Thursday, May 5, 2011

Blessed are the 'geek': for they shall inherit the earth...

...Along with it's mineral rights.

      I've said for a very long time the original beatitude from the book of Mathew had been mistranslated and it should have read as my title line does, and I still believe it. To be honest geeks pretty much already have inherited the earth. We are all well aware of the CEO's of Apple; the Steve's; Wozniak and Jobs; and everyone knows Bill Gates name. Those men and many others like them are now integrated into the very fabric of our society and are worth billions. Celebrities are pouring out of the woodwork trying to convince us all how geek they are because now geek is chic. Jerry Seinfeld, Rosario Dawson, Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman just to name a few have all proudly confessed their geek colors.
      It seems to be a long stretch from the time when saying someone was a geek was a bad thing and people had to hide their passions to avoid the ridicule, now even beautiful woman are fighting for their right to be recognized as geeks. There are multiple web sites and blogs dedicated to geek and gamer girls and I can't tell you the amount of times I've heard girls complain because they were called "Girl Gamers" instead of just a gamer like everyone else. In fact, Team Unicorn; a group of beautiful and talented ladies who happen to be true geeks put out an amazing and funny video called "Geek and Gamer Girls" to prove the point. If you haven't done so go check out that video and their other fantastic parody's on or YouTube, they are pretty amazing, and not just models or performers they are the real deal.

      It seems all the things that once got kids beat-up and bullied are now not only mainstream, but some are actually cool. Whether it's Sci-Fi and Fantasy, comics, video games, technology, or even clothing what was once just part of geek world has become what all the "cool kids" are doing.
      You have to begin a long time in a galaxy far away with the undisputed king of all  geekdom; Star Wars. When Star Wars came out I was in grade school and fell in love with it before I had even seen the movie. When the sequel; The Empire Strikes Back, came out I had just entered junior high, and it still just was not cool. Despite everyone and their grandparents having seen these movies, to get caught discussing them in any depth was reason for nerd abuse. Now it's hard to find someone who doesn't love Star Wars, it's actually become part of our culture and not just in America, but worldwide. Which still begs the question; How the hell does "Annie Hall" beat it out for the academy award.
      TV and film are now saturated with geek influence. The funniest show on television "Big Bang Theory" is a geek paradise. Shows like LOST, Fringe, and Chuck and dozens of others all have science fiction roots and are very popular with the key demographics. Although FOX TV seems a little confused about this. FOX has taken a novel approach to the subject by taking any show that is embraced by the geek community and canceling it in favor of a reality show that will cost them less but still net them a large audience. Albeit an audience of brain damaged sheep. Yes, in other words their audience from Fox (its kinda like) News. Sadly it looks like ABC is beginning to lose it's mind as well.
      There is hope though as talented young writers have taken some control from the stubborn old men who have run TV (into the ground) for several years. People like J.J. Abrams and the incredible work of writer/creator Joss Whedon who added a whole new layer to that cool with his intelligent but "hip" dialogue and the genuine charm of his characters. The fact that BBC America is now widely available hasn't hurt either since they have an abundance of great geek shows.
      Movies have been utterly dominated by geek culture for several years now. Box office records are being smashed by movies like Avatar, Spider-Man, The Dark Knight, Iron Man, and Harry Potter. Even some of the cruder more adult movies are geek influenced. Filmmaker Kevin Smith's "New Jersey" films are filled with geek references as he himself is an uber-nerd; naming his own daughter Harley Quinn Smith after a Batman villain.
      This will segue nicely for me to comic books. Comic books, graphic novels, and manga were once seen as a completely geek reading material that you would never bring to school due to fear of taunting, of course I never saw a pudding-headed bully read anything other than his detention slip anyway. Now they are easy to find in mainstream bookstores as well as the basis for a huge amount of movies, TV, and video games.
      When it comes to "comic" based films there are of course the super hero movies everyone knows, and then there are some movies where the general public may see elements of  their comic roots like; Sin City, Watchmen, Hellboy and Scott Pilgrim. Yet others have been shocked to find out movies like V for Vendetta, 300, Wanted, Red, and History of Violence and dozens of others were once comics.
       In fact one of my favorite moments happened a few years back while sitting in a bookstore Starbucks. I was quietly sitting behind three elderly woman who had gathered for a gossip session. The ladies began talking about the wonderful movie they had watched together the night before. "Such a great story", "What great characters" so on and so forth. Since the movie in question "Road to Perdition" was one of my favorites I decided to butt way. Slowly working my way into the conversation I asked these sweet, wrinkly ladies if they enjoyed comics? They were vehement about how silly and childish they were and I was silly for asking if an adult would be interested in the kid stuff they put into comics.
      I just smiled with that "Oh really" smart-ass grin of mine as I told them that "Road to Perdition" was made from a comic book. The look of confusion and shock was worth the overpriced coffee. I swear one granny almost lost her dentures.
      Another cornerstone of livin' the geek life is video games. Of course now video games are a normal source of entertainment, and you're probably the weird one if you DON'T play them, but that is part of everyone becoming a little bit geek. Once gamers were a ridiculed group just like other geeks. Today everyone is gaming whether you're the tired old housewife burying your daily misery in the fields of Farmville or a hard core Halo player with elite armor. I don't care how much you argue that you; work out, and wear cool clothes and have tattoos, if you're playin' you've been assimilated and resistance is futile, and it doesn't even matter that you're playing Call of Duty or Battlefield because you know what? That still means you're pretending to be a soldier, with an imaginary gun shooting at other people playing pretend soldier, I'm sorry that's nerdy no matter how cool you THINK you are. Not that I don't love it too, I'm just not in denial about it.
      If you have a girlfriend on the couch waiting for your attention while you save the world from multi-colored pixels, that's geek, and if you try and pretend to have your girlfriend "helping" you by locating hidden packages so you can get an achievement or by spotting bad guys for you then; first off, she's a sucker for not realizing that you're placating her with busy work so you can play your game. Second, yup, you've got some geek on ya, and third, girls can probably pwn ur azz in COD anywayz n00b.
      Which brings me to technology. Once, not so long ago tech was something only for the nerd and geek crowds. Most people's tech knowledge was enough to hook up a stereo and could barely pass the level of setting your VCR's clock. Now every damn ten year old has his own cell phone that looks an awful lot like a Star Trek communicator, and not only that but the damn things are full fledged computers in the palm of your hand...and your mom's VCR clock is still blinking . Your cell phone now plays music and movies, surfs the web, gives you directions, plays games, fixes dinner, lets the dog out, and sets your DVR and burglar alarm remotely. The only thing your cell phone can't do is hold a signal when you enter a building. A hand held- all in one Star Trek like communication device sounds pretty geek to me. Your television isn't much different it's becoming an all in one entertainment and communication center. You no longer even need to leave your couch if you have children to get you your beer and an empty coffee can for when the beer has made it's round trip.
      Geek clothing used to be such an obvious thing that it almost seemed the kids were asking for a swirly, but now those same clothes are cute and fashionable. If you had worn a Thundercats or He-Man shirt to my school you would have worn bruises home. Now these same types of apparel are sold as cool clothes in stores like Hot Topic and others in malls around the country. There are even sites that specialize in geek wear, like Red Bubble, Cafe Press, and a personal fave of mine where artists submit amazing work that is only available for 24 hours and them may never be seen again. How geek is that? A unique Firefly, Star Wars or Dr. Who shirt (just for a small example) that is only sold for 24 hours, that makes it collectible and god knows us geeks love collectibles.
      So now that the world has become geek oriented I have some friendly advice for all the bullies, and punks out there. Before you decide to take apart some lowly geek for fun, remember that someday that very geek may buy your bank, then refuse your loan, before he kicks you out of your over mortgaged home and steals your wife. Then he will have his well paid bodyguards give you an ultra-wedgie just because he can.

