Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Santa’s Hung

17 clever quips

hung-santa-uncoolSome people obviously were not pleased with what they found under the Christmas tree yesterday.

xbox-uncool-kids But not these two.

Hope your holiday wasn’t a pain in the neck and you hang on through the New Year.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Signs of the Mayan Apocalypse

18 clever quips

It saddens me to announce that this will most likely be my last post.

It saddens me further to know that my long-awaited GoogleAds check will never arrive. I’d love to blow all three-digits of that baby on one last CornNuts and malt liquor bender while the hellfire and brimstone rain down.

Those of you grappling with strangers at Target for the last Furby may have forgotten that come tomorrow, Friday, Dec. 21, all life ceases. This doom and gloom arrives courtesy of the Mayan civilization, which is legendary for its contributions to language, math and culture, specifically Southern Culture on the Skids' instrumental, "Make Mayan a Hawaiian."

I usually ignore Judgment Day predictions, but the signs of the Mayan Apocalypse have become increasingly apparent.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Trouble with Normal

24 clever quips

My kids came home Friday afternoon as always.

Excitable hopped into the minivan at parent pickup, greeting me with his typical “Hey, Pops” as he squeezed his backpack in between the captain’s chairs in the middle row.

“Did they say anything to you at school about what happened?” I asked.

“About what?”

I told him there had been a shooting earlier in the day at an elementary school in another part of the state.

I didn’t tell him that the school was only about 45 minutes north of us.I didn’t tell him about the 20 children only a few years younger than him that died.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

“Running Over the Same Old Ground”

13 clever quips

Last night’s 12.12.12 Mega-Concert of AARP-eligible Rockers raising money for Superstorm Sandy victims had slipped my mind. Instead, I voluntarily bore witness to middle school students performing holiday classics.

The string ensemble killed. Not in the showbiz sense of wowing the audience into a dropped-jaw state of awe but in the Biblical sense of “… and Yahtzblob slew Kincadia with jawbone of an ass then danced the tarantella through the bloody entrails.” Why more parents of public school violin players aren’t throwing themselves in front of commuter buses remains a testament to the high quality of our nation’s antidepressant supply.

Then there was the chorus of which Li’l Diva. The girl loves to sing. Just not what teachers want her to sing. If it’s not One Direction or Ke$ha or the Beibster, it ain’t worth expelling the breath. She faked her way through most of her four songs. She’s more than ready for next year’s scheduled bout of teenage angst.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Son, The Biologist

22 clever quips

SpermWhale With the sky thick with snow-spewing clouds and the icy layers building upon the satellite dish, our weekly family TV ritual was called on account of premature winter. The Uncools scattered to their separate rooms and separate personal electronic devices because we had enough weather-related togetherness last week to hold us through the spring. The spring of 2015.

The exception was Excitable. He punched remote buttons for the Flatscreen of Awesomeness and maneuvered the drop-down menus to dip into the raging stream of online videos. He called up one of my favorites, Mythbusters, which he also enjoys even if it not for all the same comely, red-headed nerdy reasons as his old man. But the rest will come soon enough.

Together we sat and laughed and learned with Adam and Jamie as they explored the scientific truths behind legends such as “Can a penny thrown off the top of The Empire State building kill a pedestrian on the sidewalk?” and “Could a person be buried alive and live?”

Then came the episodes on “cola myths.”

Monday, November 5, 2012

Generating Laughs Through the Storm

25 clever quips

generator-blow-me-sandyHere in the stubby tail of Connecticut, where we are surrounded by two types of damage-causing greenery – trees and hedge funds, we tend to lose power whenever a storm blows through. You name it, we’ve gone Dark Ages during it: Hurricane Irene in 2011, the Nasty Nor'easter of ‘10, the arrival of "The Jerry Springer Show" in ‘09, etc.

Even minor of atmospheric disturbances seem to cause a power grid failure in our slice of suburgatory. As such, I instinctively grab a flashlight when I sense a hint of a breeze or that a member of our household has consumed Mexican food.

These frequent and prolonged outages prove especially precarious to our family as Uncool Estates depends solely on electricity. Not just for lighting and refrigeration but also for heating (electric baseboards!), sewage (injector pump!) and sanity (Excitable and Li’l Diva are surgically attached to iPhones, iTouches and ¡Ay, caramba! who knows what other gadgets).

This spring, My Love and I agreed we had had enough of bad weather and the occasional burrito turning us Amish. We blew a few years of the kids’ college tuition on a standby generator: a 20-kilowatt-creating, blackout ass-kicking savior.

Or so I thought.

What follows is my official “Superstorm Sandy / Frankenstorm” diary:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hurricane Sandy: Before and After

14 clever quips

This is our backyard on Sunday. backyard-before-sandy

See this tree? tree-before-sandy

It’s about 70 or 80 feet high. Big, solid oak leaning well away from our house.

This is the backyard on Tuesday morning, after Hurricane Sandy hit us in southwestern Connecticut …

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Photo Finish

9 clever quips

Time to wrap up all this Cure JM/running/fundraising stuff with a whole mess of photos and ::cough, cough:: insightful commentary.baltimore-finishThis is the only photo I’ve seen of me during the race in which I don’t look on the verge of imminent collapse.

See what I mean? You would expect the next photo to be of me clutching my chest as I yell, “It's the Big One! You hear that Elizabeth? I'm comin' to join ya, honey!”

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Gimme a Gatorade, Heavy on the Gator

12 clever quips

timeI survived the Baltimore Running Festival without injury or illness. The same can’t be said of a hundred or so fellow participants I “helped” during my volunteer shift at the finish line.

But first, the non-pandemic news.

As you see in the graphic, I ran my first major 5K in a decent 29 minutes and 8 seconds. This put me squarely in the middle of the pack of people my age (last gasp before the rapid downhill slide) and gender (hmm … yep, still male). Proof you can’t spell “mediocrity” without “me.”

