30 April 2009

A conversation between M- & J-: We're not talking to him anymore

Head on over to Hot Dads to read my latest post there, a little conversation between my wife J- and 2-year-old daughter M-.

Maybe now I'll finally get some of that hate mail I've always wanted!

29 April 2009

Important Question: The greatest ridiculous song lyric?

It's time once again for me to turn the microphone over to you, the reader, to help me address a little quandary that has recently locked up dangerously significant portions of my brain space.

Which of the following can fairly be declared the greatest line in the history of love songs?

Bruce Springsteen in Thunder Road: "You ain't a beauty but hey, you're alright."


Justin Timberlake in Like I Love You: "Here baby, hold my jacket."

Cast your vote below!

If by some chance, you think you can possibly beat these two contenders, feel free to let me know, and I'll take your candidate under consideration.

27 April 2009

Classic quotes, Vol. 13

Here are the latest quotes from my 5-year-old son D-, 2-year-old daughter M-, my wife J-, and me:

Me (to J-, once again dangerously undervaluing my hilarious genius): You being in a bad mood doesn't make me a jerk, it just makes me funny without being appreciated.

D- (as we walked past a church): Hey look! A window like a "t"!

M- (pleading with her brother after I explained to him that getting run over by a car would be lethal): And you would get a BWOOZE!!

D- (while building Duplos at the library): Dad, look! It's a dragon... with guns on him!

M- (repeating a gem of J-'s after seeing me in shorts on a mild day): You gonna freeze your bummy off.

D- (trying to start an unknown chant without the ability to spell): B! Y! B-M-J! B! Y! B-M-J!

24 April 2009

A conversation between M- & D-: Tra-la-la-LA-la-laaa

In my kids' continuing efforts to make me look bad for ever yelling at them for anything, they put on the following performance first thing in the morning the other day:

M-: What d'you wanna play with me?

D-: I dunno, what do you want to play with me?

M-: Ummmmm...

D-: How about Duplos?

M-: Yeah, yeah! Duplos! That'd be fun.

D-: Okay, let's go play Duplos together.

M-: Okay!!

To drive the point home, they then walked off holding hands.

You may also enjoy my previous (5 YO son) D- conversations, (2YO daughter) M- conversations, and (wife) J- conversations.

22 April 2009

Developments at our house, Vol. 14

Here are some of the latest developments around these parts:

1. According to a repeated bulletin my 2-year-old daughter M- broadcast through the car recently, if I liked it, then I should have put a ring on it. Oh-oh-ohhh, oh-oh-oh. Oh-oh-ohhh, oh-oh-oh.

I liked it better when she just sat back there spontaneously singing, "Far away, far away," over and over again.

2. I found a piece of note paper on the floor of the library with the word FART written on it in giant block letters, carefully filled in over the course of what must have been several very industrious minutes. I wonder what it means that I just might have found this more amusing than its presumably prepubescent author intended. You gotta admire dedication to a bit.

3. According to Google Analytics, Ft. Worth, Texas was the first city willing to send one of its favorite sons to my "robot ladies" post, after he accurately invoked the password, "i want to screw a robot".

4. When the lady at the library was checking out my (free!) movies the other day, she saw I was getting Hot Fuzz and enthusiastically told me that it was "a really funny movie". She then preceded to scan my other selection, Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay, and ominously passed on the chance to continue our conversation.

5. I'd like to note that this is yet another list post that does not have 5 or 10 items in it. That's progress, my friends.

19 April 2009

An Easter feast: A story in pictures. And some words.

In honor of Orthodox Easter, my observation of which is in no way merely a thinly veiled excuse to post an Easter-related idea I procrastinated on drafting, here is my commentary on a few noteworthy grocery store items offered in that week's circulars:
Mmmmm... thank God March didn't go out like a lion, cause we'd have a hell of a time find one of those to eat.What better way to celebrate the emergence of vibrant new life than to slaughter and devour an iconic example of it? Count me in!

But maybe a more tasteful, civilized celebration would be to merely pretend to do it:*
Let's just PRETEND to eat a sweet, innocent little lamb!I wonder why they don't offer red velvet cake? Either way, I call half the head!

Well, I'm not going to eat the WHOLE head-- I'm not a pig. Mmmm... pig-shaped cake...

Do we have a holiday where we eat ceremonial pigs? I mean, outside of Hawaii? Or do the rest of us need to get that started "in the interests of cultural diversity and understanding and stuff"?

