Friday, April 29, 2016

Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, and Odd Squad

Game of Thrones is back!!! Hooray! I'm so excited! I can't wait to find out what's going to happen. Is Jon Snow really dead? If he's not, how are they going to bring him back? I'm sooooo looking forward to it!

Meanwhile, The Walking Dead just finished up another thrilling season. So exciting! What a cliffhanger! Negan swung his bat, but who did he kill? Was it Rick? Glenn? Michonne? Daryl? Carl? Maggie? One of the others? I don't know. I'll be wondering all summer long!

These are two of the best and most exciting shows in the history of television!

Or so I'm told.

I've never actually seen one minute of Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead. What I have seen is a lot of stuff on the interwebs about those two shows. A lot of stuff. Fans of those shows really like to post stuff about them on Facebook and Twitter. Entertainment sites are filled with info and spoilers and what's-nexts about Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. (That's how I know about Jon Snow and Negan.) People everywhere are obsessed about these two shows!

Me? No. I don't watch either of those shows because I'm spending my television viewing time watching Odd Squad and WordGirl. When you have kids of a certain age, these are the shows you watch.

So, while many of you were watching the carnage of the Red Wedding on Game of Thrones, I was learning why Agent Olive is afraid of pies on Odd Squad. (SPOILER ALERT: It's because Odd Tod unleashed a pie-nado at Odd Squad headquarters.)(A pie-nado is a tornado made of pies.) And while you were watching the evil machinations of the Governor on The Walking Dead, I was watching WordGirl's monkey sidekick, Captain Huggy Face, do a celebratory dance because he correctly mimed the definition of the word "pensive" on WordGirl. And while you were watching the Mountain crush a man's skull with his bare hands on Game of Thrones, I was trying to figure out why Agent Olaf is obsessed with potatoes on Odd Squad.

Do I feel like I'm missing out because I don't watch Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead? No, not really. From what I hear on the internets, I'm mostly just missing out on a lot of shocking, gory deaths. If I want shocking, gory deaths I can go rent a Friday the 13th movie. (Or watch a Los Angeles Clippers playoff series.) There aren't a lot of heads chopped off on Odd Squad, and I'm fine with that.

Walking Dead? Game of Thrones? Nope.

So, for those of you who constantly feel the need to post about Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, I appreciate your passion for your shows, but I really don't need to keep hearing about them. It would be like me constantly posting about Odd Squad or WordGirl. I don't care about your zombies or dragons any more than you care about the latest nefarious exploits of Symmetric Al or Chuck, the Evil Sandwich-Making Guy.

Oh well, I guess it could be worse. You could be posting cat videos.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I Was a Kindergarten Dropout

I dropped out of school at a young age.

Five. I dropped out of school at the age of five. Yes, I was a kindergarten dropout.

Truth be told, it wasn't really my choice. My Mom pulled me out of kindergarten fairly early in the year. I'm not really sure why she did it, and, after all of these years Mom doesn't remember why she did it, either. (It was a long, long time ago.) (In a land far, far away.)

I called and asked her, and Mom has no clue as to why she pulled me out of kindergarten. Looking back she thinks, "it must have been something with the teacher or the kids," but I don't think so. I don't recall anyone having any problems with the teacher, whose name was Mrs. Quam, or Mrs. Quom, or Mrs. Cuam, or, as most of the kids probably called her, "Teacher, Teacher, Teacher, Teacher!!!"

And I don't think I had any problems with any of the kids, either. I was pretty easy going back then, and either got along with or was ignored by most other kids.

No, I think the reason why Mom pulled me out of kindergarten was because she missed me. I was her youngest kid, and with me gone from the house it was awfully quiet and lonely. But, that's just my theory. It happened so long ago that no one really knows anymore.

Being a kindergarten dropout didn't hurt me academically. While the other kids were doing their finger paintings and learning the alphabet, I was reading with Mom and doing advanced arithmetic. (Okay, not really advanced, but stuff that was more difficult than the kids were doing in kindergarten.) (I was keeping score in skee-ball bowling, doing equations like 46+7=53, which is pretty advanced for a kindergartener.)

