Wednesday, November 3, 2010

1987: It Was A Good Year

1987 was a landmark year for popular culture.

Moviegoers were astounded by the Shakespearean acting talents of Tom Selleck, Ted Danson and Steve Gutenberg in Three Men and a Baby.

George Michael was shaking his denim-clad booty in up-close camera shots in the “Faith” video. (And still no one accurately concluded, “You know what? I think he might be gay.”)

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” premiered on TV, and somehow a quartet of crime-fighting reptiles and their rodent sensei seemed like a perfectly reasonable set-up for a show.

All of these pop culture phenomena pale in comparison to Nintendo’s release of The Best Game Ever in the History of Recorded Time on This Planet or Any Other. I am referring, of course, to “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out.”

If you were one of the three people alive on Earth in 1987 who didn’t own a copy of “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out,” you missed out on the perfect video game. In “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out,” you play as Little Mac, a plucky seventeen-year-old boxer from The Bronx. Your goal is to guide Little Mac through a series of boxing matches and work your way up to the world championship fight against Mike Tyson.

In your corner is your trainer, Doc, who probably isn’t an actual doctor since he looks like he weighs about 280 and has been munching PCP for the last three days.

Sounds easy, right? Well, it’s not. Standing in the way of your journey toward a world championship belt are some of the most colorful characters in the history of video games. Here are rundowns of your opponents:

Minor Circuit:

Glass Joe:
To begin your quest, the game offers up Glass Joe, who is a complete and utter pussy. There’s little strategy involved in beating him; just wail away until he falls.

Von Kaiser:
This guy’s a little tougher, but still kind of a pussy.

Piston Honda:
Ahh…your first real challenge. Piston Honda is a huge, badass-looking Asian dude who will happily turn your face into a spattering lump of Hamburger Helper. This is where dodging and counterpunching really come into play.

Major Circuit:

Don Flamenco:
Also kind of a pussy.

King Hippo:
If you were a kid playing “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out” in 1987, King Hippo was likely a thorn in your side for weeks. That is, until you figured out the key to beating him, which was a well-placed punch in the mouth, causing his pants to fall down. How did Nintendo know that the sight of a fat dude in heart-print boxers would be so hilarious?

Great Tiger:
After the frustration of King Hippo comes the frustration of Great Tiger. This dude looks like some kind of gypsy-terrorist with his turban and douchey facial hair. Come to think of it, he sort of resembles “Cigar Guy” from that Tiger Woods photo.

Bald Bull:
After the frustration of King Hippo and Great Tiger comes the aggravation of Bald Bull. There are dudes out there who started playing this game in 1987 and still haven’t beaten Bald Bull.

World Circuit:

Piston Honda:
Wait a minute, didn’t I already fight this guy? Yes you did, and you have to do it again, only this time he’s more difficult.

Soda Popinski:
Ya see that, kids? Drinking excessive amounts of soda pop will make you big and strong. It will also make you a Polock, though, so it’s a trade-off.

Bald Bull:
Wait a minute, didn’t I already fight this guy? Yes, you did, and you have to do it again, only this time he’s more difficult.

Don Flamenco:
Wait a minute, didn’t I….ah, you get the idea.

Mr. Sandman:
This dude freaking sucks. He’s quick, he’s strong, and he’ll mop the floor with you and laugh over your dilapidated body. He’d probably spit on you too, if Nintendo had possessed that sort of pixelation capability in 1987.

Super Macho Man:
This dude also freaking sucks, only not as badly as the last guy. Super Macho Man is a Jersey Shore-style arrogant, over-tanned douchebag, so beating his ass is pretty darn fun.

The Dream Fight:

Mike Tyson:
Welcome to the ultimate fight in “Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out.” This bout features a pre-rape-allegation Tyson in all his gap-toothed glory. If you’re not careful, this fight will be over in three seconds. If you are careful, it will be over in five seconds. Either way, you’re toast.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

How to Give Your Child a Bath

In order to ensure the harmony of your household, you must only bathe your children when absolutely necessary, or once every couple of months. Of course, there are exceptions, such as when you’ve got company coming over, or if the government sends a representative by the house to question your parenting methods.

This type of sporadic bathing is an ideal situation for all parties involved. Kids love being stinky and dirty; it’s a status-symbol for them. To a child, being dirty is a sign of life experience and maturity, kind of like iPads and gourmet coffee for us, only less pompous and douchebaggy.

Sometimes visitors just drop by the house though, and those without children probably won’t understand the social complexities of your filthy two-year-old. In these cases, lying is necessary. If a houseguest comes by your home unexpectedly and mentions anything about the smell emanating from your children, don’t panic. Just smile, nod and blame it on the dog. If you don’t own a dog, you should adopt one solely for this purpose.

When you’ve had enough of your stinky child and decide that it’s bath time, make sure to do some preparations first. Fill the tub with water heated to exactly 99.48 degrees. This is absolutely crucial to a successful bath. If you deviate from this number at all, there are dire consequences: too cold and your child will go into hypothermic shock; too warm and your child will spend the entire bath peeing on your arm.

Once you’ve got the bathwater at the correct temperature, you’ll need to load the tub with toys, and I mean LOAD it. Get enough toys in there so that you’ll actually have to make room for your child. Children won’t bathe in a tub that isn’t the exact equivalent of a Toys R’ Us aisle, so just roll your kid’s toy box into the bathroom and dump it. It doesn’t matter that none of these toys were actually “designed” to be put in a bath, and for that matter are probably “dangerous” if they get wet. That’s what lawyers are for.

It’s usually not difficult to coax a child into a tub full of water. Kids are genetically programmed to be attracted to any substance which they can use to make a colossal mess. Once you’ve got him in there, the fun really begins.

Trying to bathe a child is not unlike trying to bathe a cat. He’ll scream, he’ll cry, he’ll claw you, and he’ll try to climb the walls in a desperate attempt to escape the shampoo lather. By the time you’ve got him reasonably clean, most of the water from the tub will be in your clothes and you’ll have intelligent mildew colonies living on your bathroom walls.

It’s a law of Nature that your children will become dirty again after you’ve bathed them, usually within about twenty seconds. As a responsible parent, you should cover your children’s skin with Armor-All or Thompson’s Water Seal after every bath. This way, you can simply hose them down whenever they get dirty.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Traveling and Vacationing with your Children

When you’ve got kids, will lose your mind from time to time. This is a given. It’s also understandable. Your house is never clean, your child is never sleeping, and you haven’t bathed in three days. Mother Theresa herself would have given up long ago.

During these periods of insanity, the best course of action is to remove yourself from the situation—which means getting out of the house for a while (or ingesting rat poison, but I’m assuming you’re not quite that desperate yet). What you need is a vacation.

Vacations and day-trips are palette cleansers for the soul; welcome refills of your internal battery juices. A stress-relieving getaway can be just what you need to conquer your case of the crazies.

You’ll probably be bringing your children with you when you take that stress-relieving getaway—even though your children are likely the source of your stress. To combat this wicked irony, you’ll want to make sure you’re suitably prepared before you walk out the door.


When it comes to packing a child’s suitcase for a trip, it’s important to remember this one simple rule: More is always better.

Overdo it. Go nuts. Pack everything you can think of that is, has ever been, or might someday have any sort of association with your child. If you find yourself debating whether or not to pack that stuffed teddy bear that your kid hasn’t so much as glanced at since 2006, you’d better put it in the suitcase. If you don’t, your child will want it.

And scream about it.
At a very inopportune time.
Like when you’re changing lanes in rush-hour traffic.
Bring the teddy bear.

The next areas of packing preparation you’ll need to think about are food and drinks to be consumed during the ride, which are a necessity if you’ll be in the car for any period of time longer than fifteen minutes. Staples of “travelin’ snacks” include juice boxes, crackers, chips and anything else that your child can wedge between the seat cushions of your car.

As a matter of fact, your child probably won’t even eat any of these snacks because he’ll be far too busy squashing them into crumbs which he can then mash into the floorboard.

That’s okay, though. The important thing is to keep him occupied. Just keep repeating Parenting Mantra #48 to yourself: “At least he’s being quiet.”

Parenting Mantra #62 is also useful in this situation: “I’ll clean that up later.”

Getting your child into the car:

When leaving for a trip, the most effective (and maybe the only) time to get your child into the car is approximately three a.m. There is a small window of unconsciousness in a child’s sleep cycle at this exact time, and it’s possible to move him without waking him up.

In order to pull this off successfully, though, you’re going to have to make some preparations. If you shower and pack all of your suitcases the night before, you’ll be able to set your alarm for 2:55.

When you wake up, pull yourself up off the floor (because if you followed my earlier advice, you packed your bed and everything else in your room), scoop up your child and toss him into the car before he has any idea what’s going on.

If you must get your child into the car while he’s still awake, there are a few methods by which this can be accomplished.

The Slingshot Method:

1. Using high-tension springs and duct tape, fashion a crude slingshot across the inside of your car door.
2. Place your child in the slingshot.
3. Pull back and let go. Your child is now in the car, and likely needs medical attention.

The “Go Fetch” Method:

1. Find your child’s favorite toy.
2. Dangle it in front of him, repeating “Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah.”
3. Throw the toy into the car.

