Friday, August 14, 2009

Dogging Vick

Babies, diapers, and Bebe Pods are taking a back seat today to football. And yes, college football is only a couple weeks away, so ladies, you'll have to bear with me until January because in the words of one of the players I coach, "I loves me some college football!"

Yesterday, Michael Vick signed a 1 year/$1.6 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles, with an option for a second year. He's going to be the back-up quarterback for the Eagles behind Donovan McNabb.

For the uneducated on this story, here's a quick refresher: Vick was indicted in July of 2007, then pled guilty in August of that same year, on charges stemming from a dog-fighting operation that was being run in part from a house Vick owned in Virginia. In January of 2008, he went to prison, got released in May of that year, but was put on house arrest. In May of this year, he was released from custody. Last month, the NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell, conditionally re-instated Vick, clearing the way for some team to sign him. And of course, yesterday the Eagles did just that.

Now, the Philadelphia Daily News had as it's headline this morning, "What Are They Thinking?". Multiple sports commentators and columnists have opined that any team in the NFL would be subjecting themselves to a massive public relations onslaught if they signed him. In fact, whole 30-minute shows on news channels have been devoted to the question of whether Michael Vick was worth having in the league.

Go back to the previous summary paragraph and notice two words. Here, I'll highlight them in italics and bold: "on charges stemming from a dog-fighting operation". You can go back and read the indictments, the transcripts of interviews, everything, but not once does anyone in law enforcement make the case that Michael Vick was actively participating in the dog fighting. It says that his money was used to fund it, he owned some of the dogs, and one of his houses was used. But nowhere does it say he did the dog fighting.

Athletes and celebrities these days have what are called in some circles "posses", in other circles "hangers-on", and in pop culture thanks to HBO, "entourages." These are friends of the athlete or celebrity that basically live off their friend's wealth and fame. They are paid by the friend as an "advisor," or some other such word, but basically they just leech off their friend. The rich friend gives them money, and provides them with a place to live as a show of friendship... to show that they remember their roots. But what happens after that money changes hands, well, let's just look at that.

Suppose your best friend comes up to and says "Hey, can I borrow a couple hundred dollars?" Now, in today's economy that's a sizable loan, but he's your best buddy. You've know each other since childhood. So of course, if you can afford it, you loan him the money, right? Say that same friend then uses that money to buy a gun, then shoots his girlfriend. Are you guilty of murder too? No, of course not. But what if you knew he was going to buy a gun, and knew he was going to shoot his girlfriend, would you be guilty of a crime then? Yes, if you didn't report it to the police. You'd be an accessory to the crime. But what if you just knew he was going to buy a gun with it, and not that he was going to kill his girlfriend?

What if you were rich and famous and your friend wasn't? Ah, now we've got a little bit of a different situation, don't we? Because no newspaper in the world (save your hometown paper) is going to care if your Joe Schmoe friend offs his girl. But if you, Mr. Rich and Famous Celeb were involved, then it's a story!!! Especially if it can be proven that you helped your friend by giving him the money to do it! Now, the media really has a whopper of a story!

Of course, in our example, a person was killed. A human being. Michael Vick, to my knowledge, has never killed a person. He's never done anything to a human being. There are players in the NFL today who have been convicted of manslaughter. For those of you who don't know, a person has to have died for manslaughter to have occurred. Donte Stallworth plays for my team, the Cleveland Browns. He pled guilty this year to manslaughter because he was driving drunk and killed a man with his car. He was suspended from the league for a year. Next year, when his suspension is lifted (which it will be) some team will sign him as a 5th wide receiver and barely a fuss will be kicked up.

Stallworth isn't the first. Ray Lewis was indicted with murder and assault charges. He's still playing with the Baltimore Ravens, is widely considered one of the best linebackers in the league, and no one has said a word about whether the Ravens should have let him back on their team. Hell, every team in the NFL would kill... okay, not the best word... would really love to have him on their roster.

Lewis isn't a pariah; he's loved. Again, I'll put this in bold and italics: He is responsible for killing a person.

Michael Vick is dangerous to the league's reputation. His "friends" used their leeched money to run a dog fighting operation at one of his houses.

The only logical conclusion you can make is that the National Football League and the media feel like a dog's life is more important than a person. Vick gave his friends money and some dogs were killed. Ray Lewis went out with some friends and Jacinth Baker and Richard Loller were murdered. Jacinth and Richard aren't dogs, so that must mean that their lives don't count as much.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Things Every Guy Should Know

For some reason, probably what my wife calls "Internet ADD" I was searching for things that "every guy should know." You know, I want to be a responsible father to my son, and teach him all the things that he should know. Some of those are pretty easy, like how to tie a tie, cook breakfast, check the oil, and watch 3 football games at the same time on three different channels without the use of picture-in-picture and still not miss more than three plays in any game.

So found an article on Esquire magazine, that bastion of dudeness, that tells 25 skills that all men should be able to do. I'll list theirs, then give some of mine that they missed. If you have some that aren't on either list, by all means add them in the comments section.

Esquire's 25 Essential Skills For Men

1) How to Skin a Moose: A deer, sure, I get that one. But a moose? Good skill to have, but wrong animal, unless you're hanging with Sarah Palin. Which wouldn't be a bad thing. Cause she's hot.

2) Get a Busy Bartender's Attention: This one makes perfect sense. Remember, no gesturing. If you do this well, women will notice.

3) Bet the Horses: Eh. Sometimes being terrible at this isn't such a bad thing.

4) Give a Good Massage: DE-FI-NITE-LY!!

5) Cut Down a Tree: Because the History Channel might just need a new show for their new sea... damn it!