May The Force Be With You.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Son, Your pants seem to be on fire.

      I know I didn't post last week but how can you miss me if I don't go away? I was on vacation, I went out of town to visit my mind, I do miss it ever so much. Actually It wasn't much of a vacation I was stuck in the house with the little one who was off all week as well, trapped inside by the crappy weather. I suppose I could have wrote but it's hard to concentrate on my complaining when I also have to deal with a child's.

      I have a particular distaste for being lied too...and cauliflower...lies tweak that little part of my brain that hates not having all the available information I need as well as the thought that someone is purposely deceiving me. My kids are horrible liars though fortunately for me, not so much for them.
      I've walked out of the bedroom at 5 am to see one of my children with his hands and face covered in chocolate, eyes wide with panic, kinda like Michael Vick when he sees an animal control officer, and trying to convince me that he didn't eat any candy. The boy would stand there vehemently denying he touched the Halloween candy while still trying to chew and swallow it.
      Both my boys have pretty obvious tells, I won't give away my little one's secrets since he reads these and I need the edge, he is too smart for his own good. Some call it being precocious, I call it by more direct four letter words. As for my older one it's easy to tell if he's lying, he's talking to me. He trained me pretty well, he never told me the truth so I just stopped asking questions.
      As parents we constantly deal with the little lies.
      "Did you do your homework?."..."Yes"
      "Did you finish your veggies?"..."Yes"
      "Are you an evil spawn sent to our dimension for the sole purpose of the eradication of the human race?"..."No"
      See all lies.
      So two nights ago I asked my youngest bundle of joy to switch the wash into the dryer for me before he went to bed. He had asked me if he could stay up late to watch something and I let him so I figured he'd be thrilled to do me this tiny favor...should have known better right? He comes back and tells me it's not finished yet. I was really confused since I had personally started the load more than an hour and a half before. That's the longest wash cycle I had ever heard of, and that includes my oldest son's marathon showers.
      Of course I have to go check it out myself, defeating the purpose of asking for help. thinking either something was wrong or he was messing with me and he'd tell me "Oh, it must have just stopped." But alas I find the washer still running and in fact at the very beginning of it's cycle, It had just started...or should I say restarted. The little monster denied doing it, not very convincingly, seriously trying to convince me it had turned the dial, and pulled out the start button all on it's own. I also did not accept that it was A) ghosts B) a mouse or C) the wind. Hey, at least he tried.
      In our house the rule is if you lie about something it automatically doubles the length of your grounding. Of course if I had stuck to that my oldest would have been grounded until March of 2517. Now my boy wouldn't have gotten grounded for not switching the wash, probably just a scolding or a parental guilt trip but lying about it got him room bound, and after the pleading and yelling and sad harmonica playing ended he followed up with an "I'm sorry can I come out now." and was genuinely shocked that I said no, after all how could I not swoon at such a sincere attempt at an apology. In his confusion and dismay he stomped off to his room to throw another fit. For those who don't know the temper tantrum is the "Elevator Muzak" of the married with children demographic. Ever so relaxing.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Art for art's sake

      Ok, I'm very sorry for last weeks trip into the land of the serious but sometimes having a blog like this is a chance to say something that's on your mind, and you readers could always skip back to previous weeks where I attempt humor to varying degrees of success, but we shall move on regardless.

