28 December 2010

The ultimate stocking stuffer

Look what I found in my stocking this year:Contents: 1 baby, batteries not included
A two-day-old baby? It's another Festivus miracle!

Editor's Note: He's very tiny.

Alright, fine, I can provide more information... we'll call him E-; he was born 6lbs, 5oz, and 19in long. Here we go again!

22 December 2010

A conversation with D- and M-: Santa awards half points for honesty

This is a conversation my wife recently had with my 3-year-old daughter M- and 6-year-old son D-. M- only touched on the tip of the iceberg, and D- is learning the benefits of spin in public relations:

D- (sweet as sugar and twice as pure): Mom, how many more days until Christmas?

J- (as innocently as he wishes he was): Why?

D-: 'Cause then we get presents!

J-: Oh, yeah, right. Well, 19 days, bud.

M- (helpfully chiming in): D-, we'd better start being good, 'cause I really want presents!

D- (nodding): We have been good...

M- (shaking her head in disbelief): No, no, we haven't!! Remember I drew on you with a marker today??!

I wish you all the best of luck in restraining your own baser natures just long enough to trick Santa into giving you everything you want, but little that you need!

You may enjoy my previous M- conversations, D- conversations, and J- conversations.

04 December 2010

Things that amuse me, Vol. 6

Given the amount of time that passes between posts, and the relative shallowness of those posts over the past year or more, you'd think I'd have more items for this list, but let's pretend I've spent weeks culling these priceless gems from a much more expansive list of nearly-as-high-quality material:

1.While trying to work my legs through some soreness one day, I tried to remember what over-the-top physical activity I'd engaged in the previous day that would have caused such a hearty ache, and then I remembered the sudden, severe, prolonged, multi-muscle leg cramps that assaulted me while sitting too long at the computer armed only with salty snacks and an empty water glass.*

2. Halloween is the opening "fuck you" from the universe to people really seriously beginning to think again about maybe starting to build mildly more healthy habits during the last quarter of the year.

3. You'd think that time served in pregnancy would enlighten women as to the daily struggles of men with freakishly large pot bellies, who aren't blessed with the comforting knowledge that without any planning or effort on their part, that belly will quickly and easily evacuate itself in under a year. Who ties their shoes, gives up seats, or just smiles warmly as they reach for a second family-sized ice cream sundae "for the baby"?

4. Not unlike heroin on a street corner, bacon and cinnamon roll samples at Costco sell themselves.

5. For good reason, people who know what they're doing when remodeling houses make firm plans and schedules (and order all materials) in advance of beginning the project. Actually, this isn't so much an "Amusing Thing" as a "Deep, Deep Regret and Bit of Hard-Earned Understanding".

* Technically, cramps exceeding 10 seconds count as physical activity.

30 November 2010

Amusing searches, Vol. 12

Here are more of the most amusing searches that brought people here recently, this time all dealing with parenting concerns.

(All search strings are reprinted exactly as they were entered, and the search text links to the post at which the visitor arrived.)

10 yr old daughter likes to be naked (Toledo, OH) - You're in for a long couple of years, my friend. Good luck.

I keep losing my patience with my 3 year old (Milton, Ontario) - That's because they're infuriating little bastards, just like you were when you were three. It's a charming part of our core to which we all return whenever we're feeling cranky, even in our golden years. You'll have your revenge!

baby onesies that say my daddy is an obsessive bastard (Bradford, PA) - Hey... that hurts.

help for the stay at home dad with the ungrateful wife (Palm Desert, CA) - I only wish I had some way of helping you, sir, but I've never been able to solve this particular problem for myself. Don't worry, though (face held dramatically in hand) I'll get along, somehow...

I am at home and not busy (Kerava, Finland) - I am quite jealous and borderline homicidal.

personal hygiene for kids (New Delhi, India) - I think it says it all that when you searched this term, it took you to a post about orangutans.

18 November 2010

A conversation with M-: The little things matter most

The following is a conversation I had with my 3-year-old daughter M- recently, while passing the time before preschool by reading her feather on the class turkey of things for which the kids are thankful.

Me: You're thankful for lollipops?? That's what you're most thankful for?

M-: Yes!

Me: Not your family, or something?

M-: I'm thankful for lollipops AND my family!

Me: In that order?

M-: Yes!

(Note that all of her lines purposefully end in exclamation points... that's just the way she talks.)*

In case I don't see you all before next week, happy Thanksgiving!

* Except for when she's bossing people around in a quiet, threatening way, instead of her usual loud, outraged way.

You may enjoy my previous M- conversations, (6YO son) D- conversations, and (wife) J- conversations.

03 November 2010

Things that amuse me, Vol. 5

Here are some more of the things that have been amusing or intriguing me lately:

1. You can never fully understand how unbelievably irritating a person you are until you get the chance to closely observe your clonelike child at the peak of his/her powers.

2. I think Siemens should really rethink the tagline they used in a radio commercial: The men work for Siemens. (Note: This is actually general advice for any company whose name sounds like "semen".) Maybe this adjustment in compensation substance is how they're weathering the ongoing economic crisis?

3. Either my son's really going to get extra credit for bringing to school a bag of candy for the class reward jar, or the world's greatest 6-year-old criminal mastermind just pulled off another flawless heist.