The Mountain Lion Method:

1. Get a mountain lion. You can probably find one on a mountain somewhere. Or on the internet.
2. Position the mountain lion behind your child.
3. Yell “Look out! It’s a mountain lion!” and open the car door. If the mountain lion gets in the car and your child doesn’t, go back to step two. If the mountain lion and your child get in the car, call it a draw and just take them both.

Keeping your children occupied while driving:

Your kids will try to distract you while you’re driving. Children love seeing just how crazy they can make their parents. It’s like a sport to them, and since they’re too short to play basketball, it’s all they’ve got.

While you’re in the car, there are several things you can do to try and keep your children occupied. Here are brief rundowns of a few:

The license plate game:

This is an old standard that’s been around since the horse-and-buggy days. Your kids can pass the time by seeing how many different states they can identify on the license plates of neighboring motorists.

The fun won’t last too long, though. Your kids will only be able to spot a few different plates because your state sucks and no one wants to come there. It’s a real let-down.

The “Get a semi driver to honk his horn” game:

Another go-to pastime in the annals of kid travel. Every time you pass a semi on the highway, your kids make furious pumping motions with their arms, signaling the driver to honk his horn. It’s an entertaining game, but realistically there are only two possible outcomes:

1. The semi driver honks his horn.
2. The semi driver gives your kids the finger.

The “Let’s see who can be the quietest” game:

Kids are wise to this one, and you’ll be lucky if you can convince them to participate for more than a few seconds. This game involves you saying “Let’s see who can be the quietest!” like it’s the freaking greatest-sounding idea in the history of recorded time. Your kids will then pick up on your enthusiasm and give it a try. You’ll have approximately .0072 seconds of peace until they realize that it’s a stupid game and start yelling again.

The “Let’s see who can drink the most vodka” game:

Here’s a fun activity that you can participate in with your children. As an added bonus, since your body mass is much higher than your children’s, you’ll always win. Just make sure to hide the vodka bottle if you pass a cop.
Warning: This might be illegal. I’m not sure.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mountains and Molehills

I mow my lawn as infrequently as possible. I’ll “let it go” for upwards of three months, until the point that I see tigers and rainforest tribesmen taking up residence within my grass. Then, with much reluctance, I’ll fire up the ol’ tractor and speed through the chore as quickly as I can.

I’m not sure where this lack of enthusiasm for mowing the lawn originated. My best guess is that it all started back when I was a teenager. If I was in need of spending money, and my parents weren’t in the mood to give handouts (which was always), I was relegated to “earning” cash by doing “work,” which “sucked.”

As a naïve teen, I normally elected to get money by mowing the lawn. The idea seemed simple enough: All I had to do was ride a mower around the yard for an hour while daydreaming about what I was going to do with my whopping five-dollar payout. Easy, right?


There were several factors that hindered the completion of my lawn-mowing chore. First of all, our family’s mower had only four speeds. Fourth gear—the top velocity possible—wasn’t any faster than the swift pace achieved by an elderly woman with orthopedic shoes and a walker. One—the lowest speed—was roughly equivalent to glacial movement. Needless to say, by the time I finished mowing the lawn, the grass had fully grown back to the height it was when I started.

Even if I did attempt to push the mower into fourth gear and achieve the breakneck speed of 1/8 MPH, my parents would always freak out. They’d burst out of the house screaming, “That’s way too fast! Don’t go over ‘glacier gear’!” and I’d have to dial it down. It was like that movie Speed, only the exact opposite. And no fun. (Okay, never mind. It was the same.)

Fast-forward to last week. I was mowing the lawn, with my usual unabashed enthusiasm, and I noticed that the yard looked…different.

Exactly how “different” I can’t say, but I can tell you that the yard contained far more dirt than it should have. As a matter of fact, certain sections of it had abandoned the classification of “grass” and moved into “scorched earth.” These sections were crisscrossed with mounds of torn dirt stretching miniature trails around my lawn.

Upon closer inspection, and after several hours of exhaustive ecological research (which is the kind of research consisting of drinking a beer, staring at the ground and scratching my head), I determined that the hilly paths of dirt were mole burrows.

At first, I was overjoyed. No grass means no mowing, right? Thanks mole, feel free to dig up the rest of the yard. Now if I can teach you to perform rudimentary plumbing repairs, we’ll be all set.

Then something came over me.

I became angry with this mole. He had encroached upon my territory, defiled my property and hadn’t even bothered send me a check for his share of the mortgage. What a jerk. I felt violated.
It’s on, mole. It’s on.

I declared war on this mole, resigning myself to the fact that I would not rest until he was banished from my yard forever—or until I got tired. I thought of all the great military men in American history: Ulysses S. Grant, George Patton, Lieutenant Dan, Cap’n Crunch. What would they do in a wartime lawn crisis such as this?

The answer was obvious: They’d ask the internet.

My Google search of “getting rid of a mole” yielded 502,000 results. Unfortunately, most of these referred to the “skin mole” variety. Many of the rest catered to the “organized crime mole” category. After spending a considerable amount of time sifting through unrelated pages (and pausing to do some “relevant research” on a fantasy football site), I found what I was looking for.

A mole’s sustenance comes from earthworms and grubs. The tunnels they dig come as a result of their search for these creepy-crawly treats. Apparently, large sections of my yard are veritable buffets of invertebrate goodness.

So, the most straightforward solution to a mole problem is to rid the yard of its food supply. The mole will leave the area in search of more bountiful property (which is to say “the neighbors’ yard”). There are several lawn fertilizer products on the market that will kill earthworms and grubs. All I would have to do is buy one and spread it over my yard.

Executing this, however, requires actual work—work that I didn’t really feel like doing—so I ultimately decided against it. Besides, I like my slimy lawn bugs right where they are; I might need them someday. They could come in handy if I ever decide to pull an earthworm-themed prank on one of my kids.

I checked out some of the other options for getting rid of moles and eliminated them one by one. They were either too time-consuming, too expensive, or required me get up off the chair. Also, none of them involved explosions or the cast from “The A-Team.” Bummer.

Considering the fact that it’s almost October, I’ve decided to let the mole problem go for now. I’m pretty much finished mowing until spring (hallelujah), and my lawn is about to receive the monumental pimp-slap of Midwestern winter. I would imagine that my mole will soon be passed out for the next six months anyway, dreaming sugarplum visions of hitting Vegas with Sonic the Hedgehog.

I’ll confront the problem again when the weather gets better. Maybe by that time the guys from “The A-Team” will have dropped by and given me a few pointers.

Until then, sweet dreams, mole. Sweet dreams.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dudes Can Be Fairies Too, Right?

Here's an older blog entry I found. I wrote it when my oldest daughter lost her first tooth.

I’m sure I had conversations with my parents about the Tooth Fairy, but I don’t remember what was said. As a matter of fact, I don't remember anything before the Who Shot J.R.? episode of “Dallas.” I must have killed those particular brain cells with beer.
As a result, I was quite unprepared for the intricacies contained in being the father of a child losing her first tooth, and the doors to adulthood that it would open.

As soon as we became aware of our daughter Taylor‘s first loose tooth, my wife and I began offering support and advice.
"Just keep wiggling it," we'd say. “It will fall out and you can put it under your pillow. The Tooth Fairy will come during the night. She'll take your tooth and leave money. It's totally a win-win situation for you."

Taylor seemed pretty intrigued about the idea, but she had made it abundantly clear that she would not try to force the tooth out. She wanted to wait until it fell away on its own. I was somewhat dejected upon hearing this, as it had been my plan to tie her tooth to a gasoline-powered rocket made from my lawn mower engine and “see what happened.” Eventually, I relented and let nature take its course.

Things went on rather uneventfully until Taylor’s tooth finally did come out one night as she was brushing. It bounced across the porcelain of the sink, nearly sliding into the drain. I snatched it up just before it tumbled into oblivion.

Once the tooth was securely in our possession, I made big deal out of the occasion, congratulating Taylor and making sure not to mention that she now bore a striking resemblance to Mike Tyson. After all, losing your first tooth is one of those iconic childhood moments that a person never forgets. I didn't want her to be working this out in therapy at age forty:

"Well, doctor, my life started to go downhill when I lost my first tooth. Daddy didn't seem to care too much. Then I tried heroin."

That evening at bedtime, I took Taylor through the usual routine. I tucked her tooth beneath an extra pillow (making sure to put it close to the edge of the mattress, as to facilitate an easier retrieval) and everything was set.

I was coasting through the bedtime process, thinking that this whole “fatherhood” thing was pretty easy to master. Then Taylor started asking a lot of questions that I wasn't quite prepared for:

"Daddy, How big is the Tooth Fairy?"
"Oh, she's about this big,” I said as I held my hands six inches apart.
"How does the Tooth Fairy get into my room?"
"Umm...she flies in through the window."
"But how does she get through the window if it’s closed?"

It was then that I realized she had inherited my imagination as well as my penchant for rational thinking. We are all doomed. Especially me.

"I don't know, honey. She just twinkles her nose and junk. She's magic."
"We need to open up the window so she can get in!"

Of course, by saying “We need to open the window,” she meant “You need to open the window,” resulting in twenty minutes spent fumbling through the blinds and coaxing the locks open.