      Who doesn't love art in some form or another? Two of my all time favorite works of art are "The Accolade" by Edmund Blair Leighton and "The Lady of Shalott" by my favorite artist John William Waterhouse which is a beautiful image taken from an equally stunning poem by Lord Alfred Tennison. Raise your hand if I just lost you.
      My point is that most people when they grow up lose any true interest in great art, witnessed by the number of you who just mentally raised your hands, but as children art is a true expression of feelings, thoughts and the human need to be creative. As adults we still have the need to be creative in some way or another. Whether it be writing, cooking, or craft projects etc, we have a need to create, and not finding an outlet for this basic human need can cause great frustration and much need for beer.
      If your a parent you've no doubt seen this in your children. As parents we are always quick to supply our little ones with a steady supply of crayons, mostly because they're cheap, but also because we inherently understand the need to create. At some point we will all buy our child the extra large box of crayons that requires a handle to carry and gives access to more colors than our computer monitors. Our child will pick about four of these to actually use leaving the rest to be snapped in half at some point creating the need for a new box of waxy love. The colors that are selected will get worn down leaving our children to rip off the colorful paper and leave it strewn around the room so it looks like they just just won the Super Bowl and their stuffed animals threw them a ticker tape parade. When tearing off the paper isn't quite enough they will inevitably come to us to "sharpen" the nub of a crayon. Have you actually ever used a crayon sharpener? Even if you do get it to work properly the wax stuck every where is horrible, it's easier to just buy a new box, which we will anyway.
      We should be a little smarter now, as we already have a bin of broken crayons the young artist really only needs a few colors to work with. So we buy the eight pack of primary colors which will also end up broken in the bin of many colors. Crayons are cheap so we keep replacing them until the shoebox, or whatever we use, is filled with a technicolor garbage dump of little wax corpses...we salute you noble "burnt sienna" you never reached your true potential.
      This is all well and good, we know this is all part of the kid-dom but then grandma notices the budding artist and wants to help little Bobby Picasso reach his full potential so she buys them paints. Spill-able, hard to clean, supposedly water soluable paints...yeah grandma!
      As parents we are all WELL aware of the need to display these great works of art on "The Louvre de Fridge" Ah yes great works of art held up by refridgerator magnets and covering every inch of the ice box, making you wonder why you made such an effort to pick out just the right color to match the kitchen when you can't see a single inch of it now. Of course this is nothing compared to the fact that every single time you want a drink or a snack half a dozen of these prescious paintings fall off the fridge making you chase paper and magnets under the fridge. It's not worth the effort to go into the fridge, which does make it an effective dieting tool though.
      When they begin school and start doing art projects there as well as at home you then need to find boxes and folders to store this ever growing collection in. Much like the crayons and their stuffed animal collection these almost seem to multiply of their own accord making your cupboards or the underneath of your bed a lovely cluttered mess of priceless memories. Years down the line you will struggle to remember what most of these objects d'art were supposed to be, but trying to recognize what they are at the time of their creation is a parental test in and of itself.
      "Look what I made mommy."
       "Oh what a lovely"
      "No mommy it's daddy don't you see?"
      "Huh, actually I do now that you mention it....those are very nice stink lines"
       "Yeah mommy, this was on chili night."
      Of course we as parents were no different and we covered our fridge in every manner and color of crayoned creature imaginable. That is until our oldest decided to skip the middleman. One morning said child had woke up early, escaped from his room and removed all his artwork from the refridgerator so he had room to draw puppies directly onto, and all over the appliance itself...Yeah creativity!
       He was scolded and told in NO uncertain terms that "coloring on the fridge was bad" he whined and whimpered but very clearly got the message as the next day upon waking we found the kitchen wall had now been covered in what appeared to be primitive cave art. He explained cheerfully that he had done it to say he was sorry for crayoning the refridgerator, and did we like it? So we took the crayons away from him at night, but we could not control the boys artistic urges and his need to create...yup, we forgot about grandma's paints....Yeah! Good thing it was the weekend and we had two whole days to clean up the contents of eight colorful bottles of paint, not too mention a child who looked like he came from the cantina scene in Star Wars as well as one very ticked off was soooo not his color.
      I always loved art myself, I went from coloring to drawing then onto ceramics with my grandmother, which by the way I won several ribbons for...yes I'm bragging...let's see your ribbons...then onto platic model kits. I used to have dozens of completed hot rods and muscle cars all painted with loving care and attention to detail...and then blown up by firecrackers or eaten by my baby brother, hmmm should have added that to my chewing blog. In fact I kept building models after my first son was born. I had even progressed to using an airbrush and mixing my own colors by then, and yes won some ribbons for those as well...don't want to hear it, I still don't see your awards.
      My toddler son adored my models...especially when the paint was wet, and boy was that kid fast. I can't tell you how many times I had to paint, then sand off tiny fingerprints, then paint again...wash, rinse, repeat until the model was unusable because it either had so many layers of paint on it that it look as plastic as a Kia or I hand actually sanded a hole in it, actually making it look amazingly close to the rust riddled vehicles here in the north-east. Eventually I gave up models....well plastic ones anyway, I'm still rather fond of the ones who work for Victoria's Secret....who actually maybe a little plastic too....moving on. I decided to stick with drawing and writing for my creative outlet, and even gave up drawing eventually to focus on my love for writing, but I could never give up trying to create something and I sure hope my kids won't either.
      It's not always about the kids, when it comes to creativity they will find their way and their own medium, but I see a great many adults who are frustrated by not being able to express themselves. Don't think for a minute it's a waste of energy or time to find your own way to express yourself because much like sexuality when you try to surpress something that is part of your very being it can manifest itself in negative ways. Also don't think that just because you don't have any talent that you shouldn't try, look at Nicolas Cage it didn't stop him.

Great art picks up where nature ends.  ~Marc Chagall

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Doctor Doctor, Please, oh the mess I'm in...

