Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Biscuits Are Different Than Spoons

Advertisers make a lot of outlandish claims, like "Red Bull gives you wings," and "our tacos are made with real beef." 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.

So, 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.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

19 Reasons to be Thankful

Thanksgiving is almost here and it's time to start thinking about the things we are thankful for. (Yes, we should think about these things even without the Thanksgiving reminder. Sometimes we just need a little subtle reminder in the form of a giant turkey dinner.)

1. I'm thankful for shoes. As I write this, my feet are cold. But, I know if I go put on some socks and shoes my feet will get warmer.

2. I'm thankful for cheeseburgers.

I'm thankful for melty cheese! 
3. I'm thankful for cows. (Because I like cheese. And burgers.)

4. I'm thankful for parking spots. You don't realize how much you appreciate an open parking spot until you drive around for fifteen minutes looking for one.

5. I'm thankful that egg nog is available in the stores for Thanksgiving. You haven't truly lived until you've dipped your leftover-turkey-on-a-roll sandwich in your egg nog! (Okay, I've never actually tried this. Yet.)

6. I'm thankful for malls. Without malls what would I do if I needed to buy myself some shoes, get the wife some jewelry, and exchange an old video game for a new one all at the same time? (While eating a pretzel!)

7. I'm thankful I've never been banned from a mall. How would I take care of my Orange Julius fix if I couldn't go to the mall?

8. I'm thankful that my nine year-old is not yet a teenager. She is starting to act like a teenager, which is pretty darn scary, but the transformation isn't complete.

9. I'm thankful for apple fritters.

10. I'm thankful for freedom of the press.

11. I'm thankful for the men and women who serve (and have served) in our military. Because without them we wouldn't have freedom of the press (or a lot of other freedoms.)

12. I'm thankful for fuel gauges. Think of how many times you would have run out of fuel if it weren't for fuel gauges.

Runnin' on empty.
13. I'm thankful for music. Sometimes singing a song is the best way to get through the day. (Even if you can't sing well.)

14. I'm thankful for shirts. (Because no one wants to see my belly.)

15. I'm thankful for home-cooked meals. (Because sometimes you get tired of eating out.)

16. I'm thankful for restaurants. (Because sometimes you just don't feel like cooking.)

17. I'm thankful for YouTube. It's good to have somewhere to turn when you need a tutorial on how to install a new toilet, or if you want to watch a crazy music video from the 80s.

18. I'm thankful for dishwashers. I'm very glad I don't have to wash all those dishes by hand.

19. I'm thankful for people. Yes, every once in a while it's actually a good thing to have interaction with other people. People are the best. (Sometimes.)

Friday, November 17, 2017

Television Is NOT My Babysitter (Usually)

No, I'm not using the television as a babysitter! I would never do that. I'm far too responsible as a parent to just turn on the television, plop the kids down in front of it, and ignore them for several hours. That's not me. I'm better than that.

Now, I might sit them down in front of the television if they ask for it politely. I always try to reward politeness, so if they say "please" and "thank you," it can't hurt to give them what they want, can it?

And maybe I'll turn on the television if the kids are climbing all over me but I have something that I really need to get done. Distracting them for a few minutes while I get some vital chore done is worth it, right?

If they're screaming and fighting with each other, letting them watch a show isn't such a bad idea, is it? It's certainly better then letting them hit each other and get in toy tug-of-wars because they don't want to share. Television brings unity and happiness.

Television: It's a wonderful tool!

Besides, television is educational! It's not like I'm letting them watch nasty things Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead or CNN. On those rare occasions I flip on the television, I only allow them to watch wholesome, educational programming, like Reading Rainbow or Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood or WordWorld. They learn things when watching these shows, so it's a good thing when I let them watch all day long, isn't it?

So, no, I don't use the television as a babysitter. Instead, I use it as an educational tool to help teach my kids unity and manners, and I do so for hours and hours and hours at a time! What could be wrong with that?

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Who Eats Gas Station Hot Dogs?

Every time you go inside at the gas station you see them. They are rotating in their display case. They've been cooked (probably), or at the very least warmed. They are waiting to be sold and eaten. They are the gas station hot dogs.

Who eats these things?

There they are, ready for you (or anyone else) (or everyone else) to grab!
They're slimy. They're greasy. And, worst of all (or is that wurst of all?) they're out there in the open where anyone can touch them! Have you taken a good look at the customers inside a convenience store? Are these the type of people you want having free and open access to touch your food before you eat it?

Now, having said that, I don't really think these openly displayed hot dogs get touched very often. I have never caught anyone touching a gas station hot dog that they weren't purchasing. But, the fact that they're out there in the open where anyone could touch them is enough to keep me away. 

I don't think I've ever even seen anyone buy one of these gas station hot dogs. They must sell them to someone, or they wouldn't have them in every gas station. Maybe people only buy them when they are the only customer in the store, too ashamed to let someone else see their purchase.

And while I won't eat a gas station hot dog, I might eat a gas station burrito. The tortilla around the meat might make enough difference, depending on how hungry I am. And I definitely would be willing to eat a gas station sandwich that is wrapped. As long as that wrapping keeps the unwashed masses from touching my food, I'm just fine.

No problem!
But, I'm not going to be having any of that jerky-in-a-jar by the cash register. If the jerky isn't individually wrapped, I'm not eating it!