Once that was done, I turned around and gave her forehead a goodnight kiss, trying desperately not to think of the money wasted trying to heat the house all night with an open window.

My wife had given me a five-dollar bill to place underneath Taylor’s pillow for her “Tooth Fairy money” (I think I only got a quarter or a Home Depot coupon or something for each one of my teeth, but I'm sure the current price of oil is also affecting the tooth market), and since I was “The Man," it was pretty much a given that I'd be sneaking the money in there once I confirmed that she was asleep.

Around ten o' clock, I got up to go to the bathroom and peeked into her room. She was out cold.
Clutching the fiver in my hand, I tiptoed inside.

There I stood in the threshold of the doorway, facing a slumbering five-year-old and a very curious cat who had been watching my every move since entering the room. I was immediately reminded of the opening twenty minutes of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

Everybody knows the scene: Indiana Jones emerges into the main hall of a forbidden temple. He places cautious steps around all the booby traps and other assorted deadly stuff on the floor. His eyes grow wide beholding the treasure before him: a small idol made of pure gold, no doubt worth millions. Maybe even billionty-millions.

Indiana tiptoes his way up to the idol and strokes his sweet five o' clock shadow as he decides how to make the exchange. He pulls a bag of sand out of his pocket (because everyone carries a bag of sand in their pockets) and, measuring with his eye, gauges the weight of the idol so that he can quickly switch them out.

After a heavy breath, he swaps the bag of sand for the idol. He exhales in relief as he realizes his calculations are correct. Then he runs the hell out of the room, chased by stones and poison-tipped arrows.

I had to go through the exact same thing.

Instead of booby traps, I had to silently make my way around the sea of Barbies and My Little Ponies that littered the floor. Once I arrived at Taylor's bed, I did a very smooth exchange of tooth for money. It was freaking ninja-like. I was beaming with self-worth until the cat started meowing, which was my signal to run.

I turned and hop-scotched my way out, checking over my shoulder for any poison-tipped arrows that may have been following. There was none, and I collapsed in the hallway, breathless and wondering just what I could get on Ebay for a “slightly used” tooth.

Taylor never woke up.

All in all, things went pretty smoothly. I was quite proud of myself until I realized that I will have to do this another four hundred times for all of her and my two other daughters’ teeth.
From now on, maybe I'll wear a pink dress and some cardboard wings just in case.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Field Guide To Children's TV Shows

One of the most overlooked aspects of being a parent is deciding which TV shows to allow your young children to watch. This is a very dangerous area to ignore, not only because the shows will influence your child’s development, but also because once your child decides that he or she likes a particular show, you will constantly be subjected to it for years to come.

You will learn every episode by heart. You will know all of the characters. You will memorize the dialogue. You may even find yourself watching the show when your child isn’t even in the room. You won’t realize that anything is wrong before it’s too late, and you’re curled up on the couch dabbing a tissue beneath your eye because Hannah Montana’s TV boyfriend just broke up with her. Take heed, my friends.

As a public service to all parents who have young children, I’ve decided to list some of the more popular kids’ shows on television and critique each one. You can use this list to monitor what your child watches so that the show won’t ultimately drive you insane.


Imagination Movers — Watching this show is equivalent to receiving a full frontal lobotomy without the aid of anesthesia. The program consists of several grown men who work for some sort of moving company. The thing is, they never do any actual “moving,” nor any other type of work.

So how do they spend their time? By singing songs and prancing around like douchebags for half an hour. I don’t even think I’ve ever seen them leave the building.
I’m all for teaching kids the value of music and junk like that, but these guys are just tools. Unfortunately, though, little kids love tools—especially the prancing douchebaggy variety—so they go nuts for this show. You’ve been warned.

Dora the Explorer — This show isn’t too bad, and it’s easy to make fun of, which makes it less difficult to watch. The focus of every show is Dora and her friends’ harrowing journey to find something or other. It doesn’t really matter what they’re attempting to find; it’s the same storyline every day so the objective is interchangeable. I went into more detail with this one in a previous blog, so check that out if you want more info.

Go, Diego, Go! — Basically a spin-off of “Dora the Explorer.” Diego spends his days rescuing animals that have sprained ankles and crap. To date, Diego hasn’t been savagely mauled by any of these animals, which is kind of a let-down.


The Fairly Odd Parents — This is a show about a kid who has a pair of fairy godparents who give him anything he wishes for. It’s reasonably entertaining, but it would be a lot better if it were more realistic. For instance, I’ve never seen an episode where the kid wishes for a box full of grenades. Hell, that would be the first thing I’d ask for.

That being said, the annoyance factor on this show is pretty low, and some of the jokes are actually funny, so it may be a good choice.

Spongebob Squarepants — Everybody knows this one. It’s been around for the last ten years or so, and with good reason. It’s by far the best animated show out there. You don’t even have to be drunk or high to enjoy it (though it doesn’t hurt). If your kid gets hooked on this one, consider yourself lucky.

Back at the Barnyard — This one’s also pretty decent. It’s about a bunch of barnyard animals (cows, chickens, pigs, etc.) who live on a farm, and the zany misadventures they get into. The writing is good, and the gags are genuinely funny. Good show.

The Mighty B! — Avoid this one at all costs. I’m not even sure what the show is supposed to be about; I always turn it off within five seconds. Why? The main character speaks in a high-pitched whine laced with a heavy lisp. It’s the single most annoying sound that has ever penetrated my ears. If your kid starts watching this show, set the TV on fire and then throw it out the window. You’ll thank me later.


Hannah Montana — The phenomenon that is Hannah Montana is almost too difficult to fully comprehend. This has been the biggest thing for Disney since Donald Duck perfected the temper tantrum. On the show, Miley Cyrus plays a normal teenage girl who leads a double life as a pop star. Nobody knows she’s a pop star, though, and thus hilarity always ensues.

The show itself isn’t terrible. There are worse things your children could be addicted to. I find that my greatest joy in watching “Hannah Montana” is cheering wildly whenever Billy Ray Cyrus comes onscreen. This is usually followed by a rousing chorus of “Achy Breaky Heart,” which then prompts my daughter to throw a shoe at my head. It’s good all-around family bonding.

Drake and Josh — This show was on for a long time, but I don’t think they’re making any new episodes because the main characters reached Nickelodeon’s Magical Age of Disownment. If you can still find reruns, it might be worth looking into.

Drake and Josh are stepbrothers, brought together by a Brady Bunch-style marriage. Drake is the cool one, and Josh is comparatively dorky and awkward. This dichotomy supplies a seemingly endless variety of storylines, most of which have been done about a billion times by about a billion other shows. Still, it’s tolerable if you’ve got nothing better to do than watch it with your kid. The dude who plays Josh is good for a few one-liners and random physical comedy, so it borders on actual “entertainment” at times.

iCarly — This is a show about a couple of tween girls who have a weekly webcast called iCarly. It’s a spin-off of “Drake and Josh,” so if you didn’t like that show, then you’ll probably hate this one. That being said, it’s bearable, albeit slightly juvenile. If your kid prefers to spend every waking moment screwing around online, she might become interested in this show, so watch out.

The Suite Life on Deck — This is a spin-off of “The Suite Life with Zack and Cody,” featuring most of the same central characters. I won’t waste any time in telling you that this show sucks fat monkey testicles.

Remember Uncle Jesse and Rebecca’s twin boys from “Full House”? Those are the kids from this show, and they still haven’t gotten haircuts since then. Each of the boys possesses all the theatrical talent of a limp noodle, which is further proof that they sure in the hell didn‘t spend all the money from those “Full House” residual checks on acting lessons. Ten seconds of this show and you’ll be banging your head against a cinder block.

The Naked Brothers Band — Yet another ignorant-ass show. Fortunately, this one has stopped production, so you will probably never have to watch it.

The show focuses on a bunch of annoying tweener kids who are in a band and spend their time composing horrible, horrible songs. They then perform these songs within the context of the show. Oh yeah, did I mention that the songs were horrible? Well, they are. They sound like they were written by a raccoon on a crack binge. The mute button on your remote will see plenty of action if you find yourself subjected to this garbage.

Big Time Rush — This is a show about a “boy band.” It’s essentially a rip-off of that Jonas brothers show, which in turn is a rip-off of about a million other shows that are rip-offs of “The Monkees.” Everything old is new again; La-De-Freakin’-Da.

The members of the “Big Time Rush” band are pretty much exactly as you’d expect. There’s The “Tough” One; The “Cute” One; The “Funny” One; The “Probably Gay” One and The “Other” One.

The show is rife with tired dialogue and clichéd plotlines. Each episode finds the ensemble getting into yet another “wacky” situation through “zany” circumstances. Yawn.

You may be wondering why a network would bother to produce a show centered on a “boy band” fifteen years after that ship sailed (and consequently hit an iceberg), but it’s apparently still a profitable concept. As long as there are screaming, infatuated tweener girls with idle time and allowance money to burn, there will be idiotic shows like this.

Well, there you have it. I hope this helps all of you parents in choosing what kind of shows your kids watch. Remember, it’s never too early to start filtering this stuff. You’ll be sparing your children’s sanity, and your own.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hannah and Dora: An Overview

I’ve got three daughters: Ulcer, Migraine and Stress. Those aren’t their real names, of course, but close enough.

