are:

1. Who is the syndicated columnist who inspired my first full-length post? Joel Stein

2. Name the main musician that played at my 40th birthday party. Marshall Crenshaw

3. Wikipedia claims that my real name was also the pseudonym for a real DJ that inspired a famous television character. Name the character and what other character on the show warms the cockles of my heart. Dr. Johnny Fever and Bailey Quarters

4. In my version of the Disney Channel's "Camp Rock," what does the bad-boy-teen-idol-in-exile change the camp welcome sign to say? Ramp Cock

5. Pick your favorite piece of advice from the wisdom I passed on to Thing 2 when he turned 6. Jen's choice: "Don't mix SoCo and Ice T mix. Been there, won't do that again. I get a gritty feeling in my mouth just thinking about it. Gross."

Bonus: Fill in the blank -- If trapped in an elevator with the person known as Always Home and Uncool, I would ______. Jen said: "Break out the D&D and watch my elf kick your ass."

Finally, while I cobble together a fresh post for later, here's what keeps popping into my head after three wonderful days of eating, quaffing and swapping dirty thoughts about the "High School Musical" cast with all you wonderful people:

While I was passed out in the hammock, which one of you jokers shaved the heart in my chest hair?

shaved chest

If my pidgeon chest made you spit out your beverage, go to Humor-Blogs.com and register a complaint.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Wake the Kids and Call the Neighbors! House Party Goin' On!

37 clever quips
(Ed. Note: Now with easier scavenger hunt questions!)

I'm comin', I'm comin'! Geez, who the hell is knocking at 5 fu- …

Hoover's toe fungus! It's the kids from Camp Candid Carrie. Is the field trip today?

Wait. One second! ONE SEC!


uncool welcomes youGood morning, campers! I'm your Uncle Uncool. C'min, c'min. Eye opener? (Or as MS Word suggests, "Revelation?")

I know you've been running ragged this summer, visiting all the great sights the blogging world offers. It's a crazy, gray-matter stimulating, hackle raising, digital world. With that in mind and all you've already seen, you're probably thinking, "Why am I here today?"

Me, too.

Seriously. I've got two Disney-Channel crackheads beating each other with pool noodles, a dog with the runs, and a beef with the makers of allegedly "vitamin fortified" French toast sticks to deal with. What the hey?

(sound of crickets)

Ha! I kid. I'm a kidder! Uncool Kidman, that's me.

Learn on your own time, mates, this weekend is about fun. We've got games, prizes and many refreshments! Let me introduce you around.

my love drinking wine SFFirst, here's My Love. She built that there bridge and koi pond in our backyard. She's also the cruise director, breadwinner and tolerater of my shenanigans. Me, I'm just the sucka MC.

Wait. Hold on …

Just asked my uber bad-ass DJ, Manager Mom. "Sucka" -- bad. "Dope" -- good. Me -- white, love-handled suburban 40-year-old guy who loves nerdy power pop.

Look out!
murphyThere's Murphy, the aforementioned dog. He's 2, he's a latte-lovin' Lab and he's tinkling on your foot right now.

Gotcha! Trust me, that's not the end of him we worry about.

Over here are the local town criers, Stamford Talk and Stamford Blog, once again bickering over Trivial Pursuit. ST, SB! Whoa. Chill. Let's play Drinkin' Jenga instead. Here -- I'll pull the first piece:

drinking jengaAaand Stamford Blog is on my right. Hmmm. Dude, that's a fuzzy navel.

We're walking, we're walking. Here we go. It's … for a different kind of girl. We've recently become BFFs … with benefits. We swap CDs constantly. Sometimes, we do it without the protective jewel cases on.

What's that, FADKOG? Yeah, I have a video camera. Do you need it for something?

Here's a motley crew - the guys from DadCentric. Don't ask about the elephant in the room. It follows them everywhere.

Over here … shhh! The Things are asleep.

kids sleeping in tentDon't you lock the doors and make your kids sleep in a tent in the backyard? It's the only way I get any Business Time with My Love when she's not peddling Lay's Staxs to 35s-and-under in Slovenia. And, yes, they do taste much better than that other brand.

Anyway, the kids will be up soon. The band's here ...

marshall crenshawThey're ready to rock the pergola. Request "Fantastic Planet of Love." They also do a nasty "19th Nervous Breakdown."

(bell rings in background)

Game time! First, the prizes. You get to choose TWO of the following: a $10 Dunkin' Donuts gift card, a kickin' Cure JM hat and T-shirt set, a Drinkin' Jenga game of your very own, our "secret" neighborhood egg nog recipe or a Waterford crystal Christmas plate that I can't seem to give away on Craigslist.

Let's start … the scavenger hunt. E-MAIL the answers to me at kmcbeav@gmail.com and click the "Brilliant Insights" link at the end of this post and leave a comment declaring whether you've brought any fruit, vegetables or animals into the country. Most interesting answer to the bonus question breaks a tie. You have until 11:59 p.m. EDT, July 28, 2008, to enter.