No, where being a kindergarten dropout hurt me was in the social aspect of school. Up until that time, I was a normal kid, with normal social interactions, and a normal(-ish) group of friends. Heck, I was even pretty darn good-looking!

Now, that is a handsome young man!
(And that's my 1st Grade picture. I would have been even more handsome in kindergarten.)

But, I think that missing out on kindergarten put a damper on my social development. By not kicking back with the other kids, drinking chocolate milk and comparing our coloring papers, I missed out on something. As I kept advancing in school, I kept falling farther and farther behind socially, to the point that when I got to junior high and high school, I could barely even talk to girls.

They say, "All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten." (Someone even wrote a book about it.) Well, I wasn't at kindergarten. I was a dropout. So, there was a lot of stuff I really needed to know that I didn't learn. Because I was a kindergarten dropout.

I sometimes wonder how differently my life would have turned out if I hadn't been a kindergarten dropout. Perhaps, instead of being a socially inept nerd, I would have been well-liked and popular. My confidence would have been boosted. With higher confidence, I would have been a better athlete. I would have gotten an athletic scholarship to a top university. I would have excelled in my studies. I would have graduated college with honors. I would have set up a successful dental practice, and spent the rest of my life looking into the mouths of all kinds of people. People with bad breath.

Instead, my Mom forced me to become a kindergarten dropout. I became socially awkward. I struggled through college, then drifted aimlessly for many, many years. And then, through some amazing stroke of fortune, I met a wonderful woman, got married, and had three beautiful and fantastic children.

So, to sum up, if I had gone to kindergarten, I would be spending all my time picking at other people's teeth. But, because I am a kindergarten dropout, I'm married to a wonderful woman, have some great kids, and get to write about donuts all day.

Thanks, Mom!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Donald Trump Is Archie Bunker

Once upon a time, there was a loud-mouthed bigot on television. He proudly announced his disdain and mistrust of people who weren't from his particular ethnicity. If people disagreed with him, he called them derogatory names. He'd speak his mind, though he would rarely think about what he was going to say before he said it. He was loved by many, and hated by many.

His name was Archie Bunker.

Today there is a loud-mouthed bigot on television. He proudly announces his disdain and mistrust of people who aren't from his particular ethnicity. If people disagree with him, he calls them derogatory names. He speaks his mind, though he rarely thinks about what he is going to say before he says it. He is loved by many, and hated by many.

His name is Donald Trump.

In January of 1971, CBS aired the first episode of All In the Family. It was a half-hour comedy centered around an outspoken, abrasive man named Archie Bunker; his generally submissive wife, Edith; their daughter, Gloria; and her liberal husband, Michael.

The show was successful right out of the gate. All In the Family was the highest rated show on television for each of its first five seasons. And that success was mostly due to the character of Archie Bunker, played by actor Carroll O'Connor.

They even put out an album of songs sung by the characters of Archie and Edith! (Yes, it's pretty awful.)
(Thankfully, Donald Trump has not put out an album.) (Yet.) (That I know of.)
(Of course, he has put out Trump the Book, Trump the Game, Trump Steaks, Trump Wine, Trump University, and Trump Towers, so can an album of him singing really be far behind?)

Many people were surprised by the success of the show. They couldn't understand how so many people could be fans of a character who was so obviously flawed. Some people enjoyed Archie at face value, agreeing with the character's outspoken views. Others enjoyed Archie not as a character but as a caricature; an almost cartoon-like embodiment of outdated thinking.

But, whatever you think of him, the similarities between Archie Bunker and Donald Trump are striking. Let's take a look:

Archie Bunker 1. Says what he thinks (with hardly any filter.)
Donald Trump 1. Says what he thinks (with hardly any filter.)

Archie 2. Bigot (distrusts non-whites.)
Donald 2. Bigot (distrusts Mexicans and Muslims.)

Archie 3. Frequently calls others by derogatory nicknames, like "Meathead" and "Dingbat."
Donald 3. Frequently calls others by derogatory nicknames, like "Lyin' Ted" and "Crooked Hillary."