Anyway, my daughters are all fairly young, and like most kids they spend fifteen or sixteen hours in front of the television every day. This means that I get to experience a wide variety of kids’ shows that I normally wouldn’t if I were just watching TV by myself.

Sometimes I’ll wander into the living room and find myself actually watching these shows, if for no other reason than bored curiosity. For instance, I’ve seen just about every episode of “Hannah Montana” and I can honestly say that I’ve never found a schizophrenic with multiple personality disorder to be more engaging. If you’ve never seen the show, allow me to explain:

On “Hannah Montana,” Miley Cyrus plays a normal teenage girl who has a normal teenage life, and in her spare time just happens to be Hannah Montana, America’s biggest pop star.
There’s a catch, though—and this is the basic hook of the show: No one outside of her family knows that she is Hannah Montana. It’s a big secret. They all think that Miley and Hannah are two separate people, even though the only differentiating factor between them is a blonde wig.

Just a freaking wig? That’s it?

Yep. Just a freaking wig. And noooobody can detect the slightest resemblance. I guess it’s like the whole Superman/Clark Kent thing. Fictional people are so distracted by cranial accessories that one can easily live a double life without fear of discovery.

Of course there are also some obvious logistical impossibilities presented by a teenage girl somehow being able to juggle school, friends and extra-curricular functions along with her secret life as a relevant pop star, but hey—it’s Disney. This is the corporation that gave the world an androgynous talking mouse and a verbally incoherent duck who never wears pants. You’ve got to suspend disbelief.*

My middle daughter is only two years old; too young to have developed the discerning palette necessary to become a regular viewer of “Hannah Montana.” She’s still into the animated stuff, and her favorite show is “Dora the Explorer.”

The basic premise of “Dora the Explorer” is fairly simple. A girl named Dora (who doesn’t appear to be any older than eight) spends half an hour walking somewhere. She always has some zany adventures along the way, of course, but the concept of every show is pretty much the same. This leads me to believe that Dora’s parents—whom you almost never see on the show—don’t really like Dora that much, since they allow her to go on these dangerous expeditions all the time. Dora probably has a huge life insurance policy that they want to cash in.

Dora is aided in her daily quest by an unusual cast of characters who are only slightly less boring than she is. Here are short descriptions of a few:

Boots — Boots is a monkey, and also Dora’s best friend. His name is Boots because—wait for it—he wears boots. I’m guessing that Boots considers himself fortunate that he chose not to wear his favorite pair of stiletto heels on the day he met Dora.

Backpack — Backpack is an actual backpack, and another good friend of Dora’s. Every time Dora and Boots find themselves in an unsolvable predicament, Backpack makes some awesome suggestion that fixes everything.
I know that a living, breathing backpack sounds creepy—and it is—but Dora never has any qualms about wearing a sentient being on her shoulder every day. Furthermore, there doesn’t appear to be any limit to the amount of room inside Backpack. I’ve seen Dora pull stuff out of Backpack that has no business being able to fit in there, and I’m talking big stuff, like Chevy Impalas and lumber.

Map — Much like Backpack is an actual backpack, Map is an actual Map. The creativity displayed by the writers on this show astounds me.

Writer 1: “Hey, what should we name the map?”
Writer 2: “How about ‘Map’?”
Writer 1: “Works for me. Let’s go to lunch.”

Swiper — Lastly, we have Swiper, the “antagonist” of the show. Swiper is a weasel who wears a Lone-Ranger-style mask over his eyes, just so there’s absolutely no question that he’s a villain.
Swiper is always trying to ambush Dora and steal stuff from her. When he jumps out, Dora and the gang thwart him by saying, “Swiper, no swiping!” This causes Swiper to immediately give up and walk away. Persistency is not Swiper‘s strong suit.

Normally, Swiper is unsuccessful at taking Dora‘s stuff. Every once in a while, though, he manages to get his hands on something from inside of Backpack. You would think that Swiper would run away and buy heroin at this point, but you’d be wrong. He usually just tosses whatever he stole into the woods.

I’m not sure if there’s a point in stealing something if you’re just going to chuck it into some trees as soon as you get it, but I guess that’s why I’m not a career criminal. After Swiper throws away his ill-gotten bounty, he just stands there while Dora finds it again (which takes all of three seconds).

I fail to see the lesson here, but whatever. I don’t have time to think about it anyway, because “iCarly” is coming on.
Oh, crap. Did I say “iCarly”?
Uh…I meant “CSI.”

* Notice how I made it through that entire section without making a Billy Ray Cyrus/“Achy Breaky Heart” joke. Looks like I’ve finally graduated to “Second-to-Lowest Common Denominator Humor.” Woo-hoo!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Getting Your Child To Sleep

Kids are God’s little narcoleptics. They all possess the ability to fall asleep without warning, most often while sitting on the toilet. They’ve got their own internal clocks when it comes to dozing off.
Your kid will never want to sleep when he is actually supposed to though, especially if you are tired. One method you can use to combat this tendency is to keep a bottle of whiskey by your side at all times, preferably secured in a custom-made holster fastened to your waist. As soon as your child falls asleep, whip out that booze and guzzle it down. Wait thirty seconds, then pass out. This way, both of you will get some rest.

In order to better your child’s sleep habits, it’s necessary to develop a nightly bedtime ritual. This is a routine that you and your child go through each evening before bed to help calm him down and prepare him to go to sleep. A typical bedtime ritual might go like this:

You: “Hey Timmy, let’s go brush your teeth.”
Your child: “No. I don‘t want to.”
You: “Hey Timmy, let’s go read a book.”
Your child: “No. I don‘t want to.”
You: “Hey Timmy, let’s eat a bunch of chocolate and finger-paint the walls.”
Your child: “No. I don‘t—wait, yes. I actually want to do that one.”
You: “Haha! Too late, you lost! Now you have to drink this entire bottle of NyQuil.”

*Note: I’m aware that your child’s name probably isn’t “Timmy.” You undoubtedly picked something far more creative and meaningful with which to christen the fruit of your loins. Maybe something like “Jimmy.”*

Other methods of calming your children before bed can include the following:

Reading a bedtime story — There are tons of children’s books out there that can be used to get a child to fall asleep once he’s in bed. Most of them have cutesy titles like The Briar Patch Bears Consider Purchasing A Microwave or Jenny Jellybean Applies For An Adjustable Rate Mortgage. When selecting a story, the key is to pick something that will hold your child’s attention, yet still be boring enough that he’ll want to fall asleep while you’re reading.
If the book is too boring, you may fall asleep yourself, which is a very dangerous situation. Kids are ingrained with a frat house/slumber party mentality which dictates that anyone who falls asleep before they do is automatically subject to be doodled upon with a Sharpie.

Singing a lullaby — Way back in the olden days before books and morphine were invented, parents had to soothe their offspring to sleep through the power of song. The key to this method is proper song selection. Something by John Mayer would be appropriate. Something by Megadeth would not.
Also, if your singing voice closely resembles the sound of mating tomcats, it’s likely best to forget about this method.

Letting the TV do all the work — Why have a television if you’re not going to use it? And when I say “use it,” I mean “plant your child in front of it, then leave the room for an extended period of time.”
TVs were made for babysitting, and there are plenty of shows that will hold your child’s interest. That Spongebob guy is great with kids; he has excellent references. Feel free to leave your child with him for several hours, even though it’s only a half-hour show. I’m not sure how the math on that works out, but it does.

The time your child spends sleeping is the best (and perhaps only) time to fix all the stuff he messed up while he was awake. You’ll need this time to pick up stray toys, clean the crayon off the walls, and get your cat out of the dryer.

For this reason, once your child falls asleep, your primary focus should be to keep him asleep. This is much more difficult than it sounds. Unlike every other living thing on the planet, children gain a heightened sense of awareness when they are sleeping. The slightest disturbance will rouse them. They can easily be awakened by a leaf hitting the grass three counties away.
Because of this, it’s important to take precautions.

You can try placing industrial-grade earmuffs (the kind construction workers wear) on your child, but chances are the extra weight and girth will render your child incapable of movement. (This is not necessarily a bad thing for you, but your kid will probably get pretty mad about it.)
Soundproofing your child’s room is also a valid idea, but the Laws of Parenthood dictate that if you were to spend thousands of dollars soundproofing your child’s room, he’d never want to sleep in there.

The most realistic solution to keeping a child asleep is to modify your own habits. When your child is sleeping, you must invoke the power of the ninja, creeping stealthily from one room to another. Your footsteps must be light and noiseless. Float if possible.

It takes practice, but with a little hard work and a lot of ingenuity, you can have the house glistening and spotless by the time your child wakes up.
Just in time for him to make a mess of it again.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How To Potty-Train Your Child

When is the right time to begin the process of potty training? Well, every child is different, but it usually ends up being about the time that you realize you’re spending approximately seven thousand dollars per week on diapers.

The first thing you’re going to need is a potty. You can attempt to train on a full-sized toilet, but chances are that your child isn’t yet six feet tall, and therefore can’t reach the lid just now. For the time being, he’s going to need his own.

You’ve got some options when it comes to buying a potty. The manufacturers of children’s potties make them in all sorts of kid-friendly shapes. Most are cute animals, like frogs or bunnies. Through this type of conditioning, every time your child encounters an actual frog or bunny, he’ll try to pee on it. For this reason, it’s important to keep your child indoors at all times while he’s potty training, a process which usually lasts about nine years.

