30 January 2009

Corporate intelligence, Vol. 6: Walgreens

I've been hearing the following Walgreens radio ad quite a lot here in Chicago lately:

With Medicare Part D, you pay the same co-pay everywhere. So now that there's no hassle of comparing prices everywhere, come join the millions who fill their prescriptions at Walgreens!

Allow me to translate this into laymen's terms for you all:

Now that our usurious markups don't matter to you directly, come on over and go through the different hassle of changing your prescription to Walgreens for no apparent reason!

After all, as an old company ourselves, we understand how much old people love changing things, especially --as we just established-- when there's no tangible financial or other advantage, and when they're virtually
guaranteed to have "millions" of people ahead of them in line whenever they choose to endure venturing out and about!*

Sorry Gen-Xers, this sweet deal isn't for you! You'll have to keep paying those clearly exorbitant Walgreens prices for at least the next several decades, until the government can foot the bill for you!**

I wonder how big last year's bonus was for the marketing executive who approved this ad?

* "Swollen knees and back trouble from standing too long? We've got handy racks of not-inexpensive OTC pain pills lined up along the pharmacy wall, free from the price restrictions of Medicare Part D!"

** In all fairness,
someone has to cover the cashiers' overtime pay while each of those seniors counts out $10 in pennies with nearly useless arthritic fingers.

28 January 2009

One-item lists, Vol. 1

We all know I like me a good list post. Because my unfinished list-post backlog is reaching critical mass, I figured we could start the year off by purging some of these in one largely child-centric meta-list:*

Child-Themed Game Shows
1. Oatmeal or Vomit?

Reasons Child Services May Pay Us A Visit
1. My 4-year-old son D- says things like, "I'm holding my lip because you punched me there" after practically leaping into the way of my unrelated hand gesture.

Life Goals Met At 15 Months (note that M- is now 2 years old)
1. Find Out What Sand Tastes Like. If pleasant, chow down! Note to self: It was extremely pleasant.

My New Favorite Sites
1. This one.

Reasons I Love Hanging Out With Kids All Day**
1. Tossing out a line like, "Not by the cereal on your chinny-chin-chin!" while wiping off a toddler's chin at breakfast will cause the whole room to lose it for a good 2 minutes.

* Note that publishing this post itself was delayed several weeks for reasons unknown even to me.

** Unfortunately, immersing oneself in this for too long can have a severely detrimental effect on one's ability to write blog posts that amuse adults, as well as one's ability to conduct a normal, polite conversation with other adults.

26 January 2009

A conversation with M-: The wipe that shakes the barley

This is the epitome of a conversation I have with M- at least once every day, proving she's definitely my kid:

Me: Hey, are you stinky?

M- (shiftily): No.

Me: I beg to differ. (as supportively as I can muster) Okay, we have to change your diaper now. (while beginning to change her) You have to tell somebody when you have to go to the bathroom, rememb...

M- (eagerly, in a Notifying Tone): I have to go to the bathroom!

Me: Yes, I know you did, that's why I'm here changing you-- you have to tell somebody BEFORE you go in your pants, so we can help you get to the toilet. And if you go in your pants by accident, you need to tell somebody that, too, so we can help get you cleaned up, right?

M- (same tone as above): I made poop in my diaper!

Me (with one final wipe): Yes. Just like that. Thanks.

You may also enjoy the other (4 YO son) D- conversations, (2YO daughter) M- conversations, and (wife) J- conversations.

23 January 2009

My ridiculous rhinestone bow 'tis of thee

I had another post scheduled to appear here today, but I decided to pull it in favor of this one, since you all probably will care even less about it in a week or so (I've set myself up nicely to take it easy for awhile).

I had to do some serious digging to find a few articles discussing our recent inauguration, but once I found some, I was most intrigued by this one regarding Aretha Franklin's choice of headgear --or should I say her headgear's choice of host-- when singing at the event:

Requests flood in for 'Queen of Soul's' custom hat

Really? Really.

Am I the only one who saw this hat? Granted, it may have been hard to see anything else in a ten-foot arc behind her, but I'm pretty sure all 3 billion people watching saw the same thing I did.

To refresh your memory, we're talking about the hat shown below:

"We even have a lot of men calling to get it for their wives, mothers and grandmothers," Song said.

Ahhhhh, there we go, there's the answer-- men are f***ing idiots. And I say this as one myself-- my own brand of obliviousness and occasional lack of common sense was issued at birth, have no doubt, but rest assured, Mom, Grandma, Katie, and J-, it absolutely does not extend to thinking that anyone I've ever met, or will ever meet, would want to own, borrow, or even-be-willing-when-forced-at-gunpoint-to-wear this hat.

Gonna be a long Returns line at Mr. Song's shop next week, methinks. That, plus a lot of very unhappy-looking invalid grandmothers being wheeled about town with necks ready to give way under the sheer weight of those bows.

