29 May 2009

Fun with typos: Hoes are people in your neighborhood

Since I know it's generally lacking, I thought I'd take an opportunity to provide you all with a little local color from out here in the northwest Chicagoland area.

Here's a recent article covering an exciting high-speed chase through a residential area:

Motorist charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding

My favorite snippet appears towards the end:

Two vehicles and two hoes were also damaged in the shooting, but nobody was injured.

I find this absolutely shocking. Not morally, because I'm a realist, but sympathetically. What, hoes don't count as people anymore?! They're just property to be damaged?*

That seems more than a bit cruel, regardless of whether you assume that in the reporter's judgmental haze, he or she is even correct about whether these people were, in fact, hoes.

I say we send an editor in for a followup. How much do you think a newspaper office carries in petty cash these days?

* I know one reporter who would definitely see it that way: Senior Washington Correspondent Pimpbot 5000.

27 May 2009

Developments at our house, Vol. 15

Here are some of the latest developments around here:

1. Since my wife rented Season 1 of Big Love from the library recently, I just have to say here that it should come with some kind of warning label along the lines of the following:

If you have no specific desire to see Bill Paxton's taint, do NOT watch this show. Or, alternatively, choose a trusted friend or family member for Taintwatch duty, provided they have gone through the requisite advance research viewings.

2. I found out that the one time having anatomically correct toy horses (thanks, Schleich!) transcends its usual low-level creepiness is when my 2-year-old daughter M- persistently questions my account of which one is the Daddy horse.

This is probably the only kind of proof that she'd agree is irrefutable, what with her recent promotion in the Penis/No-Penis police force (PNPPD).

3. Speaking of penises, if the Sender Name field of half the e-mails in my spam folder are to be believed, I send myself an awful lot of messages about "male personal enhancement" that I then completely forget having sent.

I'll need to make sure I let Google know to pass each one of these missives straight into my inbox in the future. What's wrong with those eggheads?? This is ME we're talking about! Surely I am above suspicion and can be allowed through my own security detail, right?

4. My daughter has revealed herself as a scientific genius who just might make this family millions of dollars someday... she's invented the world's first Color Magna Doodle!

How much would your kids pay for that, right? Out of pity, and because we're such close friends, I'll share a little hint at the secret formula with you. I'm sure you understand that the exact ratios and procedure have to remain a trade secret at least for the time being, but I can tell you that you will need:

• a Magna Doodle, and
• a bunch of crayons.*

* If pressed, you may substitute permanent markers for crayons in this recipe, but it just won't be quite like Momma used to make.

25 May 2009

Don't you have some Memorializing to do?

That's right, I caught you. Or at least the Americans, anyway.

This isn't some cheap Labor-Day-type holiday, where you can sit on the patio guiltlessly drinking beer and barbecuing every meal from breakfast cereal on up. It's not a day meant for you to take a load off and reflect on how awesome you are-- this is a day to honor important people!*

So you have to guiltfully drink that beer and barbecue those corn flakes, because while it may be one of the very precious few days off you're given as a supposedly lazy American worker, you'd better make damn sure you take at least a few minutes today to remember why even blood-sucking, accountability-dissipating American corporations won't take this day from you:

A lot of people --black, white, poor, rich, straight, gay, Christian, Muslim-- over the years have answered a higher calling, but couldn't make it back here to enjoy days like this after they helped make sure we could all continue to enjoy them.

So maybe, to adapt a tradition, throw an extra piece of cake, bag of chips, or glass of milk on the grill this afternoon for your friends who couldn't make it. They'll be glad you did, and so should you.

* Ooooooooooooooh, burn!

22 May 2009

Better late than early... isn't that a saying?

So the word on the street is, no, I didn't pick a post to appear this morning, so all 20 of you who read blogs on Friday were left hanging. Sorry about that. My only excuse is that I am horribly disorganized.

To make up for your likely paralyzing distress at not getting to be mildly amused by my verbosity this morning/afternoon, I'll throw out this bonus tidbit:

According to my 2-year-old daughter M-, because she bumped her foot on something when I was corralling her away from somewhere she knew she wasn't supposed to be, I am officially "mean", as well as "nasty", because "[I] hurt [her] foot."