Except for misestimating the location of the finish line three times, my run went down as smoothly as the two free beers the organizers gave us runners afterward. Drinking at 9 a.m. after exercise and almost no breakfast may help explain what happened next …

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Uncool Running: A 5K Training Survival Guide

7 clever quips

Hi. My name is Kevin. It’s been nine weeks since I started training to run Saturday’s 5K to raise money to find a cure for juvenile myositis.

My lungs are strong. I might take up smoking.

My thighs are -- hey, stop that! My Love does not want you thinking about my thighs.

My calves are chiseled. Like sculpted butter.

If only she were working on my legs. Rowlr.
I ask, “Where is Jennifer Garner and her rubber gloves when I am in my hour of need?” Yeah, probably oiling down that Affleck clown.

Today, I’ll drive five hours to Baltimore where I will meet my fate. On the outside, I am going to be the happy-go-lucky-sarcastically-whiny ol’ self you’ve learned to tolerate. Inside, I’m going to be a gooey heap of wet linguine because I’ve been carbo-loading for 19 days. My pee is pure starch. Lumps included.

Actually, I think I’m going to be fine. I’ve have never missed or cut short one of my training runs as much as I’ve wanted to. If I can motivate myself without anyone watching, I’m sure I’ll do even better when pushed by several thousand other runners exuding confidence, adrenaline and rancid B.O.

Here’s some of my tips, observations and thoughts from this whole hellish process:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Scribbles Around My Heart

14 clever quips

In an uncontrollable fit of neatness to avoid actual work this past weekend, I cleaned my drawers.

Not those drawers, which are done on Monday with the rest of the family unmentionables, but the filing cabinet drawers in my home office. That reminds me, we’re out of Shout.

After sorting through a desk full of paper that means nothing at all, I found a thick packet filled with colors and textures in paints and crayons and markers and pencils and stickers. It was the kids’ artwork from the days when I was still the center of their world instead of that guy who knows all the parental control codes to the household electronics.

I went through all the papers. The homemade Father’s Day cards, the school art projects, the five-minute masterpieces made on long summer days between snack and cartoon breaks.

I pitched a few things that held no special significance, such as a sheet with randomly placed shark stickers Excitable obviously created and a coloring book butterfly outline polka-dotted with splattered water color from the Li’l Diva.

Then there was this:

i-luv-daddy

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fasten Your Seats

21 clever quips

Having exhausted all other ways of squeezing nickels out of fliers, American Airlines has apparently come up with an innovative revenue idea: charging passengers extra to have their seats bolted to the floor of the plane.

american-airline-seat The plan hasn't been officially announced, but how else to explain reports of seats coming loose on three flights in the past week? In the public relations business, that's called floating a trial balloon or, in this case, propelling the occupants of 12D, E and F via a sudden drop in altitude.

I developed a love/hate relationship with American when I lived in Dallas years ago. I loved American because you could fly it almost anywhere. (I once asked a long-term transplant to Dallas where the best place was to go on a weekend. He answered quite seriously, "DFW Airport – Departures.") At the same time, I hated the airline because it was essentially your only choice for flying nonstop out of Texas. You never want to play an American lawyer or lobbyist in "Monopoly."

With little alternative, I've accumulated a few hundred thousand frequent flier miles on this airline over the years. Meanwhile, my wife – the globetrotting executive goddess that she is – has long had American's coveted Platinum status, a designation achieved by completing 100 consecutive flights without grabbing an attendant by the collar and screaming, "Six dollars for a box of raisins and a Wet-Nap? Are you people insane?"

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Loathing of This Not-So-Long Distance Runner

17 clever quips

I'd like to write a real post for you, but I have to run.

Not figuratively. For reals.

One foot in front of the other, knees up, arms pumping. Ooof. I'm breathing heavy thinking about it. Medic!

The shirt I'm destined to pass out inI'm still stumbling through my training program to help me stumble through a 5K in Baltimore to raise money on behalf of Li’l Diva and Cure JM Foundation next month. With only a few weeks to go, I can say without qualification that when I keel over that finish line I will leave one sweaty but fit corpse.

You may recall that I've had flirtations with jogging before, usually after unsuccessful bouts of buttoning my pants. Nearly of all of these fitness fits ended with not-so-subtle reminders from my body that running is best left to refrigerators.

However, our real family runner, My Love, had knee surgery a few weeks ago following advice from her doctor that the bottom half of her right leg might randomly fall off. This would require us to change her name to Peg.

As a result, I'm taking her place. I'm also working on an apology letter to the National Asphalt Makers and Layers Association.

I've been adhering to a running schedule that I found online (because everything on the Internet is helpful and true) that gradually lengthens my distance and running time in hope of turning this couch potato (honestly, I'm more of a "desk doughnut") into a 5K competitor. Three times a week, I’ve been slogging around the track at school near our house and, as of today, I can confidently report that [checks pulse] I'm still alive.

Running has definitely increased my stamina. I now only require CPR every other run. It hasn't helped with my memory or math skills, though. I've lost count of my laps several times. Sadly, each time my goal was running three.

Yet somehow this past weekend, I managed 2.25 miles (3.62 kilometers for the metrically inclined or 7920 cubits for those building flood arks). It didn’t feel good but I’d be seriously concerned if it did.

The one thing all my huffing and puffing has produced, aside from yellow stains under the armpits of several T-shirts, is a smile on My Love’s lips. Every time I roll my eyes and groan "I'm going for a run," her entire face lights up the way mine does when party hosts offer me beer. Of course, these days My Love is on a lot of Vicodin.

Whoa. Look at the time. Let me throw some sneakers on my feet, Band-Aids on my nipples and Vaseline between my thighs. I have promises to keep and miles to go before I write.