Archie 4. Sexist (often tells his wife to "stifle" herself.)
Donald 4. Sexist (has said some unflattering things about women.)

Archie 5. Very popular (show #1 in television ratings for five straight years.)
Donald 5. Very popular (has large lead in delegate count in Republican primaries.)

Archie 6. Also very unpopular (many worried that show might encourage those who held similar misguided views as Archie.)
Donald 6. Also very unpopular (many worried what he might do if actually elected President.)

But, despite all of the similarities between them, there is one big difference between Archie Bunker and Donald Trump:

Archie Bunker: A fictional character.
Donald Trump: An actual, real person who is attempting to be elected as President of the United States of America. For real.

So, here we are, with Donald Trump as a legitimate candidate for President. Are we insane? What exactly are we thinking? Can you imagine the people during the run of All In the Family even considering to vote Archie Bunker for President? (Of course, those people did elect Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter...)

But still, I can't picture a world in which Archie Bunker would be elected President. And I can't picture a world in which Donald Trump will be elected, either. (I hope I'm right.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Who Wants To Watch the Commercials?

I don't want to see the commercials. Neither do you.

We fast-forward through the commercials. We change the channel during the commercials. We seek out shows that are "commercial-free" so we don't have to watch them. We watch our shows on streaming services or DVD so we can avoid the commercials.

Everyone hates commercials, right?

Well, no. Not everyone hates commercials. There are actually some people who like to watch the commercials. In fact, there are some people who would rather watch the commercials than the show!!!

Don't believe me? Well, I happen to know for a fact that these people exist, because my oldest kids are two of them.

We don't let our kids watch a lot of television. There's just so much crap on these days, and most of it is inappropriate for children. Most of what we do let them watch is on PBS, so our kids don't have a whole lot of experience with commercial breaks.

Well, recently I've been watching a fair bit of basketball. I watched a good deal of the NCAA college basketball tournament, and now I'm starting in on the NBA playoffs. And, the kids like to watch with me. They'll ask a little bit about the teams. They'll ask what the city is and what the team's nickname is. Usually they'll look at the score, see who's ahead, then declare that they want that team to win. (No one likes to cheer for a loser.) (Please, no Vikings or Jazz jokes. I've suffered enough.)

But really what they want to do is watch the commercials. I figured this out the other day when there was a time-out near the end of a close game. The Girl (my eight year-old daughter) started yelling at the screen, "It's a time out! Why aren't they going to commercial? They have to go to a commercial! It's a time out!"

The Girl has even figured out that the little on-screen scoreboard has a series of dashes on it to signify how many time-outs each team has. Her reactions range from, "Yay! Each team has three time-outs left. So that means there'll be at least six more commercials!" to, "They don't have any time-outs left. I wish they would let them have more time-outs. What if they need to rest?" I think she is the only person in the history of sports viewership (other than a few poor souls who really need a potty break) who has ever wanted more game stoppages as the clock winds down.

Because of their love of the commercials, my kids have spent the last few weeks walking around the house singing "The Pina Colada Song." They learned it from Charles Barkley, Samuel L. Jackson, and Spike Lee singing it in a Capital One commercial. The Girl also has an unusual crush on commercial spokesman/commentator/former player Kenny Smith. "I like Kenny. If I were closer in age to him, I wouldn't mind maybe going on a date with Kenny."

They are also both fascinated with a series of commercials for State Farm in which a bunch of basketball players (Kevin Garnett, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, Kevin Love, and Damian Lillard) dress up as a family called "The Hoopers." I don't think they realize that it's not a show, but just a series of commercials. (The Girl actually said, "Dad, where can I go to find out more about "The Hoopers?")

My kids would rather watch this than the actual game.

One time I made the mistake of waiting until a commercial break to send them off to put on their pajamas. They were not happy. The next night I played it smarter and actually waited until a commercial break had ended before sending them for pajamas. Once the game came back on, they left without a single complaint.

My kids are funny.