Ready, steady, go:

1. Who is the syndicated columnist who inspired my first full-length post?

2. Name the main musician that played at my 40th birthday party.

3. Wikipedia claims that my real name was also the pseudonym for a real DJ that inspired a famous television character. Name the character and what other character on the show warms the cockles of my heart. (Maybe below the cockles. Maybe in the sub-cockle area.)

4. In my version of the Disney Channel's "Camp Rock," what does the bad-boy-teen-idol-in-exile change the camp welcome sign to say?

5. Pick your favorite piece of advice from the wisdom I passed on to Thing 2 when he turned 6.

Bonus: Fill in the blank -- If trapped in an elevator with the person known as Always Home and Uncool, I would ______ .

OK, that's the lay. Of the land, I mean. Head over to the magic well of inspiration and help yourself.

Oh, one last thing. This is most important lesson you'll get on this neverending tour. Pens and pencils ready?

When you've got nowhere else to go, I'm always here. I'm your shelter from the storm. Remember, the only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we're uncool:




Please: Old friends -- introduce yourself to the guests in the "Brilliant Insights" section. New friends - tell us who you are, where you're from, and nachos or mozzarella sticks? Cheers!

Others, go to Humor-Blogs.com and register a complaint.

Friday, July 25, 2008

"Just Don't Bring Too Many Dudes."

9 clever quips
I've got nothing today. Honest. But don't go too far away.

Definitely come back tomorrow because I've got company coming and you folks should really introduce your wacky selves to these people.

Bring your friends, too. Just heed Hef's advice in the video.

Meanwhile, push aside some of the empties and crumpled Tostitos bags to clear a path for our guests. Our cruise director, My Love, notes that Tequila Chute-ers and Ladders will start earlier than normal tomorrow to accommodate our visitors. Meet under the pergola at 9.

One last thing, has anyone seen my underwear?



Video: Weezer, "Beverly Hills"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

BlogHer '08 and the Damage Done

44 clever quips
will ferrell ron burgundy
Pardon the interruption. This is Reggie Hartner of IWitless News with a late-breaking, special report on what appears to be a mob of women wreaking havoc in the San Francisco Bay area. Let's go to Special Correspondent Todd Zalinsky for details. Todd.

Yes, Reg, thanks. I'm standing here in by the ruins of what was The Westin St. Francis Hotel in the Union Square section of town. It was here that hundreds of thousands of the so-called "fairer sex" reduced this haven of 17-channels-of-pay-per-view-porn into this:

earthquake damage
Are those … are those signs … in Chinese, Todd?

Yes, Reg, you are seeing correctly. We're pretty close to Chinatown. That's my favorite dim sum shack just to the left.

Todd, do we know who these women are and why they went on this rampage?

Glad you asked, Reg. These ladies were here for what we were told was "conference" on "blogging."

Blogging?

Yes, Reg. It's some sort of fad involving fingers and mice. Pretty kinky stuff, but then, this is the City of Love where you'll find Big Brother holding company with gassy painted women while ridin' in a hole in the ground. You know, how it is, Reg.

Too well, I'm afraid. Well, what exactly caused the riot, Todd?

Reg, it seems these ladies had been brought together by some of the most evil geniuses known to mankind …

The Taliban?

No, Reg.

Fannie Mae loan officers?

Uh-uh.

Married illegal-immigrant homosexuals bearing salmonella-laced chimichanga components?

Not even in the same league.

Then who, Todd?

Marketing executives, Reg. The chief adverts and perverts of General Motors, HP, Microsoft, Starbucks, KY Jelly …

KY Jelly? Is even our, uh, I mean, THE bedroom no longer sacred?

It gets worse, Reg. Even McCain was involved.

Senator McCain? The Republican nominee?

No, Reg. The people who make … smiley fries.

mccain smiley friesGood God, man. This IS serious.

Seriously involving alcohol, Reg. Seems these fat cats plied these women with apple-tinis and Comsos like it was the second-coming of the "Sex and the City" movie premiere. It was all part of their plan to get inside their digital pants, to coin a phrase. They wanted these so-called "mommy bloggers" to plug their overpriced, made-in-China, lead-based, non-flag-pin wearing wares on their Web sites. Their M.O. was to motivate these vunerable vixen under the guise of sisterhood and profit.

Make money for running advertisements? That sounds fine to me, Todd?

Yes, it does, Reg, until these liquored-up ladies learned they would be making less than a one armed Honduran school girl with a lazy eye sewing clothes for Kathie Lee Gifford.

Tragic.

Yes, Reg, tragically square-to-be-hip were these boozy broads in the City of Broad Shoulder Pads who apparently came here with dreams of book deals for scribbling about poopy diapers and mad money for Manolo Blahniks. Instead, they left on the fast track to cirrhosis of the liver.