Throw in a couple curse words, and she can reuse that tantrum in 12 years or so if she ever runs low on material. Speaking as a blogger, I recognize the value of such an asset, and yet speaking as her father, I'm pretty sure this girl will NEVER run low on material.

20 May 2009

I'll just say I'm not home right now

Do you ever feel kinda stupid answering your phone only to hear a recording respond?* They might as well start every one of those messages with, "Ha-ha! Made you say 'hello'! Idiot."

I guess it's better, though, than having an awkward, forced interaction with a real person (courtesy of a misguided corporation) who just pretends to be a robot 8 hours a day.

But anyway, I think it's pretty logical that my next thought is, "How dare some sleazy company give my phone number to The Robots just to save $7.50 an hour from their marketing department's Wasted Money budget?!"

Haven't they ever seen The Terminator? Or Eagle Eye? They almost killed Shia LaBeouf!! And a bunch of kids and stuff. ...And Megan Fox**... or wait, was that Transformers? Either way, the point holds.

I don't think it's fair that, as a rational person, I now have to fear for my life just because I once expressed an interest in finding out whether GEICO could actually save me any money on my car insurance. (Answer: Not at all. But that's probably just because of how much money they had planned to spend mailing me things for the next 5 years.)

I think World-President Obama and his Pet Congress*** should make a new consumer-friendly corporate-transparency law that requires all companies to publicly declare whether or not they are in league with The Robots whenever they ask for, or plan to take and use, your personal data.

That way, you'll at least have a sense of the number of databases The Robots will have to work from when rampaging through Southern California looking for you and your punk friend on that badass moped. That's gotta be worth some small comfort, right? Better start doing your one-armed pull-ups now, ladies.

* It's an even more one-sided conversation than talking to me when I'm ranting.

** What an appropriately named person.

*** Currently infested with an awful case of the Boehner fleas, characterized by swelling and itchiness, primarily around the anus.

18 May 2009

Classic quotes, Vol. 14

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

J- (after awakening me with a confused snooze-button smack to the face when her alarm, on the other side of the bed, went off at 5am): Oh, I didn't know you were there.

D- (as if he's proposing something fun for me): Dad, you wanna watch a kid movie? It's been a few days since yesterday when we watched Curious George with Momma.

J-'s student (after J- removed her glasses to rub her eyes): Geez, Mrs. --, you're really pretty without your glasses!*

D- (as Spider-Man, while holding a cordless phone to his ear): Dad, you've got to feel my muscle... (remembering the game he was already playing, turning toward the phone) Hold on, Batman.

* Explanation from J-: "This happened in a moment of much-needed relaxation, as I was pretending the children and the rest of the world don't exist, but then they once again interrupted me rudely to prove that they do."

15 May 2009

A conversation with M-: Some call me the Gangster of Nonsense

To continue my court-ordered hours of community service, I'm here today to offer any future parents out there a helpful glimpse into the life that awaits them, this time in the form of the kind of surreal conversations you can expect to have several times a day.

Note: The lines of my 2-year-old daughter M- here can be read with a tone similar to that of Johnny 5 from Short Circuit.

M- (apropos of nothing, heading for a toilet break during breakfast): I like ducks.

Me (not yet awake enough to offer a more dynamic response): Good... They're nice.

M-: I need to wash my handseseses... (looking up from her hands) Gaaannngsterrrr. A "gangster" is a bad-guy. [Thanks, Tintin.]

Me: Yep. (picks a piece of oatmeal from her hair and flicks it into the bathroom garbage)

M- (with panicked outrage): Why did you throw my hair clip into the garbage?!?!?!

Me: ???!!!?!?

In her defense, oatmeal does tend to function as her most effective hairclip, staying in place for days at a time between baths.

Editor's Notes:

• "Not yet awake enough to offer a more dynamic response" should probably be my life's motto, and tattooed somewhere visible on my body.

• Congratulations to my sister Katie, who graduates from the great University of Illinois this weekend, joining my wife in the ranks of America's educators.