And obviously, I have some real issues with chafing.

+ + +

Our family is halfway to our fundraising goal of $20,000. Please throw a few tax-deductible dollars our way to help Li’l Diva and other children with juvenile myositis kick this disease’s butt.

Donate to the Uncools’ FirstGiving page at http://tinyurl.com/JM-donate-online.

Monday, September 24, 2012

$50K Closer to Curing Juvenile Myositis

6 clever quips

It’s official.

You have helped Cure JM Foundation win $50,000 to research the cause, treatment and cure for juvenile myositis, the rare autoimmune disease that Li’l Diva and our family has dealt with for the past 10 years.

Your votes, tweets and shared Facebook links helped us receive almost 9,000 votes in the latest Chase Community Giving contest. That put us in 20th place out of more 4,000 (yes – 4,000!) organizations vying for the money.

Not bad for a handful of concerned parents and family members volunteering their time to help the few thousand children in the United States affected by this mysterious disease.

Your kindness to my family and our larger Cure JM family in the past four years has helped us win $300,000 in grants, raise about $50,000 in donations and spread awareness throughout the digital world and beyond.

You wear it well, friends.

Thank you, again and again. Not just from me, but from the children your caring will be helping soon. Here are a few of them:

 

If you’d like to do more, please donate to Cure JM by supporting my “run” (and yes, the quotes are warranted) in Baltimore next month on behalf of Li’l Diva. The goal widget is now posted on the blog home page if you want to check out our progress in reaching our goal.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A Vote for Normal

12 clever quips

chase community giving My Love is perplexed which is annoying because that’s my household specialty.

“How does Cure JM only have 2,800 votes in the Chase Community Giving contest? It only takes a minute and a few clicks on Facebook. I’m not expecting us to win $250,000 again but we should be able to get to number 11 for the $100,000,” she said to me last night after an hour of conference call brainstorming with other parents of kids with juvenile myositis.

She looked at me.

“Hey, I’m trying,” I said. “I’ve Facebooked. I’ve tweeted. I’ve emailed people. Now I’m hitting people up via instant message. I never IM people. My online friends are thinking I’ve been replaced by a pod person who will next be trying to convince them to try some tasty soylent green.”

:: crickets ::

“Soylent green,” I said. “It’s people.”

:: crickets leaping to their deaths::

Then I threw my daughter under the bus.

“Hey, what about the girl? What’s Li’l Diva doing? This is all to benefit kids like her. She has a Facebook account. I hear the youngun’s love the Facebook and the mouse clicking and the liking and the poking!”

Li’l Diva was summoned away from another cringe worthy episode of Dance Moms to face the parental music.

She spoke like the middle-schooler she is.

She said, “I don’t want other kids to know I have a disease.”

Correction. She spoke like the average, normal middle-schooler she is underneath the makeup she started wearing this year to hide the telltale mark of juvenile myositis – the bright butterfly rash across her face.

My Love and I looked at one another.

“You don’t have to say you have the disease,” My Love said. “Say you are just trying to help kids who do have it.”

All I could do was nod.

+ + +

Cure JM Foundation, the tiny nonprofit that searches for a cure for our daughter's autoimmune disease, is SERIOUSLY in the running for $100,000 from Chase Community Giving and still has a chance for the big $250,000 grant.

This is a quick one-time vote (OK - two times if you vote then share the link and someone clicks it; three times if you are a Chase bank/credit card holder) that takes only a couple of mouse clicks. Please vote for us and our charity partner, Rett Syndrome Research, before Sept. 19 and spread the word.

Here’s some details: http://www.curejm.org/chase/index.php

Here's the voting link: http://tinyurl.com/click2curejm-rett

Here’s a 2-minute video that will require a tissue or two:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cure JM Before I Keel Over Trying

7 clever quips

i need a cure jm You know those people who obnoxiously tweet, Facebook and blog widget their running times and distances?

I hate them.

I exaggerate.

I only hate every fiber of their obnoxious “put down the Doritos and look at me acting all superior and health-conscious” beings.

Know who hates them more than me?

My Love.

But only because she can’t be one of them.

After running two marathons and three half-marathons over the years to raise money to help find a cure for Li’l Diva’s juvenile myositis, My Love has been officially scratched from the Baltimore Running Festival on Oct. 13, 2012. She goes under the knife next week to repair a torn meniscus in one of her knees.

In her place, will be …

Monday, August 27, 2012

Summer Vacation Lessons Learned

19 clever quips

In a fit of over-caffeinated ambition, My Love and I scheduled more family trips into eight weeks this summer than the Brady Bunch did in five years on television.

It didn't take a crazy old prospector to lock us in an abandoned jail for us to soon realize the pitfalls of all this family togetherness; however, I suspect the engine fire in our minivan may have something to do with an ancient tiki. It also may have had something to do with my speeding through a Lake Michigan sized puddle lined with dead leaves and pine needles in an effort to get away from the constant howls of "How much longerrrrrr?"

Nevertheless, it was an adventure-filled two months.

We experienced Fourth of July among the dehydrated waves of grain in the Great Plains.

We visited the birthplace of the women's suffrage movement in upstate New York where we spent most of our time visiting a museum dedicated to the movie "It's a Wonderful Life."

Niagara falls maiden of the mist

We rode a boat under Niagara Falls, boogie-boarded in the North Carolina surf and learned the art of heckling the opposing pitcher in near-empty minor league baseball stadiums.

Here are a handful of lessons and observations from our summer vacations:

The annoying mosquito to parental drivers' ears is no longer the backseat bellow of "Are we there yet?" It's the middle row of the minivan whine of "When will we start getting 3G again?"