(No matter what, he's going to enjoy his bus ride home.)

4. Yahoo has an ad encouraging me to store my contacts' birthdays along with their e-mail addresses, so I can get a reminder when the date approaches. The ad features a woman with her face hidden (in shame?) behind a balloon, along with the headline, "You remembered!"

That's right, kids! Now you, too, can deceive your friends into believing they matter more to you than they really do, just like celebrities with personal assistants have been doing for years!

5. While talking up my productivity (both in my work from home and my work around the house) to my wife one day, I noted that I'd already showered before 3pm. My 3-year-old daughter's immediate response --delivered in much the same way she would ask if she could go SEE Santa now that he landed in the yard and had been pleading for her to take a ride in his sleigh-- was to ask, "Can I SMELL you??!?"

Mayhaps I need to get on a more professional schedule even while working from home.

31 October 2010

One-item lists, Vol. 2

Things not to say to your pregnant mother
1. D- (in response to J-'s comment that a ground squirrel looked especially fat): "Probably, it's the mom."

Things that are only slightly more fun than a spontaneous, unsedated colonscopy
1. Talking politics with old men from the country during a recession.

Unsolvable mysteries of the universe
1. My wife couldn't care less that I finally acquired some Bacon Salt to sample... This is a woman who would gladly wrap each piece of her breakfast cereal in bacon if only it wasn't so time-consuming.

Things that seem like they must be made up, but are not
1. The head of the Skoll Urgent Threats Fund, formerly head of Google's philanthropic arm, is named Dr. Brilliant. Dr. Larry Brilliant. It just seems like he's showing off every time he signs his name. Can you imagine how ecstatic his dad and mom must be? They would be, respectively, Captain and Professor Brilliant, Lord and Lady of Nerdlingshire.

Things that are ruined by rescheduling for the convenience of adults
1. Halloween. Free the 'Ween, suburbia! I hope you're having a great one today, and that you'll get out there and get you some candy (with hired orphans, if you haven't yet made your own candy-bait organ grinder monkeys) regardless of what your town or church might have declared about when or where you should be pounding on your neighbors' doors, demanding candy in exchange for their peace and security.

29 October 2010

Things my wife hates

The following is just a small sampling, put into list form, of the things my wife hates, as plucked from a recent conversation while pregnant AND sick with a stomach flu.

1. Stupid children acting like stupider children.*

2. Feeling sick just thinking about food.

3. Feeling hungry all the time anyway.

4. Stupid teachers acting like the stupidest children.

5. Pooping at work.

* Ranting about our tender, young, innocent children? No, not this time. She teaches junior high in a special ed school for kids with behavioral problems. The kids who get kicked out of literally everywhere else they could go, end up on her doorstep.**

** A barbed doorstep made 18" thick of solid, pure, American-made Tough Love.

08 October 2010

A conversation with M-: Your ultimate sacrifice is greatly appreciated

This is a conversation I just had with my 3-year-old daughter M-, who was eagerly awaiting one her favorite lunches-- ham roll-ups.

(For those who want the secret recipe: Take some slices of lunch meat, and roll them up. Serve with whatever other random convenient things you can get a 3-year-old excited about.)

M- (still basking in the affirmation that it would indeed be honey ham): What's this ham made from again? Pigs??

Me: Yep, "ham" means a kind of pig meat.

M- (ridiculously happy, and very sincere): If I see pigs? I'm gonna say, "THANK YOU, pigs!" Because pigs make the MOST delicious food in the WORLD! With their bodies.

To top it off, having recently watched Babe and calmly taken to heart Babe's least-favorite aspect of the movie, she suddenly continued a few moments later, still glowing in anticipation of lunch.

M-: Yeah, that's why they all go on the trucks. ... To go to the factory, where they..... make the ham.

She then proceeded to devour a plateful of them.

You may enjoy my previous M- conversations, (6YO son) D- conversations, and (wife) J- conversations.

29 September 2010

Amusing searches, Vol. 11

Here are more of the most amusing searches that have brought people here, offering me yet another opportunity to employ my superpowers of Mockery and Sarcasm.

(All search strings are reprinted exactly as they were entered, and the search text links to the post at which the visitor arrived.)

escort woman says "you look handsome" (Cumberland, RI) - Escort woman then says, "I have to charge you extra for compliments." Sorry, champ.

reasons a 3 year old might not talk (Cambridge, OH) - Well, to make light of your understandably vexing problem, now that I'm on my second 3-year-old, I gotta say I haven't come upon a single reliable reason so far. Even unconsciousness.

Still hoping one will come along, though, for at least a few minutes at a time.

homosexual sons of stay at home fathers (Plymouth, MA) - You do know I was kidding, right?

pinworm potty (Kuching, Malaysia) - Boy, that really makes me just wanna hold it forever.

things that I don't like doing (Mumbai, India) - I came up in this search of yours??   .....frowny face.

what is the worst smelling diaper (Knoxville, IL) - That's kind of a philosophical question, so I'll give you a philosophical answer: the one you're changing right now. (Closely followed by that one you changed a couple days ago, wherever it may now be rotting.)

22 September 2010

When Google Translator joins the dark side...