Todd, do we know who is ultimately responsible for this?

Reg, a lot of blame is being laid upon one woman who repeatedly and head-achingly self-proclaims herself as "the boss." She also has a sidekick with a funky wig-hat fetish. And then, Reg, there is the imaginary hobbit they rode in on.

Huh?

I'll save it for the 11 o'clock report, Reg. Needless to say, it was a quite a scene, even before the riot. You've heard the phrase "swearing like sailors"? "Monkeys throwing feces"? "Donkey parties"? Let me tell you, Reg, these ladies are into some wild-a …

Let's save that for the commercial break. Todd, let me ask, where were the men during this?

Reg, outside of the marketing pimps and waitstaff, the only male I could find was some rambling homeless man with a portable trampoline who hummed Neil Young tunes.

Where was he found, Todd?

Hanging by the pool sans children, if you know what I mean, Reg. The police are now holding him in the investigation of the apparent murder-suicide of a pair of anthropomorphic pigeons.

Eww, sounds like we'll need to do a special investigative cable special on that one, Todd. One final question. Our researchers have just handed me some information. Todd, it seems this conference ended Sunday. Why are we only hearing about this now?

Well, Reg, we just got here. We had some travel difficulties.

Elaborate, please, Todd.

Reg … c'mon. We're guys. We didn't ask for directions.

Ho, ho, ho. So true, so true. Thanks for the report, Todd Zalinsky from San Francisco.

We'll have more information on our IWitless Web site. Just register, then click the big smiley face to show you love flame-inducing satire. And now, back to your usual programming of elegies to dead dogs.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Homecoming

21 clever quips
Congratulations! You've made it to the final installment of "What to Do With a Dead Dog"! In Part 1, we meet said dog, Kiner. In Part Deux, we bottled some of his ashes, and headed to the airport …

* * * * * * *

Two days later (we flew American Airlines, do I need to explain the delay further?), we arrived at our old house.

Two gay men now own the ol' homestead. Naturally, they've out-decorated us in every conceivable way. Even the autographed Cher photo on the study wall and the Judy Garland book on the coffee table look divine. (I stereotype not; I popped in on them about a year after we moved. I spent 40 minutes marveling at how the walls looked better painted something other than off-white and apologizing for the pitchfork-and-torch welcome a few of our less tolerant ex-neighbors had given them.) They seemed like good people, and they owned two dogs themselves. I felt confident departed doggie dust around their shrubbery would be acceptable to them.

I rang the doorbell. Two very loud, threatening sets of barks came from inside. OK, one of their dogs was kind of small, but hmm … I suddenly remembered the other being ... a Doberman?


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Travels with My Condensed Canine

19 clever quips
You read the abbreviated life of Kiner, the first Uncool Canine, in my previous post. What up now, dog?

Since his early demise two years ago, my ex-Lab has resided in a twist-tied plastic bag, neatly squeezed into a rectangular metal canister decorated with colorful flora. This is how the pet cremation place presented him to me. I see ads for this operation on the place mats in all the local diners. They deserve a cool slogan: "Your beloved pet -- now and forever in a shed-free powder!"

The canister sits tucked upon a high bookshelf in our family room. Kiner was an all-indoor dog, after all. But it still seemed weird … and risky. I keep imaging the kids -- jonesing for a sugar fix -- climbing up there, looking for candy-filled plastic eggs they might have missed last Easter. Then, poof! All over my collection of "The Complete Peanuts."

Attempts to find Kiner a nice spot in the backyard had been thwarted by our never-ending landscaping work. After his last seven months of suffering, I wouldn't want him scooped up and hauled out for highway fill or a bird bath put over him so he could be splat upon all day. And, I'm not talking water.

The right opportunity finally presented itself in a business meeting My Love needed to attend back in Texas. Kiner spent the first six years of his life in the Dallas suburbs. At least a part of him should be back at his first real home. Road trip!

This journey was on our family's calendar for six months. Naturally, I failed to prepare my passed-on pup until the car service to take us to the airport pulled into the driveway.

Ford Frick! How does one get concentrated canine past security?

Plastic bag? That's just begging for a cavity search by a TSA officer … with an itchy trigger finger … and the name of Omar Guido Bruno "The Painmaker" Kapowski.

From the closet, I dug out Thing 1's various prescriptions and combined two bottles of cyclosporine pills into one. Kiner never flew while alive, but today he would ride in a childproof-capped kennel wedged between my cargo shorts and sweat socks.

In my checked luggage, perv, my checked luggage.

For your future reference, if you ever need to transfer a dog's ashes from a quart-sized baggie into a salt-shaker sized pill bottle, lay some newspaper down first. Little bits of my previous pet are now embedded in the chalking of my kitchen counters and trapped in the gunk in my garbage disposal. Sorry, buddy.