6) Buy a Woman Clothing: I'm not so sure about this one, because while it was cool the first 85 times I saw some rich dude in a movie correctly guess a woman's clothing size, understand this: buying her a gift card might be the easiest thing to do, but it's also the wussy way out; give up a Sat, er Sunday afternoon (college football is Saturday, my bad) and go with her. Then you pay for it.

7) Fillet a Fish: Because you never know when Captain D's might be hiring.

8) Know how to make Eggs 4 different ways: Scrambled, baked, poached, and sunny-side up. No one I know, and I mean N-O one, eats baked eggs. So just go with scrambled, sunny-side up, and over easy and you'll be fine.

9) Google Efficiently: If you can't do this in 2009, then you shouldn't be allowed on the Internet.

10) Sew a button: Ok, I'll go with that.

11) Console a crying woman: Just make sure you aren't the reason for the crying before you go grabbing your handkerchief.

12) Look good in a picture: Just so you know, the example picture in the article has an ugly dork trying to be Bogart. And it's not a good picture. It's Esquire, what are you gonna do?

13) Calm a crying baby: This one is my speciality now, but every baby is different. What works for one, doesn't for another... same with women.

14) Parallel Park (Like a man): Meaning don't go in from the front. Not that I would do that... um...

15) Wire a Ceiling Fixture: All together now, "Turn off the main first."

16) Make pancakes from scratch: Take this, the egg thing, some bacon and Clemenza's recipe for cooking for "20 guys" and that will be the only thing you'll need to be the most popular cook ever at hunting camp.

17) Stop a running toilet: Just a tip, praying won't do it. But it helps.

18) Rock the man in the boat (aka how to give a woman the 'O' face): I'm iffy on whether a dad should be giving this advice to his son. Well, I guess better from your dad than Peter Pimple Face down the street... or your mom.

19) Carve a turkey: I'd go for how to cook it too, but just in case someone does a National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, it's a good skill to be handy with a knife.

20) Make a drink, just for her: I like this one. I can make a mean Manhattan for my mother-in-law and father-in-law. Now, I'm working on martinis.

21) Pick out ripe fruit: No, this doesn't mean success on

22) Jump-start a car: This is a useful skill to have, but it requires the one thing that no one has in their car... jumper cables.

23) Get a table in a restaurant: Here's a simple solution... call for reservations. See? Problem solved.

24) Kill an injured animal: First examples are a toad, a gopher and a deer. Most needed examples are boss that just fired you and IRS worker.

25) Shine a shoe: You can read the instructions online, or for better results, enlist in the military. Also, the latter option will help in your life as well.

Todd's List:

1) Quote at least five different movies regularly: Personal favorites include "Tombstone", "Ghostbusters", "The Godfather", and "Groundhog Day."

2) Shoot a gun: God gave us the Second Amendment, not the government.

3) Throw a baseball and a football: It's essential to growing up in America.

4 Know the basic rules of the three major American sports: If you are ever in a room with a girl who is not a) related to a football coach, b) married to a football coach, or c) is a football coach and this girl knows more about the game than you do, it's time to call up the castration guy.

5) Be able to talk intelligently about politics: Not saying which way you should swing politically right or left, but when someone asks you why you're voting for a particular candidate and the only thing you can say is, "for hope... and... uh... change!" then you don't need to vote (longer article on the need for an IQ test required before voting coming later).

6) Enjoy the thrill of peeing outside: Sure, I know it's not really a skill, but it's one of those things that all men should enjoy at least once or twice a year, if for no other reason than to remind us of why we are men, and why that is so freaking cool.

Stupidest Jobs in the World

Sunday night, K, AJ and I went to a dinner party hosted by some friends of ours. During the conversation that night, our hosts let it slip that they had taken their cocker spaniels to a doggie dermatologist. Yep, a doctor who specializes in the skin of dogs. My first reaction was that this was the stupidest job in the world. But I wanted to reserve judgment on that one. Especially when the couple dropped some more stuff that was way easier to make fun of. Like the fact that their dog has been prescribed kangaroo meat to help with his skin condition. Yes, you can read that again, but it won't change what it says. Kangaroo meat. Next time you go to the supermarket, take a gander through the meat section and see if they have some kangaroo meat under celophane.

So that got me thinking, what's the stupidest jobs in the world that people actually get paid to do? I mean, besides being a doggie dermatologist. Here's the list I came up with:

Odor Judge: These people work for deodorant companies and actually get paid to smell people's armpits after different kinds of spray and roll-on deodorants are applied. Would this even be something you'd admit to your friends that you did? Hey, speaking of smells...

Flatulence Analyst: This person does just exactly what it says. A professor hired college students to actually smell the farts of study participants (who'd probably eaten more beans than anyone should in a lifetime) to see if gas can accurately tell a person's intestinal health. This is further proof that college kids will do anything for beer money.

Mosquito Researcher: Wanted, someone with a lot of time on their hands at night, and a fetish for itching, to be bitten repeatedly by mosquitoes in order that scientists can catch several of the little buggers to study... something about them. Interested?

Dog Food Tester: You know how you've always thought that the gravy-covered, meaty square-shaped dog food you've poured into Pooch's bowl has always looked like it might taste good? Well, someone somewhere gets paid to actually find out.

Video Game Tester: 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, you play video games. These are not the people to challenge to a Madden or Halo game with money on the line.

Paper Towel Sniffer: These people smell paper towels to see if they smell after mopping up stuff. So, the next time you use a sheet of Hefty to sweep up your dog's pee, take a quick whiff. If it doesn't smell, then this guy has done his job. If it does, well, then your dog wins that round.

Potato Chip Inspector: They look at and taste potato chips for imperfections. I saw Mike Rowe, of "Dirty Jobs," do this one on an episode. It was at the Dirty Chip Company. He didn't look like he was too upset at this one. No word on if these people get a complimentary membership to Weight Watchers is part of the company benefits.