From within the surging stream of spam comments flowing across this blog every day, I've landed a couple gems that I have to at least admire for entertaining me a bit before I tossed them back.

The real miracle about this first web of incorrectly selected synonyms is that it's eventually understandable at all:

Record Taskmaster in a enter office told to a woman,”You possess to take another stamp on this correspondence literature as it is too heavy.

The woman replied, “How would an extra character get it lighter.”

Your reward for parsing through all this is to arrive at a mild but satisfied chuckle, along with the opportunity to award the high praise of, "Oh, heh, I get it."

But that one's got nothing on this completely inexplicable paraphrasing of a Pink Panther scene my parents have always loved:

(This is guaranteed laughs in the Chinese classroom. It was originally a bit in a Pink Panther movie).

A servant walks into a department store and sees a beautiful itty-bitty dog. He asks the shopkeeper, "Does your dog bite?"
The shopkeeper says, "No, my dog does not bite."
The man tries to darling the dog and the dog bites him.
"Ouch!" He says, "I thought you said your dog does not snack!"
The shopkeeper replies, "That is not my dog!"

Submitted by Rick Bell

I'm intrigued by this spammer's acknowledging his/her national origin, impressed by his/her including an attribution for the joke, and just confused by the last line.

I have to say, bizarre spam comments like these are at least a breath of fresh air compared to the good old-fashioned densely packed page o' links, the strings of nonsensical symbols standing in for characters in various Asian fonts I don't have installed, and generic false praise leading to dating site pitches.

The ones that really have me suspicious are the ones that don't seem to include any links at all, or possibly just a link to my own blog, which only say something like, "Wow your this interesting article post keep it up I'm very informed from this topic it help me a lot on my college university paper project."

I was very tempted to let these two stand, as tribute to the spammers' attempts to offer something different in trade for my letting them use some comment space for free Viagra advertising, but in the end common sense prevailed.

They'll have to console themselves with this special highlight post, which is also guaranteed laughs in the Chinese classroom.

15 September 2010

A conversation with M-: What good's education if you can't show it off?

The following exchange with my 3-year-old daughter M- came in the midst of a completely unrelated conversation between my wife J- and me in the car the other day:

(J- and I discussing something boring like taxes, or kitchen remodeling)

M (loudly interrupting): BABY gorillas are nice. (ominously) But NOT silverbacks.....

Me: ... Huh? ...M-, did you learn about gorillas in preschool today??

M- (satisfiedly): YESsirrr.

You may enjoy my previous M- conversations, (6YO son) D- conversations, and (wife) J- conversations.

31 August 2010

Amusing searches, Vol. 10

Here are more of the most amusing searches that brought people here recently, with no particular theme this time.

(All search strings are reprinted exactly as they were entered, and the search text links to the post at which the visitor arrived.)

santa peeing on roof (Toronto, Ontario) - That's right, Santa gave up on coal for naughty children years ago. He just wasn't getting through to them like he does now.

why do people act dramatically - I don't really know. But I have a question for you: WHY do you always ask me questions like this??!? Because you hate me?!?? I'm never speaking to you again, in fact I'm never speaking to anyone again, because I'm going up to my room to DIE. Forever!

you're awfully fidgety (Jacksonville, FL) - How can you tell that from there??!? Is your ISP located in Jacksonville, but your mobile device is located INSIDE MY HOUSE?

if my son was born 10/9/08 how old is he (Norristown, PA) - Let me take just a second and a half for you here... 22 months. 22 months.

sexually irresistible (Columbia, MO) - Ah, dammit... you people can find me on the Internet now?! I've gotta get my name changed again...

how people become self conscious (Durban, South Africa) - Well, first you start thinking way too much about yourself and how the world perceives you, then you become immovably obsessed with the fact that, like every single other person in the history of the world, your entire existence is ridiculous and unnecessary in every way.

27 August 2010

Jesus was a carpenter, right?

Something about living out here all on our own, with all the breathing room we can stand and an entire second garage just for tools and such, my carpentry fever has flared up worse than ever. I'm slowly acquiring all the tools of a world-class woodworking shop.

My new motto, whenever my wife mentions wanting to buy something, is, "I could make one for you out of wood."

A chair? A table? A staircase? A dresser? A patio? An ottoman? A kitten? A stepstool? A pillow? Why not?

And yet, even I know my limits.

But perhaps it doesn't seem that way to other people, based on the following conversation about our upcoming kitchen remodel that I had recently with my friend Adam, who gave me the nickname LiteralDan years ago.

Adam: You're gonna buy cabinets?? You know they're crazy expensive, right?

Me: Yeah, I know...

Adam: You, of all people, I'd expect to make your own cabinets. You could totally do it, too.

Me: Well... I've been tempted, but it'd take me forever, to do it right. ...I wanna learn and practice in a lower-profile area.

Adam (uncharacteristically animated, earnest, and encouraging): C'mon, you could do it! You're just enough of a perfectionist that they'd be done right, even if they took a long time, and you'd have them forever. You could always point to them and say, "I made that."

Me (finally catching on): ... You're just trying to talk me into the disaster of making my own kitchen cabinets for your own entertainment, aren't you?

Adam (proudly): Yes, yes I am.