It will take a while for your child to adjust to the idea of peeing on his new potty. At first he’ll be intrigued by it, then scared, then happy, then scared again, then confused, then scared again, and finally just bored. By this time you’ll have given up on training and you’ll be using the potty to store old nails and light bulbs.

When your child actually does pee in the potty—which usually happens by accident the first few hundred times—be sure to make a huge deal of it. You’ll want to heap congratulations on him, and make verbal affirmations so positive that he’ll think his pee cures cancer. You’ll be so elated the first time your child pees on the potty, pointing into the bowl and clapping in euphoric celebration, that you won’t even notice that his pants are still down and he’s now peeing on your shoe.

Here are a few techniques that can be used for potty training:

The Reward Method — Here’s how this one works: Every time your child successfully uses his potty, he receives a reward. The incentive you use for this purpose is entirely up to you, but it’s usually best if it’s something the child actually wants. Cookies make a better reward than broccoli. A small toy works better than a coupon from Office Depot. You get the idea.

The Helicopter Method — This method is so named because it causes the parent to closely resemble a helicopter hovering directly over the child’s shoulder. In order for this to work, you must have absolutely no life (and as a parent, you already have no life, so you’re halfway there). You’ll have to follow your child around all day, every two minutes asking: “Do you have to go potty? How about now? Do you have to go potty now?”
Most of the time, your child will answer, “No” or “I think you need therapy.” Every so often, however, he really will have to go potty, and success is achieved.

The Duct Tape Method — This technique involves duct taping the potty directly to your child’s butt, thereby guaranteeing he won’t suffer through the embarrassment of “accidents.”
There are downsides to this method, though. Your child will have difficulty negotiating corners, at least until he gets used to the extra girth he’s carrying. His social standing will likely suffer as well. All things considered, these are minor inconveniences when compared to never having to purchase another diaper again.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How to Change Your Child's Diaper

One of the first things that any new parent must learn is how to change a diaper. Your new baby has just spent nine long months in the womb peeing wherever and whenever he pleases, so it will take some time to break him of the habit. In the meantime, you’re at the mercy of Pampers.

When it comes time to change your first diaper, you’ll probably still be in the hospital with your baby. If you’ve never changed a diaper before, you should arrange to have one of the nurses show you how to do it so that you can “observe” and “learn.” The nurse will be more than happy to oblige. If you have changed diapers before, then you should still tell the nurse that you haven’t. This way, she’ll change your child for you, and that’s one less diaper you’ll have to mess with. After all, the ultimate goal of parenthood is to change as few diapers as possible.

New parents always want to put “good” diapers on their children. These are the fancy varieties of diapers that cost about as much as a new SUV. After buying these diapers for a couple of weeks, parents come to realize that this extra money spent on “good” diapers could be better used to purchase alcohol or psychiatric therapy, both of which are good investments when you’re raising children. After this parenting revelation, the type of diapers purchased is normally relegated to the category of “whatever’s on sale.”

The actual technique of changing a diaper goes something like this:

1. Take note of the odd smell in the room. Dry heave.
2. Realize that this odd smell is emanating from your child. Dry heave again.
3. Attempt to convince your spouse that he or she needs to spend some “quality time” with your child. Hand the child over, then run away laughing and yelling: “Sucker! It’s your problem now!”

If step #3 fails and you must change the diaper yourself, proceed as follows:

1. Place your child on the changing table. If you don’t have a changing table, use the hood of your neighbor’s car.
2. Restrain the child if possible. Duct tape works well.
3. Remove the diaper. Place it off to the side for now.
4. Clean your child’s butt. This will require approximately seven thousand baby wipes.
5. Realize that your child has stuck his foot into the dirty diaper. Clean off your child’s foot. Toss the dirty diaper into the garbage can across the room. Miss horribly. Take a mental note to clean that up later.
6. Realize that you forgot to get a clean diaper prepared for this process. Leave the room to go get one.
7. Come back into the room with the clean diaper in hand. Even though you have only been gone for a few seconds, your child has somehow managed to find a steak knife and is now chewing on it.
8. Carefully wrestle the knife away from your child’s grasp.
9. Put the new diaper on your child.
10. Take note of the odd smell in the room. Realize that your child has gone to the bathroom again. Scream. Cry. Repeat.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Buying Your Child a Stroller

Things to consider when purchasing a stroller:

1. Are the stroller’s cup-holders large enough to accommodate a beer can?
2. Are the stroller’s tires rated for “moon-terrain”?
3. Can a monkey operate the stroller?

If your answer to any of the above questions is “no,” then do not, under any circumstances, purchase the stroller.
Allow me to explain.
The most important aspect of your new stroller is cup-holder surface area. You’ll need ample space to house a beer can, or more likely several beer cans. Even if you don’t drink, the assembly of your stroller will drive you to start. You’ll find yourself chugging a frosty brew in frustration as you attempt to figure out how exactly to unfold the stroller, haggard and driven mindless by such a seemingly unsolvable task.
Don‘t feel bad, though. Even Sir Isaac Newton was not able to understand modern Strollerology. Newton died penniless and frustrated without being able to unfold his first child’s stroller. So did Thomas Edison. And Michelangelo.
The act of unfolding a stroller requires at least a Master’s Degree in Molecular Physics, and the rest of us can only hope to twist and press the appointed buttons and levers until we stumble upon the solution and unlock the stroller. This normally takes three to four days, so plan your family outings accordingly.
Once you’ve got the stroller unfolded and ready for action, it’s necessary to examine the tires. “All-terrain” tires are a must on any stroller, and once you’ve ensured that you have the proper grade of tire installed, you should probably take it for a “test run.”
A “test run” involves actually pushing the stroller around at a full sprint and seeing if you get hung up on anything. Feel free to escape the confines of your yard and run down the street. Don’t stop for anything, even oncoming traffic. Do this for several hours, or until you wake up in the hospital.
If you find your new stroller’s tires to be having trouble negotiating normal, everyday obstacles such as boulders and small cars, you may want to replace the tires with larger ones. By “larger ones,” I mean “monster-truck-sized.” Tires that are any smaller than this will not even be able to make it up a curb, let alone roll handily over your spouse’s foot.
If your stroller passes these tests, then it’s time for the “live run.” Take your stroller out to a place you would normally take your child, such as a park, a fair or a strip club. Then do some walking around with your stroller and observe the actions of those around you.
If you find that small animals are running away from you in a mad panic, and that other parents are hastily swiping up their children and removing them from your path, that’s a good sign. It means that you own everyone’s respect—not only because you have the largest, most badass stroller in the area, but because you actually got it unfolded.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

How To Feed Your Children

Feeding your children:

Children have three food groups that they consider to be “acceptable”:

1. Chocolate
2. Trix cereal
3. Chocolate-flavored Trix cereal

If you try to give your kid any foods that deviate from these groups, you might as well be serving him rat poison. He’ll look at his plate in disgust, then look up at you in disgust, then look back at his plate in disgust, and so on. He will repeat this cycle until you both fall over from exhaustion or until you give up and hand over a Snickers bar.
Another rule of children’s dietary selection is this: Your child won’t like what he liked yesterday. Kids are very fickle. If your child wolfed down every bite of the macaroni and cheese that you served for last night’s dinner, he will despise the very sight of it today, so make sure to have lots of different foods on hand for him to choose from. You must always keep a selection of food that takes up roughly 99.74% of your kitchen cabinet space. The only room that‘s left over for “your food” will be just enough space for a Slim Jim and a box of baking soda, which your kid will all of a sudden decide that he wants to eat.
Once you’ve got your child’s meal prepared and set on the plate in front of him, he may resolve that he isn’t going to eat it, even though he was the one who picked it out. In this case, there are a few different things you can try to get him to eat.