      A man walks into a specialists office, the specialist says "I read the file your doctor sent over, it sounds right to me, that will be $535"
      The punch line to the joke is that it's not a joke at all, it's what happened to me. I've been lucky enough to finally have a General Practitioner and Specialist  who actually give a damn, but that's not the case for everybody.
      When I first started dating my wife she became violently ill. She was jaundiced, vomiting constantly, and in so much pain she could not function. Upon going to the doctor he spent five minutes asking her questions and then told her to come back next week offering no suggestions to alleviate her problem other than over the counter stomach cures. This went on for a few weeks, the doctor continued to ask a few questions about her condition and then send her on her way to suffer the worst pain of her life for yet another week. Finally I asked my wife one very simple question and figured out it was a reaction to another medication she was taking. On her next appointment with her doctor she told him of my discovery and he reacted belligerently asking " Is your boyfriend a doctor? NO! well, am don't listen to him and keep taking your pills." Thankfully she listened to me and her problem IMMEDIATELY cleared up. It wasn't until later another doctor verified my diagnosis and was concerned about the damage that was done to her liver by the doctor's incompetence stating that I may have saved her incredible complications or worse. I was a kid in my 20's with no more than a high school diploma and  he was an experienced doctor, to be honest I don't believe his sin was ignorance so much as it was that he didn't really care.
      When my G.P. became concerned enough about my condition that he thought I'd be best served by sending me to a specialist he had already done all of the tests a couple times and always getting back to me in less then five days. When my first specialist decided she wanted to run the same tests to verify she said it would take at least a month, and it did. When I finally got the results she said she would immediately call in my prescription, a week later I had to call back because she still hadn't. This was repeated the following month. On the third month I made sure to call her with enough time to avoid the same problem and sure enough she sent it on time, but forgot to sign it, I ended up going without my medicine for a week yet again. This was after the $535 appointment  that lasted less than five minutes. It actually would have been a lot less then five minutes except for the fact that I had to keep asking her to repeat herself as I couldn't understand past her Hindi accent. My G.P. being upset with her actions found me a new doctor who determined by the same tests, which by the way he called me back for in just TWO days...not a month, that the previous specialist had actually been prescribing the wrong dosage by at least half. Again I believe this was not ignorance but the fact that she didn't care enough to take the time...any time.
      My poor grand father has such a myriad of ailments that listing them would take a whole blog alone and let's just say his doctor is a real treat. First off one of his problems is diabetes yet his doctor rarely ever asks him to take off his shoes which is standard and necessary for diabetic patients. Believe me he has issues with his feet from the diabetes but checking them every time would take too long. This doctor overbooks with a clientele made up almost exclusively of the elderly and the minimum wait is an hour. Elderly people, even my stubborn old grandfather seem hesitant to complain about things like this or even go through the hassle of changing physicians. On one occasion this doctor was so overbooked that my grandfather's wait in the waiting room was more than four hours. Now you'd think this guy must be taking some time with these people but you'd be very wrong its a veritable assembly line with the waiting room being so full that it's standing room only. Again this is not ignorance but greed and a distinct lack of concern for patients.
      I'm obviously not saying that all doctors are bad I now have two great ones for me and my family but them caring enough to be good doctors is who they are. This behavior is actually spreading down the medical chain as well. We now live in a society so medicated that a new pharmacy opens every day, it seems there is one on every corner now, how could they possibly sustain themselves? That's easy because now during every commercial break there is an ad for some pill or another.
      "Are you too tired or too awake?"
      "Are you too sad or too happy?"
      "Are you too fat, too skinny, too sore, not erect enough, have legs that work, dream at night? we have a pill for it, and we know you want it because we just listed a bunch of symptoms obscure enough to make you believe you have everything."
      That's why pharmacy's can keep being built because medicine is profit and sales just like everything else. Remember those of you that are truly sick and suffering, there's no money in curing you, just in treating you. I mean if you get better pharmaceutical companies lose a customer.
       Now remember how I just said the problems with medical personnel is moving down the chain? Well this is where we come to pharmacists. They are still in short supply, and even more so with all the new drug stores opening on a daily basis so it has gotten to the point where drug stores will even put a bounty on pharmacists offering cash rewards if you can bring one into the company and yes its very true that some companies are doing this. They then sign these pharmacists to contracts with nice bonuses for signing...just like pro athletes, still this is not a problem for me, it's not my money. The problem is that a great deal of them have suddenly began to believe their own hype and have become arrogant, megalomaniacs who don't believe they make mistakes. I have seen them mistreating employees, and customers as well as making dangerous mistakes,  and with a little research have heard dozens of horror stories. Companies will do anything to protect these valuable resources as losing one is an expensive prospect so victims of their behavior i.e. lesser employees are punished for complaining or are just swept under the rug. This is not just part of a rant but something I've witnessed with my own eyes, as I have several friends and family who have dealt with it. Mean while Doctors who "Just Don't Care" are not truly breaking any rules and not subject to any kind of punishment until something horrible happens and their malpractice insurance pays it off.
       I want to make it very clear...this is NOT every single doctor and pharmacist, some are fantastic and love their jobs and patients and customers but like they say it only takes a few bad ones...
       Now I am sorry that this weeks blog wasn't humorous and light hearted but this week I needed to get this off my chest and write it for someone I love who has been hurt. Besides it seems since I posted late last week most of you missed the announcement and the blog so you can go back and read that one. But I'll try to be happier next week...stay healthy...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

April Fools Day...Yeah I got no good title this week.

      This will probably be a bunch of random bits and pieces, I'm a little pressed for time. With tomorrow being April Fool's Day I have some ....things to prepare for my family, after all I wouldn't want them to get too complacent.
      I actually started early since while at work today I sent a little girl screaming onto her school bus. I explained to her that if she kept playing with the broken cover to a city electrical access she would let the C.H.U.D.S out. I did have to explain the acronym to her; Cannibalistic Humanoid Underground Dwellers, which sent her screaming past a confused bus driver.

      I was talking to my son and a friend of his, let's call him Bobby to avoid any angry parent syndrome, and me and my son were discussing the movie "SuckerPunch". I Mentioned to my son that it was like "Alice in Wonderland" with guns when the conversation turned a little thanks to Bobby.
      Bobby: Alice In Wonderland? Oh yeah I saw that, it was that movie with Johnny Depp and stuff.
       Dad: Well yeah but it was a book by Lewis Carroll first.
      Bobby: Oh. Was it a picture book or one of those books with just words?
      I took a deep breath...I had to.
        Dad: No, it wasn't a picture book.
       Bobby: Well, if there's no pictures then how do you know what stuff looks like?
      TWO, deep breaths....and a clenched jaw.
        Dad: You have to use your imagination.
       Bobby: Oh. My mom says I'm not allowed to use my imagination 'cuz it breaks stuff.
     My Son: Yeah mine gets me sent to my room a lot, my dad says my imagination is loud.

      Ok, here goes my obligatory rant. Parents I am pleading with you, teach your children source material. Disney did not invent Alice, Tarzan, The Musketeers, Bambi or even one single dalmatian they took these ideas from great writers and turned them into cartoons for the kiddies. It frightens me how many kids I've dealt with who ask me "If Beauty and the Beast was a book how did you hear the songs?" or some version of that question. Oh and by the way Bambi, Fox and the Hound, Mulan etc etc etc not only were stories before they were claimed by Disney but NONE of then required a part 2...I'm just putting that out there. For that matter what Disney claimed was their "First original animated story" The Lion King was actually a pretty blatant rip off of Shakespeare's Hamlet. The first screenplay  of The Lion King was written by Thomas Disch who despite having wrote the original screenplay for one of the most successful animated movies in history received no credits or royalties.
       I plead with you to teach source material not just because Disney confuses people but because it happens everywhere. We are all familiar with the way Stephen King's brilliant work is destroyed by Hollywood but it's more than just him. Total Recall, Minority Report, Paycheck, Next, and The Adjustment Bureau (among several others) weren't just bad movies with incompetent actors. They were amazing stories all written by the brilliant Philip K. Dick, and it seems the future holds even more tragedy for him as Hollywood plans to rape his work well into the future.
     Now most people are aware that most movies are novels, short stories or comic books first. I just think parents should introduce their children to the great writers who created them not just the bad actors and directors who ruin them. There are very few movies that do credit the books To Kill a Mockingbird and Lord of the Rings come to mind, most only serve to destroy a brilliant vision and even if they don't, I think the originator deserves his due. OH and by the way Joseph Sheridan LeFanu and Bram Stoker were the originators of vampires with the Stories Carmilla(1872) and Dracula(1897) respectively not Stephanie "we sparkle" Myers...seriously check it out...tell the kids.
End of rant...FOR NOW...bwahahaha


 When asking your child if they need in the bathroom because you are about to take a shower "NO" actually means: As soon as you are relaxed and soapy I will pound on the door in a panic needing to go.

Covering your child head to toe in rain gear means that they will jump in and walk through every puddle no matter how big or small on the way to school.