21 January 2009

A conversation with D-: Lion vs. gazelle

The other night while I was folding laundry, my 4-year-old son D- managed to achieve the rare feat of sneaking up on me undetected. His ferocious roar gave me the momentary flash of panic I normally only taste in the air around my own victims, but being the consummate professional* I am, I immediately recovered and so betrayed nothing to my tormentor.

However, after a moment's reflection during a brief unrelated Q&A (4-year-olds being nature's ideal unpaid messengers), I decided not to deny him his rightful victory, so I called to him just before he left the room:

Me: Hey, nice work back there, by the way-- I didn't hear you coming at all!

D- (smiling): I'm gonna scare you again...

Me: No, it can't work now, because you just told me you were doing it.

D-: (pauses) Let's try it again where I don't tell you about it.

Me (laughing): But you just told me about it again! (looks back down toward the laundry)

D-: (begins tip-toeing forward with a large smile)

* Non-compensated professional, of course, as is the case with most of my careers.

You may also enjoy the other (4 YO son) D- conversations, (2YO daughter) M- conversations, and (wife) J- conversations.

20 January 2009

A note upon Inauguration 2009

I needn't point out that today is a special day. We all know my preference for president, so I won't go on about that.

I just want to state for the record how disappointed I am that this inauguration is taking place in the middle of the week, and that I am not able to be there. I know that as time goes on, life will leave me even less flexible to accommodate last-minute schedule changes for opportunities like this, so I had really hoped to make it happen somehow.

Alas, J- will be left watching with all the students in her school, I'll be watching with the kids until we have to take D- to preschool, but I'll do everything I can to make sure the kids remember this day even if only in some small way (such as vague memories that I wouldn't stop yammering on about it during Duplo time).

I won't do this because we've elected "a black president" but rather because we've broken the centuries-old mold of what a president must look like, and we've started chipping away at least a bit at who he or she has to know and be indebted to.

And possibly even more important than that is the fact that even though we elected yet another candidate from our democracy-choking Two Parties, it feels like we all cast aside the many safe, easy choices this time and went with someone whose fresh ideas (at least for our current age) we listened to and specifically responded to, one way or another.

How many people were genuinely inspired by John Kerry, Bob Dole, Michael Dukakis, or either of the Bushes? These are people, among others, who benefitted from either "seeming presidential", having the right connections in a shallow pool, or just not screwing up enough to lose their party's nomination.

So for better or worse, we'll turn our back (at least for a little while) on the willfully irresponsible and damaging Bush years, and try our hand at shaping our own future. Even if Mr. Obama does nothing but speechify and Propose Big Things for four years, as long as he helps keep this momentum going, I think we can help ourselves just fine.

We can all tear down the duct tape and plastic wrap (for longer than it takes to hit the mall for the latest Thing We Don't Really Need), slide our Terror Alert Level down from Orange - Convenient Generalized Fear and Pliability to the never-before-seen Green - Commonsense Vigilance with Personal Freedom, let the sun shine on us and all our affairs, and then really start digging ourselves out of the many messes we're in.

It may make for a long few decades, but at least we can get through it with a smile and a lighter load on our shoulders. So here's to that!

19 January 2009

A conversation with my kids: Just can't let that slide

After loading the trunk with groceries one day last week, I was pleased to walk into the following exchange when I got back in the car with my kids:

M-: You are handsome!

Me: Thank you, ba...

M- & D-: No! No!...

M-: Not you, Daddy, D-!!

D-: Yeah, Dad, she was talking to me.

Me: ... Okay, thanks.

For more ridiculousness, check out my (4YO son) D- conversations, (2YO daughter) M- conversations, and (wife) J- conversations.

16 January 2009

Macaroni-and-Death in the Garden of Good and Edam

As those of you outside what I'll call The Snow Belt may have heard, the rest of us are currently dealing with the kind of snow that builds you a fort all by itself, and the kind of cold that freezes your tongue to your coat zipper the second your foot hits the front porch.

Sharp cold wave shocks upper Midwest, temps to -36

In times like these, disaster is rarely located anywhere but Right Around the Corner:

"Indiana police reported numerous crashes on slippery highways, including a truck that overturned and spilled 43,000 pounds of cheese, closing a busy highway ramp during the night in the Gary area."

Far be it from me to provoke an intra-national incident or incite legendary food-fight-related violence, but I think I speak for all of us when I say it should be clear to the people of Wisconsin that this willful distribution of copious amounts of free cheese to the public by the people of Indiana constitutes an act of war.

I believe I'll munch on some gravel-laced Gouda while I mull the implications of this tragic, region-shaping attack.

14 January 2009

Name that tune!