“The Airplane”:
This is the time-honored action of spooning up your child’s food, then “flying” it into his mouth while you make stupid and embarrassing airplane sounds. The object is to get your child to open the “hangar”—his mouth—and allow you to spoon-feed the plane-food. The major drawback to this method is that your child will never open his “hangar” during the whole process, and the entire contents of his dinner will end up on his shirt.
“The Catapult”:
This one involves building a crude catapult out of a salt shaker and a spoon. Lay the salt shaker on its side, then place a spoon that’s full of food on top of it. Angle the contraption so that a slap to the handle of the spoon will cause the food to fly toward the general direction of your child. Repeat this process two hundred or more times until you actually get something into your child’s mouth.
“The I Give Up. Let’s Go To McDonald’s”:
If you’ve exhausted all other methods of coaxing your child into eating, and if you’ve developed a new ulcer from dealing with mealtime, you may want to give this option a try. It explains itself.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How To Dress Your Child

Things you will need for dressing your child:
1. Rope
2. A tranquilizer gun
3. Several other people to help hold the child down
4. More rope

When dressing your child, it’s best to be realistic. Sure, we would all like our child’s clothing to “match” or even “make sense,” but the more times you go through the process of dressing your child, the more you’ll realize that just getting two shoes on his feet is a victory in itself.
Your child will kick. Your child will thrash around. Your child will scream. He’ll do everything in his power to keep you from getting that shirt collar over his head. You’ll have to forcibly contort his body into a shape vaguely resembling a trombone just to get one leg into his pants. And when it’s all over and your child is finally dressed, you’ll breathe a satisfied sigh of relief, then notice that you put every article of clothing on backward.
Most new parents want their children to look “cute” or “fashionable,” but as time goes on, they come to see that this isn’t a realistic approach. First of all, any new outfit you buy for your child will become completely ruined by noon on the first day it is worn, usually sooner. The outfit will be covered with dirt, spit-up and stains from food that you didn’t even give your child. These food stains will also happen to be of whatever color is most noticeable and ugly against the color of your child’s clothing.
Your child’s outfit will be useless and unrecognizable by bedtime, so it’s best to just throw it out and buy a new one. This can get expensive, however, so here are a few things a parent can do to alleviate some of the financial burden of buying new clothes on a daily basis:

1. Shoplift
2. Steal from friends’ children
3. Start making your own clothing (garbage bags and string work well)

The most cost-effective solution, though, is to simply allow your child to run around in a diaper for the entire day. This can actually be quite beneficial. He’ll get a healthy skin-glow from all the sun, and if your friends mention the fact that your child is almost naked, you can just tell them that he’s “free-spirited” and “artsy.” They’ll be super jealous, and more than likely will stop dressing their kids as well.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Yes, I Saw "Sex and the City 2." Yes, I Wrote a Blog About It.

I wrote this blog a few weeks ago when I went to see Sex and the City 2. I then “forgot” to post it, fearing that admitting I had seen the movie would emasculate me in the eyes of my friends and acquaintances. I’m sure everyone I know sees me as a super-tough, rugged badass—which I totally am.
After a while, though, I came to realize that most people are already aware of the fact that I’ve seen every episode of the “Sex and the City” TV show and both the movies. Therefore, I’ve already emasculated myself to the point that there isn’t much use hiding these things. I’m still a super-tough, rugged badass, though.

While sitting in the theater waiting for Sex and the City 2 to begin, I made a checklist of things that I thought would happen in the movie. An overwhelming majority of what I wrote down on my list ended up on the screen. This probably means that I am psychic. Or maybe a wizard. Possibly a ninja-pirate.
Anyway, here’s the full list:

*Note: If you’re not familiar with the characters in the Sex and the City franchise, you might not understand some of these references. If this is the case, then you probably already think I’m a complete douchebag for going to see Sex and the City 2, much less making a stupid list and then blogging about it.*

A marriage or renewal of vows:

This was the first thing I wrote down, and it happened in one of the opening scenes. Two dudes got married by Liza Minnelli in an obscenely lavish ceremony that must have cost about three billion dollars. Apparently, gay men who live in New York are fiscally unaffected by recession.

A divorce or the danger of one:

I’ll give myself a half point on this. Although the word “divorce” was never actually mentioned, there was some grade-A marital instability in this movie, which brings me to my next point.

Marital woe through bad communication habits:

In typical “chick flick” fashion, Big and Carrie butted heads over her wanting to go out and do stuff, and his desire to sit on his ass and watch TV. Gawd, men are sooo lazy and dumb.


Although there wasn’t any full-on cheating happening, Carrie did kiss Aiden. This in itself was pretty remarkable, since Aiden was only in the movie for about seventeen seconds. I’ll count that one.

Some dude’s schlong:

In the first movie, there was a full-on, slow-motion close-up of some guy’s wiener. Thankfully, the sequel didn’t feature that, but there were several zoomed-in shots of various dudes in Speedos. There was also a scene that made a point to showcase a dude’s junk in various stages of erection. That right there is Oscar-worthy cinematic gold, ladies and gentlemen. Orson Welles never came up with anything like that.

Samantha is a whore:

This one was pretty obvious. I counted at least three dudes that she plowed during the course of the movie, and innumerable others that she ogled. She would have bedded even more, but she started having some menopause-induced hormonal deficiencies at around the halfway point of the film. As a result, the conga line into her crotch was temporarily interrupted.

Carrie’s bad puns:

Another obvious one. I counted at least six, including:
“Lawrence of my Labia”
“Mid-Wife Crisis”
And also a dialogue exchange that went something like this:
“There ought to be a law against sleeping with your nanny.”
“Yeah, a Jude Law.”

Two or more of the main characters get pissed at each other then reconcile, richer for the experience:

This point wasn’t as intense as I had expected it to be. There were some verbal jabs and petty bickering between the girls, but nothing earth-shattering. Partial credit.

Mr. Big is indecisive:

This one I’ll count as a miss. The first movie made a major plotline out of his fear of commitment, and I thought for sure they’d repeat the formula. They didn’t. Touché, screenwriters, touché.

Children are overwhelming and difficult to raise:

Wow, did I ever nail this one. Charlotte spent two hours complaining about how her two kids were driving her insane, but get this: She had a full-time nanny, so she didn‘t really even have to do anything. She did all that whining about how tough it was to raise her kids when her damn babysitter was doing all the work. Come over to my house for a while, Charlotte. My crazy-ass kids will have you drooling in a straitjacket within fifteen minutes.

Indiscriminate female bonding through unconventional means:

Four chicks riding camels in the middle of the desert. Need I say more?

Crude and blunt references to female anatomy:

Thank you, Samantha. She spent the entire movie complaining about her dissipating hormones and rubbing estrogen cream on her va-jay-jay.

Men look stupid and uncaring:

Yeah, but don’t they always look stupid and uncaring in these movies? Partial credit.

A new male character is introduced—shirtless for some reason—and Samantha plows him within twenty minutes:

I wasn’t as accurate as I thought I would be with this one. Actually, it took more like ten minutes.

So, if you’re keeping score at home, I got 11 ½ points out of a possible 14. Pretty good for a super-tough, rugged badass—even an emasculated one.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Field Guide To Lame Fireworks

I love dumb, cheap fireworks--the more pointless and crappy the better. The Fourth of July is only a few days away, and in honor of the holiday, I've come up with a brief list of the dumbest fireworks out there and why I love them so much. Enjoy.

These are by far the lamest, most anti-climactic, worthless "fireworks" ever created. This is precisely what makes them so awesome. Make sure you use one of those lighters with the long stems when you light these, otherwise you'll have to get your thumb amputated because of all the burns. These things leave nasty black stains on your concrete when they’re done burning, so just imagine what the smoke they give off is doing to your lungs. Yummy.

Smoke Bombs:
These will impress the crap out of potheads and anyone under the age of five. Beyond that, their only practical use is to light one and place it under the chair of an unsuspecting drunk. Then frantically grab his or her arm while yelling, "The house is on fire! Run!" and watch the hilarity unfold.

If you've got a bunch of children hanging around, nothing is more entertaining than shooting off a parachute and watching the kids trip over one another and faceplant into the sides of buildings while trying to chase it down. Make sure you do these in a really open area, because if there's even one tree within 35 miles of where you're at, damned if that parachute isn't gonna get stuck in it.

Much like smoke bombs, these can be thrown under chairs for a cheap laugh. Works best on the elderly.

Jumping Jacks:
These usually look exactly like firecrackers, except the wrapping tends to be more effeminate. Once lit, they spin and bounce around in all types of fruity colors. Buy a bunch of them, because even the ones that aren't “duds” only last about .042 seconds.

Bottle Rockets:
Recipe for fun:
4 steel pipes
3 other friends
1,000 bottle rockets
Give each person a pipe and a bunch of bottle rockets. Stand about 40 feet apart and shoot the bottle rockets out of the pipes at each other. Extra points for style, degree of difficulty, and groin shots. Works best while intoxicated.

Roman Candles:
These are pretty useless unless you happen to be stranded on a deserted island and need to signal for help, and that only happens like once or twice a month. Hold it in your hand and shoot it off if you're a badass. Stick it in the ground, light it and run if you're a wuss.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Hey, Remember That?

Here's another old Myspace blog that I dug up. This one's about my favorite cartoons and toys from my childhood. Enjoy.

To me, the kids’ shows that were popular when I was growing up in the 1980’s seemed to be a lot more creative and entertaining than most of the garbage that’s on TV now. I could be wrong, though. Maybe that’s just how I remember things. In reality, they were probably just as crappy as anything that‘s on the air today.
In any case, here are my thoughts on a few of my favorite cartoon shows and toys from my childhood:

G.I. JOE — This was my favorite show for a good year or two. G.I. Joe was some sort of military conglomerate that was constantly at war with a terrorist organization called COBRA. The two groups would get into frequent battles on the show, obliterating the countryside with bitchin’ lasers and explosions. When the dust settled at the end of each episode, G.I. Joe would always emerge victorious, and the members of COBRA would flee the battlefield, humiliated and overpowered.
There were also short little public service announcements at the conclusion of each show. The G.I. Joe dudes would talk to the audience and give everyone a good solid moral lesson. It’s a good thing they did, too. Thanks to G.I. Joe, I learned that it wasn’t okay to smoke crack or burn my house down.
I ate this stuff up when I was young; I couldn’t get enough of this show. After several months of religious viewing, however, a few points emerged that began to bother me.
First of all, nobody ever died during the battles. Nobody at all. With all the exploding crap and lasers flying all over the place, you would think that somebody would get hit by something. That never happened, though, and I soon realized what a lame concept that was. I know that you can’t exactly show bloodshed and carnage on a Saturday morning cartoon show, but for the love of God, have somebody sprain their ankle! Step on a freaking bug! Anything!
Nine times out of ten, the climax of the show would feature G.I. Joe blowing up COBRA’s secret base. They would shoot it with missiles and junk, literally decimating the building to rubble. I thought that was pretty cool, and I never had any problem with it until I noticed that COBRA always had a brand-new base the very next week. Where in the hell did they get that kind of financial capacity? Did they all have night jobs at the skating rink? Did they collect Home Depot coupons? More importantly, who were the building contractors who could assemble a state-of-the-art military compound in a week? I’m pretty sure that’s impossible, unless you construct the entire thing out of Styrofoam and toothpicks.
Once these thoughts began occurring to me, I knew I had grown too old for G.I. Joe, and a little part of my childhood died.