Beer Tester: The only bad part about this job is that you can't actually swallow the beer you put in your mouth. There's a handy spit cup right next to you. Reminds me of the worst job for an animal, that of the horse fluffer (a male horse whose job is to get the in heat female horse sufficiently in heat so that he can be led away from the girl so that a better, more worthy male can come in and do the job... yeah, his life sucks).

Furniture Tester: Hmm, this recliner doesn't feel right for football games on Saturday afternoons. But if you like a nice Cognac, and some Masterpiece theater, this baby's perfect for you!

Chicken Sexer & Hair Boiler: I saved these for last because they sound like the worst ones to admit to another person that you do for a living. A chicken sexer looks at baby chickens to see if they are male or female so they can be separated, and a hair boiler actually boils the hair of different kinds of animals so they curl up for later use. Neither of these seem to be very high on most people's "Must Do This Job" list, but hey, the economy's bad.

So what are you waiting for? Start on careerbuilder and craigslist today! You're future as the world's best fart smeller is only a couple cans of beans away.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Saving Ourselves To Death

We are saving our babies to death... protecting ourselves and killing ourselves at the same time.

Ever seen AJ was born, and even before when The Wife was pregnant, we've been given advice regarding the dreaded "shots" and "immunizations." You know what I'm talking about right? The always popular "what's causing all these childhood diseases and defects that are so numerous these days?" debate! Let's have a party!

Jenny McCarthy is now the big expert that all the morning news shows go to when autism comes up. Apparently, all you need to do to be considered a media expert in something is to pose nude several times, be the sidekick on a horrible game show ("Remote Control" anyone?), and pop out a baby. Never mind the fact that Jenny doesn't have a degree in medicine, child psychology, or anything like that.

- Side note: Does Jenny even have a degree? If so, is she using it? What's the difference between her and Tori Spelling? Is it possible that those two and Denise Richards will be the outfield at a celebrity softball game in the near future?

Jenny's big case is that the shots that kids get to be immunized against diseases like polio, smallpox, and others are causing this recent surge in autism. But, the offending shot has been given since the late 1960's. The whole autism craze didn't hit until the 1990's. So... what happened in that 30 years between the 60's and the 90's besides disco, a gas shortage, and that whole tight-rolling-your-pants thing? Did something change in the anatomy and physiology of humans that I'm not aware of? Did mutation move from comic books to reality and no know let me in on it?

The Wife has weighed in on this issue several times and these are her big evil doers that could be the cause: birth control pills (right now, millions of men are screaming for this not to be the cause), muscle building supplaments (and millions of women are screaming the same thing), or some other mystery... something that we haven't discovered yet.

My point is when I was a kid, we:
  • - sat in the car without a car seat worthy of the latest in NASCAR engineering
  • - ate paint chips (thank you Chris Farley and my you rest in peace)
  • - dropped a hot dog on the ground, called the "5-second rule," picked it up and ate it
  • - played above the backseat of a car, right under the back windshield, while it was driving
  • - didn't know the meaning of the word organic (and wouldn't eat it anyway if we knew that "organic" meant grown in poop)
  • - got spanked when we screwed up
  • - and basically bumped, bruised, cut, scratched, and bloodied every part of our bodies playing outside, and didn't get some fancy antiseptic, but rather brushed it off and kept right on playing...
and we are still here, alive and kicking!!!!

If you listen to the media today, none of us over the age of 25 should even be alive today, and yet we are the parents that are killing ourselves and our kids by trying to save everyone. Maybe the reason all of these diseases and illnesses are flaring up and becoming much more prevalent is because we are trying our best to save everyone from anything bad that could possibly happen. Call me old fashioned, but how's about we go back to the way things use to be done and see if things don't change back? Just a suggestion. But if you feel the need to debate, shoot me a comment.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Banned from Netflix

My wife is one more bad movie choice away from being banned from Netflix.

We joined Netflix, as I told you in this post, and it was one of the best decisions we've ever made, both financially and as far as entertainment goes. I still feel that way. However, let me reprint something I said regarding one of our first movies we picked to be on our list:

The Wife picked this one because she likes old movies (nope, I didn't know this when I met, proposed or married her... but it would have only made her more attractive as you'll see), and because she likes Marilyn Monroe. I seconded this pick because I'd like to return to the days when big boobs and curves made a woman pretty, and bones poking through skin made a woman dead.

Parts of that statement are still very much true. I still think Lindsey Lohan, the chick from new Superman movie and that horrible surfing flick Blue Crush, and other walking stick figures are ruining the self-esteem and health of women everywhere by being too damn skinny and thinking that is what makes a female hot when they should have just asked a normal guy like me. And I still like classic movies. But I want you to pay close attention to the first four words in that quote: The Wife picked this one.

Gentleman Prefer Blondes was one of the worst movies ever made. It's a musical, with almost-naked gay men dancing around a cruise ship. Trust me on this one, don't get it.

Last night The Wife went 2 for 2 in the stinker category. She picked Bride Wars with two more examples of the "looking like an Ethiopian from the 1980's will only make us more attractive to the opposite sex" club, Anne Hathaway and Kate Hudson. It is perhaps one of the worst chick flicks ever made. The plot, what little there is, might be the most convoluted thing ever written down. At one point, everyone, audience included, knows that a break-up of one couple is coming. But the writers couldn't think of a good reason for the couple to break up, so they picked... no reason at all and then tried to pretend it was the best reason ever. Oh, and then they decided to pray that no one watching the movie would notice.

So The Wife gets one more chance at this whole picking movies through Netflix thing. And it comes with Confessions of a Shopaholic. I don't have high hopes here considering her current batting average, but the funny redheaded chick from Wedding Crashers is the star, so maybe it'll be good.