I bet you a pig cake would taste mighty good made with some of this:
Brownulated sugar... yes, it's a real thing.Sure this was some kind of inside joke of either printers or grocers, I ran to the Internet for verification, only to be disappointed (I think) with the fact that this is a real thing.

"Brownulated sugar" sounds like the kind of nonsense that would spill from my mouth while desperate to win some kind of food-related argument.**

For the record: Brown sugar=Delicious. Brownulated sugar=I fake spontaneous diabetes until I'm clear of any sugar that sounds like someone may have defecated in it.

Happy Orthodox Easter, an impossibly small fraction of my readership!***

Editor's Note: I'm no firebrand vegan or anything near it, in fact I probably lustily enjoy at least 280% of my daily recommended intake of meat and meat products. I just find things like this really amusing.

* While eating some mutton instead? That would at least fit with the symbolism.

** It also calls to mind the classic Simpsons line regarding cafeteria gravy (proudly spoken), "It's just brown and water!"

*** Assuming no one in my neighborhood has started quietly reading my blog.

17 April 2009

Orangutan Lohan flees to Indonesia

In the latest monkey/ape news, scientists just discovered a large, healthy population of orangutans in Indonesia, on the slope of a mountain where it's too unprofitable to try to extract the valuable timber. For now.

New orangutan population found in Indonesia

But what's most interesting to me is this bit:

The team also encountered an adult male, which angrily threw branches as they tried to take photos.

Apart from the fact that the author should have used "who" instead of "which", in my opinion, my second thought is that it's quite possible that this "unknown population" is actually some kind of rehab resort for celebrity orangutans.

The Lindsay Lohans and Britney Spearses of the lower-primate world retreat to this secret colony whenever their life of privilege and nigh-unlimited options gets to be too much for them.

Angry Orangutan flipping the birdsAnd how else should they deal with intruding photographers? Is an orangutan really any better than Sean Penn? I mean, in terms of this kind of thing, not emotional range or personal hygiene.

Maybe some of these specimens are better than any orangutan ever at throwing feces for distance or accuracy, or maybe they have the most impressive and sexually irresistible creepy face pouches.

Photo of orangutan courtesy of metro.co.ukI think the only course of action is clear, regardless of the relative fame or social status of this elite group of primates-- we must document every single second of their lives, no matter how mundane or disturbing, and no matter the effect on their sanity.

Now who's got a durable camera and a good, feces-resistant raincoat? I've got some quick cash to make!

15 April 2009

Service with a smile

Here's another teaser for my latest post over at Hot Dads, where I'm an ashamedly infrequent contributor.

While you're over there, be sure to check out some of the other contributors' (including a few LiteralDan readers) posts-- you'll be glad you did.

For my American readers, shouldn't you be filing your taxes right now instead of reading blogs? Or shouldn't you at least be in a panic, quadruple-checking that you already did so?

12 April 2009

Mano a womano, eggo a eggo

I should have learned after all these years not to enter into any kind of atypical, nonathletic competition with my wife, but I think by this point it's clear that nature just won't allow me to pass up the chance.

Of course, among the most imposing barriers to my abstaining from such competitions is the fact that I often don't know I'm in one until it's over.

Take, for example, our evening of egg-dyeing yesterday. Possibly because she knows me too well, the moment my first egg touched the dye, my wife excused herself from the room with an egg she'd already dyed earlier.

After quite a few curious moments during which I had to explain to both the kids, repeatedly, why they could not drink the delicious-looking colored liquids from the whimsical bunny mugs (D- eventually retreated to just loudly announcing how thirsty he was every two minutes), and only after the kids had used up all 18 of the eggs, J- returned to check on my finished product, which had the surprise* message, "DADDY RULES!" written in wax across its face.

She offered some patronizing encouragement before dropping this bomb on me:
Everybody stick 'em up, and keep 'em up, so things don't have to get runnySure, you're probably thinking, his right hand is upside down, and he's somehow managing to harness magical egg powers to hold a beer stein with his wrist**, but you have to admit, this is pretty much like bringing a gun --and not a quaint foam scrapbooking one-- to a rock-paper-scissors match.

Here's the side-by-side comparison:

This race must be handicapped due to an unfair and possibly illegal advantage not unlike egg steroidsTell me which YOU think is better, keeping in mind that I, myself, am better, and that if you don't pick me, considering all the mitigating factors I've revealed above, I just may epically pout and stop posting my ridiculously overwrought anecdotes here forever.***

(A bonus mitigating factor: in case you've never tried, I assure you it is very difficult to write on an egg with a generic orange crayon not expressly made for that purpose.)

