Friday, December 6, 2019

"So, What Do You Want for Christmas?"

"What do you want for Christmas this year?"

That's the big question, isn't it? We'll get asked that question many times over the course of December, and we'll probably ask it ourselves to several people. It can be a tough question, or it can be an easy question. Some people know exactly how to answer it. "I want an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!" And some people have no idea whatsoever what they want. In her letter to Santa (as dictated to my wife) my youngest daughter once said, "Please bring me a present, not a froggy. I want a froggy and a toy dinosaur and a toy lion in the present." (She got a froggy. She liked it.)

Merry Christmas to all!!!

So, what do I want for Christmas this year? Not much. Just a few things like:

*I would like an end to partisan bickering, so that members of both parties could spend more time working to continue to make this nation a wonderful place to live instead of calling each other names and worrying about getting re-elected.

*I would like the Minnesota Vikings to win the Super Bowl this year. (Just one championship. That's all I'm asking for! C'mon, if Tampa Bay can have a championship why can't the Vikings?)

*I would like automatic computer updates that update at convenient times for me, and don't mess up my computer.

*I would like all television commercials to be rated "G." I shouldn't have to have the "birds and the bees" talk with my kids because of an advertisement during a timeout in the basketball game.

*I would like some egg nog.

*I would like good health for me and my family. And my friends. And other people, too.

*I would like world peace.

*I would like lettuce to taste like bacon.

*I would like to be able to tell my children something once, and have them hear me and do the thing I wanted them to do after only telling them one time.

*I would like happiness for me and my family. And my friends. And other people, too.

(I don't want to be too greedy. I'll settle for any one of these things.)

Edited from a post originally published on 12/12/2017.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

No Turkey on Thanksgiving?

My wife's family is weird.

(They'd have to be--they accepted me into their ranks.)

Did you know that there is no law that says you have to have turkey on Thanksgiving? It's true! If you wanted to, it would be perfectly legal to have Cap'n Crunch for your Thanksgiving Day feast. Sure, you might be pegged as being odd, but it's not a requirement to have the traditional Thanksgiving foods.

Our family usually gets together with my wife's parents and her two sisters for Sunday dinner two or three times a month. When we do get together, there's always an abundance of food. Every two or three months or so, we'll even have a big turkey dinner on a random Sunday. So, when they were contemplating what to do for Thanksgiving, my wife, her sisters, and her Mom decided that we didn't really need to do the big production of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Instead, they decided to make soup. Their thinking was, "Why do we spend so much time making a big deal out of the meal while the men sit around and watch football all day." And so, soup it was.

Soup for Thanksgiving? Sounds good to me!

Yes, we had soup for Thanksgiving dinner--and I was perfectly happy with that. Everyone made a soup and brought it for the Thanksgiving get-together. There was some butternut squash soup, some chili, and some corn chowder. My wife made some Zupa Toscana, the sausage/potato/kale soup like they make at Olive Garden. They were all really good soups, or so I assume. (I filled myself on my wife's soup, because I knew it was fantastic!)

I enjoyed the soup, and I was perfectly satisfied with it as my Thanksgiving meal. Fortunately, my wife's family also enjoys desserts, so while there was no Thanksgiving turkey, there still was an abundance of pies. Five different kinds of pie, plus a pumpkin-chocolate chip cake, to be precise. All delicious! (Yes, while I didn't try the different soups, I felt it was my obligation to try at least one piece of every pie.) (Someone had to do it.)

There's always room for pie!
So, while our Thanksgiving didn't include the typical turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and gravy, we still had pie, and we still enjoyed watching the Dallas Cowboys lose. (Some Thanksgiving traditions are always enjoyable!)

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Ranking the Names of the 12 Players Who Scored In the Auburn-Alabama Football Game

You've got to love college football! It's a great sport, where every game matters (except for 92% of the season-ending bowl games.) It's a game where every team has a chance to win the national championship (except for the teams that don't play in one of the five elite conferences--and even most of them don't have much of a chance.) But mainly, it's a game where the players have some really cool names.

I'm talking about names like "Jarvis Redwine," "Malakai Rango," or "Jake Butt." I once heard a sports radio host joke that he wasn't sure if "Pope Benedict" was the leader of the Catholic church or a wide receiver for Florida State. (I couldn't talk about this subject without mentioning this incredible skit from Key and Peele.)

Auburn and Alabama played an important football game this weekend. I wasn't able to watch it. (I was doing grocery shopping, putting away laundry, and other things that happen when you are a father of four.) But, after the game was over, I looked at the box score, to see how the game went. That's when I came across the names of the twelve players who scored during Auburn's 48-45 upset victory over Alabama. They are twelve of the best names you'll ever see light up a box score for a college football game.