According to my 12-year-old daughter, when going on a weeklong trip to the scalding flatlands of Nebraska where we'll spend most of our time in towns smaller than her middle school with her grandparents, who are farmers, and my wife's best friends, who are undertakers, the most absolutely necessary item to bring is a flat iron for her hair.

niagara falls canada ourist trap

If you think the United States has cornered the market on gaudy tourist traps, you've never visited the Canadian side of Niagara Falls. It's as if downtown Las Vegas and Times Square birthed a circus geek.

The first question children ask when you arrive at your lodging destination has evolved from "Does it have a pool?" to "Does it have free Wi-Fi?"

Provident Bank Park, the Westchester County home of the Rockland Boulders baseball team of independent Can-Am League, is one of the nicest minor league ballparks you'll ever visit. Unfortunately, the quality of pitching embarrasses Little Leaguers.

Sonic Drive-Ins offer 54 types of milkshakes. I kid you not – 54. However, whenever we stop at one, all my daughter wants is a cup of their ice pellets.

Environmentally conscientious coastal communities, such as those on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, have banned supermarkets from using plastic grocery bags. This is good news unless you bring your dog with you on vacation. And he's prone to traveler's diarrhea. Like ours.

The people of Nebraska love shooting off fireworks, just not fireworks sold in Nebraska. Those are "church fireworks," in the words of my wife's brother. Instead, you need ones from neighboring Missouri, which contain enough liftoff and explosive power to qualify as military grade anti-ballistic missiles.

There are many reasons why you can always get a table for four at the Hard Rock Café at the height of the dinner hour. Not one is good.

A modern family of four now packs more electronic communications devices for an extended weekend trip than it does pairs of clean underwear.

The best beach time on the East Coast is after 5 p.m. when the shadows grow longer and the adult beverages have sufficiently numbed the burning scrapes caused by sand inside your bathing suit liner.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Vaccines We Really Need

4 clever quips

syringe-needle A successful school year for your child starts with his or her good health, and that sure beats it starting with you cleaning up Lucky Charms vomit off the Turkish rug.

While there are many tricks to raising a healthy scholar, tricking children into what's good for them is frowned upon these days. Blame those self-appointed "experts" who subscribe to the child-rearing theory known as the Sanctimonious Helicopter Attachment Drone of Uptight Parenting, or just SHAD-UP.

So what can you do as aside from giving junior daily baths in free-range, grass-feed hand sanitizer?

Poke the kid silly with syringes! Preferably ones loaded with bacteria and viruses!

Vaccines have proved to be highly effective at warding off many childhood diseases, so make sure your little one is up-to-date on all required shots before the school year starts.

But wait – there's more!

Scientists who actually got out of the lab enough to meet members of the opposite sex and spawn a child or two, sometimes on purpose, are developing some super new vaccines. The following are currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (now a fully owned subsidiary of ConAgra Foods, a division of Google and a Spike Lee Joint):

Continue reading on DadCentric.com > >

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What to Expect When You’re Expecting to Attend BlogHer ‘12 in New York

21 clever quips

ssli_7739_scraped_blogher-12-new-york-city- For those heading to the annual BlogHer conference in New York City next week, I’ve compiled a guide to set your expectations. This is based on my experience as an occasional visitor to The Big Apple (I live in Connecticut, the neighboring state trying laughably to steal its neighbor’s tourism business), my being a ‘BlogHer in NYC’ veteran, and a half-dozen gin and tonics:

The smell

The first time I drove through Nebraska during the summer, my olfactory center suddenly seized up like a Boy Scout official stumbling into a Gay Pride Parade. Turns out we had just passed a pig farm/slaughterhouse.

After I mentally retched, My Love told me what her Cornhusker grandfather would say when one of his brood whined about this particular odor: “Smells like money.”

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Son, The ‘Play Boy’

22 clever quips

I’m sending the sheared crusts of Excitable’s peanut-butter-on-sourdough sandwich swirling down the disposal when the boy himself bounds into the kitchen. He speaks with an uncharacteristic early-morning verve as I tie the handles of the plastic bag bearing his name, underlined and in bold black letters.

bikini model playing cards“At camp yesterday, we were playing card games and a boy named RJ brought out a deck from Canada,” he says, “and on each one …”

“Is the word, ‘Eh?’”

“No!” his enthusiasm undampened by my interruption. “On each card was a bikini model!”

“Oh.”

“Yeah! But then the counselor took them away. After that, the game just wasn’t the same.”

Oy.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Giving Drivers A New Finger

19 clever quips

I recently spent the better part of a week driving around Nebraska and, boy, is my finger tired.

one finger wave We visit my wife's family and friends every year or so out there in that area of the country they also call the "Heartland of America." Whoever "they" is, they have a great sense of irony. Whenever I'm there, I clog my arteries on three square meals of red meat, buttered sweet corn and marshmallow Jell-O platters. (To be fair, the Jell-O usually features fruit. Canned in heavy syrup fruit. Prevents scurvy just the same as the fresh stuff, Dr. Oz.) I indulge in these Cornhusker staples/delicacies because they taste good and a stuffed mouth prevents me from showing the natives just how ignorant I am about the ever-present topic of college football.

Between meals, we always seem to be driving. Unlike our New England ancestors who knew "good fences make good neighbors," the settlers of Nebraska knew better --30 miles of cropland between signs of human life makes it pretty hard to tick off anyone. But that was before cars and commuting.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Thrilling Ride into Summer

15 clever quips

dragon coaster Summer's arrival in our house has nothing to do with calendars, temperatures or fireworks. It starts with a steady ascent of anticipation, teases us with a quick dip then throws us a curve before plunging us into the thick of it with a rattling headlong rush.

Summer comes on the Dragon Coaster.

Unlike many who grew up a short trip from this 83-year-old wood-beamed marvel, I have almost no childhood memories of the rollercoaster or the Playland amusement park that surrounds it in Rye, N.Y. That's what makes our annual trip there as special to me as to my two children.

