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.