HE-MAN — He-Man was a show about a guy named Adam who was prince of a planet called Eternia. As if Adam wasn’t busy enough doing whatever it is princes do, he also had to serve as the sole means of law enforcement for the entire planet. Whenever Skeletor (the main bad guy) threatened to disturb the peace, Adam would magically transform himself into He-Man and go to work. He’d hand out parking tickets, direct traffic, or just plain beat the piss out of everybody if the situation dictated (and it often did).
I used to have damn near all of the action figures (or “dolls,” if you want to be blunt about it) that were associated with He-Man. I played with them a lot, but the male characters made me feel sort of strange. Every one of them was bursting with rippled muscles and wearing little more than a loincloth. That’s probably the reason why I sometimes get the overwhelming urge to drink apple martinis and watch “Oprah.”

GO-BOTS — I don’t remember if there was a TV show to go along with Go-Bots, but if there was, it probably sucked as badly as the toys did. Go-Bots were the ghetto version of Transformers. I bought Go-Bots when I really wanted a toy, but couldn’t afford anything good. This happened often, because I didn’t have a job at eight years old, and thus never had any money.
Go-Bots had the market cornered on all the stuff the Transformers franchise didn’t bother to touch. For instance, there were Go-Bots that transformed into lampshades, sewing machines and shag carpeting. If it was useless and no fun whatsoever to play with, there was a Go-Bot that transformed into it.

THE SUPERFRIENDS — This was the cartoon that featured all the characters from the DC comics crew. There were old standards like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, as well as lesser-known douchey superheroes like Aquaman and Green Arrow. They all spent their downtime at this place called the Hall of Justice, killing time by crank calling Chinese restaurants.
The only thing that really bugged me about this show was the pair of useless-ass superheroes known as the Wonder Twins. They were a dude and a girl—brother and sister, I think—who styled their hair with so much grease that even the Fonz turned his head in disgust. They also wore these ugly purple costumes that looked like they were stolen from Rainbow Brite’s closet.
The Wonder Twins’ crappy “superpower” was shape-shifting into stuff. That by itself sounds awesome, but there was a catch. One of the twins could only transform into an animal (which was cool, I guess), and the other twin could only transform into water. Wow, how compelling. You can transform into the most abundant resource on Earth. That’s got to be the dumbest superpower ever in the history of everything. What possible use is there for the ability to change yourself into water? Not much unless your archenemy is the Wicked Witch of the West.

MUPPET BABIES — This was a cartoon show that had a pretty long run in the 80’s. The set-up was this: It’s the Muppets, but they’re babies. Hence the title of the show.
The cast of characters included Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo, Fozzie Bear, Rolf the Dog, Scooter, Skeeter, Animal, Bunson and Beaker (I think that’s all of them. It’s sad how I can remember stuff like this but I frequently find myself walking into the kitchen and forgetting what I went in there for).
The Muppet Babies spent their days wreaking havoc in their nursery, pausing only to receive sage advice from Nanny (the only adult on the show) during her occasional visits. I guess Nanny was supposed to be watching them, but she only showed up about twice per episode. Call me crazy, but leaving ten babies alone in a room for half an hour while you’re in a completely separate area of the house doesn’t sound like good business practice for a childcare professional. I sure as hell wouldn’t leave my kids with her.
This show was cool because it appealed to the power of imagination. The Muppet Babies were always thinking up ridiculous scenarios and making them come to life within the confines of the nursery. They also sang one or two songs during each episode which were actually quite melodic and well-written. Damn, I miss this show.

ALF — I mention this show because while it originated as a live-action sitcom, there was also a cartoon spin-off that came from it. For about a year or so, “Alf” was the coolest freaking thing on the planet. Everybody in my age group watched this show, laughing like hell at every word that came out of Alf‘s mouth.
The premise of “Alf” was as such: Alf is a short, furry alien who crash-lands his spaceship in the backyard of a normal suburban family. Wanting to avoid Alf’s dissection and anal probing at the hands of government officials, the family adopts him as one of their own, keeping his existence a secret to everyone else. Alf is a huge pain in the ass for the family, though, and makes their daily lives even more difficult by eating everything in the refrigerator and trying to murder their cat. Exactly why the family put up with this is beyond me, but they did, and the result was some damn fine television programming.

TEEN WOLF — This cartoon was a spin-off of a movie that starred Michael J. Fox. The set-up of the movie and the cartoon were the same: an introverted teenage kid sometimes changes into a fun-loving werewolf. The show chronicled the kid’s struggle to find his identity amidst his two personas.
Although the cartoon was pretty lame, the movie was decent for an 80’s flick. Michael J. Fox was fifty-three years old and still playing seventeen, as he often did in his starring roles.

PEE-WEE’S PLAYHOUSE — I know this wasn’t actually a cartoon, but dammit did this show kick ass. Never before or since have I seen a television program so reminiscent of a happy LSD trip (not that I‘ve ever done LSD, but I can imagine). This show starred Pee-Wee Herman, and it showcased the wacky adventures he had inside his tricked-out house.
The cast of characters Pee-Wee shared the stage with were equally as bat-crap crazy as he was. There was Chairy, the talking chair; Conky the robot; Jambi the genie (who was little more than a floating head in a box—creepy); Floory, a talking section of the playhouse floor, and a ton of other stuff. If all that’s not a foundation for quality entertainment, I don’t know what is.
There were also some noteworthy actors who appeared on the show, namely Phil Hartman and Laurence Fishburne. Phil Hartman was a sea captain who came by the playhouse from time to time, and Laurence Fishburne played the character known as Cowboy Curtis, who was also a regular fixture in Pee-Wee’s social circle.
Pee-Wee’s run ended abruptly when Paul Reubens—the actor who played him—was arrested for jerking off in an adult theater. Just the thought of Pee-Wee Herman whipping out his wiener in public was enough to turn most of the general public off of the Pee-Wee brand, which was a damn shame. It was a great freaking show.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I Shouldn't Have Read That: How To Clean Up Your Facebook Newsfeed

Do you ever look at your Facebook newsfeed and cringe? Here’s a list of common varieties of Facebook members to help you weed out the people whose posts you probably shouldn‘t be paying attention to.

*Note: I’ve been guilty of most of these, and you’ll probably find at least a couple that look familiar to you, too.*

TMI (Too Much Information) Guy:

This person was born without the “filter” that most of us have between our brains and our mouths (or in this case, keyboards). You’ll read posts like “I got my prostate examined today. The doctor’s hands were freezing but supple” or “Gonna go shave my scrotum now. Be back in ten.”
Reading any of TMI Guy’s posts will cause you to involuntarily shudder, and if you’ve got a weak stomach, you’ll probably barf. Keep a trash can handy.

Mundane Activities Guy:

This dude is closely related to TMI guy in that he posts a bunch of junk that you’ll immediately regret reading—not because it’s gross or overly-personal, but because it’s just so damn boring. You’ll be reading about his uneventful day at work, his average-tasting breakfast and his unremarkable trip to the mall. Half a sentence of this and you’ll be wishing you were illiterate.

Farmville Guy:

I mention Farmville, but feel free to insert any of the asinine Facebook games. Farmville Guy will clutter your screen with meaningless nonsense that takes so long to scroll through that you’ll be wishing for a brain hemorrhage before you reach the bottom of the page.

I Can’t Post Anything That Doesn’t Have To Do With My Children Guy:

OK, we get it. You love your kids. All parents do—unless your name is Jon or Kate. But seriously, does the world really need to know that little Jimmy ate half a jar of strained carrots for dinner?

Manic Depressive Posting Guy:

You’ll never know quite what to make of Manic Depressive Posting Guy. One day he’ll be spreading sunshine through your computer screen with his witty anecdotes and ultra-positive outlook on life. The next day, his posts will be so disheartening and miserable that you’ll want to chew on some rat poison.

40 Pictures Of Me With My Shirt Off Guy:

This dude doesn’t write much in his posts; he’d rather let the uploaded pictures do the talking. You’ll normally see dark and grainy photos of him standing shirtless in front of the bathroom mirror holding a camera in one hand and a bottle of baby oil in the other. If he does write anything in his posts, it’s always about his glistening abs or the sick pump he got in his biceps at the gym today.
Ladies do this too. Any self-taken, downward-angled picture featuring a gallon of mascara, a kissy-face expression and 400 acres of cleavage is definitely a red flag.