Interestingly enough, while I won't even consider eating a gas station hot dog, I eat gas station donuts all the time! The donuts are behind a little see-through plastic door. Someone could touch all of the donuts just as easily as they could all of the hot dogs. And yet, I grab my tiny piece of wax paper, wrap it around the donut (or apple fritter) of my choice, and have exactly zero qualms about eating it. Why the difference? Am I putting that much faith in the use of the donut wax paper? Is it the fact that the donut isn't as slimy as the hot dog? I'm just not sure.

No, there won't be any gas station hot dogs for me! I'll get all my food through the fast-food window, where I know the food preparation conditions are pristine and all of the workers wash their hands at least twice a day, whether they need to or not!

Friday, November 10, 2017

The Perfect Getaway...to Walmart?

I have a secret that I'm going to confess to you. It's a bit shameful and embarrassing. It's not something I'm proud of. I don't really understand why I do it. But here it is:

Sometimes I'll escape the world by going to Walmart.

I know what you're thinking: Walmart? Really? Let me answer that first by saying that there are (at least) four Walmarts between where I live and the nearest Target, which is a half-hour away. The one hour round-trip drive to Target can't compete with the ten minute round-trip to Walmart. (And for those who think I should be more manly, Cabela's is an hour and a half round-trip.)

But still, Walmart, you ask? Walmart is a place you go on purpose? To get away from it all? Yes. Yes, it is.

The place to go to get away from it all?

Let me explain, if I can. I'm a stay-at-home Dad. (Not a Mr. Mom!) I have four kids, including two children under the age of three that require near-constant attention. If I can get thirty minutes to myself by going to Walmart because we're out of dishwasher soap, then by heck I'm going to take advantage of that!

[Before you feel too sorry for me, I should point out that my wife works full-time as a junior high math teacher. She deals with hundreds of kids a day, then comes home to our four kids and me. I hope she finds an occasional escape at school, because she doesn't get nearly as many "girl's nights out" as she deserves! (Not even to Walmart.)]

So, what do I do on my Walmart getaways? First of all, I have to get the thing (or things) I went there for. Walmart has just about everything, so anything can be used as an excuse to go. The other day we needed some light bulbs, so I used that as the reason for my Walmart trip. Once I had the bulbs, I was free to hit some of my regular spots. I'll stop at the DVD section and look at television show seasons that I might be interested in, but probably can't afford and wouldn't have the time to watch anyway. I'll browse down the book aisle and see if I can figure out how many new books James Patterson has written and released since the last time I was at Walmart. (Usually at least three.) I'll glance down the toy section to see if there's anything there my kids might like, and smile when I see toys they already have and think of how much fun they've had with them. I'll look at the egg nog (if it's the right season) and probably determine that it's just too expensive. And I'll get some bananas. We always need bananas (because the ones we had either have been eaten or gone bad.)

20 checkout lanes! (At least two of which are open.)

You never know what might happen at Walmart. You might see a neighbor or an old friend and get a chance to visit. You might see one of those "people of Walmart" and get a good laugh. You might be one of those "people of Walmart." (The other day the song "Fox On the Run" by Sweet started playing over the intercom, and before I knew it my head was bobbing up and down and I was loudly singing, "I--I--I--don't wanna know your name," as I pushed my cart through the store. Hopefully I'm not going viral somewhere as "Singing Walmart Guy.")

And, hey, you obviously don't need to get dressed up to go to Walmart.

Now, I know that Walmart isn't the first place that comes to mind when you think of getting away from it all. Normally you might think of the mountains. Or the beach. Or the spa. Or the lake. Or the cabin. But, next time you need a getaway, maybe you should think of Walmart. It's close. It's convenient. It really is a great value. (And, they have bananas. You always need bananas.)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Sleep: The Final Frontier

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." Hah! 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.
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 my baby pop tarts 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. (At least that's what I really hope will happen, even though reports I've gotten from people who have been through it seem to disagree.)

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.

Friday, November 3, 2017

How NOT to Eat a KitKat Bar

I'm not saying there's a right way to eat a KitKat bar. I'm not saying there's a wrong way to eat a KitKat bar.

But, yes, there is a wrong way to eat a KitKat bar, and this is it:

The KitKat bar pictured above has four separate wafer bars. Those wafer bars are supposed to be broken apart from the others, with each wafer bar eaten one at a time. You don't believe me? Look at the picture on the package. It shows one wafer bar, not four! Because you are supposed to eat the KitKat bar one bar at a time.

Still don't believe me? Think of the jingle. It goes, "Gimme a break, gimme a break, break me off a piece of that KitKat bar." Did you catch that? It clearly says, "break me off a piece," not "take a bite or two." A KitKat bar is supposed to be broken off into individual wafer bars and eaten that way. 

Anyone who could eat a KitKat bar like this shouldn't be trusted. They should be shunned, avoided, and possibly reported to the authorities. Who knows what they might be capable of doing? For heavens sake, these people might even attempt something so fiendish as taking a bite of the Left Twix and Right Twix at the same time! We're talking total disregard for the laws of nature! Could they even go so far as to take the two cups from a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and eat them simultaneously? Blasphemy!

What kind of monster could do such a horrible thing?
I apologize if you find these images troubling, but the only way to stop this kind of behavior is to address it head on. We, as concerned citizens, must do all we can to make sure all Americans eat their candy the correct way from this moment forward!

Gimme a break, indeed!