Also, if you stop by my place for a bowl of ice cream or some fine Quaker cereals, you may want to bring your own utensils. Otherwise, it's the home-version of Russian roulette as you'll never be sure if your spoon was the one used to scoop granulated puppy.

Tune in later for the conclusion of our tale.

Meanwhile, give Kiner your love by visiting Humor-Blogs.com, registering, and giving this a big ol' smiley face.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What To Do With a Dead Dog: Meet the Passed On

27 clever quips
uncool and kiner puppyI loved "Marley and Me" until, at the Things' school book fair this past autumn, I saw the author had created a 40-page children's picture book based on it ... and was selling it for $16.99 a pop.

Pass.

Shortly thereafter, whilst browsing the local book dealers' wares, I stumbled upon Anna Quindlen's "Good Dog. Stay." It's a "tribute" to her deceased black Lab filled with all the dog-as-methaphor-for-living-life-to-the-fullest-babble you can get from a Dr. Phil special.

And I like Anna's work. But 96 pages long -- half of them photos of dogs she didn't own, the other half in VERY BIG, DOUBLE-SPACED TYPE. -- at $14.95??!
kiner with underwear on head
Blood.

Pressure.

Rising.

I seriously thought of penning a parody of AQ's book called "Dead Dog. Pay." But I think more highly of dogs, even those little yippie-yappie celebrity fashion accessory ones.

And, I think more highly of you and your hard earned money.

On to my expired canine companion ...


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What Would Doug Heffernan Do?

22 clever quips
I'm changing channels on the not-too-obnoxious large flat screen when the clicker comes to rest on a Comedy Central special featuring Chris Rock.

Dressed 'fro to toe in black leather.

"Eeeeeeewwwwwww!" Thing 1 says through gritted teeth. "That's bad."

leah remini sexy evil"Yeah. Only your Mom could pull off that look." I close my eyes. Mmmm. When will you return from Ahu Dhabi, hun? How many Cool Ranch Doritos can one speck on the map consume?

As I navigate to a safer fashion harbor, the diva-in-training speaks:

"They say it doesn't matter what you look like. It matters what's inside. Like, Drew in my class. He's snotty and gross. But we might actually have a lot of things in common. He might like the same shows and things that I do. But he doesn't. I should marry someone who's more my type."

[Ed. Note - "Snotty," in this usage, does not mean "snobby" or "uppity." It literally means "full of snot." I've meet the Drew in question before.]

The remote drops from my hand as I contemplate the wisdom of my 8-year-old. Did she actually take a break from transcribing every item from the American Girl mail-order catalog onto her "Christmas list" to ponder the depths of love and beauty?

"Um, actually that's really smart of you. You might be really attracted to someone at the start because they look good or dress well or smell like hazelnut and vanilla but they may be really rotten underneath. Like those carrots I tried to serve you and your brother for dinner tonight," I say. "Smothered in I Can't Believe It's Not Butter-y goodness on the outside, but old, brown and stinky on the inside."

She shoots me a quizzical look.

"Or someone could look like me," I continue, "and still be really cool and lovable."

"You are not cool. You're Dad."

"But I'm a good guy despite that, the love handles and the failure to shave regularly, right?"

"Kinda."

Little victory for me. I'll take it.

king of queens bikiniWe settle on a "King of Queens" rerun. This is perfect. Carrie, even in the flabbier, post-pregnancy seasons, was a total babe, despite the New Yawk accent. But, let's face it, inside she's pretty ... evil. She's scheming, she's a hypocrite, she really beats down on her well-meaning, yet unambitious marshmallow hubby. (And in real life, she's a Scientologist known to travel with the Suri Cruise crowd. Scaaaaa-reeeee.)

Doug, meanwhile, is a classic TV dad ... but without kids. A bumbling immature man with no drive unless it involves a destination in front of a plate of hot wings. But one with a heart of gold for the most part. An enlarged, cholesterol-blocked, heart of gold but nonetheless. For example, he kicked weakest-link Carrie off the bowling team to try to bring them a championship, then was so guilt stricken he became the gutter-baller himself. He ended up quitting in disgrace and in disgust over what he had done to his wife.

How would Doug handle this conversation with Thing 1? I don't know, but it would probably start over a box of Hot Pockets.

"So," I venture, "who bestowed you with such wisdom at such a young age?"

"Huh?"

"Where did you learn this from, midget?"

"TV," she smiles.

"What show?"

"'The Suite Life of Zack & Cody.'"

Maybe I need to start paying more attention to what the twins' spiky-haired TV Mom has got going on. She might teach me a thing or two.

Say, do we have any Hot Pockets?

You can find more sitcom-like babes and hunks over at this site.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Padded Cell of Uncoolness

25 clever quips

A fellow blogger who I may be related to challenged me and the rest of her minions to let our readers peer behind our cyberspace curtains. Everyone buddy up, mind the empties on the floor and, please, no flash photography.

deskThis is my home office, or as my accountant calls it, "The Big Write Off."