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

13 May 2009

A conversation with D-: An honest voice finally pierces my fog

The following is a straightforward conversation that took place between my 5-year-old son D- and me at lunchtime yesterday, and I'm publishing it here only to further cement this latest lesson handed down from above through the vessel of a child who often issues statements like Moses, if only Moses had been obsessed with Cars and roaring like a monster:

D-: Can you get me a drink? Milk, please?

Me: (sets down an already-poured cup of milk with a significantly raised eyebrow)

D-: How did you know what I wanted?

Me: Cause I'm a genius.

D-: What's a genius?

Me: Someone who's really smart... smarter than anyone!

D- (after a beat, lowering his head to look out over glasses he doesn't yet wear, using the most practical-sounding voice a kid-who-still-puts-his-underwear-on-backwards-at-least-2-days-a-week can muster): You're not a genius, Dad.

So it was spoken, and so I must accept.

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

Editor's Note: Bonus points to whoever can name this movie reference-- "Why would [he] make the point of saying [I'm] not a genius??"

11 May 2009

A robotic family portrait

Since I know that pictures have been few and far between for a long while, I thought I'd share with you all this intimate family portrait, with members represented according to my 2-year-old daughter M-'s remarkably consistent series of dramatic scenarios over the past several weeks:

A family portrait, as rendered in toys by my daughterSpoiling his long-held secret identity, I'll admit that the fellow on your left up there is my dad, whom the kids call Dado (DAH-doh) in the Irish custom. On the right, in an uncanny representation right down to the giant titanium claw hand, is my mom, whom the kids call Grammair, similar to the French title.

Now, the two in the middle are harder to pin down. The lady on the left was originally employed as my 5-year-old son D-, with the smallest (grown male) figure representing M- herself, but, I believe over D-'s one-time objection, at a certain point she began identifying herself instead as the (bipedal, clothed rat-) woman, with D- then played by that man a fraction of "M-'s" size.

I'm thinking that the size/power upgrade was a big reason why she didn't mind abruptly changing the conventions of her personal game to suit the whims of her bystander brother, who's as prone to ranting power-trips these days as she has always been to squeezing someone's face with her fingernails until they stop saying whatever it is she objects to, such as, "what [she] should do."

To explain the likely disappointing, for you, lack of my wife and I in this portrait, I get the sense M- herself is the Momma in her games, and I imagine I'm not usually given any inanimate representation because I represent myself so well in that state throughout her waking hours. I am omnipresent and omnisomnolent.*

But it's our (virtual) loss, I assure you. Because oh, what fun this crew has, day in, day out... almost as much fun as my wife J- had before she was formally introduced, trying to figure out one night after bedtime what in the world M- was talking about when she was crying for her to "go find M- and D-... I want you to bring me M- and D-!"

The answer J- would have given, had she been up to speed on the fast-changing world of Imagination Games that is our afternoons around here, is that M- and D- were not available that night because they were still unconscious inside a shoe under the coffee table after Dado shot them in the face with a giant web-missile while attempting to pass the sugar cubes at teatime.

You know, the usual disfunctional family hijinks. Plus robots.

* Don't feel bad if you don't recognize that word, because I'm pretty sure I just built it right this moment, and I love it.

08 May 2009

Awkward moments, Vol. 1

As an antidote to all those ubiquitous Precious Moments things, here are a few of the most Awkward Moments my children have seen fit to drag me into, just in the past week and a half.

Please note that while I include the word "loudly" in all three entries, I'm sure you know I had no need to mention it even once.

1. While enduring an excessively long checkout process at the store, my 2-year-old daughter M- loudly pointed out that supermodel Giselle Bunchen, posing effectively in the nude on the cover of this month's Vanity Fair, had no shirt on, before speculating that "the lady [was] going to take a shower, probably," and then following up in graphic detail with all the steps she would be taking next.

2. Walking by a woman carrying her child with a beautiful (and probably very expensive) head of cornrows, M- and her 5-year-old brother D- said hi, each referring to the child as a different sex (due to this apparently unfamiliar hairstyle and ambiguous clothing colors), and then they began loudly debating whether it was a boy or a girl, including the heretofore uncharted territory of a "boy-girl".*

3. Just days before the normally large Immigration Rally here in Chicago, and in the midst of all this swine flu nonsense, a Hispanic busboy** began clearing our table while we were gathering up our supplies to leave a local pizza pub, and the kids coincidentally decided to start very loudly chanting the refrain from one of their recent favorite books (Gotta Go by Sam Swope): "Gotta go to Mexico!!"