Ok, maybe that's asking too much.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Quick Hitters Part II

These are the thoughts that ran through my brain while getting my car a new battery:

- My car sat for 10 days not moving, not running, with no lights on, and still the battery went dead. You explain that one. Maybe my car is really a Transformer and went off to fight evil in some shape or form for the week and a half we were gone! If so, can it do that cool trick where it (in the form of a 1997 Volvo wagon) goes by a brand new Ford F-150 King Ranch and then turns into that? Is that too much to ask?

- These are the suggestions I've been given today to add as friends on Facebook. Two friends of mine from high school (both accepted), the official Cleveland Browns Fan Club (you're darn right I accepted them!), a fan group of the dirt from my home state, and a convicted felon. Yes, you read that last one right.

- I went to get my car's new battery at the same place where the 6-foot blonde was last time. She wasn't there today, and my car was worked on in record time. Perhaps it's time to start losing weight. The mechanics might be suspecting I've got breasts.

- Speaking of my car, when I opened the hood this morning to figure out what was wrong, there was strange set of pliers underneath the hood. They weren't mine, nor my father-in-law's. Which means they've been sitting under the hood since the last time my car got checked out about a year ago. Those SOB's hold on tight!

- Oh, one more car note... my air conditioner isn't working. It's only blowing hot air. Some would say that could be stopped if I simply stopped talking. They might be right.

- Facebook actually suggested that I should be friends with a convicted felon. You might be rolling your eyes right now, but inside I know you're just a little bit jealous. Admit it. You are.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Time to Read

I'm starting something new today... book reviews. There are a few reasons for this:

  1. I really like reading; it's what I would do if I had nothing else to do, and what I do if my wife gives me housework.

  2. Books are something of a dying pleasure thanks to the internet, but I think that they hold a certain charm and appeal for people... besides it's more enlightening than looking for porn.

  3. Reading certain books got me through a lot of rough patches of boredom in my life, and I want to pass on the knowledge.

  4. And the best reason... The Wife said she thought it'd be a good idea and you know what they say when your wife suggests something.
First up are several books that got me through not only the down time at the hospital waiting on my son to be born, but also afternoons of umemployment when nothing is on the boob tube by Maury Povich and the People's Court. Oh, and one last note: I buy from Barnes & Noble but link to Amazon because, well Amazon's website is better in my opinion.

Twelve Mighty Orphans: The Inspiring True Story of the Mighty Mites Who Ruled Texas Football by Jim Dent.

This is one of the best sports books I've ever read. It tells the story of an orphanage in the heart of 1920's, 30's and 40's Texas that sported one of the best football teams in the state. The coach of this bunch of rag-tags was Coach Rusty Russell, who you'll learn was the possible innovator of the modern offenses you see on Friday and Saturday nights today. Incidently, Dent is the same guy who wrote Junction Boys , which ESPN turned into a movie, about the Texas A&M football team coached by "Bear" Bryant. Highly recommend this for any football fan on you gift list, and guys, the chapters break down quite nicely for light reading in between getting ice chips at the hospital. And if you are not as impressed as I was about the legend that is Hardy Brown, well, I'll apologize publically for the recommendation.

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann

Grann's book is non-fiction and tells the story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, a guy you've probably never heard of, but once you get a small taste of his life, you'll wonder how come Harrison Ford's character wasn't named after him instead of his dog Indiana. Fawcett spent a large majority of his life looking for a lost civilization in the Amazon rainforest, what some called El Dorado. But far from a City of Gold, Fawcett believed it was something far greater, more unbelieavable. Gann alternates the telling of Fawcett's last trip into the jungle (on which he disappeared into myth and legend) with the telling of his own quest to follow in Fawcett's bootsteps, and hopefully not get killed by poisonous snakes, deadly bugs bigger than your hand, and cannibals. See, it's got everything a growing boy needs!

Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34 by Bryan Burrough

Ok, so we've got sports, adventures in the jungle... what are we missing? Oh yeah, gangsters!! Well, this is the real deal, baby. Burrough doesn't give you Captain Jack Sparrow trying to shoot a Tommy gun without falling down, and then going after some ugly chick we're supposed to believe is hot just because Hollywood tells us she is. No, Burrough's book is the actual story of all those bad boys (and girls) you love to hate: Pretty Boy Floyd, Machine Gun Kelly, the Barkers, Bonnie and Clyde, Baby Face Nelson, and of course, the best of the best... John Dillinger. And if you think you saw everything because you paid your $9 at the movies and got the 1967 version of Bonnie & Clyde from Netflix, you might want to rethink it. This stuff really happened, to real people, and it's way more interesting than anything Michael Mann can put on the screen.

I'll give you some more at regular intervals... or basically whenever I'm done reading whatever I'm working on. Right now, since I read two at a time, it's a novel and a historical non-fiction book. Until then, put the remote down and read!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Boobs, Bumps, and Boobs

Just got back from Mississippi. The trip went pretty well, especially the food. If you want recommendations for places to go in Mississippi (or on the Gulf Coast of Alabama) let me know.

Before we left, The Wife had me take her car in for an oil change and to get the tires rotated (no jokes about not changing my own oil... don't trust myself to do it, so why bother screwing it up?). I pull into the parking lot and see more guys working than on any four other trips I've made to the shop combined. Why the sudden interest in the car fixing field? Couldn't be the 6-foot blonde with the gargantuan knockers and legs for days - check that, weeks - could it? Surely not! I mean, men aren't that shallow are they?

I asked the guy who runs the place, "Hey, how come I don't get that kind of attention?"

He just laughed, but one of his mechanics says, "I got her phone number... and I got a girlfriend!" Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the car service industry's finest.