When you ask your child "Do you understand?"  "Yes" actually means the next time it happens it's because they forgot.


      Dad: Turn the light off anf go to sleep.
My Son: It is off.
      Dad: NO, it's not.
My Son: How do you know?
      Dad: Because I can see it.
My Son: Then stop looking at it and you won't know.

My Son: Can I go to Bobby's house?
      Dad: No, stay in the yard we have to leave very soon.
Ten minutes later he walks in the house with Bobby.
      Dad: I thought I told you that you couldn't go over there.
My Son: I went over to his house to tell him I couldn't come over.

And just because so many people enjoyed my poetry like "Two Sock, One Sock" here's a couple more of the real short ones that I used to make me children think I'm a goof. They're also the one's too short to publish elsewhere so you get them instead.

My friend has an Aardvark
Now I want one too.
It's a little strange,
Since I'm not sure what they do.

Imaginary Friend
I have an imaginary friend
He's a pet dog.
At least thats what I told my mom,
After I ate my pet frog.

Ok see what happens when you ask for this stuff people :)
So I want to thank everybody who reads my insanity because apparently this month I'm going to hit right around 2,000 readers for March which is a new high so thank you all greatly and from the bottom of my heart, and please continue to pass around this sight to your friends, it means a great deal to me and  it will keeps me working on this sight.
So for now everyone have a great weekend, and April Fools Day, and hopefully I'll see you all next week. Thank you.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A quick tour of Sarcastica

      I have VERY often been accused  of living in my own little world, and why not I like it there. In my little world no one hates each other based on sexuality, religion or political party. In my world Firefly was never canceled, the only American idols are people who deserve the title like; teachers, police and authors, and the only time you'd EVER hear snooki is when you were trying to hold back a sneeze. Sounds like a paradise doesn't it? Don't believe me? you should try our Chocolate CoffeeBeer that burns fat.
        The truth is I don't live in my own little world...I live in my own little country and I'd like to show you just a touch of it if I may. Welcome to Sarcastica...(cue Jurassic Park music)
         Most of Sarcastica is top secret and therefore off limits to non-residents do to us having the worlds only supply of common sense, and lord knows we wouldn't want that getting in the hands of the rest of the world, could you imagine? But you may apply for a visitors visa at your local Sarcastica embassy in the Smart-ass offices (usually located behind the bar). So let us start your quick tour...when you're done be sure to stop by the Sarcastica gift shop and pick up your very own stuffed smart-ass the majestic and proud symbol of our glorious land.

         It's Spring in Sarcastica right now as you can see. The rolling fields of the local flower we call snow spread far and wide and is a joy to behold. Drivers slow to a mere 75MPH during the snow bloom to take in the beauty of our scenic landscapes. But look quick because snow only blooms ten months out of the year, blink and their gone. The other two months of the year travel is impossible in Sarcastica due to repairs to it's infrastructure. I've asked and Yes, apparently it does take that long for a crew of twelve to repair a six inch hole in the road. Be sure to bring your shorts and bathing suits since Sarcastica in the Spring can reach as high as balmy 30 degrees and will almost never drop any lower than Zero. Sarcastica gets sun light an amazing four days a year, and on three of those days the temperature will reach 150 in the shade. We ask that you avoid Sarcastica on those days since you likely be murdered.

      Sarcastica's majestic mountain ranges are unspoiled natural resources. These mountains supply Sarcastians with natural springs that the locals credit for their fabled energy. It is also rumored to be the reason for Sarcastian's ethereal beauty and incredible intelligence. These mountain ranges are teeming with life of all shapes and sizes, including the occasional deadly predator. Sarcastica had the fore site to leave these green spaces unspoiled. We understand the importance of not killing every species and destroying every natural wonder this world has to offer so that oil companies can keep making money and pretending that alternative energies are impossible, even though Brazil has already proven otherwise and functions predominately on ethanol. Sarcastica can completely understand how a superpower like the USA can not manage to do what a country known for topless girls already has, and it certainly can have nothing to do with greed.

      Here you see one of Sarcastica's holiday icons Bunny Claus. Sarcastians choose to not over celebrate holidays and have combined Easter and Christmas into one holiday. On Eastmas this giving little rabbit leaves all the good little boys and girls candy and gifts under their basket trees along with something that looks eerily similar to Raisinets.
      Sarcastica has righted many wrongs when it comes to celebrations. For example on birthday's children no longer receive gifts, instead they give gifts to their parents to thank them for the gift of life as well as all the things they've done for them...which is, let's face it...everything. We do not celebrate Valentine's day as here in Sarcastica every day is a day to tell your significant other how much you love them. St. Patricks day is a two day national holiday here, One day for the celebration and one for the recovery. The Other three national holidays are Thanksgiving, Halloween and Superbowl Sunday. Any boss forcing their employees to work on any of these days are immediately set on fire, and forced to listen to Celine Dion while drinking some vile liquid called BUUUUD for the rest of their lives....oh the horror.
      Also Mother's and Father's Days now fall on the Second and third Sundays on EVERY month...I personally now have seven thousand ties, and 648 clay ashtrays even though no one in Sarcastica's do to that common sense resource I mentioned earlier.

      Here you see the King of Sarcastica; Captain Squishy. King Captain Squishy is seen here relaxing after a full meal followed by an intense belly rub from his loyal followers. He received the title of captain while serving in Sarcastica's Royal Navy which consists of several colored plastic boats and three rubber ducks. Since Sarcastica is landlocked the navy is not very well funded. King Captain Squishy has a royal menu of various grains, fruits and vegetables as well as what ever he can steal while his subjects aren't looking....hmm sounds like most leaders. His hobbies including people climbing, blanket burrowing, and sniffing everything. Captain Squishy took power in the past year upon removing Dad from the royal couch and claiming it as his own. It was a...Mostly bloodless coup, and at just one year old King Captain Squishy is the youngest ruler in the history of Sarcastica but it has been proven that even at this young age he is more qualified and sane than 92% of the worlds leaders...and all of congress. When he is done with his nap he will spend ten minutes scratching, three hours cleaning and then begin the process all over again to Sarcastica's patriotic and heart wrenching national anthem; AC/DC's Highway to Hell.
        There you have it, your quick tour of Sarcastica, I hope it was enjoyable and educational. We'd love for you to come and visit us (not really, seriously, we don't want you foreigners polluting Sarcastica and stealing our common sense. We do have standards you know) and enjoy all that we have to offer you (nothing go away and rot your brains with Jersey Shore and Twilight). And as we say here: Once you've gone sarcastic, you never go back.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Twitter dee and Twitter dumb, and Erin Go Bragh