The NBA playoffs will be going for several more weeks. I look forward to watching a lot of games. And I look forward to watching a lot of commercials with my kids.

Friday, April 15, 2016

I'm Going To Bed (at 8:30 PM)

It's Friday night! It's 8:30 PM and the weekend is here! What are you going to do to celebrate? Go out for a late dinner? Dessert? Perhaps you'd like to go dancing? Maybe catch that movie you've been wanting to see? Hang out with friends? Party?

There are a lot of good options for how to get your weekend started on a Friday night. But you're not going to be doing any of them, are you?

No, it's 8:30 on a Friday night. That means you'll be going straight to bed.

Why? Are you some sort of loser? Are you a senior citizen? Why in the world would you be going to bed at 8:30 on a Friday night?

That's easy: You are a parent.

The thinking is pretty simple: "The kids are asleep? Well, I better go to bed and get some sleep, too. While I can."

Who needs sleep? (Me.)
Gone are the nights of late night partying and going out with friends. The energy that used to be used for such activities was already sucked away earlier in the day by picking up things off the floor, even though you've just vacuumed, so that The Baby won't put them into her mouth. And making sure you get The Boy a blue cup at lunch because the milk won't taste nearly as good if it is in a yellow cup. And arguing with The Girl about the veracity of leprechauns.

Seriously, unless you are a parent you just don't understand how draining it can be to try to keep The Baby out of the cat food. (Over and over again.) Or how much it takes out of you to listen to The Boy yell into the megaphone he got for his birthday. ("Thanks" for that, Auntie S!) Or trying to explain to The Girl why she can't wear her Elsa slippers to school because they are slippers, not shoes.

You used to do things. You used to have fun. You used to have a life. And now, you go to bed at 8:30 on a Friday night. It's really pretty pathetic. People will call you at 8:45 PM and you'll angrily yell at them, "Why are you calling so late?"

The whole situation would be very, very sad if it weren't so worth it. It's worth it when The Baby smiles because she has figured out all of the hand motions for the "Itsy-Bitsy Spider." It's worth it when The Boy gets excited because he just sounded out the word "Tyrannosaurus" all by himself. It's worth it when The Girl jumps around the room in giddy anticipation because you told her that Grammy is on her way for a visit.

Yes, every once in a while you might look back fondly to the time when you actually used to do things on a Friday night. But, you wouldn't change it for the world. The kids may sap all of your energy and leave you a sleepy, boring husk of the person you used to be, but it's all worth it. The kids are worth it all.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go to bed.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Spring Break Barf-a-rama!

Everyone loves Spring Break! What's not to love? It's a full week off from school with good(-ish) weather! We can do whatever we want, whenever we want! Spring Break is the best!

Except for when it isn't.

The Wife (who is a school teacher) and the kids got a full week off for Spring Break this year. We had some big plans. Okay, so not big plans, but we did have some plans. And it started off pretty well....

Monday: For the first day of Spring Break we went as a family to the aquarium. We saw the penguins, otters, sharks, and rays. Oh, and we even saw some fish. It was a fun outing and we had a pleasant day. It was a great start to our Spring Break week. (And, no one barfed!)

Tuesday: This was our day to just relax. We had nowhere to go and nothing to do, so we thought we'd sleep in (the kids woke us up before 7:00 AM) and lounge around most of the day. The Wife got ambitious enough to make several loaves of rainbow bread. (It's regular wheat bread with the dough dyed in such a way that when it is baked it comes out looking like a rainbow. It was very pretty and very tasty.)

We then went to bed and everything was fine....until The Baby made a bit of a crying noise at about 11:30. I was still awake, so I got up to check on her. By the time I got to her room she looked like she was back asleep, face down with her bum in the air. I almost shut the door and went back to bed, but I could smell something foul in her room. Assuming she had pooped in her diaper, I picked her up and did what any good parent would do: I sniffed my baby's butt. (Ten years ago if you had told me how many times I would sniff another person's butt I would have told you you were crazy.)

But, her bum didn't smell any worse than the general air in the room. I thought about putting her back in bed, but decided that since I was up I might as well change her diaper to be sure. And as I put her down on the changing table, that's when I discovered the barf in her hair!