Two and a half hours into the trip, the car decided that apparently it was more pissed than I was that it didn't get the "6-foot blonde with DD's" treatment because it decided to take a crap right in the middle of the Florida Turnpike. In the first five minutes we were stopped on the side of the road with our hood up, two complete strangers stopped, got out of their vehicles and asked if they could help. They even took a gander under the hood themselves to see if they could do anything. That's not counting the others that stopped just to ask if we were alright. I laughed and said to The Wife: "Yep, we are definitely north of Orlando and back in the South."

Our first stop for the trip was Gainesville, Florida at the Sleep Inn. Yes, it was the same place we stopped when we watched Ole Miss beat the national champion Florida Gators 31-30 (sorry, had to get that in). The Wife tells me to go in and see what their price is for a room. The receptionist is another blonde, but this one's wearing a nice blouse with a neckline that shows off her belly button. It also really does a nice job of accentuating her Holly Gunn-style fake breasts. I'm sure the management of this place just loves her outfits.

I know for a fact that the Sleep Inn is usually around $100 for a king bed for one night, but this little debutante is going down, and I don't mean in the bad way. Actual conversation between Holly Gunn and myself:

"Hey, how are ya?"
"I'd like to get one room, with a king bed for the night. "
Holly starts to search for the price, but I don't let her get a word in edge wise.
"You know, we've stayed her before and loved it."
Holly smiles a little at this, or at my smile. Either one is good for me.
"Oh really? When?"
"You probably wouldn't like that weekend. We're Ole Miss fans..."
Recognition sets in slowly with this one.
"Oh... OH! Oh, yeah, that wasn't a good weekend at all. You know I went to that game!"
"Really? Me too!"
"Yeah, the guy I was dating then didn't know a thing about football. I had to tell him why we were so bummed."

"Good thing you're not with him anymore, huh?" Translation: Why would you date a gay man?
"I know, right? How many nights are you staying?"
"Just the one... heading home to Mississippi where I'm from to show off my new son."
"Awwwww... a baby? That's so awesome!!!"
"I know... our first and the grandparents want to see him."
"Aww, that's so cute. We'll I can get you a king bed for $85, but I'll give you a special for $75 and upgrade it to a suite."
"Done. Want me to bring the baby in so you can see him?"
"Yes! Awww... I love babies!"
"I know, me too." Translation: You just got taken down by the Master... don't feel bad. Here, look at the baby, doesn't that make the beatdown you just suffered a little easier to take?

So, to celebrate my unmatched skills at what I call strategic flirting, The Wife, The Son and I decided to go to (drumroll please) Hooters for dinner. Insert your eye roll and laugh here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ole Miss Bound

The Wife, The Son, and I are leaving tomorrow to head off to Mississippi for a little over a week. It'll be nice to get back to where things make sense, no one threatens to fight you for taking a parking spot in a grocery store parking lot, a beer doesn't cost over $5, and calling a lady "maam" won't get you the evil eye.

Oh, and something I didn't add to the Michael Jackson thoughts from yesterday: Michael's memorial service was yesterday at the Staples Center; today at the same location, Ringling Brothers opens up. Yep, the circus is in town. Do I even need a joke here?

I'll try to do a quick update from Mississippi at some point. My mom is usually pretty good about me using her laptop, that is when she isn't freaking out that I'll break it just by breathing on the thing.

Later taters.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Not So Quick Hitters

- Dads, I'm doing an incredibly brave thing: I'm taking my son on his first road trip. Sure, this is an experience that should be done when he can appreciate hours of quiet driving when the only sounds are the radio and the spitting of sunflower seed hulls into a soda bottle. Or when he can fully appreciate all his mother does to clean the house just by the simple act of walking into a rest stop bathroom (yeah, that was directed at you Britney).

- The Wife, The Son, and I are heading north from South Florida to my home state of Mississippi. We're gonna hit my dad's place, let my aunts, uncles and my grandmother finally meet my son, and then finish up at my mom and step-dad's house. It'll be The Son's first experience in the real South. Finally, some education for the boy!

- One of my worst fears was realized yesterday. We left dinner at Miller's Ale House with The Son crying for either a bottle, a bed, a new diaper or some combination of the three. Our niece was with us, and as soon as the car starts up, she says in the cutest voice imaginable: "Maybe The Son will stop crying if you put the Boom, Boom, Boom song on." The Wife giggles nearly made me sick as she hit the CD button with a little too much glee. You can see what's coming, right? Yep, he stopped crying right when the song started. I will now light myself on fire.

- Michael Jackson's memorial service is today. Just a small list of the things that have either irritated, confused, or delighted me during this whole saga:

  • The never-ending list of "Jackson Family" spokespeople. It's like they hire a new one for the day or something, then fire them and hire somebody else.
  • Today's "Jackson Family Spokesman" deserves special recognition for his name alone: Ken Sunshine. Only in the life and death of Michael Jackson would a reporter not comment on that guy's name, right?
  • Every channel on TV has had some sort of retrospective on Michael's life, focusing on how bad his dad was, how popular Michael was, how talented he was, and the impact he had on music and pop culture.
  • Despite the above fact, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have spent the last week complaining that the media has only focused on the allegations of abuse.
  • Sharpton and Jackson don't miss an opportunity to insinuate themselves into whatever media circus is handy, do they?
  • The "food poisoning" and "Legos" jokes are classic.
  • I would have thought that Maury Povich would have been all over the "Are the kids really Michael's?" debate. I would have thought Debbie Rowe would have been a prime candidate for one of those "paternity tests" specials Maury's always running. Anyone else secretly wanting this to happen?

- In truth, I don't think America is, or ever will be, surprised at anything that comes out about Michael Jackson. Seriously, would you even bat an eye if there was a report that Bubbles the chimp was really Michael's vocal coach for the latter part of his life? Or that Michael and Elizabeth Taylor plan to have their remains combined after they are both dead then used to form the cure for some new disease that hasn't even appeared yet? Or that Michael wants his music played forever from a space station so that aliens will understand love and soul? Would any of that shock you?