      I once said that social media is so prevalent and accessible that even cave dwelling hermits have gotten chatty, I'm living proof of that but I admit my cave is fairly well furnished. Against my better judgment I got involved or dragged into few different platforms including this blog, Facebook, and Stumbleupon, but lately Ive been having some fun with Twitter.
      I originally joined Twitter only to follow tweets for a alternate reality game attached to the upcoming The Secret World MMO. I soon found some interesting bits that kept me coming back. I love the fact that I get immediate updates from places like CNN and Deadline Hollywood but the fun is getting to see celebrities at their best and worst. Not long after signing up I was witness to an argument between Nathan Fillion and Simon Pegg over who had the better spaceship The Serenity or The Enterprise, and after not being able to settle it they decided on a drinking contest instead. Yeah I was a little hooked right there, my geek blood boiled...and it was obviously Serenity...what? rogue, scoundrel, and smuggler beats government issue stuffiness any day at least in the cool department..
      I've been privy to arguments between The Guild creator Felicia Day and her own alter ego Delicia Fay who seems bent on destroying Felicia. Yes, Celebrities arguing with themselves let's me know that they aren't much different than me.
      I was there when Ashton Kutchers I mean Demi Moore posted her sexy pictures as a response to tabloids stories of Ashton's infidelities and I received notice from Daniel Craig the moment the deal was Struck for the new James Bond film even before the news was on line. To me that stuff is pretty neat.
      On the other hand I now know WAY too much about some celebrities pets. I mean I adore Julie Benz but I think I now know enough to take her dog to the vet for her, she refused to let me though, something about a restraining order.
      I was also there the first hour that Charlie Sheen started his Twitter account and promptly lost his mind on it. Yup, I was there from the beginning re-posting to Facebook all his Tiger blood, Adonis DNA, warlock watch wearing tweets and was part of his Guinness book of world record- Quickest to 1 million followers run. Funny enough That's actually the second world record I've been a part of. Despite my wife's input the first had nothing to do with Guinness Beer, Chicken Wings, AMP energy drinks or even the amount of times I've watched the entire run of Firefly, it was actually for a giant pillow fight, unfortunately it had nothing to do with the ones in my fantasies.
      I've also gotten some great updates and insights from professional athletes, apparently when they are off the field they do other stuff, and a small portion of it doesn't even include strip clubs. I've gotten to see That In real life LaMarr Woodley is a damn nice guy, and in real life Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson is still an idiot. But best of all, I've gotten to have some great exchanges with some amazing authors that I respect. As a writer Its inspiring to talk to others who are already where you want to be, that would apply to anyone who was able to speak with people who have made it in the business that they love...and that explains why my brother's Twitter feed is nothing but porn stars.
      So as I said I have a Twitter account, it gives me a chance to express myself 140 characters at a time. I get to tell my modest but growing group of followers intimate details about my life (even some dirty ones...if that will inspire you to follow me) I get to throw random thoughts and jokes at the wall and never worry what sticks. And I get to post ridiculous stuff that even I regret after one too many beers. I know a lot of people are still put off by Twitter and that's fine, this includes my grandfather who can't remember it's name and calls it pooper, on the 'puter but where else can you find a bible quote tweeted from a drunken B list comedian while he's at a strip club and signed with the hash tag #JesusDrankMyBeer ?

Happy St. Patrick's Day whether your Irish, or just Irish for the day.
      It's the middle of the week so I'm sure most of you won't be partying...until you call in sick. Enjoy the green beer and the green pee that follows. The worst part of which is getting so drunk you forget the beer was green and start freaking out in the bathroom.
      Order yourselves up some Irish Car Bombs, and Black and Tan's. Drink all the Guinness and Harp that you can stand. Scream the words to every great Irish song they play, for despite the joy that is March 17th its on the 18th you'll surely pay.

When we drink, we get drunk.
When we get drunk, we fall asleep.
When we fall asleep, we commit no sin.
When we commit no sin, we go to heaven.
So, let's all get drunk, and go to heaven!

May you alway walk in sunshine.
May you never want for more.
May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door.

Here's to our wives and girlfriends: May they never meet! Now I'm gonna go listen to some Dropkick Murphy's and have a Guinness for you all, may your glasses stay full and your spirits never fall.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

One Sock, Two Sock, Red Sock...Ten Sock?!

On one fine and snowy day 
My youngest did go out to play.
When he got cold he'd come inside,
And each time brand new socks were applied.
To my surprise a pile did grow.
Why in my living room I did not know.
So I asked my son why this was done?
Because I don't have time, I'm having fun.
As the day came to a close,
and my son warmed his little toes,
I told him it was time to clean his mess.
Two hours later he had done his best.
But a pile of socks still did remain.
I'm much too tired was his refrain,
To pick up said socks upon the floor
Instead I shall leave them for those I adore.
     Now my little tribute to Dr Seuss might not be great but hey cut me some slack I wrote the poem on the spot. 
      What happened was that we got hit with a pretty good snowstorm and like a lot of kids my son wanted to go play in the mess it left. He would go outside and play for a little bit, building evil and deranged snow men bent on world domination or at least the northern hemisphere, then come inside and change his socks, leaving the wet ones in the middle of the living room floor before going back out and making some snow angels. I'm not sure if he was screwing with me but those snow angels had big ole devil horns and a pointed tail coming out of them. He would then come back in and change his socks in the living room again, he did this five times leaving me with a pile of ten wet stinky socks and melted snow. The next morning he threw a fit because he didn't have any clean socks left and couldn't for the life of him figure out why.
      My children and I have had a life long battle over socks. I will find them in and under every piece of furniture, in the middle of the floor and whole stockpiles under the bed like they are hording them against the impending attack of the sock Nazi's. 
      Every week when we do laundry we save the whites for last to make sure as many socks as possible are done and enough time is given to gather them all knowing that it's laundry day. Either me or mom will clearly state "We are now doing whites! Bring out your socks, bring out your socks!" While ringing a bell and lugging the laundry basket through the house. That not being enough we then directly ask "Have you gotten ALL of your socks from your rooms?" 
      A dumbfounded "Uh huh" is given.
      "Did you check under the bed?"
       Again "Uh huh"
      Well, just like clockwork, three days later comes the cry "I don't have any clean socks! Where are my socks?"
      Where they are is all over their rooms, on the floor, under the bed, in toy boxes, closets and cages...Pets cages not theirs, we were forced by law to stop keeping the kids in cages, except in emergencies.
I even made up a goofy little poem thinking it would help them remember.