Should look familiar as it is featured in my blog banner. Note the relocation of a few key items. The beaver statue, a gift from my best friend in college, is atop the left speaker. The black-and-blue talisman, a gift My Love brought home from Istanbul (not Constantinople), is protecting me from the evil eye from a perch on right speaker. Don't stare directly at it! Some of you may go blind!

Now, let's pan and zoom.

desk leftThis is the nerve center. A 5.8 GHz cordless phone. Well-fingered Rolodex (eeew, that didn't come out right). And, my baby -- 100 watts of Sharp sound! Five CD changer! AM-FM tuner! iPod slot! XM satellite radio! Dual remote controls! Oh, God. Oh, God! Yes! YES!

First reader to correctly name the three CDs visible on the left will receive a copy of the unlabeled mix CD seen right above the newspaper. It's a goodie.

desk rightNot much on this side. Yes, I am drinking tea. I've been getting the shakes from making the homebrew a bit too strong. Jeez, what's next? Geritol? Depends? White patent leather loafers with a matching belt?

The remote is for the TV you can't see to the right. It's only on for Mets games and the occasional AM glimpse of Kelly Ripa's fine self. Much MUCH more potent than caffeine. God, when will My Love get home from Turkmenistan?

The beverage warmer on the far right is a Christmas gift from Thing 2. Picked it out on his own and bought it with his own cash. It can't melt an ice cube but, for some reason, I found it to be the most impressive gift a 5-year-old without a fake ID for his old man some hooch could buy.

andrew wyeth dog paintingWe bought this Wyeth print (any one know which Wyeth?) shortly after we brought home Murphy's predecessor, Kiner, in 1998. This hung over our bed in the old house.

Sometimes Kiner would actually curl up like this on our Marital Mattress and snooze underneath it. I miss him ...

lab at desk… especially when my current assistant here starts nudging my wrists when I'm trying to type. OK OK OK OK! I'll let you out again! How often can you pee in an hour?

I do leave my office once in a while. Often, but not always, to use the bathroom. Sometimes, I move to this chair in the living room. I've highlighted the key features.

chairThis is where I have lunch, read the newspapers and, when the reality of at-home dadness has become too much, I catch up on TiVo'd episodes of "Mythbusters" and daydream of me, Kari, a roll of Mentos and a few liters of Pepsi One.

But when I'm really blocked and need to get the creative juices flowing, I go here:

magic cooler
Then, I push the secret button on top the handle.

magic cooler button
Kelly Clarkson! Are my wrists really that hairy?

And viola!

inside coolerMy muses. They are sooo good to me. Thank you, Sheinhardt Wig Company and all your subsidaries, for providing me with the fine piece of refridgeration equipment to keep my friends chilling at a quench-tastic 40 degrees, and ...!

Wait a second.

Who put the frickin' bottle of Life Water in there! Blasphemy! Blasphemy!

That's it. I was going to show you Thing 1's bedroom since that's where most of the Diva Discourses take place, but letting you see where my 8-year-old daughter sleeps … that's a little creepy.

Now go, and never darken my towels again!

But before you do, stop by the gift shop and pick up something for the kids.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Are These Awards or STDs?

13 clever quips
In the course of two weeks, my humble blog has received five awards.

OK, it was one award four times with a second award sandwiched somewhere in between.

Essentially, my fans have given me blog-award clap. If only I had paid more attention to that health ed filmstrip series in the fifth grade.

Let me start by thanking the bestowers of these itchy gifts:

-- Laurie of Posts From the Playground, who gave me the first award first and hope when I needed it most;

-- Literal Dan, the 2008 Best of Blogs winner (I'm required by law to write that) and a fellow at-home dad with writing ambitions and poop jokes to spare;

-- Tent Camper at I Pee in the Wind, who also knows what it is like to live in the shadow of a smokin' hot, all-powerful being;

-- Ms. P of Post Picket Fence, who I found slumming on my blog one day only to learn she married my former Little League battery mate; and,

-- Heather from Outnumbered by the Brood, who typed that I am "witty, a wonderful writer, and enjoys beer as much as I do." That translates to I am "goofy, a functional typist and a drunkard" -- none of which I deny. Actually, she made a point of noting that among the mommy blogs, I'm a "breath of fresh air." My manhood simultaneously salutes her and shrivels in her wake.

The rules for the ARTE Y PICO award (see end of post) that I won four times require me to recognize five other bloggers ... for each award. That adds up to six honorees. Eh, I was a journalism major.