23 August 2010

Classic quotes, Vol. 27

Here are some recent quotes from my 3-year-old daughter M-, 6-year-old son D-, and wife J-:

D- (to me, around 1pm one day, with an awfully judgmental tone for a kid who stayed in his jammies till 5pm just two days earlier): How come it's like... 3 o'clock in the morning and you're still not dressed?

J- (solving the age-old problem of no one wanting to hear about your dreams): I had this weird dream... about lesbian sex.

M- (about as successful as her brother trying to say "sanitizer"): My teacher has snatininizer in our class-- she's got buckets of it.

D- (while playing with M-, in a Motivational Speaker voice): Think teamwork!

J- (sweet-talking me in her usual way, describing some guy who shares my name among other similarities): He's just like you! ...But uglier.

31 July 2010

Amusing searches, Vol. 9

Here are more of the most amusing searches that brought people here recently, ones so odd they don't really need a theme beyond that.

(All search strings are reprinted exactly as they were entered, and the search text links to the post at which the visitor arrived.)

douche storm (Pierrelatte, France) - Since the word "douche" sounds Frenchy (and the concept seems like a French idea, frankly), I'm pretty sure it means the same thing to you as it does to me... in which case I just have to run this search myself to see what comes up. Maybe it's some kind of new kinky French thing? Or else some kind of frat initiation somewhere... say, Southern California?

fatal orgasm (Bedford, UK) - Hey, I thought I invented that! Wow, you learn something new every day... I've now decided the central tenet of my living will. Why merely pull the plug on someone when you could instead pull something else to send them away so much... less clinically?

amelia earhart homosexual (Vancouver, WA) - As has now been clearly established, she could only have been a homosexual if the objects of her affection were carefully woven of magical thread.

pictures of iguana poop (Plymouth, UK) - Sorry, no pictures. Just the facts, ma'am.

why people don't like nervous people (Birmingham, UK) - If I knew that, I wouldn't spend so many nights crying myself to sleep, buddy.

loving things to write in an anniversary card to your parents (Winterville, GA) - Oh, I don't know, how about something like:

Dearest Mother and Father,
Everything I feel about you, I found through a Google search.
Happy Anniversary! ...and stuff...
Somebody else loves their parents very much.

Not That Person

Percentage of students with herpes at Northeastern University (Stow, MA) - Hmmmm... these days? I'm gonna say 60%.

29 July 2010

A conversation with D-: Nitpicking is genetic

The following snippet of a larger conversation with my 6-year-old son D- is twofold evidence that he is undoubtedly my son:

Me (advising him externally and myself internally): ...Whenever something seems like it's going to be hard, you just quit before you even start.

D-: No, I don't! I START things, and when it seems hard, THEN I quit.

You may enjoy my previous D- conversations, (3YO daughter) M- conversations, and (wife) J- conversations.

17 July 2010

Classic quotes, Vol. 26 - M- edition

Here are some recent quotes, this time just from my 3-year-old daughter M-:

M- (in response to helpful advice from her 6-year-old brother D- during a game with dolls): I know-- I'm careful with babies. ...But sometimes I bop them.

M- (shouting at D-, on more than one occasion): I'm NOT going to MARRY you anyMORE!

M- (apropos of nothing, while playing outside): My kids, when I have them, will have to work all day.

M- (using the The Tattling Voice): D- is tattling on me!

M- (having just walked up to me, using a conversational tone): I threw my baby in the dungeon, because at the rate she was going? She was going to JAIL. At the rate she was going...

M- (informing us of a little bit of obscure trivia): You know what chicken is made from? ... It's chickens!

30 June 2010

What I've learned moving from city to country

It's been six months now since we moved out to the middle of these Illinois cornfields from the near-northwest Chicago suburbs (where I spent most of my life), so I figure now's a good time to look back on what we've learned.

1. People consider the "neighborhood" an amorphous area of about 5 square miles around you, and everyone within that space and even beyond will know everything about you that anyone can find out.

2. All of those people will do anything they can to make your time on this Earth more bearable, at any time of day or night.

3. When Jehovah's Witnesses don't manage to catch you at home, they will hand write a personalized letter to enclose with the pamphlet they mail you instead.

4. Feed corn is nowhere near as delicious as sweet corn, but feed corn is all anyone wants to grow.

5. If Nature loves you, then a scraggly-looking stand of bush-like trees surrounded by tall weeds can turn out to actually be a few mulberry trees grown together... and mulberry pie is easy to make and extremely delicious*... and because of this, the weed-free stand of noble arbors will begin to look more and more beautiful to you every day.

6. I must get some livestock. I just HAVE to! Conveniently, I also find myself really wanting to.

7. The slow pace of life and constant contact with the cycles of Nature can turn you into an 80-year-old surprisingly quickly. Suspenders seem practical, TV seems unnecessary and loud, everything is more satisfying when done yourself, and a bout of shingles is apparently par for the course.**

8. Children can entertain themselves for a surprisingly long time right in your yard. Just with sticks 'n' stuff.***

9. The ability to do whatever you feel like without everybody looking over your shoulder is intoxicating, and I find myself daydreaming about where would be best to launch my fireworks and set up my shooting range (factoring in my future prairie, forest, giant firepit, pond, 9-hole golf course, and gardens).