I mean the spokeman's name was Ken Freaking Sunshine!!! This was one weird dude!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Money, money, money, money!

A sad fact that all dads will have to learn is that babies require lots of everything. Time? Better cancel all those tee times you've got planned for the next, oh, I don't know, three years. Love? Your heart's gonna swell bigger than the Grinch ever dreamed of. Attention? If the Goodyear blimp was painted up like a ginormous boob it wouldn't demand more of your attention than your kid. Money? Prepare, my fellow dads, to be broker than you've ever been in your life.

Dads already give a lot of their money. That's just part of being the traditional bread-winner in the family. Moms spend a lot of time at home with the baby after it's born; sorry feminists, it's just a fact of nature. Mom is the one who a) has the built-in feeding equipment, and b) has that God-given ability to comfort her baby. Dads on the other hand have the unique ability to work and provide for Mom and baby.

However, when baby comes, you won't believe how fast money will evaporate from your wallet, and be deleted from your bank account. Diapers are $30 a box, and that's at Costco where things are almost always cheapr. Then there's baby wipes, formula, bottles, special super-duper baby nursery water (babies even have their own kind of water! Who knew? Bet you thought water was just water... see, told ya I'd teach ya something!), toys, car seats, carriers, car seat carrier combinations, swings, bouncey seats, blankets, burp cloths, and clothes.

If you made $1000 a month, I'm better about $900 of that will go toward the baby in some form or fashion. I'm not great at math, but I think that leaves about $100 for your meals, your clothes, your car, your entertainment. Now you know why you always hear this conversation from your going-out buddies:

"Hey, what happened to Joe?"
"Had a baby. Can't afford to do anything anymore."
Slight moment of silence from every male within earshot as they mourn Joe's passing.
"Ok, so guess that means we've got room for someone else in the group. Candidates?"

Of course, Joe now has new friends and new activities. But these things don't require a whole lot of scratch. For instance, Joe's 8:45 AM weekly tee time at the local golf course has been replaced by Joe's 9:00 AM weekly "Daddy and Me" session. "Wednesday happy hour at the bar" is now "Friday night Babies 'R Us trip." Joe doesn't mind this, because Joe has his new baby to think about. And because he has other dads to commiserate with at these functions. So it's not all bad. At least he's not by himself.

And if I ever see Joe at any of these things, I'll be sure to give him your best.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Writing vs. Crap

Remember the scene in Swingers when Jon Favreau's character, Mikey, meets the girls in Vegas? One of them works at the MGM Grand in a show, and says, "I'm a Dorothy." Mikey responds quickly with "Well, we're not in Kansas anymore!" It's perhaps the lamest joke ever because it's so unbelievable obvious it's been overdone to the point that if it were a biscuit you could use it as a hockey puck. Mikey does the same thing when he meets Lorraine, and immediately after she introduces herself, he replies, "Like the quiche." Same problem; over-used joke that is no longer funny.

Think there's a reason "why did the chicken cross the road" isn't used anymore? You guessed it.
Which brings me to my topic of the day: books for new Dads. To put it bluntly, for the most part they suck donkey turds. They are written mostly by "normal guy" dads which is supposed to make them more accessible to other normal guy dads. But along the path from idea to publication to entry into your local bookstore, no one stopped to ask if these guys could actually write!

I've seen books written like "outdoorsy" instruction manuals, books that utilize sports terminology, and books that try to throw in jokes around clinically boring info dumps. All of these books are written by "Average Joes." The publishers probably thought that a regular dude would have more credibility with their targeted demographic, but as any writing teacher will tell you, most people aren't good writers. It takes more than just throwing around "guy" words from sports, tools, or camping. Just because you as a writer call passing off a dirty diaper to your wife "illegal procedure" or a "flagrant foul" doesn't mean guys are going to enjoy reading your book, nor does it mean it's well-written.

Oh, and that brings up another pet peeve of mine when it comes to these books. I know funny. Doesn't mean I always write funny, but I do know funny. And throwing in all-new cute names for a dirty diaper every other page like "Mr. Stinky" and "Poo-pourri" doesn't make you funny. It makes you a dork. A large dork. Is poop funny? Abso-freaking-lutely it is! But inserting "poop monster" into a normal sentense doesn't make it funny. It makes it sad. Poop is funny in situations the same as everything else. Case in point: a street sign isn't funny no matter how many phallic names you give in a regular sentence like "The street schlong said we were on Main Street." However, if it's inserted into a situation like the outstanding TruCredit "Investigative Reporter Chuck Storm" commercial; it becomes hysterically funny.

The writing counts, people. The quality counts. If you're going to write a how-to book, that's great. But don't disguise it as a comedy book. And something that I didn't touch on, but just want to mention briefly in closing... men are not as stupid as you make us out to be. Just because a book is marketed to men doesn't mean the writing should be substandard. I'm just saying.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Leaving... On a Jet Plane

Well, not really. But I am leaving on a big school bus tomorrow morning for my first extended trip away from The Son. Our football team is going to a team camp at the University of Central Florida and we'll be gone from Thursday morning until Saturday night. I haven't spent more than a day away from The Son since he's been born. This sucks.

The Wife will be of course holding down the fort, but the worst part is we've got friends coming into town. It's The Wife's godmother and her husband. They are a lot of fun, and she should have a great time. At least someone will be there with her. Oh, and of course, Mr. 9mm will be there as well, which makes me feel a lot better.

More blogging when I get back.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Kick Back and Let the Big Dog Eat

The Wife and I did something that to my reckoning is an absolute necessity for parents in today's world: we joined Netflix. Of course, The Wife, in typical The Wife fashion, can't say the word "Netflix" so it comes out "Netflex." And if you think I'm not taking every opportunity to poke fun at her because of that... well, then to paraphrase Bugs Bunny, "You don't know me very well, do you?"