Luckily for us, neither of them were frowning or pointing at the time they issued this grammatically ambiguous statement/command.

* For the record, I had been 99% sure it was a girl until I heard these two arguing. I don't feel too badly about this uncertainty, given the number of times D- was misidentified as a girl in his first 2 years of life, and the handful of times M- was as a boy, but if anyone ever thought either was a boy-girl/girl-boy, they had the decency to keep it to themselves.

** Seems a demeaning job title, considering that the guy is at least 40. But "Busman" just sounds like a really, really low-budget superhero. Like Batman if he wasn't a billionaire. Guy's gotta get around
somehow, right?

06 May 2009

No, Babe won't give you herpes

Consider this post an early Mother's Day present for my mom, who for the past two weeks has been ranting about how inane the swine flu hysteria is almost as fiercely as I do about random things like the suddenly high percentage of crossword puzzle clues relating to rap/hip-hop in the Tribune lately.*

I've endured this "swine flu" nonsense for about as long as I can take, and while I usually steadfastly ignore fads that try to compel me to acknowledge them with at least outrage or satire, I just couldn't resist after reading this article:

Flu fears alter life at U.S. universities

No, the take-home lesson of this article is NOT how easily life can be drastically thrown off its axis by overhyped paranoia spread by 24-hour news outlets,** but rather how little a college degree is apparently worth in America today.

To celebrate the latest inductees into the elite club that is the enormous percentage of our extremely populous country that has graduated from college, the wizened elders of the prestigious Northeastern University scrambled to make sure there were sufficient quantities of anti-bacterial lotion on hand at the graduation ceremony Friday to combat the (excruciatingly inefficient, it seems) killer virus that has so many people helpfully pitching their pork chops into the trash heap these days.***

Neighbor dogs have never eaten so well! And they won't again until the killer bacteria, perfected by the hyperactive evolution chamber that is our modern "anti-bacterial" society, finally emerges to leave us all as main courses in the Gutter Buffet our dogs will treasure until the germ can tweak itself enough to take them out, too.

Happy Wednesday!!

* I pick an example like this just because I don't want to dare imply that she's even flirted with the intensity of my rants about the few things that matter more than my weekly State Of The Crossword speech.

** So far, this new strain of known flus has proven to be equally as infectious as every other common flu virus, and, by my observation, dramatically less lethal. So if you haven't died from a flu in the past, even if a few viruses manage to perform the near-impossible feat of getting past your force field of Purell, you probably won't die this time, either.

If you HAVE died from a flu in the past, well, let me apologize for my smarmy tone, and also for the overly chewy texture of my precious, delicious BRAAAAAAIIIINSSSSS!!!

*** Just to re-state for the record, and not because I have any particular love for the pork industry, eating pork can NOT give you any kind of swine flu. If you're worried about eating the flesh of an infected animal, your biggest concern should be nothing more than whether that pig's final coughing fits toughened up the meat too much and made it slightly less delicious than that of its blissfully immobile and fatty compatriots.

04 May 2009

Made with 100% of your RDA of cotton fiber

After he relapsed into the unfortunate habit of chewing on his shirt while he was lying in bed one night, I asked my 5-year-old son D- when I noticed it the next morning why he had chosen to nearly disintegrate most of the front of his jammie shirt.

He responded that he was just so hungry he couldn't help himself, trying to guilt me for rebuffing his attempts to stall bedtime just a little longer the previous night by declaring he was suddenly starving.

I told him it was an interesting theory to say the least, seeing as he had barely touched his cornflakes at breakfast. Being the logical wunderkind he is, he reasoned that he was "so full from eating [his] shirt all night, [he] just [didn't] have any room left."

I hereby swear, on all that is good and holy, that both this kid and I will somehow manage to survive the next 15 years without killing each other. After that, it's up for grabs.