10. Wearing a shirt feels like suiting up in a tuxedo or a parka, depending on the weather and the fabric. It's definitely one of the worst parts about going in to town.

* The only troublesome part is removing the little stems from each fingernail-staining berry, though some say you don't really need to.

** I'm pretty sure they'll repossess your house, or at least your land, if you don't develop it within 6 months. I made it just under the wire!

*** Only provided they have no apparent supervision.

25 June 2010

Amusing searches, Vol. 8

Here are more of the most amusing searches that have brought people here, again with the theme of "complaining about your children".

(All search strings are reprinted exactly as they were entered, and the search text links to the post at which the visitor arrived.)

child spreads feces on shower wall (Windsor, Ontario) - Just be glad it was IN THE SHOWER, you whiner.

11 year son monster penis - Has one, or is one? That's an important difference... but I'm not sure which would be more intimidating.

is it normal for a 12 year old to have white gushy stuff coming out your vagina - MY vagina? No, it's most certainly not normal-- why is a 12-year-old storing any of his or her stuff in MY theoretical vagina?? Stay the hell out of there, all of you!

about to kill my kids quotes (Austin, TX) - Are you looking to borrow some good threats to toss out there for effect? Or just wanting to commiserate with some poor bastard who's got it worse than you?

Either way, I've got a few pages from my lists around here somewhere...

can i feed golden raisin to my 18 year old child (Sterling Heights, MI) - Either that was a significant typo, or you lead a strange, strange life. Unless he's an invalid, I think mostly it'd be creepy any way you slice it.

17 June 2010

A conversation between M- and D-: You gotta watch out for those zombie ground squirrels

The following is part of a Monty-Python-esque conversation my 6-year-old son D- and 3-year-old daughter M- had today with their noses pressed against the patio doors, watching the frolicking of the new litter born to our thirteen-lined ground squirrel friends "Nibble Purple" and "Sunflower Stripehead".*

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of asking my wife aloud if a little thing near them in the grass was a dead sibling. The flies shortly confirmed this suspicion, and the kids then became intensely focused on this one instead of all the unbearably cute and very alive ones.

M- (trying desperately to find it): Is that the dead one?

D- (patiently): No, it's the one that's not moving.

M-: Is that one it? ...No, it's moving. ...Is that one it? No, it's moving, too.

D- (authoritatively): All the ones that are moving are dead.

M- (buying it, but just trying to make sure she has it straight): All the ones that are moving are dead?

D- (as if she misheard him): No, all the ones that are moving are NOT dead-- they're alive. All the ones that are NOT moving are dead.

M-: Oh.

* Guess who named them.

31 May 2010

Classic quotes, Vol. 25

While you're remembering our fallen troops this Memorial Day, lighten up the mood a bit with some recent quotes from my 3-year-old daughter M- and my 6-year-old son D-:

M- (just standing there, repeating herself over and over): I'm going to clean up after myself, without even a word. I'm gonna clean up the whole house, without even a word!

D- (absolutely incredulous, after my mom congratulated him for telling a grownup about something that happened): ...But I DIDN'T tell a grownup! I told DAD!! *

M- (while waxing poetic about the popsicle she was just given): Visions that are dancing through my head, are POPsicles!

D- (overheard from the playroom, in a very stern, controlled tone): No, I'm NOT playing school with you, I'm playing my own game. Stop trying to make me, or I'll just tell Dad. (unintelligible response) ... No, then you'll have no kids at ALL, because I'M. NOT. PLAYING. And if you try to PUSH me on it, I'll. Tell. Dad.

M- (towing a long string of paper behind her, pulling off a line many guys have vainly tried through history): Wanna pet my snake?? He's really long...

* I would make this same distinction.

25 May 2010

Future careers of my daughter's preschool class

At the preschool graduation for my daughter's school yesterday (as an underclasswoman, she was just there for moral support, I guess), the teachers announced to the gym each graduate's answer to the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

Here are some of their actual answers:

1. Race car driver

2. Doctor

3. Batman

4. Teacher

5. Police officer/Firefighter

6. Army guy

7. Dentist

8. Spider-Man

9. A doctor AND a teacher*

10. A Mommy

I'm pretty sure that last one was planted, to squeeze a few extra tears out of the audience. Nevertheless, I noted a distinct lack of willing candidates for Equally Necessary Jobs like the following:

1. Systems analyst

2. Septic tank cleaner

3. Telemarketer

4. Import/export facilitator

5. Cat burglar

6. Lounge singer/DJ

7. Local politician

8. Hustler

9. Tabloid photographer

10. Racehorse euthanizer

I hope most of these kids are headed for a junior high epiphany resulting in a slight change of career path, because otherwise we may be facing a hell of a lot of very bitter, disillusioned telemarketers/gravediggers.

* This one's the kid who couldn't decide if he should go for impressing the chicks or kissing up to the teacher, so he went for both. Sounds like the winner to me!

12 May 2010

Things that amuse me, Vol. 4

Here, as the title might suggest, are a few more things that have been amusing me lately:

1. After being forced to half-watch the new Tinkerbell movie, I have to wonder how my daughter will handle it once "Tink" is picked up for all that soliciting her wardrobe tells me she must be doing out there in Fairy Hollow.