Be on the lookout for Hingle McCringleberry!
I decided to rank these player names, from least to most interesting. Here they are:

12. Mac Jones--Alabama quarterback (four touchdown passes): Mac Jones? Sounds like a country singer. (Didn't he sing "Baby, Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me?")

11. Najee Harris--Alabama (one rushing touchdown): A combination of two exclamations--Nah! Gee!

10. Anders Carlson--Auburn kicker (four field goals, four extra points): His name sounds like he's a kicker from Sweden. (He looks like it, too.) But, his hometown is listed as Colorado Springs.

9. Joseph Bulovas--Alabama kicker (six extra points, one field goal; missed a potential game-tying field goal in the final minutes): The Bulova "Accutron" watch is noted for its accuracy, which would be a very good quality to have in a field goal kicker.

8. Shedrick Jackson--Auburn (caught two-point conversion): How does Rick's "Shedrick" compare to Cheryl's she-shed?

7. Zacoby McClain--Auburn (100-yard interception return for touchdown): I wonder how many times a day Zacoby is mistakenly referred to as Jacoby?

6. Sal Cannella--Auburn (one touchdown reception): Sounds like either a common bacterial disease of the intestinal tract, or the name of one of Tony Soprano's henchmen.

5. Shaun Shivers--Auburn (one game-clinching touchdown run): What does Shaun do when his wife steals all of the covers? (Great points for alliteration.)

4. Bo Nix--Auburn quarterback (one touchdown run, one touchdown pass, one pass for two-point conversion): Now that's getting maximum use out of a minimal amount of letters! Just five letters, and you've got game-winning quarterback Bo Nix. Go, Bo!

3. Henry Ruggs III--Alabama (one touchdown reception): Is he called "Henry Ruggs three," or "Henry Ruggs the third?" What's the story on Henry Ruggs I and Henry Ruggs II? Will there be a Henry Ruggs IV? What kind of flooring does Henry Ruggs III have in his home?

2. Jaylen Waddle--Alabama (three touchdown receptions, one kickoff return touchdown): No one named "Waddle" should be able to run so fast.

1. Smoke Monday--Auburn (one interception return touchdown): Smoke Monday--What do they call the start-of-the-week sale down at the Smoke Shop? Smoke Monday--How do you want your brisket cooked, and when do you want it? Smoke Monday--What you better do, because they're canceling our cigarette breaks on Tuesday. Smoke Monday--What'll they find if you burn down Cheryl's she shed late Sunday night?

Actually, "Smoke" is just a nickname given to him by his grandfather. His real name is "Quindarious." Which explains why his coaches and teammates call him "Smoke."

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

What Are the Kids Thankful For?

It's officially Thanksgiving break, so I'm letting the kids take over the blog for the day. (They thought this was a good idea.)

Roll call:
Thing 1--11 year-old girl
Thing 2--9 year-old boy
Thing 3--4 year-old girl
Thing 4--3 year-old boy

I asked them what they were thankful for, and here's how they answered:

"I'm thankful for science."--I'm not sure if Thing 1 was trying to be a smart aleck, or just trying to be smart. (She is often very good at being both.)

"I'm thankful for outer space."--This was Thing 2 trying to give a "smart" answer like his big sister.

"Prentcils!" exclaimed Thing 3. "Prentcils!" yelled Thing 4 in agreement. I asked what that meant. Thing 3 was talking about lead-filled writing utensils, but Thing 4 was referring to crunchy, salty snacks.


"Fruit!"--Thing 3 loves her some fruit.

"Fast food!"--Thing 2 likes to eat.

"Mac and cheese."--Thing 4. (He likes to eat it, and he likes to wear it.)

"I'm thankful for dogs that can dance."--Sometimes Thing 1 tries a little too hard to be funny. (She's a lot like her Dad in that way.)

"Windows. Blinds. Light switches. Piano benches. Table cloths."--In lieu of creativity, Thing 2 decided to just name things within his line of sight.

"Cats that meow when you meow at them."--Thing 1, trying to be funny again.

"School buses!"--I'm not sure which kid shouted this, because they all like school buses.

"School bus drivers who drive us to school even though half the kids scream at her all the time."--This is odd enough that it requires further questioning. Apparently, half the kids (mostly boys) scream at the bus driver, even though she really doesn't like it. Sometimes the bus driver yells back at them. (I'm thankful for patient bus drivers.)

"I'm thankful for Mommy!"--And with that, Thing 4 speaks for all of us.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Advertisements Are the Original Fake News

Advertisers make a lot of outlandish claims, like "Red Bull gives you wings," "these tacos are made with real beef," and "our service is Comcastic!" So, I was a bit skeptical when I saw this:

It's on a billboard, so it MUST be true!
The billboard says, "Biscuits are spoons you can eat." Despite my trepidation, I was very intrigued. Why? Well, I like biscuits. And I like to eat with spoons. So, using a biscuit as a spoon could be a good thing. (One less dish to wash!)