So, please take a bow, accept your Spanish featherduster (hmmm, good name for an adult toy), then follow Da Rules at the bottom:

*** Kristine at Stamford Talk and Fancy Pancakes. Her work convinced me that "hell, even I could blog" … then she ended up as my first commenter. Oh, snap! Honestly, she's working hard to pump some life into my hometown. She also tolerates my "well, when I was a whippersnapper growing up in Stamford" smart-aleckiness in her comments section. Her readers don't. In real life, she looks a bit like Jennifer Garner. If Jennifer Garner had some bitchin' yellow nail polish. And a Benaffleck-ectomy.

*** The anonymous guy at The FTF (the First Time Father). He reminds me of what life was like when the Things were just rug rats. He reminds me that that part of my life is over with -- for better and for worse. He also lets me cheat at golf.

*** Marla of For a Different Kind of Girl and I will soon commence a long, passionate love affair. But first, we need to lock eyes from across the room at a Hooters reunion concert. We need to ditch the spouses. We need to deal with immigration. Maybe not in that order.

*** Dorky Dad because us dorky dads need to band together. Mommy bloggers are drunk with digital power. They're acting like … like, white male baby-boomer CEOs! Swearing, snorting, grabbing ass. Ladies, is this what you fought for all those years? DD, let's create a BlogHim ad network. Draft the Blogging Equal Rights Amendment. Damn these useless breasts of ours!

*** Bethany at The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks. Blame the alleged "editor" in me. Simple yet brilliant.

Next, the I LOVE YOU SO MUCH award wants me to spread the love to another eight bloggers. I'm giving it to only two because I'm a miserable bastard when I haven't had my RDA of fiber. Besides, these people really, really, really deserve your love:

*** Anissa at Hope4Peyton. She writes about her personal struggle with her young daughter's leukemia. As my best friend from high school died of this disease and I have a child with a potentially fatal autoimmune disease, I can relate to everything she writes. Except the neurotic dog. Mine has ADD.

*** Connie at Madeline's Journal. This is a journal written by a friend and fellow parent of a child with juvenile dermatomyositis. Except Madeline is having many more complications -- part of the reason Connie hasn't been keeping it up to date (hint). Read it (scroll to the bottom of her home page to start). You'll understand why we need help finding a cure for this disease.

That's it. Thanks for stopping by. I'm bewildered, blessed and in need of another beer.

* * * * * *

DA RULES (bend them as necessary):

If you won the ARTE Y PICO award:

1. Pick five blogs you consider deserving of this award, whether for creativity, design, interesting material, or contributions to the blogging community, no matter what language.
2. Name each nominee and link to his/her blog.
3. Show the award and include the name (and link to his/her blog) of whoever presented you with this award.
4. Link to the Arte y Pico blog so everyone knows the origin of this award.
5. Post these rules.


If you won the I LOVE YOU THIS MUCH award:

1. Post the I LOVE YOU THIS MUCH blog award on your site.
2. Name eight other nominees for the award in a post, and link to them
3. Cite this blog as the source of your award.
4. Post the award rules.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

In Which We Noodle on God

22 clever quips
Warning: Some may consider the following blasphemy. Some may also consider the Yankees annually appearing in the World Series the divine right of kings. I beg to differ on both accounts. To balance it out, I've included Strange Interludes of semi-true commentary from My Love.

* * *

The Things and I had just finished fouling our neighbor's pool with our sweaty, dirt-caked selves (don't worry, they're on vacation and, like you, never read my blog), when the boy started smacking the ground with a lime green pool noodle.

"I'm hitting an ant. I'm hitting an ant. HAAAAAAAW!! HAAAAAAW!! WHOOOOO-HOOOOO-HOOOOO!!" he yells.

Have I mentioned before that he may be a little off?

Thing 1 then puts her "I'm The Boss of You" face on and starts laying into him. "You're hitting God! The Earth is God and your killing him."

Thing 2 yells. Louder.

"I'm killing God! I'm killing God! HAAAAAAAW!! HAAAAAAW!! WHOOOOO-HOOOOO-HOOOOO!!"

(Strange Interlude 1: "You stopped this, right? This isn't good.")

"No! NO! NOOO!" It's Thing 1. She stills the neighborhood with a contemplative look. Her arms are akimbo because you folks seem to really like it when I use that word.

"I'm wrong," she says. "You're killing Mother Nature, not God."

"I'm killing Mother Nature! HAAAAAAAW!! HAAAAAAW!! WHOOOOO-HOOOOO-HOOOOO!! I'm killing Mother Nature!"

(Strange Interlude 2: "What are you doing with these kids when I'm not here? Are they watching 'Nip/Tuck' while eating Sugar Smacks right out of the frickin' box?")

Under threat of no Disney Channel, the Things cease. We slosh our way back home.

Several hours later, I take my nightly pre-bedtime lounge next to Thing 1.

"So," I say to her, as this is how I transition when I both talk and write, "please define God for me."

"God is the earth."

"Then who or what is Mother Nature?"