2. His careful sounding out of written words means that my 6-year-old son D- provides me small pleasures like listening to him loudly announce, "Ass... Ass... Ass..." across the house.

3. Aren't dreams supposed to be the realm of unattainable fantasy and unbridled imagination? That's what I always thought, until I realized that my recent uneventful dream of shopping online for pedometer batteries was definitely par for the course.

So it would seem that sleep is just an extra 5-6 hours (at best) for me to nag myself and continue leading a thoroughly tedious existence.

30 April 2010

A conversation with M-: Dying is easy, comedy is hard

Here's a little conversation I had with my 3-year-old daughter M-, who was drinking some juice while I sat here working my precious day away like a chump:

M- (with a serious face): Remember that time that I laughed and my juice came out of my nose??

Me: Yeah-- owie!

M- (confused): What?

Me: I said, "Owie!"

M- (incredulous): No... that's not owie, that's FUNNY. It came out of my nose!!

You may enjoy my previous M- conversations, (6YO son) D- conversations, and (wife) J- conversations.

A great deal extended through May - Magazine subscriptions on Amazon, 2 Years for the (deeply discounted) Price of 1! We've already ordered 3 different women's magazines-- guess who those are for??

* Of course, I receive a percentage of whatever you order, but that doesn't mean this isn't a tremendous value, right?

21 April 2010

Classic quotes, Vol. 24

Here are some recent quotes from my suddenly-very-quotable 3-year-old daughter M- and my 6-year-old son D-:

M- (very pointedly adding an important qualification, so I don't get too cocky): I love you! And I'll love you forever! (suddenly serious)...Because you let me use your special spoon.

M- (after my wife, who's a highly functional Fruity Pebbles addict, pointed out Mother's Day was coming up): Oh yay!! That day we get to have the colored cereal for breakfast!!

M- (when asked if she's learning a lot in her new preschool): Yeah... Mostly playing, though, not learning. Playing outside... and inside...

D- (very dramatically, after I casually referred to my sister's "friend"): You mean... boyfriend?

M- (touching the edge of her skirt): This is not as short as I want it to be.

M- (answering my exasperated "Why do you think I gave you a fork??"): Ummm... for me to fork things.

M- (rambling in her high chair): Switch, witch, bitch, mitch, rich, itch... heh, heh... "switch" and "itch" rhyme.

08 April 2010

Amusing searches, Vol. 7

Here are more of the most amusing searches that brought people here recently, this time with the very simple theme of "complaining about your children." This could really be the first of several in a healthy sub-series of posts.

Note: All search strings are reprinted exactly as they were entered, and in this case, all searchers arrived at my 10 reasons my 3-year-old son may be homosexual post, which is apparently the only post on the Internet whose title features a child identified by a hyphenated label including his age. Or else it's just the strongest and most fascinating.

why does my 5 yr son old piss around the house (Bloomington, IL) - 1) Because it's easier; 2) because he can; and 3) because he owns the property but isn't responsible for cleaning it. Also, I'd bet he somehow understands he won't be able to get away with it for long, so he's living it up while he can. Ahhh, to be that young again, never in search of the nearest bathroom...

3 year olds hands do the same thing (Davenport, FL) - This is a very slippery slope. "Same thing" meaning what? Picking his nose? Playing with his food? Poking his sister? Playing with himself? Stabbing at his dad's eyes whenever he looks away from him? Based on my thankfully fuzzy recollections of that age, you have to be much more specific.

9-year-old son lazy barefoot (Sandusky, OH) - Are you looking for a role model for the boy? If so, just let me know, and I'll try to see about getting around to offering him some pearls of wisdom. Better yet, just send him out my way, and he can lay at my bare feet just watching the master at work. Well, maybe "work" is too strong a word.

my 3 year old son always has to be first - Correction: Your 3-year-old son always WANTS to be first. My 3-year-old daughter is the one who actually must be first. I do not recommend denying her this, or at least not without adequate protection.

10 yr old son likes to be naked (Surprise, AZ) - Who doesn't? Especially out there in the deserts of Surprise, Arizona. (Yes, that's really the name.) Let me warn you, though, if you say too much to him about it, you'll find him naked 24 hours a day for the next ten years, powered solely by spite. And nobody likes to see an angry naked guy. So do us all a favor and lay off, lady.

A nice deal for those with babies: 10% off essential items like diapers, wipes and formula at Amazon

25 March 2010

Things that amuse me, Vol. 3

Here, as the title might suggest, are a few of the things that have been amusing me lately:

1. They should print the tags of children's clothing in the front, so my kids might accidentally put some on properly one day.

2. This is a scrap I found from at least a year ago, about a Camry radio commercial I'm absolutely certain they're no longer running:

Totally Sincere "Customer" Voiceover (the culmination of a series of praises about the Camry's dependability and consistent reliability, including "It's good to know there are some things you can still count on"): "When I'm stressed out about something, I sneak out to the garage and look at the Camry, and I feel better."

Well, I have a Camry, myself, and let me tell you, much as I've always liked it [and still do!], this has never worked for me.