Yes, barf in her hair! So, I immediately went into damage assessment mode. I turned on the lights, which instantly changed The Baby's mood from sleepy-and-a-little-fussy to turn-that-darn-light-off-screaming-at-the-top-of-her-lungs. I checked her bed: barf everywhere!

Apparently, she barfed, fussed for a moment, then put her head back down into the barf and fell back asleep. After assessing the damage, I switched into clean-up mode.

Barf Clean-Up Tip #1: Babies should not have barf in their hair.

I got her barfed-on jammies off and got her to the tub for a shower/bath. (The shower to wash the barf out of her hair; the bath because babies generally do not like showers.) Once I got The Baby cleaned and in new jammies, I gave her to The Wife, who held and cuddled her. (NOTE: The Wife, who is pregnant, had taken something to help her sleep, so she wasn't able to help with the clean-up as much as she would have liked.)

Barf Clean-Up Tip #2: Embrace the barf. Don't worry about getting barf on yourself. It's going to happen no matter how hard you try to avoid it. You're going to have wash your clothes and yourself anyway, so just roll up your sleeves and go after that barf.

I took the sheet and mattress cover off of The Baby's bed and threw them in the hamper with the barfed-on jammies. I had to clean the bed frame and a little bit of the floor. I changed my barf-covered underwear. Luckily, only two little specks of barf got on The Baby's nighttime stuffed buddy.

I grabbed The Baby and went to put her back in bed. She gurgled a little, then started to barf. I caught it with my hand and raced her to our bathroom, where she barfed a little more in the sink.

Barf Clean-Up Tip #3: It is better to have The Baby barf in your hand than on the floor. Your hand is easier to clean than the floor.

Barf Clean-Up Tip #4: It is better to barf in the toilet than in the sink. Sometimes the bigger chunks don't go down the drain.

So, I had to change my underwear (again) and her pajamas (again.) I got her back in bed on her new, clean sheets, hoping she was done barfing. I took the dirty clothes hamper full of sheets, blankets, pajamas and underwear, wiped and rinsed the bigger chunks off, and put it all in the washing machine.

Barf Clean-Up Tip #5: Do not try to figure out what kind of food a piece of barf was in its previous form. Doing so serves no purpose, and only increases the chances of more barf happening.

I went back to bed, but watched shows for an hour and a half in case she barfed again. (She didn't, thank goodness.) And then, finally, I went to sleep.

Wednesday: Because of The Baby's barfing, we decided not to do anything too adventurous. Happily, The Baby seemed fine and showed no ill effect from her late night barf-a-palooza.

So, we stayed around the house and I actually went outside and did some yard work, which doesn't happen all that often. (I do yard work at least three times a year, whether the yard needs it or not.)

I got all three kids bathed, then put the two older ones to bed. I then fed The Baby her night-time bottle. She happily drank it all, cuddled into my chest, and barfed the entire contents of her bottle right on me.
Spring Break Barf-a-rama!!! (And this is after I'd wiped most of it off.)
This time the barfing happened before The Wife went to bed, so she leapt into action. She grabbed a couple of towels and handed them to me as she took The Baby off to change her and get her yet another bath. This left me to just clean off myself, take a selfie, and wash up the little bit that spilled off of me onto the couch.

Barf Clean-Up Tip #6: It is better to get personally barfed on than to get barf on the couch. People and clothes clean easily; the smell of barf can linger in a couch.

So, while The Baby got her third bath/shower in less than 24 hours, I gathered up her pajamas, my clothes, and the towels I used to clean up the barf, got as much barf off of them as I could, and put it all in the washing machine.

Barf Clean-Up Tip #7: It is best to get as much of the barf cleaned/rinsed off of clothing/towels before you put them in the wash. You don't want chunks in the washing machine.

The Wife got The Baby in bed, I showered, and another fun barfy evening ended.

Thursday: The Baby was not feeling well. She slept almost straight through until 11:00 AM. But, she didn't barf any more!