"She's all the living things. Trees, grass, bugs … the sky is God, though."

"So, God is the earth. Then we walk all over God. No wonder we've been having all these thunderstorms. He's angry at us for stomping all over him."

"No, Dad. That's different."

(Strange Interlude 3: "How is that different? Don't you ever get below the surface? Is everything a sarcastic, snappy comeback to you?")

"Then who's the boss? God or Mother Nature?" I ask.

"God … because he's the man."

(Strange Interlude 4: Deathly silence. Crickets. Faint mournful music.)

"Wrong, wrong, wrong," I say. "And never, Never, NEVER repeat that in front of your mother. I want to share the bed with her again."

(Strange Interlude 5: "You didn't say that. Liar. You are in so much trouble.")

"Dad, is there a heaven?"

"Lots of people believe so. I hope so. I hate to think I'm trying this hard for nothing."

"Is there a dog heaven?"

"Definitely."

"But where do bad dogs go."

"There are no bad dogs. Only bad dog owners."

"Where do bad people go?"

"Texas."

"But we're from Texas?"

"You and your brother are. I apologize about that. Some people believe in hell. You know. The Devil. Flames. Molten lava. Non-alcoholic beer."

"Are you going to hell?"

"After this conversation, possibly."

(Strange Interlude 6: "Damn straight.")

"No," I say. "I'm kidding. I hope I'm not going to hell. Do you have some inside information you want to share with me."

"You're a dork."

"That has been previously established. Bless you and your pointed little head. Good night. Dream of puppies."

Now, please go to Humor-Blogs.com before I am damned to hell.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Spy in the Dirty House of Uncool

15 clever quips
clothes thrown down stairs
For those you just tuning in, it is Cleaning Day at the Uncool Estate. The youngest member of the family, Thing 2, has agreed to a top-secret mission (it appeared right here on this blog, so we know no one read it, but us). He must spy on the lovely ladies who wipe his pee dribblings off the bathroom tile once a week to determine whether they are involved in an international conspiracy to "hide" every "valuable" my "children" leave about. The following is For Your Eyes Only.

0730 hours:

Two Polish women in shorts and T-shirts flip flop down my drive. The drop off has occurred earlier than expected.

Agent 00T2 is fast asleep. I shake him out of fuzzy blue PJs with the racecars on them.
"Dang it man! They're here! Arise! You've got a mission."

I think about slapping him. Slapping him awake. Yeah. But I don't. Damn you, Dr. Spock!

0734 hours:

My Love, who unexpectedly decided to telecommute today, visits Uncool HQ and files the following query: "Do the cleaning ladies always wear such short shorts?"

"We can neither confirm nor deny that report," I reply. "I'm just sitting here … reading the world's funniest blogs."

I feel for the cyanide capsule in my belt buckle.

Note to self: On cleaning day, when wife is home, wear pants.

thing 2 sleeping upside down in chair0743 hours:

Agent 00T2 is found lying, upside down and asleep, in a chair in the living room.

They've drugged him! I knew, despite that inviting purple color, those Fabuloso fumes were toxic!

"Dude! What the dealio? Get on the stick and spy!"

And off he goes, tiptoeing to the corner. He peaks around it.

The dog jumps and plants a wet one across his face. 00T2 is down and crying.

Dang, Double Agent Fur Ball! I knew his tail was wagging a little too hard when they scratched him behind the ears and cooed in their Polish baby talk!

0746 hours:

Agent 00T2 is crawling up the stairs on all fours. Full sneakiness mode engaged. Yes! Now he'll see if "folding laundry" is just a metaphor.

0832 hours:

I find 00T2 in the basement, watching "Phineas & Ferb." I ask for a status report.

"The one with brown hair is mopping the floor. The one with blond hair is wiping the table."

"Good, but I need more detail. What are they saying?"

"I don't know. I don't understand them."

"Code, man. They speak in code! It's like those Poles have a different word for everything!"

He looks askance. I stand akimbo. We dance a mambo.

"Now, get to work before I Kung Fu Panda your hiney!" I order.

1026 hours:

I return from disposing of Double Agent Fur Ball for ride. He'll get his later ... from the shedding blade and the toe-nail Dremel.

00T2 is chowing down a bowl of Fruit Loops. I ask for another status report.

"They folded the clothes. Now, they're cleaning the basement."

"Any suspicious activity to report?"

"What's that mean?"

"Are they doing anything wrong? Have they hidden any of your Hot Wheels cars behind the potted plants? Have they put your sister's American Girl dolls in the dishwasher? Have they placed the TV remotes in the crisper drawer under the moldy green beans?"

"Uh … no."

"So, what have the cleaning ladies done today?"

"Cleaned the house."

"And …?"

"Picked up my stuff."

"And they put your stuff where?"

Pause.

"Where it's supposed to go?"