This ritual started a few years ago the way the best things tend to, not out of the need for nostalgia's comfort or the desire to begin a grand tradition, but through the lowered expectations that come with not having to pay an admission fee. The local Make-a-Wish folks had given us a handful of free passes owing to Li’l Diva’s juvenile myositis so I figured, at worst, using them would give us a few hours away from our one true summer ritual at that time: the two kids bickering over who got to choose which Disney Channel rerun to watch for the 47th time.

Monday, June 18, 2012

My Doppelganger

21 clever quips

Folklorists and the writers of the sitcom How I Meet Your Mother would have us believe that everyone has a doppelganger, a twin of some sort -- most likely of the evil or Bizarro Superman variety.

I, dear friends, found mine. And of this I’m pretty certain: I’m the bizarro one.

Let’s climb into the WayBack Machine to when I started this monument to my lack of employment four years ago. After I came up with my blog’s name, I Googled the word “uncool” for shots and gargles (that would be gin and Listerine to hide smell of said gin). A link came up to this book:

day i turned uncool dan zevin

The Day I Turned Uncool: Confessions of a Reluctant Grown-Up
by Dan Zevin

I bought it and packed it between my boxer briefs and allergy meds for a read on our family vacation to the Dominican Republic. That’s when I REALLY bought it.

“My Love,” I recall saying through a haze of sunscreen and Presidente beer. “I am not alone.”

Friday, June 15, 2012

Hair Today, Gone Yesterday

2 clever quips

Just a quickie to note Murphy had an excellent appointment with Vet No. 3 yesterday. She thinks his nasal fungal infection from hell is finally all gone, despite the still occasional snot rocket he fires with a sneeze.

She said she was also most impressed with how good his coat looks after his most recent bout with the infamous autoimmune disease that renders him bald.

Which got me looking back at some photos.

Which made me wonder how I have ever managed during this crisis not to brush him into non-existence.

dug-fur-porch Yep, those are not snow piles in spring. All those white blobs are Murphy fur.

dog-fur-mini

Monday, June 11, 2012

Charity: An Uncool and his Money, Part Duex

13 clever quips

wine_money My Love and I once found ourselves at a charity wine-tasting, It should have been called a charitable wine-tasting because they we’re all pretty awful.

This explains why we were both sober enough to realize we held the winning ticket in the 50-50 raffle.

UNCOOL: Whoo-hoo! Look at that! (waving wad of twenties and singles) Two hundred and thirty-seven big ones! We got our admission fee back and a little more. Free bad wine for every one!

MY LOVE: Ssssssh! Put it in your pocket before someone comes over here.

UNCOOL: What? You think we have some thieves among us? Muggers? (shudders) Madoffs?

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Very Saxy Interlude

16 clever quips

When it came time for Excitable to select an instrument to learn at school this year, his initially mentioned an interest in the flute.

This would have been awesome if he had previously shown any interest in my dusty stack of Jetho Tull vinyl in the corner of our basement, or at least in this key scene in one of my all-time favorite movies:

Truth be told, his only interest came from knowing his sister had played flute in elementary school and that she might be able to help him fake his way through it.

Well, as long as it wasn’t the screech of the violin, I could live with it. However, I thought I’d drop one sly hint on someone else’s behalf.

“Your mom,” I said, “would LOVE it if you tried to learn the saxophone.”

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Friends and Workers: An Uncool and His Money, Part 1

11 clever quips

life-money My Love is funny about money. She rakes it in professionally and is generous to a fault with friends and strangers alike, yet Scrooge-like with me and my doings.

ME?! The modern day Jack Benny of household and personal thrift? Let’s explore this in the next few posts.

+ + +

One night in the not-too-distant past, I sought the seclusion of my home office to finish some odds and ends on my computer. This immediately raised suspicions in my wife.

MY LOVE (decloaking from ninja mode): What are you doing?

UNCOOL (wetting pants) (because I spilled my beer): GAH! Jesus Alou, honey! I was sending an email to our neighbors.

MY LOVE: About what?

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Invisible Scars of War

15 clever quips

matt proulxMemorial Day is a week past yet I still find myself thinking of those who sacrificed their lives to protect our freedom.

In particular, I think of Sgt. Matthew A. Proulx of the New York State Army National Guard.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Win Burn Notice, White Collar DVDs

26 clever quips

Summer is unofficially here and nothing says so more to me than parking my paper-thonged butt in front of the flat screen, flippin’ on the USA channel and watching the new seasons of a couple of my favorite returning shows:

To celebrate their return (Burn Notice on June 14; White Collar on July 10), I’m giving away DVD sets of Burn Notice - Season 5 and White Collar - Season 3. white collar burn notice dvdTo win one of these, just leave me a comment below – any comment --by noon EDT, June 7, and you are entered in a random drawing. If you prefer one show to the other, say so – otherwise it will be dealer’s choice on the prizes. Simple as that.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Run for this Cure JM Kid’s Life

16 clever quips

The good news is two meds have been dropped from Li’l Diva’s regular routine of pills and shots to keep her juvenile myositis in check.

i need a cure jm The bad news is we are visiting a local children’s hospital today so she can get a 4-hour IV of a new med, Rituximab, that may or may not help and carries with it the usual suspects of “rare” side effects.

You know: fever, aches and death from a brain infection.

It’s the see-saw battle we fight regularly; the tightrope we walk between employing a treatment that may finally reset her immune system to its proper working order and risking the potential dangers, short- and long-term, caused by introducing all these toxins into her system.

We have done this for nearly a decade now and we will continue to until the right combination of science and luck cures her. Giving up is not an option.

There’s nothing you kind people do during today’s infusion other than keep her in your thoughts and, if you are inclined that way, your prayers.

If you would like to do something beyond today, here’s my request:

Friday, May 25, 2012

Time for a Pupdate

21 clever quips

murphy-chairI squished in a puddle, which shouldn’t be news given the regular deluges in our suburbs this spring.