Lastly, please do note that one of the contenders is clearly labeled as the unquestioned master of all, humans and ovums.

* The surprise, of course, was not the message itself, but rather that it happened to appear on that particular egg.

** J- would no doubt whine that it's not her fault the Chinese Scrapbook Sweatshop managers found it irresistibly cheaper to sell twice as many left hands and feet in a package while cutting production of rights altogether.

*** And if all you ladies stab me in the back on this vote out of some kind of twisted "ho's before bro's"**** nonsense, I'll instead resort to posting only about sports and painful jock itch. Or better yet, everything you never wanted to know about me, me, me, like a bad first date, three times a week. You want that on your conscience? Or in your feed reader?

**** I feel honor-bound to point out, for those who were taken aback, that those apostrophes above were included to replace the many missing letters# in the words, not out of disgraceful confusion over possessives versus plurals. Who thinks of impossibly rigid grammatical rules when creating the music of the streets? Not enough people, I think.

# Yes, I'm aware that this then means there should be an apostrophe before "ho's", but it just seemed a bit much. Much like this beast of a footnotes section.

10 April 2009

Nothing funny right now

Well, I sat down to post one of the ideas I've had floating around in my head, but to get into the spirit of things, I decided to first check on a few blogs, since I've been offline a lot recently, and I happened upon a devastating bit of news.

If you read a lot of blogs, you've probably already heard the news, but Madeline, the 17-month-old daughter of (wonderful) bloggers Mike and Heather Spohr, passed away suddenly on Tuesday after coming down with a cough over the weekend.

This reminder of the incredible fragility and fleeting nature of life is pretty much all I can think about right now, so I suppose the only useful thing I can do is point you to Heather's site, formerly The Spohrs Are Multiplying, now Remembering Maddie, where you can share your condolences with these kind, funny, loving people.

Also, if you have even an inkling to do so, I urge you to contribute to The March of Dimes on behalf of Madeline, as requested by Mike and Heather in lieu of flowers.

08 April 2009

Corporate intelligence, Vol. 8

Once again, I'm here to demonstrate the importance of saying exactly what you mean, and nothing more. Just as I am the noble hero of literalism, picking apart your statements at will to reveal the messages you didn't know you were sending, there is a dark side to this power, and those who practice it do not show mercy even to fat, lazy, spoiled, Depressed nations.

My example this time comes from our hard-working United States Congress, doing its best as always to provide a steady, paternalistic hand guiding the feisty sled dogs of capitalism, while those dogs do their best to distract that hand with giant sacks of cash.

Paper industry starts using oil to get billions in alternative-fuel credits

Before you decide this sounds boring, let me sum it up for you, to innocently feed your disbelief and rage while you're trying to decide how you're going to make it through these next few years with both the shirt on your back and an absence of Chinese capitalist Communists laughing while they repossess Mt. Rushmore:

A few years ago, Congress passed a law meant to promote decreased use of fossil fuels. The language of this bill was so poorly chosen that at this most ideal of times, we all are now on the hook for many billions of dollars in unplanned-for expenses paying crafty companies to start mixing diesel fuel in with the renewable fuel they've traditionally created from their industrial waste.

So we have a single bright spot in a generally toxic industrial process, the usage of a waste product as fuel in place of more damaging alternatives, and these giant companies, hemorrhaging money for too long, snuff it out with a shower of diesel fuel injected into the process to qualify them as "mixing a taxable fuel with an alternative fuel."

The result for us, the taxpayers? International Paper, for example, will get "probably close to a billion a year of cash" from the IRS encouraging them to "keep mixing alternative fuels with the diesel fuel", and the manageable $61 million projected by Congress for extending this right-minded credit three months could instead "cost as much as $2 billion." The likely total payout to the top ten paper companies alone for this year is $8 billion.*

"The money to be gained from exploiting the tax credit so dwarfs the money to be made in making paper ... [that] the ultimate result of the credit will likely be to push paper prices down as mills churn at full capacity in order to grab as much money from the IRS as it can."

So at least you can get a few reams of paper way cheaper than before, for drafting all those letters to your Congresspeople. Just call me Mr. Sunshine-- I'll always find the bright side even if I have to make it myself! Maybe they can use all the extra paper to print up some more currency-- doesn't that always fix things whenever money is tight?