Unfortunately, The Girl (our eight year-old) took over the barfing duties. She said her stomach wasn't feeling good. I had my doubts, because she is not one to throw up very often. She spent a few minutes on the bathroom floor, lingering near the toilet, but she didn't barf. Until she did. But, she got it all in the toilet, so all was relatively well.

When The Girl went to bed, we gave her a large bowl to keep by her side as a barf bucket. The idea, of course, is that if she get sick in the night she would just have to lean over and puke into the bowl.

That was the theory. In actuality, when it came time to barf she leaned to the side opposite of the barf bucket, covering half of her mattress with vomit.

Barf Clean-Up Tip #8: Always use a waterproof mattress pad on all children's beds. A good one will keep the unholy trinity of children's bodily fluids (Pee, Poop, and Barf) off of the mattress.

Once again, The Wife and I were forced into action. She took The Girl and cleaned her off. I removed the sheets, blankets, pillow, and mattress pad off of the mattress. The Wife then set up the blow-up guest air mattress for The Girl to sleep on.

The Girl sleeps on the top bunk. While all of this was going on, including The Girl yelling for help, me climbing around the top bunk to remove the barfed-on bedding, and The Wife loudly inflating an air mattress two feet from his face, my son slept peacefully on the bottom bunk. (That boy can sleep through anything!)

So, for the third night in a row, I had an emergency barf-load of laundry to do. Meanwhile, The Girl was thrilled to be sleeping on the air mattress, after she received a lecture on the importance and purpose of the barf bucket. And another night of the barf siege was completed.

Friday: No barf!!! (Well, the cat did run down the stairway, stop on the bottom stair, and dry heave for a few seconds. But there was no actual barf, so I'm going to count that as a win.)

Saturday: I mentioned my wife is pregnant, right? But, she is enough of a veteran of The Barf Games that she is able to get her barf into the toilet. (Mostly.)

So, I hope you had a fun and memorable Spring Break. I know I'll never forget my Spring Break Barf-o-Rama!

Barf Clean-Up Tip #9: By all means, try to keep the witnesses to the barfing and barf clean-up to a minimum. The more people that see the barf, the greater the chances of a sympathy barf.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Dishes Are NEVER Done

As I sit here writing this, I should be doing the dishes. I should always be doing the dishes.

Of course, before I can do the dishes, I need to unload the dishwasher and put everything away. And then, as soon as the dishwasher is empty, I can start filling it again.

The guilt is driving me crazy. I've got to go do the dishes. Give me a few minutes while I go unload the dishwasher and re-load it again.


I defy anyone to load a dishwasher better than this!


Okay, I'm back. I unloaded the dishwasher. And then I loaded the dishwasher again. The dishes are done!!! Wait....what's that you say? The dishes aren't done? How can that be? I'm telling you I just finished loading the dishwasher. All the dishes are done!

Oh, here's a cup by the living room chair. And there's a bowl on my nightstand from that late night Cinnamon Toast Crunch binge. Oh, and there's a kid cup. Why didn't I see that cup when I was loading the dishes? It's sitting right there in plain sight, how could I have missed it?

So, I'm not actually done with the dishes. No big surprise. Because, you see, I am never done with the dishes. There is always something I missed, or something that just didn't quite fit in the dishwasher.

And even if, by some strange quirk, I actually find all the dirty dishes and get them all to fit in the dishwasher, I'll feel strangely compelled to dirty another dish. I'll get some juice and dirty a cup, I'll zap a burrito in the microwave, or I'll celebrate finishing the dishes by getting myself a bowl of ice cream.

There must always be at least one dirty dish in the house. It's one of the laws of nature, as sure as gravity or the rising of the sun.

Knowing this, I don't even try to get all of the dishes clean anymore. I consider myself "ahead" on the dishes if, by the time the dishwasher has finished its cycle, I don't immediately have enough dirty dishes to fill the dishwasher full again.

So, yes, doing the dishes is an endless, futile endeavor. The dishes are never done. But, it could be worse. It could be the laundry.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

My Wife Is In the 100th Percentile

My wife is in the 100th percentile!