I thought I should give it a try.

The next time I went to have a bowl of cereal, I decided I'd try to eat it with a biscuit instead of a spoon.

It didn't work so well.

I tried to scoop up the cereal with the biscuit, like I usually do with the spoon, but all it did was push the cereal around. None of the cereal actually stayed on the biscuit. I ended up with cereal all over the table and a biscuit that was a bit soggy from the milk. Yes, I could eat the biscuit, but I couldn't really use it as a spoon.

Maybe if I had tried to eat soup instead of cereal the biscuit would have been a better spoon. But even then it wouldn't have been optimal; it's very difficult to slurp a biscuit.

So, once again I am forced to come to the conclusion that an advertisement has made a false claim. They tried to pass off a lie as if it were the truth. It's almost as if advertisements were fake news before "Fake News" was a thing.

Edited from a post originally published on 11/28/2017.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Are You Sure That's a Good Idea?

We all make choices every day. Some of those choices aren't the best.

*Getting sushi at a gas station.

*Letting you children cut each other's hair.

*Going shopping at Costco in a little two-seat convertible.

Where will they put the three-gallon jar of mayonnaise?

*Buying a house on a busy five-lane highway.

*Eating a McRib.

*Playing baseball in the church parking lot.


*Reposting some horrible meme about someone you disagree with politically without first checking to see if it is actually true. (For example, Bernie Sanders did NOT say, "Any NBA player who scores more than 30 points should be forced to share those points with someone who has not scored that many points, regardless of which team he plays for,"--even though it appears on the internet, seems legitimate, and comes from a reliable-looking source like "")

*Sour Patch Kids cereal.

It's as delicious as it looks!
*Shopping around for the least expensive vasectomy.

*Electing the same people to Congress again and again, then expecting them to change things for the better.

*Electing a reality-television show host as President of the United States and expecting him to change things for the better.

*Giving your Social Security Number to someone over the phone because you got an official-sounding message saying it had been suspended for, and I quote, "some reason."

*Eating out at Taco Bell on the first date.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Sleep? Good Luck with That

Sleep: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Parenthood. Its five year -- ten year --twenty year --lifelong mission: to explore the inside of your eyelids, to seek out sleep wherever you can find it, to boldly snore where no one has snored before!

[Wait. Did you say lifelong mission? Really? Lifelong? Shouldn't it be just "five-year?" By the time your kids are five years old they should be sleeping through the night, so the parents should be able to sleep just fine, right? Are you trying to tell me that your children can effect your ability to sleep for the rest of your entire life?!? That's something they certainly did not put in the brochures! I didn't know I was signing up for that!]

Sleep is something we definitely take for granted as single people. Before you become a parent, your thoughts on sleep are basically, "Sleep? Yeah, I'll catch some of that whenever. It's no big deal. There'll always be time for sleep later." Ha! If only you knew! When you are a parent, that far-flung future known as "later" doesn't actually exist, and it probably never will.

Sleep? Why would I sleep when I could be climbing on the couch and knocking the mirror off of the wall?

The ways in which a child can keep a parent from getting that much-needed sleep are numerous:
Talking to their stuffed animals.
Arguing with their stuffed animals.
Peeing the bed.
Pooping the bed.
Barfing the bed.
Jumping on the bed.
Clicking the light switch on and off in rapid succession.
Pounding on the door.
Pounding on the wall.
Climbing up the wall.
Waking up their sibling.
Climbing on the furniture.
Knocking over the furniture.
Making too much noise.
And, oddly enough, being too quiet.

And when the kids wake us up, we'll do just about anything to get them back to sleep. The other night The Wife and I piled sleepless kids in our bed with us and watched an episode of Reading Rainbow about comedy. (Because when it comes to making people laugh, the first person I think of is LeVar Burton.) Later, I sat in the living room at 3:30 AM feeding pop tarts to my youngest as he forced me to play with a fidget spinner. (And if I wasn't playing with it the way he wanted me to, he most certainly would let me know.)

Of course, once kids become teenagers we don't need to worry about them anymore, and we can count on a peaceful sleep every night. (I don't know this for a fact, but it's got to be true, right?)

There's a lot of talk about the zombie apocalypse. I don't think it will happen, but if it does, it won't consist of the undead, it will be a zombie apocalypse featuring sleepless parents slowly going through their daily motions without any visible sign of higher brain functions.

Kids daydream about all kinds of fantastical, wonderful things. Parents daydream about sleep. It truly is the final frontier.

Edited from a post originally published on 11.7.2017.