Except I was walking in my kitchen at the time.

I trekked upstream to the laundry room and pushed back the door. Inky liquid dribbled over the edge of the swamp we used to call “the slop sink.”

“Just what does this have to do with your dog?” you say, inferring correctly from the headline and photo.

Well, everything.

An emergency call to the plumber and a few hundred dollars later …

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chain-Reaction Letters I Never Sent

23 clever quips

Dear Connecticut Light & Power Company,
Thank you for sending the crew to trim trees in my neighborhood. monkey at typewriterAs you know by the repeated angry phone calls, our block has a tendency to lose electricity whenever someone in the vicinity sneezes too violently. However, the twigs your crew snipped off could barely take out a chipmunk let alone a power line.

Dear People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA),
I do not endorse the bludgeoning of chipmunks but to put your furry-minded minds at ease before I snap, I suggest you come immediately and liberate every little Alvin, Simon and Theodore residing in the Swiss cheese they have made of my lawn. If I were you (but I'm not because I consider cheeseburgers an essential food group), for added critter safety I would also put all the Chip and Dales from the surrounding properties into WITSEC.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Bra Shopping with Daddy

0 clever quips

junior miss bra
Some claim that I, a straight American male, am biologically hard-wired to notice breasts.
I won't argue with science.
Unless the breasts in question belong to my tweenage daughter.
Just the other day there she was: this sweet little thing in a princess gown, buckled snugly at 5-points in her car seat, singing about the yumminess of fruit salad.
Then I blinked, and there was my precious baby girl leaning across the kitchen counter and ...
OMIGOD! WHERE DID THOSE COME FROM??!!
Continue reading at DadCentric >>

Friday, May 18, 2012

Award of the State

26 clever quips

Time to play “What the devil is going on in this photo?” in this week’s Fill ‘er Friday. Here is the bedeviling photo for the week:

blurry

Clue: That blur is me in the lower left corner.

Good eye! Yes, I AM wearing one of the free suits I got for a blog post two years ago. This must be a big event I’m at if I left my normal work attire of beer and baseball team T-shirts at home.

Yes. This photo was taken by My Love, who demonstrates why even despite my proven lack of shutterbugginess, I usually don’t allow her near a camera on vacation.

Am I leaving a court building for crimes against typing and headline puns? Not completely accurate …

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It’s in His Jeans

12 clever quips

deney terrio My son, Excitable, may be a hit with the ladies for his dance moves, but eventually his allergy to showering will overpower their love of his inner Deney Terrio.

Then there’s his clothes.

I love the boy because, among a myriad of other reasons, unlike his sister he is not constantly begging me to take him shopping. He tends to wear clothes until they are tattered and holey. Then he continues to wear them tattered and holey.

I keep expecting calls from his school like this:

Friday, May 4, 2012

Not What it Seems

7 clever quips

What first comes to your mind when you look at this photo of Excitable about to plunge off the back of our vacation houseboat and into the clear waters of Lake Powell, Utah/Arizona?

water-slide-excitable

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Me on TV. DadLabs TV. Via Internet. So, Me on the Internet. Big Whoop.

8 clever quips

Scene: Our kitchen, last night, My Love wanders in from work, exhausted, spent, the day’s burdens pinning her shoulders for the three count. Me – bouncing up and down like a pup, pre-neutering.

ME: “Guess what, honey, guess what? I’m going to be on the Internet!”

MY LOVE: “Uh, you’re on the Internet every day.”

Bubble. Burst. Ka-BLOOEY!

Actually, here’s the deal:

I will be appearing / stuttering / flop-sweating live via Skype today -- Wednesday, May 2 -- at 3 p.m. Eastern time on DadLabs UStream show.

The topic: juvenile myositis, The Cure JM Foundation and the work my family does to find a cure for this rare autoimmune disease that our daughter has been battling with for almost 10 years.

Sounds heavy but you know I won’t be able to go more than 15 seconds without some sarcastic remark that will get me in trouble with the authorities. Or worse, in trouble with My Love.

DadLabs.com, if you don’t know, is a great parenting site whether you are a male or female. Lots of fun videos and information about kid products, parenting technology and general parenting advice … and humor.

You can watch the show without registering, but if you want to comment via chat you need to register here. This show will also be archived for posterity … and future blackmail.

Wish me luck.

Better yet, wish my antiperspirant extra strength.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Fear and Dancing in Las Vegas

16 clever quips

Our recent family vacation started and ended in Las Vegas. fremony street experience las vegas uncools It may seem incongruous to bookend travels with children in a place known as Sin City or for me to use a 10-cent word like “incongruous.” However, I have plenty of photos of us enjoying “wholesome” touristy things to prove otherwise.

Like …

Friday, April 27, 2012

Photo Finished

3 clever quips

I write about my failures as a family portrait photographer on our recent trip West at DadCentric today. Here’s the start and one of my many bad photos to entice you. Cheers!

zion-butt The poetic among us would find rich metaphoric comparisons between the taking of our yearly family portrait and my annual health checkup.

I kinda froze here: one is a figurative pain in my tuchus; the other is literally.

:: snap :: ... and exhaaaaale -- good.

Though a notoriously mediocre point-n-shooter, I undertook the job of family photographer this year because I now own a decent camera and we were going on a scenic week-long trip out West. The breathtaking, soul-enriching beauty of the Grand Canyon and such should surely override my technical ineptitude and my motley crew's many flaws, right?

Yeah. Right.

Continue reading at DadCentric >>

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Go West, Uncool

30 clever quips

If you only read my blog feed or Facebook page or blog title (ye of ultra-short attention span), you were probably under the impression that, as usual, I was home last week.

Sucker!