Remember this heartwarming story of poor word choice** as you hunker down with your industrious neighbors to help patch this sinking ship, making daily sacrifices just to get by, gladly exchanging a pay cut for a non-binding implied desire not to fire you in the immediate future.

At least SOMEONE'S making some money, right?*** That's gotta trickle down somehow... or do I need to go buy the latest edition of this classic 1983 economics textbook?

* $8 billion! Before all these corporate bailouts and emergency loans, that used to be an awful lot of money.

** I say "poor word choice" only assuming no Senators from paper-producing states were involved in writing this bill.

** For my readers abroad, rest assured that, as you can see, even the economic elite of America are determined to help dig a way out of the hole we've dug you all, by any means necessary.

06 April 2009

Proof I really have children

Since it was pointed out recently that, as a supposed parent blogger, I should make sure to at least occasionally include pictures of the kids, I figured I would take the opportunity to come at this Monday like the office drone I used to be: by spacing out and phoning it in.

So here, to help you exercise your cuteness-detecting glands, is a quick sampling of what my kids look like right now, at (freshly) 5 and 2:

Looks like I'm interruptingApparently I broke up some kind of high-powered meeting of executives in the business of making mischief in the house. The one on the right looks offended, but the one on the left looks like he's about to break out some faux-pirate violence.

Barely able to keep it together till the flashMy son D- is still at an age where he loves hugging and kissing his sister, though not always on her exact schedule. Also, he hasn't yet learned that he should have told her NOT to stand still for a second while Daddy gets a picture.

WLUW Chicago t-shirtM- with her hair in her face, where it usually is, on a day when she was kind enough to stop making noise for five seconds to let me document how big she's gotten, and what she looks like on a day when Daddy was in too big a hurry to get her dressed.

03 April 2009

Classic quotes, Vol. 12

Here are the latest quotes from my 5-year-old son D- and 2-year-old daughter M-:

M- (responding to my protest at her using her forehead to block another girl from playing in a little firehouse at the library): But I told her it's 'Un-a-BAIL-able'!

D- (after drinking generic Sprite for a day or so while sick, having had his eyes opened to a previously unexplored kingdom of sinful deliciousness): Now that I'm used to this drink, I want it for Every. Day.

M- (announcing when she can use a pen): I can have one when I'm bigger... and old.

D- (whispering to my mom after she put him to bed while babysitting the kids): Can you stay till Momma and Daddy get home?

M- (in an appropriate situation, though I'm not sure where she heard it): Holy Moses!

01 April 2009

I am the hero I've been waiting for

Though he may be a whole 5 years old now, my son D- is more importantly a man in training, and following that storied tradition, he constantly asserts his superiority in every way over almost everything he looks at, hears of, or thinks of, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

So I walk a fine line every time I'm challenged on strength, speed, intelligence, agility, or proficiency in many of the world's most inane activities.

I don't think it's healthy to completely disillusion and demoralize him, but I think it's equally unhealthy for me to set him up for any harder of a fall than he's already due when released into the wilds of full-time school next year.

I mean, a kid needs all the confidence, whether completely off base or not, that he can get in this world. So if he starts out thinking HE'S the strongest man in the world, instead of me, then that just gives him a leg up over all the other boys, right?

Here's a conversation snippet, issued out of the blue while walking through the library, from the kid who's told me (verbatim) more than once, "I know Everything. Not everything-everything, but I know Everything," just minutes before and after asking me entries in that day's long list of questions about how the world works at the most fundamental of levels:

D-: I'm even stronger than you.

Me: Yeah?

D-: I'm so strong, that if there was a robot, up in space, and I was up in space? One punch, and he'd be dead. If I punched a big robot one time, he'd be dead.

...I'm thinking that "leg up" just may land him upside down in a cafeteria garbage can one day. Maybe I should grab his ankles and wrists with one hand and hoist him helplessly into the air like a safari prize more often while I still can.

We all know this world is nothing if not humbling, and I've always found a steady diet much easier to take than the sudden compulsory feast days that are one's only alternative. So I suppose I'll have to take it upon myself to begin a campaign of careful destruction and reconstruction of his ego, via the most fun, ridiculously lopsided competitions I can think of.

And once he turns 10? Then, my friend, we move on to a crash course in Trash Talk 101 delivered by the one true master greater than Shakespeare, Da Vinci, Jordan, and your mom combined.*

* I mean me.