Here's the movies we put on our queue (side note: Where did The Wife get her talent of mispronouncing everything? From her mother of course, who says "that movie is next in my quay") since AJ is only 10 weeks old and unable to comprehend the spoken word:

Tin Cup: If you like this movie then no explanation is needed. If you haven't seen it, add it to your queue. If you don't like this movie, well, then "this one's for Venturi up in the booth who thinks I should lay up."

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes: The Wife picked this one because she likes old movies (nope, I didn't know this when I met, proposed or married her... but it would have only made her more attractive as you'll see), and because she likes Marilyn Monroe. I seconded this pick because I'd like to return to the days when big boobs and curves made a woman pretty, and bones poking through skin made a woman dead.

Fireproof: We both liked Facing the Giants and since the same bunch made this one, it's on the list. Plus, I've gotten too many good reviews from other married couples.

Gran Torino: "Get off my lawn." Eastwood at his menacing whisper best, plus at something like 80 years old, he kicks the crap out of a street gang. I think it would be a bad idea for any of us to miss this one. And we wouldn't want to make anyone's day would we?

Blade Runner: Duh, best Sci-Fi movie ever made. Harrison Ford, before he became an ear-ring-wearing-pansy, stars as Deckard, his third-best role behind Indy and Solo. With the added bonus that, in 1982, Sean Young was a hottie.

Hancock and The Prestige: What can I say, I like superhero and magician movies.

The Maltese Falcon and The Big Sleep: See, in the writing world we call this a "pay off." Told ya I'd come back to the classic movies. Dashiel Hammett (Falcon) and Raymond Chandler (Sleep) practically invented the private detective story and noir. Thomas Magnum, Columbo, Harry Bosch, Spenser, Elvis Cole, and to a degree, even Bruce Wayne aka Batman owe their very existence to the best of the best: Sam Spade and Phillip Marlowe.

Oh, sure, once The Son gets a little older, we're gonna put all the Disney, Pixar, Disney-Pixar, and kiddie movies in the quay. But for now, we've got to watch all those movies we missed when The Wife was a throwing-up-everyday, waddling-down-the-street, adorable, pregnant mess.

If you have other suggestions, please, by all means leave comments.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Things I Learned This Week

These are the things I learned this week off from blogging:

- My mother and step-father love my son, to the point that they actively want to hold him even when he projectile poops all over them.

- Breast milk does not taste good.

- My dog loves me, The Wife and our son but he loves pooping on the floor more.

- Scarlett Johansson's boobs and butt are not enough to make He's Just Not That Into You worth your time. Although it will reconfirm your belief that all women in movies are nuts.

- Churches have yet to figure out that if you turn your air conditioner on in the summer, more people will come.

- There's not enough pleading, begging, crying, wailing or gnashing of teeth in the world to make a baby stop crying; however letting him sleep on your chest is a miracle cure.

- Turner & Hooch is just as funny today as it was 20 years ago when it came out.

- The only thing that comes close on the pain scale to being racked in the nads for a guy is having the hair right around your nipple ripped out by your 9-week old son.

- I felt old after learning that it's been 20-freaking years since Tom Hanks made every parent in America hate him because he made every kid in America want a dog that looked like it swallowed a tennis shoe.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Baptism Break

My son's baptism is this Sunday, and a whole lot of family is coming into town starting tomorrow. So, don't expect a new update until maybe Monday. I'll give you all the highlights of course.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Babysitting and practice

I had the opportunity to babysit The Son today all by my lonesome. That is unless you counted my 5-year old nephew. Who decided he wanted to play "gun fight" while The Son was feeding, then decided that he wanted to watch Twilight instead of anything else in the world. And then wanted to play "gun fight" while The Son was asleep on my chest.

I also had the first day of summer workouts with the football team today. I didn't change before I went to the gym for conditioning, and failed to notice that The Son had left a little present on my shirt. Our defensive coordinator, who we call Coach Boom, didn't fail to notice.

The guys were about five-suicides into running (oh wait, you can't call them suicides anymore, can you? how about we call them "run until want to die"?) when Coach Boom decided to encourage them to run the last one with everything they had in them. He yelled at the top of his lungs, " Do you see Coach over there? He's got puke all over his shirt, and you're gonna keep running until somebody else has puke on their shirt!!!"

Yep, I love being a Daddy.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Some things I want for, and to do with, my son:

- I want him to enjoy reading as much, or more, than I do.

- I want him to love his country as much as I do.

- I want him to love the absolute joy of watching Rocky, and know that while all the Rocky movies are great, Rocky V never happened.

- I want to watch all the Star Trek movies with him, and for him to see the awesomeness of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the utter stupidity of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, the coolness of Star Trek: First Contact, and the genius that is J.J. Abrams's Star Trek.

- I want him to love sports for the right reasons like the feeling I got watching Ole Miss beat Florida live, and even the gut-wrenching sadness of something like "The Fumble."

- I want him to appreciate history, and how it is can be a roadmap for the life laid out before him.

- I want to watch all six Star Wars movies with my son, but exactly how they came out: 4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3.

- I want him to understand what it feels like to not start for a team, and to know what it takes to get on the starting team.

- I want him to see one of his teams win a championship. I hope it's also one of my teams.

- I want him to learn how to put a worm on a hook, and take a fish off a hook.

- I want him to know how to tie a tie, change a tire, check the oil, and be the friend that will be the DD on occasion when he gets older.

- I want my son to love to learn, just like I do.

- Mostly I want my son to know he is loved.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

My Kid is Better Than Your Kid

Sometimes, a kid is just a kid.