Those who follow my Twitter feed knew that The Uncools actually took a trip West to explore this beautiful and diverse land of ours, to create memories that will last a lifetime, and to show our children what makes America the best dang country in the world without true universal health care! (Take that Bahrain … wherever the heck you are.)

So, just where did we go?

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Girl and Her (First) Dog

25 clever quips

meghugpu While I wipe the still occasional snot stream from Murphy’s recovering nose before bathing him in medicated shampoo to ease the itching of his latest relapse of that bizarre autoimmune disease making him bald, my mind sometimes wanders back to the days when I owned an equally loveable dog who wasn’t quite so defective expensive needy in the health department.

So of late, I think of our first dog, Kiner.

We had Kiner, another yellow Lab, for about two years before his spoiled world of endless games of catch and pig ears was invaded by Li’l Diva’s arrival. One of the most frequently asked questions My Love and I would get about bringing up baby was not about diaper cream (Dr. Smith's), projectile vomiting (only once ... at a place of former employment – ha!) or strained peas (eeewww). It was:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Tips for the Boy Appreciated

22 clever quips
excitable tips uncool dad blogExcitable, formerly known as Thing 2 to you old-school “Uncool” types, hits double digits in a month.

The big 1-0.

Dear Lord, I’m frickin’ OLD!

But this is not about me. It’s about him.

On his 6th birthday, I offered him a mess of life lessons on this blog. Hence, four years later, I’m tapped out. Drained. Spent. Pffffffft.

Here and at DadCentric yesterday, I asked readers to give my boy some advice for his 10th year on Earth and (cue cavernous echo effect) BEEEEE-YOOOOOoooond.

So pass on your words of wisdom to the boy in the comments. He probably won’t heed them, but he doesn’t listen much to me either these days.

Go on. I dares ya!

+ + +

Spread your “Uncool” love – tweet, like, etc. using one or more of the social bookmark buttons below or in your feed reader. Thanks!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Some Dads Quietly Have It All. Thanks.

0 clever quips

This DadCentric piece I wrote last week is especially appropriate because it is the day before the tax filing deadline. I’m sure my dad will be franticly cranking out his clients’ returns late into tonight and tomorrow night. – Un.

I once worked with a person who claimed to be an action hero -- SuperWoman, to be exact.

She wrote a newspaper column about social issues facing women balancing career, husband and kids. Many weeks, her writing boiled down to one point: only working mothers know the burden that comes with this attempt at, in her generation's words, "having it all."

I didn't wholly buy into her premise then when I was a single, childless guy in my 20s and I really don't now as a 40-something father of two. But I won't speak for my entire gender, as she purported to do. I will only speak from my experience. I will speak of my father.

Continue reading at DadCentric >>

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Fatherhood Trifecta

14 clever quips

A recurring topic among us in the “dad blogger community” is our general lack of community.

Unlike the many, many moms of the blogosphere, we generally lack “tribes” and “support groups” and other generalized labels to put in “quotation marks.” We rarely rally together, quickly or intimately, for better or worse, in real life or the digital one, like our feminine counterparts in this parenting gig.

Some say it’s society. Some say it’s genetics. Being guys, most of us just say, “Whatever.”

David of It’s Not a Lecture wants to change that. He’s attempting to get at least one father in each of the 50 states (plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico because he’s the inclusive type) to write “a simple blog post” that describes three things they love about being a father under the Twitter/blog banner of #DadsLove.

The first post, which he wrote, went up Wednesday, and I have this to say: simple, my paper-thonged butt. Check out David’s little slices o’ wisdom.

So, fellow parenting dudes (and dudettes without whom we wouldn’t be here), I’m here to represent the little utility infielder of the Northeast – Connecticut.

Here goes:

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Not Just for Happy Hour Anymore

10 clever quips

I’m sorry this photo is so fuzzy …breakfast-liquor … but Li’l Diva only had time to down one eye-opener before she took it.

Monday, April 9, 2012

"Dance Moms" Lacks Dads: Thank Heaven or WTF?

8 clever quips

Dance moms adDespite all the complaining we dads do about our being portrayed by the media and entertainment industries as inept or uninvolved, we really should be thankful.

After all, we could have our own reality show on the Lifetime network proving it.

Of late, my tweenage daughter Li’l Diva(formerly known to all you as Thing 1) has been subjecting me to DVR marathons of her two favorite shows: Toddlers and Tiaras and Dance Moms. We've had a few talks about the kid, in particular -- young girl, exploitation on both of these ratings winners and, despite that recent F in Spanish, my daughter is bright enough to recognize the ridiculousness and evil extremes shown on these shows. She has been sucked into the cartoonish over-the-top drama of all overbearing moronic adults (um, nearly all mothers -- just stating the facts) and nothing more, she says.

"So how do you think I would do if I was on Dance Moms," I asked, which is apropos because she has been taking dance for the past 7 years. For first several of them, I'd hang out with the estrogen set during lessons, mostly drinking coffee and reading the newspaper because they would never talk to me. Must have been my cooties.

"You wouldn't last," she said. "You get mad too easily. You'd be angry at the teacher and the other moms and you'd pull me out of there pretty fast."

So wise, my daughter. If only she'd rinse her plates and put them in the dishwasher, she'd be perfect.

Whenever I've watched Dance Moms with her, my reaction to said moms constantly bitchin' and moanin' about the dance teacher's constant bitchin' and moanin', the questionable taste in costumes and routines, the apparent favoritism, and the snarky backstabbing and sniping at each has been the same:

Continue reading this post at DadCentric >>

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Forecast: Hangover and Heartaches Ahead

21 clever quips

I plan to have a hangover tomorrow morning.

uncool-opening-day-2009 The type of hangover depends completely on how the Mets fare today — Opening Day of baseball season 2012.

If they win, it’ll be that giddy, just-fell-in-love kind of light-headedness.