Everyone Should Share My Political Views Guy:

If you don’t think, talk and act exactly like this person, he’ll consider you a blithering communist idiot. You’ll often see posts like “Obama rules!” or “Obama sucks!” depending on which side of the fence his political allegiance lies.
Try to challenge him on anything and he’ll lose his frigging mind, responding with pages upon pages of “surveys” and “statistics” that sound about as factual as a Harry Potter book.

Rabid Sports Fan Guy:

Was that necessary? Is it going to help the team play better? It is? Okay, my mistake.

Hey Dude, Check Out My Band Guy:

Here’s another species of poster that, thankfully, is less prevalent on Facebook than it was on MySpace. Hey Dude, Check Out My Band Guy thinks he’s in the greatest band on the face of the earth, and he wants eeeeeeeeeeveryone to know it.
You’ll get slammed by posts detailing the immense effort and musical genius that goes into each and every one of his songs. He’ll ramble on about the bitchin’ show his band just played at the airport bar and wax poetic about how he whipped the crowd into a frenzy with his virtuoso guitar riffs.
The ironic thing is, if you ever do take the time to listen to this guy’s music, ninety-nine percent of the time it sounds like drunken gophers having sex. (In other words, not very good.)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tennis Is Stupid

Here's an older Myspace blog entry that I dug up. This one's about the virtues of tennis:

Apparently there’s been a professional tennis tournament going on all week. I was unaware of this, considering the fact that I’m not a complete loser. The particular tournament that's happening right now is the Australian Open, as in: “Crikey! A croc ate me racket and me balls!”
I actually sat and watched one of the matches for a few minutes today. It featured those two titans of professional tennis: Some Guy You’ve Never Heard Of and Some Other Guy You’ve Never Heard Of. It was then that I realized just how stupid the sport of tennis is.

1. Guy hits ball.
2. Other guy hits ball.
3. Repeat.
4. Are you bored yet? I sure am.

I mean, think about it. Tennis has got to be the crappiest sport ever in the history of everything. Here are a few reasons why:

— What’s up with the scoring system in this sport? You start the game at zero, but it’s not called “zero,” it’s called “love.” What the hell? Just call it frigging ZERO. How difficult is that?
When you actually score points, the progression makes even less sense. The sequence goes: Love, 15, 30, 40. What? Who came up with this crap? A drunken two-year-old could add better than that.

— They have “games” in tennis, but when you win a “game,” you’re not done. Far from it, my friend. You’ve got to win several “games” to win a “set,” then win several “sets” to win a “match.” That’s way too damned complicated. I’m confused just typing it out. I’m also bored again.

— Tennis matches are played on several different surfaces, including grass and clay. Why the discrepancy? What’s so hard about making a universal playing surface for every stadium? Is this beyond our capabilities as a society? Do certain countries still lack “grass technology”?

— While the match is going on, the audience has to be completely quiet. I mean no noise whatsoever. I’ve got a real problem with that. Sports—real sports—were meant to be enjoyed along with a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon and a dozen of your rowdy, obnoxious friends. What’s fun about watching a couple of A-holes run after a fruity neon ball if you can’t make a sound? That’s not sports, that’s sitting in the Time Out Chair.
The tennis world takes this “quiet” crap very seriously, too. If a spectator so much as coughs during a player’s backhand, he gets escorted from the stadium and violated with garden implements.

— No one likes tennis. When’s the last time you went in to work on Monday morning and got into an exciting water cooler discussion with your co-workers about that bitchin’ tennis match you all saw on TV over the weekend?
Can you even think of anybody that you know who is actually a tennis fan? I’ll bet you can’t, but even if you can, the person who comes to mind is probably a complete tool. I doubt you even like this person, either.

How can we make tennis better? Well, I’m afraid it may be too far gone, but here are a few suggestions that would inject some much-needed life into the sport:

1. One word: landmines.
2. Goodbye, tennis shorts. Hello, Hammer pants.
3. Replace tennis ball with bowling ball. Replace tennis racket with bare hand.
4. During the match, require players to wear iPods containing nothing but Celine Dion songs which can’t be removed until the match is over. This really wouldn’t help make the game more entertaining, but it sure as hell would speed up the matches.
5. Put panda bears on the court. No reason, I just really like panda bears.
6. Make players wear stilts and clown costumes.
7. Instead of using a tennis ball, use a football. Instead of playing on a tennis court, play on a football field. Instead of playing tennis, play football.
8. Tennis matches must take place inside a UFC ring during a fight.
9. Remember the XFL? Do that with tennis.
10. Do everything that you normally would in a tennis match, only do the exact opposite.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What Do Your Favorite Pizza Toppings Say About You?

Everybody loves pizza, and we’ve all got our own favorite toppings for those steamy slices. But what do those toppings say about you? Use this highly scientific list for a window into your own personality.

Plain Cheese — You’re an incredibly boring person, and you spend the bulk of your time watching The Weather Channel. The highlight of your day is when the mail comes. You will die alone.

Pepperoni — You’re a fun-loving, all-American individual—or at least you believe you are. You're actually a complete tool. You've got lots of friends, but ninety percent of them can't even remember your name and the other ten percent secretly hate you.

Sardines — If a slimy, disgusting fish is your idea of appetizing cuisine, you’re a seething idiot. Here’s a better idea: take all the sardines off of your pizza, drop them into a fish tank and give them all names, because these are the only friends you will ever have.

Pineapple — You need to be punched in the face.

Canadian Bacon — If you’re dumb enough to be fond of something with the word “Canadian” in the title, you should be tied to a chair and forced to listen to twelve hours of Bryan Adams albums.

Sausage — Simply having meat on your pizza isn’t enough for you. Oh, no. You need your edible animal flesh to be ground into misshapen balls and seasoned with the rejected spices of a third-rate Italian restaurant. You’re high society, baby.

Mushrooms — You’re a tree-hugging hippie douchebag. You spend your days spouting left-wing propagandist garbage about the harrowing plight of Indonesian humpbacked orcas and still wonder why no one returns your phone calls.

Green Peppers — See “Pineapple.”

Ham — You think “Walker: Texas Ranger” is the epitome of sophisticated television programming. There has been extensive inbreeding within your family tree and you more than likely have a third nipple.

Onions — The reason that no one wants to hang out with you isn’t because your breath smells like onions, but that you’re completely uninteresting. But just keep telling yourself that it’s the onions.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Soccer Is Stupid

A few notable exceptions notwithstanding, soccer is undoubtedly the most pointless activity mankind has ever come up with. This sport involves nothing but a bunch of dudes in short-shorts and ugly socks running from one side of a field to the other. There's also a ball in there somewhere, but I'm too bored to find it.
Soccer is no fun to watch, it’s no fun to play. It’s just…there.

First off, let’s take a look at the rules of this sport. The concept is fairly straightforward: Two opposing teams try to get a ball into a net, resulting in a “goal,” which is how points are scored. Sounds pretty simple, right? Well, it’s not. In fact it’s so un-simple that a goal is only scored once every forty-eight games. Seriously, a soccer game not ending in a 0-0 tie is one of the seven signs of the apocalypse.

It should be super easy to score goals in soccer. The net is roughly the size of a semi trailer, and the only obstacle between a player and the net is the collection of skinny wusses on the other team. The reason it’s so difficult is because of soccer’s biggest downfall: You can’t use your hands.

Are there any other sports where you’re not allowed to use your hands? I can’t think of any, but if there are they probably suck as badly as soccer. Man was not built with this in mind. God gave us all two hands, and dammit we need to make use of them. Not doing so is bordering on blasphemy, like saying: “Hey, God, I know you gave me four appendages, but I‘m good with two. Thanks anyway, buddy.”

Sure, we all need our feet. We use them to take us places so we can do cool stuff with our hands, like knitting and masturbating. Now that I think of it, what real good are feet anyway? Their only purpose is walking, and hell, you can use your hands for that, too.
Ya hear that, feet? You suck.

Another thing that’s completely lacking from soccer is the presence of noteworthy stars within the sport. I mean, can you name one soccer player?

There’s David Beckham, but he’s less famous for being a soccer player than he is for being the douchey pretty-boy husband of Posh Spice.
There’s that Pele guy, but I doubt that anyone born within the last ninety-seven years knows who in the hell he is.
There’s the chick who took off her shirt at the Olympics or wherever that was, but can you remember her name? No, it’s not Shirtless Chick.
That’s about it. Everybody else who plays professional soccer might as well be named That Guy, That One Dude, The Other Guy, etc.

Of course, I’m taking a very American view of this sport (and why not? America rules, everybody else sucks). The rest of the world loves soccer. They all go batcrap crazy over it. Every time there’s a soccer game in Europe, the entire continent shuts down. Security has to be deployed in such numbers that the stadium more closely resembles a military occupation rather than a sporting event. “Soccer hooligans” line the stands, wreaking havoc and beating the piss out of each other regardless of what’s occurring on the field.
And this is the world’s twisted and douchey idea of entertainment? No, thank you.

That doesn’t happen here in America. Nobody gives a crap about any of it. We’ve got Major League Soccer, but all the players make minimum wage and nobody goes to the games. It’s like the WNBA. Well…not that bad, but close.

So anyway, yeah, this sport is stupid. God bless America.