3. With the way he's been behaving lately, my 5-year-old son D- sitting up alone in his room playing his harmonica makes me picture him rotting in a cell singing, "No-booody knooooows, the trouble I've caused / No-booody knows but my-teacher-the-principal-the-bus-driver-my-parents-other-kids'-parents-my-grandparents-their-grandparents-and-just-about-everyone-ellllllllse".

4. I feel like I need to hang an announcement around my daughter's neck, to cover me in case of my untimely demise, that reads, "She dressed herself today."

Cool deal for April! Magazine subscriptions on Amazon - 2 Years for the Price of 1

16 March 2010

Classic quotes, Vol. 23

Here are some recent quotes from my 5-year-old son D-, my 3-year-old daughter M-, and me:

M- (insistently, while I was singing "All You Need is Love"): No! You need food, too!

D- (to my mom, who'd asked him what the story was about his misbehavior at school): It's not a story... it really happened.

Me (caught off guard by maniacal children while preoccupied): Hey!! Take. it. easy! Or... it will be taken easy for you.

D- (quietly rationalizing with his crying sister, on her way to tell on him): Hey-- whatever I did... I did NOT do it.

M- (through the above-mentioned tears): D- was attackling me!

11 March 2010

At what age can I know this isn't a coincidence?

As infrequently as I've (regrettably) been posting on here the past few months, thanks to the new house and then this contract work, I've been even more scarce over at HotDads.

So head on over there to check out my latest post, with only this title as a teaser. Enjoy!

28 February 2010

Amusing searches, Vol. 6

Here are more of the most amusing searches that brought people here during these past few months that have been so devoid of new posts.

(All search strings are reprinted exactly as they were entered, and the search text links to the post at which the visitor arrived.)

is it ok that daughter buys annivarsary card on behalf of husband - Is it okay for you that they do this? Of course. Is it okay for the two of them? ...Ask her. Seems kinda sad to me, but man, Hallmark must love her commitment to their products even to the point of this nonsense. (Also, for my own future reference, does she get a good deal on these "annivarsary" cards from the Irregular bin at the dollar store?)

curing a belligerent horse (Jonesboro, AR) - Poetic concerns aside as to whether a supposedly belligerent horse needs "curing", I'll say that while I appreciate the particular struggles of horse trainers, I'm not sure why one in search of an answer to a professional question would stop to click on a search result titled "Screw curing cancer, we've got robot ladies now!"

do not babysit (Virginia Beach, VA) - Okay, okay, I can take the hint... Clearly you've just perused my selection of bad parenting, lack of shame, screaming, self-righteousness, and sarcasm posts.

literaldan.blogspot.com screw-curing-cancer-weve-got-robot - Since this (and many, many other searches, for some reason) came from Mountain View, California, I think it's fair to assume that the top brass of Google is intensely interested in how exactly I've managed to take over the Internet without actually making any money or getting on TV yet. That, or they're thinking of offering me a job in their vaunted Nitpicking, Irreverence, or Procrastination departments.

barefoot inebriated woman (Warren, OH) - If that's what you're looking for, then allow me to point you, happily, over to your fellow Ohioan. You won't be sorry!

amusing a 3 year old (Bristol, VT) - I'll give you a hint-- it must involve rhyming wordplay and, more importantly, bodily functions in some way. Preferably graphically so. Just picture the humor of a 30-year-old man, and then aim a little higher brow.

18 February 2010

Classic quotes, Vol. 22

I must apologize for my absence this month, but I've started working full-time on a long-term contract with a former employer, so by the time my sunup-to-sundown workday sitting at home on the computer is done, I don't feel too much like sitting at home on the computer some more to write blog posts.

But never fear, I haven't stopped collecting scraps, at least, so without further adieu, here is a small sampling of recent quotes from my 5-year-old son D- and my 3-year-old daughter M-:

M- (when informed that I hadn't yet been born when something happened): But then who would take care of me?!?

D- (tossing off yet another mention of the kid he calls only his "buddy" during his 2 hours of daily bus riding): I shared some with my buddy on the bus... He's really funny! (suddenly somber) ...He's pretty mean, though, too... he keeps taking my stuff every day and when I say, 'Give it back!' he just laughs at me. ... I don't remember his name.*

M- (proudly to my dad, who was reading from an advice column: "3-year-olds are famously challenging-- at times they act like the spawn of the devil."): I'M three!!

D- (wearily, between hiccups): I've got the hot-cups...

M- (some late afternoon drama, playing the role of a pouty girl who really doesn't want to hear the answer to a rhetorical question): No! Don't say that to me! I don't wike you anymore!! At all! I want to stay away from you forever! I want to stay away from you FOREVER! ...Until DINNER!!!

* The funny thing is, though, that this bizarre description is pretty typical of most male friendships at least occasionally. Why does it have to be so damned amusing to taunt and mock people you care about?

And how come I didn't know the names of several of my good friends even in high school? "Have I introduced you yet to 'That Skinny Friend-of-a-Friend I Hang Out With Every Day in Gym'? Perhaps you can find out if there's some sort of nickname his parents gave him at birth?"

02 February 2010

When 3-year-olds attack

After hearing suspiciously uproarious laughter coming from the bathroom one evening, my wife and I came upon this scene:

She is an artist, and her medium is Dentifrice
Show of hands, how many of you have had this happen?