      Two Sock, One Sock
      The dryer ate my sock,
      Or where else did it go?
      Once there was two socks,
      Now there's one to fold.

      Obviously it didn't work but it did get me a whole lot of eye rolling and head shaking, and as you know we as parents thrive on those.
      At one point my oldest son seemed to be going through an incredible amount of socks. Every month or so he's tell us he needed new ones. We chalked this up to a lot of wear and tear from soccer every day. This is where our sock education truly began, and we realized how naive we were. Imagine our surprise at going under his bed and finding several months of unwashed but perfectly good socks. Disgusting and stinky but in one piece. He would rather send us to buy new socks than walk then to the hamper which was literally FOUR FEET from his bed. This is when we realized that children and parents might have a "Sock Gap".
      The sock gap is simply the distance between the hamper and the underneath of the bed, times the number of socks, and squared by how frustrated we as parents are after finishing all the laundry only to find out we need to do another tiny load of nothing but kids socks. See and you thought high school math was useless. 
      Once again we were faced with buying our first born all new socks when fashion suddenly dictated that the socks he was wearing were not junior high, fashion police approved. He refused to wear any socks until he was properly attired. I was unaware of any sort of sock fashions but of course I had missed sock week in Milan due to the pressing underwear crisis in Paris, so I stood corrected, and we were forced to buy new socks that looked more like little girl booties than proper man's footwear. It was either that or watch his heels continue to bleed, and after the whole children in a cage fiasco I just didn't need the hassles.

Friday, March 4, 2011

I'm not crazy I'm colorful.

      It's been complicated couple days, in fact yesterday when I was supposed to be writing this blog my neurosis got the best of me. I was bound and determined that I was going to improve the look and functionality of this site no matter what. Well..."WHAT" happened and it was named Murphy's Law. I ended up screwing the whole thing up and having to rebuild it in a way I didn't necessarily want. Nothing new for me and my OCD and neurotic behaviors, they are always giving me and everyone around me headaches. Once again; thanks Mom.
      I have gotten a little better, it used to be that I even had to be careful when just buying a book or CD. Once I had one title by an author or a band I was "forced" to buy every single thing they put out whether I really wanted it or not, and that's the ONLY explanation for my Roxette collection, so let us never speak of it again. 
      For those who know me, NO! this has nothing to do with my fear of clowns, and don't laugh. those bastards are evil. Killer Klowns from Outerspace, Pennywise, The Joker, come on when have you ever seen a clown that didn't want to kill you and make balloon animals out of your lower intestine? What it does do though, is make me obsessed with whatever is on my mind. Whatever it is that gets stuck in there, I have to do everything involved with it, until I get it perfect or I've completed it, and I am ridiculously impatient about it. It HAS to be right now! So you can see how much of a joy I am for my wife.
      My impatience is Legen....wait for it....dary. I am literally the guy who gets mad because the microwave takes to long, therefore I always shave some time off what the directions say...hey I ain't waiting two damn minutes for a hot pocket I have other things to obsess over. My kids have learned when I say NOW!, that I mean it in the most literal sense, well, they learned it but it doesn't mean they care.
      The issue with obsessively needing to getting things right is part of why I'm not where I want to be as a writer. Once I write something I will edit it so many times that I forget what the point of the story was and have to start from scratch. I once worked on an opening line for 6 months and got it absolutely perfect only to realize I had no idea what I was writing about anymore. That's part of the reason I started this blog, it's therapy. I force myself to write it in one long stream of consciousness without allowing my self to edit, and so far it's helping, so any mistakes you see on these posts are not errors they are therapy. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
      It's not all bad though, even for my wife. Since I am bound and determined to get something perfect she reaps the benefit sometimes. Get your mind out of the gutters...but yeah that too. My OCD has actually made me a pretty damn good cook when I can control the need to cook everything with a flamethrower so it's done quicker. I used to be obsessive about cleaning and germs as well but my kids broke me of that. I don't care how clean obsessed you are, two boys who see Oscar the Grouch and Pigpen as "misunderstood" are bound to change your thinking on the subject.
      So yesterdays 12 hour debacle of "improving" Sarcastic Dad is why your getting this to read. I hope insight into my diseased mind is entertaining enough for the moment, it seems to fascinate my doctor at least.

      But since this is short I want to take this opportunity to thank those reading and especially those sending comments Please all of you feel free to send me your thoughts by commenting, I love it.
      I also encourage you to join the Facebook fanpage and feel free to leave your own thought and funnies there. It is open for all of you who are members and all you have to do is click "like". I'd love to make it very interactive for all of you. Its a good way to meet new friends.
       Any tweeters please add me, with the link or by adding Sarcastic_Dad to your Twitter list. There are also links to share on Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Digg and other sites below the posts, I'd love it if you do use any of these to go ahead and click away.
      I also Highly encourage you to "Follow" me through the blog itself, its especially easy if you have a Google account, though I have a good number of readers (Thank you so much for that) my follows need you :)
      And lastly I have been nominated again for "Best Humor Blog" and "Hottest Daddy Blog"  (yeah that's me a hot Daddy :) ) if you feel so moved you can vote by clicking on the badges indicating the nominations. It does require registering.
      I have had a couple "inquiries" about the possibility of a humor book based on the site and could use all the forward momentum I can get, so please pass this site along to anyone who might enjoy it.
Thanks you and much love.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

What is the nutritional value of furniture?