"So, the next time you and your sister can't find your cra … stuff, are you going to whine to me that the cleaning ladies have hidden it?"

"Noooooooo."

"And if you do complain, I reserve the right to tickle you until you pee your Batman underpants, right?"

"Daaaaaaad! "

Mission … accomplished. On to Iraq!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

One last point of note to my pub crawling blogging homey, JT of Blog Stamford, and other single men living in and around the Stamford area. Do not attempt to flirt with the heavily accented, chesty blonde bar maiden at Bobby V's Sports Gallery by using the following lines:

You: "How long have you been here from Poland?"

Her: "Eighteen months. How did you know I was from Poland?"

You: "You talk just like the women who clean my house every week."

Just trust me on this one.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Now, please go to Humor-Blogs.com or kittens will die.




Song: "Spy in the House of Love," Was (Not Was)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Clean Up in the Uncool Aisle

14 clever quips
I know I have built my reputation as Funny Blogging At-Home Dad No. 877 by putting this image in your head of me as a domestic god in boxer briefs, a featherduster in hand, but I must confess. Once a week, a team of international experts in suburban waste and hazardous material disposal scour our home, destroying all pathogens and pointy-toothed dust bunnies.

I'm not sure of the finer points of law, but I'm pretty sure my writing them checks to "cash" every week disqualifies me from elected office or the Supreme Court. The nation breathes a collective sigh of relief.

These international minesweepers o' mine are three very conscientious, Windex-loving women from Poland. Every week they spare me the wrath of My Love over make-or-break marital issues such as my inadequacy at folding clothes (I refuse to master this until she passes Remedial Dishwasher Loading -- damn her gender's inferior visual spatial relation skills) and her general dislike of manual labor.

This latter point, though, comes in direct conflict with her dislike of paying people to do manual labor for her. I usually resolve this by having her help me with a few hours of yard work. For example, this scene last month after we planted some shurbs: My Love in full Scarlet O'Hara mode, encrusted in dirt and sweat, obligatory straw gardening hat with plastic flowers withering upon her head, saying: "I shall never spend my weekend digging holes … again!"

Anyhow, this wonderful, rotating cast (work visas come, work visas go) of heavily accented Fairies With Fantastic ("weeth bleeeech" as they like to specify) has been getting a bad rap of late with the Things. Seems every time my children can't find a certain toy, library book or "dangerous" power tool, the whining refrain of "the cleaning ladies must have moved it" is heard throughout my humble domain.

Never mind that the "missing" item is right where it should be, in sight so plain even U.N. weapon inspectors following Bush administration intelligence reports could find it. Their lack of critical deductive reasoning skills and inability to pull their glassy eyes from another episode of "The Suite Life of Zack and Cody" is why a single round of hide 'n' seek at our house lasts as long as a Paul Thomas Anderson movie. But without the slow dissolves, milkshake declarations and deluge of frogs.

With the Things home for the summer, I saw the opportunity to finally get my little piece of the Polish Underground Railroad off their lists.

Their mission, if they chose to take it: Spy on the cleaning ladies for one morning. Just follow them around, note their carefully crafted plans to "misplace" every artifact the Things hold dear, and report back to me so I could pretend to take this very seriously while trying not to wet myself.

Thing 1 flat out refused to take part without compensation. "I want $20," she said. "And a Webkinz."

"You have 632 Webkinz and you still owe me $5.75 for the Pokemon Shakedown of June Ought-Eight. Get back to your Crayolas, midget."

Thing 2, however, needed little coaxing. "Keeeewl! I get to spy. I get to spy!" When his little buddy came over to help him and My Love at strawberry picking (yep, my international HR executive goddess also employs child labor in her off hours), he apparently spent a good 15-minutes on his pending James Bond Jr. epic.

He better get some good dirt tomorrow. My dwindling subscriber list is depending on it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Telecommuting Works … Unless You Backed McGovern in '72

2 clever quips

In case you missed it, Tony Schwartz, the guy who created the infamous "daisy girl" ad for Lyndon Johnson, died last month.

Three things are fascinating about this:

  1. When I watched the below Slate.com video, I was shocked to realize how many of his ads I remembered from childhood … and I mean very early childhood. It's a testament to how innovative they were and how often I was parked in front of the TV as a toddler. What will my kids remember? Probably ads for erectile dysfunction drugs.

  2. The New York Times obit on Schwartz describes him as an agoraphobic since age 13. Nearly all his work was done without straying more than a few blocks from his Manhattan home. A telecommuter without parallel well before his time. Bring this up next time Dinosaur Boss puts the kibosh on your work-at-home plans. Of course, Dinosaur Boss also probably voted for Nixon, twice, and will sack your ass on the spot. Hey, you're better off without him.

  3. Schwartz's obit ran 382 words longer than Cyd Charisse's did the next day in the Times even though I heard he had the worst white man's overbite ever when he did the Electric Boogaloo.


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