I always knew she was amazing, but now I have confirmation from the people at ESPN.

Check out there at the bottom where it says "AmberMomma" is 100%!

Every year since we've been married, The Wife and I fill out a bracket for "March Madness," the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. It's something I'd been doing every year since high school. She had never done it before.

That first year, she trounced me. And the second year. And the third year. And the fourth year. Eventually I was able to actually win, and I entered this year on a streak of two or three wins in a row. 

When Amber picked Villanova to win it all this year, I condescendingly gave her some early condolences. "You see," I said, smug in my superiority, "although Villanova is a #2 seed, they have a history of losing pretty early in the tournament. I'm afraid you're not going to do very well."

I continued, "I, on the other hand, picked a team that always does well in the tournament. They may not win it all, but you can be pretty certain that Michigan State will advance several rounds into the tournament." 

Yup, I sure knew what I was talking about! Right up until the point where Michigan State lost in the very first round. (Oops.) The Wife did a pretty good job of not gloating too much, even though she had plenty of reason to do so. You see, not only did she pick the winning team, Villanova, she also picked the other team in the finals, North Carolina!

She really can pick 'em!

In the end, Amber finished 36,733rd out of approximately 13,000,000 (that's 13 million) entries on the ESPN Tournament Challenge. That puts her in the 99.7th percentile! I always knew she was better than 99.7% of the people in the world. (And I'd bet she's better than the other 0.3%, too.)

Some have said that since she's on such a hot streak I should take her Vegas and let her try her luck there. She says, "No." She's not a gambler, and she doesn't want to press her luck.

That said, she does have a bit of a history of making perfect picks. She did, after all, choose me!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Itsy-Bitsy Or Teensy-Weensy

The other day I walked in on my seven year-old daughter saying this to my five year-old son:

"No, it's the "itsy-bitsy" spider, not the "itchy-bitchy" spider."

That was a new one for me. "Itchy-bitchy." It was funny at first. But, the more I think about it, the less I like it. I don't like spiders, so the itsier and bitsier they are, the better. The thought of an "itchy" spider makes my skin crawl. Literally. And I think we can all agree that regular spiders are scary enough without having to deal with a "bitchy" one.

We're all familiar with the song. It's about a plucky little spider who tries to climb a water spout only to get washed away by the rain. But, it's a determined little creature, so once the sun has dried off the water spout, it climbs it again. It's a tale about perseverance and strength of character.

It's also a story that no one can agree on what exactly to call the main character.

I grew up hearing it called the itsy-bitsy spider. "Itsy-bitsy" is a rather silly-sounding expression, but it's fairly common. In fact, a singer named Brian Hyland went to #1 on the charts in 1960 with a song called "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini." (If you do a Google Image search of "itsy bitsy," you'll come across a bizarre mix of cartoon spiders and women in swimsuits.)

There is a large percentage of the population, however, who don't think it should be either "itsy-bitsy" or "itchy-bitchy." These people think the song is about an eensy-weensy spider.

We have a toy with children's songs on it that goes the "eensy-weensy" route. It's also the way The Wife says it. But, it's certainly not the final way to say it.

In doing research for this post (and by "research" I mean spending fifteen minutes with Google and Wikipedia) I learned that there is also a significant percentage of people who call it the incy-wincy spider. I think it's a British thing. These people, of course, are absolutely wrong.

Itsy-bitsy, eensy-weensy, or incy-wincy?

Those are the big three, but there are still more variations. Sometimes my oldest daughter will, with her voice as deep as she can get it, sing it as the hairy-scary spider. Other alternative forms include:
The teenie-weenie spider.
The teensy-weensy spider.
The itty-bitty spider.
The eentsy-weentsy spider.
The eency-weency spider.
The witsy-witsy spider.
And, according to Wikipedia, the blooming, bloody spider. (The people of Wikipedia are weird.)

And yet, with all of these variations I could find no one anywhere who calls it the itchy-bitchy spider, except for my five year-old son. (It's a good thing his older sister is here to set him straight.)