At the behest of my wife J-, who conceived this post, I bring you a list of children's songs as identified by my extremely verbal 1-year-old daughter M- (who can sing most of them in their entirety):

• Din Dan Don

• Ants

• Ebbysee's

• My Son

• Weensy Eensy

And finally, the true tiebreaker:

• Tree-Ba's-ful

How many can you recognize? I would be floored if anyone who didn't know her got all six, and very impressed if someone got four.

12 January 2009

A conversation between M- & D-: Just after eleventeen

As I mentioned recently, my four-year-old son D- has a beloved Corduroy bear who's seen more than most bears his age ever will or want to.

His nearly four-year relationship with Corduroy is slowly becoming something of an obsession for his almost-two-year-old sister M-, who seems to have taken the concept of hand-me-downs to the extreme of now excitedly waiting to consume her brother's entire existence as she grows up.

Case in point, this conversation that took place in the hallway last week while I was in the shower:

M- (pleasantly, with her hands out): I can have Corduroy.

D- (graciously, as he often is): No, not right now, sweetie.

M-: Yeah, when I'm BIG-GER.

D-: ...No, he'll always be mine, even when you're bigger, but you've got a bear, too, remember?

M-: No-- I can have Corduroy when I'm BIGger.

D- (remixing lines he's been fed before): No, M-, you can't have him when you're bigger, cause even though I'll be bigger, too, he'll still be my friend. But you can hold him sometimes, still.

M- (with an audible blank stare): ...And I can have Corduroy when I'm bigger, when I'm fifty-bigger!

For more such posts, check out the other (4 YO son) D- conversations, (1YO daughter) M- conversations, and (wife) J- conversations.

09 January 2009

Book Review: K is for Kwanzaa

Once again, I am here to nobly perform a public service in reviewing one of the many pillars of the world's greatest literature that crosses my desk. Or my lap, as it were.

This time, it's Juwanda Ford's K is for Kwanzaa, a title my 4-year-old son D- recently selected at random* from the library:

Cover of 'K is for Kwanzaa' by Juwanda FordThis book is exactly what it seems-- go ahead and judge it by the cover, I can vouch for you.

But what surprised me, after picking through pages defining items like Gele, Mkeka, Ujamaa, and Vibunzi, is that even though they rolled all the many cultures of Africa into one catchall holiday, X still just stands for Xylophone:

Page X from 'K is for Kwanzaa' by Juwanda FordStay strong, brother! You will never be unseated!

* To follow up his previous random selection, Fran Manushkin's Starlight and Candles: The Joys of the Sabbath.

07 January 2009

A conversation between M- & D-: Let's not get carried away

The following is a conversation that took place recently when my 1-year-old daughter M- met my 4-year-old son D- in our kitchen while holding a sock monkey (made by my sister) in one hand and D-'s much-loved Corduroy bear in the other.

M- (proudly holding out both animals to D-): I have a bear!

D- (in a well-practiced patronizing voice, somehow even higher than usual): Yeeeaaahhh, I let you hold Corduroy for awhile.

M-: He has pants!!

D-: ...Yeah, Corduroy does. The monkey doesn't, though, because he's just a monkey, and that would be silly.

For more childish nonsense, check out the other D- conversations and M- conversations, as well as a select few J- conversations.

05 January 2009

Let's call this an adverb-filled do-over

I've had a taste of life not posting religiously, and I must admit I liked it.

But that doesn't mean I don't like blogging anymore-- I'm just a lazy, procrastinating shell of a man who can only function within the framework of compulsive habits.

So, not unlike a car --say, my stupid car-- stuck in a little rut of slush and ice, I got complacent and couldn't get back over that hump since the Pinko-Commie calendar insisted I acknowledge its existence in some way.

I briefly thought about not noting the, shall we say, recent collapse of my Previous Posts drop-down menu, but every time I sat down to write, I found myself either blathering about things more boring than usual or writing amusing bits that weren't worthy of being the Last/First Post of the Year.

So instead, I'll sum up: 2008 was a crazy year, but a great one overall, and 2009 will likely be more of the same, though under the guise of more unsettling numerals. Life's like that.

Lastly, though I've never been one for resolutions on an arbitrary timeline, I'm a big fan of arbitrariness in general (I think of it as an homage to my pagan god, Nature), so I'll allow the following statement:

During the next year, I may perhaps be more than gently urging my life into a more stable and at least slightly more conventional form, so I will most definitely be posting somewhat less often as a side effect of that effort.

Not less often than the past week, mind you, but just not five days a week on average, I'm sure. Furthermore, while my newly mobile and freshly independent wife weans herself back into the world (starting with going to work today for the first time in six weeks*), I will likely be back visiting many of your blogs more frequently than I have been recently, though I'm sure I won't be commenting nearly as much as I used to.**

* Where, by the time she's reading this, she'll likely be praying already that they had just cut the leg off and replaced it with a shapely peg, with which she can create the Greatest Legend of All Legends of Scary Teacher Biographies Passed by Fearful Whispers at Recess.

** I'm almost as sad as you are, I'll bet.