Editor's Note: For the record, this is only what was left after the perpetrator and her highly amused accomplice tried desperately to destroy the evidence. Also for the record, we have a deceptively large bathroom sink-- that right there is about a third of a large tube of toothpaste.

27 January 2010

Classic quotes, Vol. 21

Here are some recent quotes from my wife J-, my 5-year-old son D-, my now-3-year-old daughter M-, and me:

D- (excitedly, as I mix salsa and sour cream): Are we having chimps and dip?!?

M- (looking at Winnie-the-Pooh clock, trying desperately to become the world's first 3-year-old to either carry a tune or remember actual song lyrics): Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh... silly nilly willy, stuffed with stuff! Winnie the Pooh, Winnie the Pooh... he fluffs himself! ... Silly old bear.

Me (to J-, pulling what we'll call "a Dan", in fairness): "In a few minutes"? "In a few minutes"??? What's "a few minutes" mean by this point? Once you get past 60, they're called "hours", so you know.

M- (with a gentle, warning tone as I begin to finish off the last piddling bit of Goldfish crackers, only once she's had plenty of them): Save some for other people, Dad...

D- (referring to his sister's lollipop stick that missed the garbage can): Oh, yeah, I stepped on that before, but I pulled it back off my foot.

20 January 2010

A conversation between M- and J-: Victoria's open secret

While I'm ashamed at my lack of posting there in general, and especially lately, I'm glad they'll still have me over at Hot Dads, where you can read my latest post.

I'll just let the post title do all the teasing for me-- now click on over there!

15 January 2010

Important Question: What would you use this for?

When I first saw the item pictured below, I was dumbfounded as to its purpose, given the context in which I found it. So I ask you all the following Important Question:

For what do you think this is meant to be used?

Girl Gourmet, they say...
Leave your best or most entertaining guess in the comments.

13 January 2010

Things that amuse me, Vol. 2

Here, in lieu of something more cohesive, are a few of the things that have been amusing me lately:

1. Already a budding patriot at 2, the other day my daughter M- called out, "Look at my sandal!" only to reveal that, for no apparent reason, she'd ripped the flag off one of those 4th of July souvenirs and tied it around her little foot with a piece of string.

2. One recent message in the waves of spam e-mails I get daily stood out from the cesspool of similarly themed junk. It was called, "Your pork pistol won't fail" ...Great, thanks for ruining pork chops for me, for all time. Even schnitzel can't hide such a visual.

3. When perusing Endless.com to see if I could save money by ordering my next pair of sneakers online instead of having to (shudder) go to a store,* I feel like I was victimized by discriminatory software. After putting in the general specs of what I was looking for, the top row of search results were all women's pink ballet slippers. I say, stay out of this, Internet! That diaper bag is just damn handy, okay. That's the limit of my gender bending, I swear.**

4. After only a couple days of having wireless Internet here in the new house, I could already tell I'm going to need to put some kind of wheeled computer desk in the bathroom.

* No such luck, the universe hates me. I should have realized this by the fact that even New Balance has forsaken me and the sanctity/dryness of the side of my right foot, where the sole of my shoe very subtly detached a mere two months after I started wearing my latest shoes.

** But then, the Internet has never steered me wrong before...

08 January 2010

There will be water.

Every day I live out here in the country in our new house, I expand my perspective on the world in new and unexpected ways. For example, I now know there are several very different ways you can think of your basement.

One way, with a properly finished basement, is as an extra living space, with all the amenities of the above-ground floors.

Another way, with a standard basement, is as a place to store things you want out of the way, or a place to house your tool collection where everybody else won't get their grubby hands all over it.

A third way, with my basement, is as a handy container to hold massive amounts of water, one that should be measured cubically for volume rather than by square footage when assessing its value as part of the house.

I'll spare you the details of my theories on hows and whys, but I'll just say that until you've seen streams of bubbles emerging from cracks in your floor, as the already pretty sodden Earth readily drinks up the surprising source of refreshment that is your basement, you can't truly appreciate the ability to nurture that space as a precious aquatic environment on an otherwise inhospitable frozen prairie.

Also, a situation like this allows you to learn the gallon capacity of your super-sweet new snow snovel. (Plus, what else would fully clean off all the clay from shoveling out the leftover pile of dirt from the previous owner's hasty sump-pump installation?)

Like so many things in life, this (hopefully temporary) stressful and somewhat frustrating situation has a bright side-- I've learned so much about sump pump specifications, the intricacies of water softening and iron removal systems, and the effects of a loosely filled old well pit having recently unfrozen sump discharge lines emptying right on top of it.

And of course, living out here in what's effectively the nicest cabin ever built, nature's always here to teach me something, too. Like that high winds carrying loose snow always seek the best-shoveled path. And that quaint as all the bunny tracks around the constantly replenished source of fresh, salty water may be, eventually that thing making the larger prints every morning will manage to find itself something to eat one day when it comes for its own warm drink.

And that meal will be sure to evacuate its every orifice before shuffling off this mortal coil, all across the view from your breakfast table.

Just breathe deep of that fresh country air, my friends. Ahhhh...