If they lose, it’ll be your typical one of misery, regret and heartache. The kind we Mets fans are likely to become accustomed to game after game this year.

Sports prognosticators almost universally have picked my Mets to finish dead last in 2012. And not in an endearingly inept manner, as their inaugural team of has-beens and never-would-bes were 50 years ago under the guidance of the legendary Casey Stengel, who was known to nod off in the dugout. No – they are expected to land in the cellar with the loud, ugly thud of sub-mediocrity.

So, Ye Baseball Gods above, today we supporters of the Orange and Blue pray …

Sunday, April 1, 2012

“I know you know that you're an April Fool”

3 clever quips

My shenanigan for today is to offer you a refuge from the usual April 1 hijinks. Seriously.

Song/video: “April Fool,” Ronnie Lane

If you enjoyed the tune, there’s an excellent BBC documentary on the artist, the late Ronnie Lane (whose birthday is today, hence the song), available in six parts on YouTube called The Passing Show. Talented musician who had a long streak of bad luck, personally and professionally, but a poet’s soul and a minstrel’s heart.

I wanted to post a video of his most famous song with The Faces but frickin’ YouTube blocks the embedding, so instead here’s the link to “Ooh La La.”

READ MORE

Friday, March 30, 2012

11 Of The Many Things You’ll Regret Knowing About Me

25 clever quips

We are not above doing the occasional Internet meme here at Uncool Enterprises but we will employ the royal “we” to class it up a bit.

A Daft Scots Lass

Today’s Fill ‘er Friday comes courtesy of the wackiest redhead with a high-heel fixation in the blogosphere, A Daft Scots Lass.

She gave me a list of 11 questions to answer, so here goes:

1.  Why do you “put your two cents in” when it is only “a penny for your thoughts”? What happens to the other penny?

It goes in the tray next to the cash register for those with no sense at all.

2. Pen or pencil and why.

Pen because I stand by my mistakes. Such as sporting a mustache.

3. What is your favorite Disney character and why?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bloody Hell

40 clever quips

bloody-wastebasket It started with a simple runny nose.

A Claritin here, a Zyrtec there, Benadryl everywhere and all will be fine in a couple of weeks, so I thought.

Then the sneeze.

A quarter-size red bubble on the white tile floor.

Off to the doctor we went.

Not my doctor.

My dog’s.

All you need to know about a dog having blood come from its nose is this: It is never good.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Dads are Capable Parents, Too

10 clever quips

While I’m polishing my next epic, I thought you might enjoy my “final” word on the Dad 2.0 Summit, which appeared last week in my hometown newspaper column.

Bits at the start and end first appeared on DadCentric, but the bulk is new and fleshed out for non-blogger mass consumption. If nothing else, the writer types among you may enjoy seeing the evolutionary twists, turns, adds, deletes and punching up done in the never-ending battle I wage on writing every time I sit in front of the keyboard. Cheers!

+ + +

The only adult male this at-home dad hangs with on a regular basis is his dog, though, if not for fences, my best friend would most likely spend all his time canoodling with the cute beagle next door.

Naturally then, I had some trepidation about being corralled for three days in Texas recently at a conference with 200 other fathers.

Were we going to the woods to beat drums? Do primal scream therapy? Whine endlessly about how our dads did or didn't treat us as kids? Not at all.

The inaugural Dad 2.0 Summit in Austin gathered bloggers of the paternal persuasion to discuss with each other, marketers and social media mavens the role of the modern father.

We also gathered to drink beer, a statement based not on stereotype but on my credit card receipts.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Fill ‘er Friday: Removing ‘Blah’ from Blogging

23 clever quips

The recent passing of my blogiversary has gotten me thinking about my early days in this racket.

You remember those simpler times.

Before we personal bloggers all signed lucrative contracts to endorse personal hygiene products, received book deals to reprint our Tweets (with sequels on our Instagram streams and Facebook status updates), and became stars of TLC shows that failed miserably because – face it – we’re pretty boring in reality. That’s why we all entered rehab: to regain our mojo, our qi … and our audiences (wink, wink).

We had pointless memes. Spread around silly blog awards like venereal diseases. Yes, life was blog carnival.

Now it’s all melancholy word masturbation, competition and denial, moaning and whining. It’s like the worst of NPR but without the pleasure of being hit up for money in between stories about the obscure 17th fingerpainters without thumbs and the sexualization of Thanksgiving turkeys.

High time we who are still plugging away at this took the “blah” out of blogging.

For the next few weeks (or at least until I run out material or get lazy again), I’m going to dedicate Fridays to returning some of the goofy spirit of 2008 to the blogosphere.

Welcome to FILL ‘ER FRIDAYS!

Here we go …

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Fight or Flight

22 clever quips

After several hours of Googling coding freebies then typing then re-coding the re-re-coding and banging my head on the keyboard, the latter often resulting in better work than whenred-hawk-distant-uncool-dad using these mitts of concrete at the end of my arms, I stood up and sighed.

Walk it off, clear your head, I yelled at myself internally because doing so aloud when you work by yourself is just loony.

I pushed back my chair and stood with a creak-creak here and a Mother-Fletcher-I’m-old there.

I looked out the sliding glass door, lost.

That’s when I saw him.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Indecision Keeps Me Here

22 clever quips

Somewhere around my second Tropical Sunrise Margarita at the airport Chili’s Too last Sunday blogging need more monkeysmorning (um, I was in the Central Time Zone – it was well past several minutes past noon back home) a milestone passed.

I entered my third fourth year of blogging.

You weren’t the only one who forgot. I did, too.

So Happy Blogiversary to me.

To celebrate, since some of us obviously forgot the cake and presents (a-HEM!), I did a little renovation. If you’re reading this via a reader or Facebook, come on over to the blog and check it out.

AddThis

My Uncool Past