Sports Illustrated is going for broke with its latest cover, proclaiming 16-year old Bryce Harper the greatest baseball player of all time. Practically anyway. They are talking about him hitting 570-foot home runs, throwing 96-mile per hour fastballs, and being fast enough to score on a wild pitch from second base. All those feats are impressive, but, Bryce is 16 freaking years old!

This of course brings up a discussion that as dads we avoid like the plague. Sure, we all have stories of runaway parents at our Little League games. Like the dad who threatened to slash the umpire's tires after calling his kid out at the plate. Or the dad who spent the entire third, fourth, fifth, and sixth inning of a game cussing, muttering and berating his kid for a called taking strike three with the bases loaded in the second. Or the dad who pushed his own son's coach because the poor guy took the dad's son out of the game.

All those stories are true, and from my one summer umpiring 9- and 10-year old baseball. No, I didn't get my tires slashed. But I did get cussed at more that summer than during Basic Training in the military. At least at Basic I knew the Drill Instructor was cussing me for my benefit. All the dads that summer, and every dad who has crossed the line during his kid's game, did was embarrass himself and his family. It is a kids league, guys, with kids playing. No money is at stake, and the trophy is made of plastic. Should there be a winner and a league champ? Absolutely, because that teaches kids that there is a reward for success. But should the way we act also teach our kids something? You're darn right.

Which brings us back to Bryce Harper. SI is doing what too many dads do. J.D. McCoy's dad did it on this past season of "Friday Night Lights." Because we dads couldn't make it as pro sports stars, we try to force our sons and daughters to do it for us. And we forget that our first job is to raise our children in love. That means letting them decide how much they want to pursue sports, or music, or theater, or basket weaving if that's what they want to do. It also means not putting undue pressure on them to succeed.

SI should be ashamed for putting this much on a 16-year old's shoulders. Will he be the next Babe Ruth? I have no clue. How's about we give him time to figure that one out for himself?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Quick hitters

On a day when not much happened baby wise, some quick hitters for your consideration and rumination:

- Babies probably grab people's attention more than anything else on the planet except a) anything remotely close to boobs for men and b) a shoe sale for women.

- "Boom, Boom, Pow" by the Black-Eyed Peas is K's new favorite song; it also doubles as the one song right now that might make me drive into a telephone pole.

- My baby went into the pool for the first time today. Sure, only his feet got wet and the bathing suit was about eight sizes too big for him, but a lifetime of wrinkled-up fingers, being told to"stop running!" and skinny dipping is finally underway. I'll admit, I got a little verklempt.

- My mother-in-law deeply cares for my son, which is outstanding. But she has taken to expressing that care by literally freaking out everytime The Son is passed from one person to another, or placed into his swing or carrier. I'm talking a hand-waving, "every person has the coordination of a crash-test dummy," panic-attack spasm. This makes me smile, only because I know she cares so much.

- I lied, I also think it's pretty darn funny to watch.

- "Boom, Boom, Pow" is the number one song in the nation; I just looked it up. Also, my wife spends about 75% of her time in her car searching for the song on every station in the listening area. And at the same time, I'm wistfully looking at telephone poles.

- The Wife, The Son, The Dog and I are currently living with my in-laws, so already there's six of us in the house. Yesterday, one of my sisters-in-law showed up with her three kids and their 130-pound St. Bernard. 11 in the house, including two dogs and a baby. Screw Calgon, get me a beer.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Raising a Culture of Wimps

Our babies are growing up in a world where they'll be forced to apologize for anything and everything they do. And let me be bluntly honest here, most of the stuff they'll have to apologize for will be absolutely correct!

In the last decade there's been a rash of political correctness that's forced untold numbers of people in the public eye to apologize for stuff they said or did. Examples include, but aren't limited to Clay Aiken expressing his opinion on "American Idol" finalist Adam Lambert, David Feherty after his joke about Senator Harry Reid and Representative Nancy Pelosi, and even a zoo in London after a gorilla farted in front of patrons. This has got to stop, for our babies' sake.

First off, David Feherty's joke was absolutely on point, because it expressed the opinion of many US service members (and yes I used to be one, and since I have friends still in uniform, I think I'm authority enough to speak on it). Are we not allowed to have opinions anymore? Clay Aiken, who I'm not a big fan of, did the same thing. He gave the readers of his blog his opinion of Adam's singing. Apparently we are not on notice that having an opinion that is not popular in the media can get you in trouble. Are we living in 1984 and no one told me?

Opinions are not facts, but if your opinion is backed up with facts, then it is a valid one. I'm teaching my son that as soon as he can learn it. And if you opinion isn't popular, but you have facts to back it up, hold fast to it. That is the measure of character.

Oh, and if you need to let a fart out in a zoo, LET. IT. GO! They happen, people. Get over it.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Baby Race

Who cares whose baby develops faster? Why do parents try to one up each other so much with what their little puddin' has done before the "expected time"? Shouldn't we just be happy that our babies are developing at their own pace and leave the competition out of it? Who cares if their baby is better than the guy down the street's child?

I'll tell you who... me! Life is unfair, it rewards winners with tremendous perks and punishes losers severely. Yes, I know that things like whose baby can hold their head up the longest is a stupid competition, but hey, all these kids will be competing for what seems like a rapidly deteriorating job market someday soon, so why not start the lessons now? I'm a dad, and I love sports and competition. I think that I should teach my son to love it as well. If he doesn't love it, he'll shrink from it and I definitely don't want that.

When did competition become an ugly word in our society, especially when it comes to children? I read stories about towns where every Little League team in town got the same size trophy no matter where they finished in the league standings. Or how about the one where the coaches, refs and parents all decided to not keep score in the kid basketball league? That's just, to paraphrase Dr. Evil, re-damn-diculous!

So let's do it! The Son's six and a half weeks, and on the "holding his head up" thing we're at a minute and counting. In the words of The Rock... "Just bring it!"