      I completely understand the whole teething thing, but I am  forever amused by the things kids choose to use to alleviate their discomfort. I've even seen adults who aren't teething have chewing obsessions on everything from ice and toothpicks to Velcro, sleeves and hair. Even though I'm forever telling people "Get that out of your mouth." I still manage to chew on my own fingers like they were beef sticks...thanks for that habit mom. I haven't had nails since I was five.
      It seems my family are a bunch of chewers. I was under the assumption I was from German and Irish decent but apparently my ancestors were beavers.
      As much as my mom will hate this, I think she started it. She has always bit off her fingernails. She says it's A nervous habit, but at least she's reasonable about it, after all she stops when she hits the cuticle. That isn't even the worst part of my mothers chewing issues as she once informed us that when she was a kid she would bite off her toenails. I don't know what about that freaks me out the most; biting the toenails or knowing my mom was that flexible once.
      My dear mother passed it down to her children. As I have already shared, I personally enjoy a good finger when I'm nervous or concentrating on something, but my sister was a different story. Imagine being a parent, waking up and going to take your sweet little girl from her crib only to find she had eaten it. It was something my parents could not prevent no matter what they did. She had first eaten the varnish off the crib, then she proceeded to gnaw on it until it looked like it was dam worthy. Every morning her mattress and the floor seemed to be covered in shaving. Looking back it kind of reminds me of what happens when you give a hamster a chew block. And of course she's the one who lucked out with perfect teeth.
      My eldest was also a fine connoisseur of wood. He had taken a liking to my coffee table and even picked a favorite corner on which to snack. No matter how many times we shooed him away, washed the table or covered the corner he would find his way to it and gnaw away. The biggest problem was that I liked to put my feet up on the table. This would sometimes be a problem for him since I seemed to be in his way. So in order to be sure I understood my place, and that the table was his he'd bite my toe to make me move before fastening on his napkin and sitting down to brunch. I wish I had known I was an appetizer I would have prepared a sauce. I'd of course politely inform him that if he wanted the table he needed to call ahead. 
      The younger one had a couple of favorites. I would come home from work; hug the boys, goose the wife,  sit down in my chair and reach over to grab the remote...and sure enough I'd be slimed. My beautiful remote would be completely covered in baby demon saliva. On more than one occasion we'd be sitting down watching TV and suddenly the channels would start changing leaving us looking for poltergeists, only to find a very content child eating my remote and smiling. I never liked explaining to the cable company why we needed yet another remote  so I just told them it was the dog.
       When we eventually broke him of his taste for the remote, by hiding it in places that we could never remember, he found a replacement, and we called him Kenny. My oldest son had a very large collection of wrestling action figures, dozens of wrestlers that I brought home for him constantly. He had so many I couldn't keep track, but the little one, he knew what he wanted and it was Ken Shamrock. Out of all the action figures available he picked that one, and ONLY that one to be his new chew toy. He would not give it up, or even trade it. My son begged and bargained "Here take Hulk Hogan instead, look he's all yellow and stupid" but no, only Kenny would do. He would run around the house with Kenny hanging upside down from his clenched jaw smiling and drooling while making happy "Guuuuh, Guuuuuuuh" sounds. It reminded me of a 50's stop motion movie where the dinosaurs would start eating people and they'd be hanging off giant teeth. I sometimes felt bad for Kenny and his mangled foot.
     We had all the teething rings you could buy for both the boys but they were instantly discarded in favor of tastier fare. We'd hand the boys those lovely teething rings that you put into the freezer all nice and cold begging to be chewed on. They would grab hold all wide eyed and anticipatory, making happy cooing sounds, only to bounce them off our forehead ten seconds later. It's not much different then when you buy your kids some expensive toy and they only want to play with the box. I thought about going into business making teething rings that kids would actually like, maybe in flavors like Oak, the corner of books, molded plastic and table leg, but so far no investors. My boys are growing up healthy and strong so I guess it didn't do any permanent harm, so who knows maybe kids need a daily recommended dose of furniture.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Pizza Paradigm

      It's hard enough being a parent to any child but my kids are highly precocious, and ridiculously smart (when they want to be). Put these together and what you get are giant smart asses, just in case you haven't figured it out.
      Both of them are insanely picky eaters. My oldest hated pizza until he was twelve or so and gets nauseous at even seeing mayonnaise and my youngest 's favorite food is macaroni and cheese, but hates, HATES cheese ?!? He loves mayonnaise and puts that and ranch dressing on everything.
      Last week my little one (let's call him Satan shall we) Satan decided to go off his macaroni and cheese kick and become obsessed with pizza. Please, sit back and enjoy my pain.

My Son: "Dad, can we have pizza for dinner?"
Dad: "No, we just had pizza yesterday."
My Son: "So"
Dad: "So, I'm not eating the same thing two days in a row"
My Son: "Then order it without peperoni this time."

My Son: "Dad, can we have pizza for dinner?"
Dad: "No, We just had it two days ago"
My Son: "But thats not two days in a row."

My Son: "Dad, can we have pizza for dinner?"
Dad: "No"
My Son: "Why"
Dad: "Because I said so."
My Son: "But..."
Dad: "No buts, and no pizza."
My Son: "I didn't want buts just pizza."

My Son: "Dad, can we have pizza for dinner?"
Dad: "No, I have something thawed and I want to make it before it goes bad."
My Son: "What is it?"
Dad: " Fish"
My Son: "That's already bad."

My Son: "Dad, can we have pizza for dinner?"
Dad: "No, I'm trying something new tonight."
My Son: "Try saying yes to pizza, that'd be new."

My Son: "Dad, can we have pizza for dinner?"
Dad: "NO."
My Son: "What are we having then?"
Dad: "Crap on a cracker."
My Son: "I thought you said we couldn't have the same thing two days in a row."

My Son: "I'm hungry, whats for dinner?."
Dad: "Pizza"
MY Son: "Really?"
Dad: "Yes, It's getting too late to cook"
My Son: "Then can we go to Burger King?"
Dad: (RRRRIIIIPPPP!-sound of dad pulling more hair out.)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Zombie Hypothetical

      In my long career as a dad I’ve had only male offspring (as far as I know) and I’m fine with that. Yes, I’m one of “Those” guys. I’m sure you know the type; Football is a religion, Godzilla films are an acceptable choice for movie night, salad only belongs on the top of a cheeseburger and I can save the little woman from the evil rampaging spider-That type. So yeah, all boys were fine with me.
      There are so many great experiences for a dad to have with his boys, but one of my favorites is the time alone with my youngest in the car just having ridiculous conversations. A favorite topic of ours seems to be zombies, most specifically what to do when World War Z hits. For those not in the know, WWZ is a reference to the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
      I know great subject matter right? Well he should be prepared shouldn’t he, you know…just in case. To be specific, a conversation we recently had was regarding the best weapons to carry when traveling the post-apocalyptic wastelands of zombie earth.
      After convincing him that a good sword is a better melee weapon than either an axe or a sledge hammer we decided on either an AR-15 or M-16 along with a shotgun and a sidearm with a clip rather than a revolver. My son is partial to the Desert Eagle so I let him win that one. Of course though he felt the absolute need for explosives of some kind, “At least frag grenades.” he pleaded, so I let him have that as well, after all what ten year doesn’t want to blow stuff up…ok blowing stuff up is cool at any age.
I thought we had finished our conversation and settled on the necessary tools of self preservation when from the seat next to me came the simplest of questions, “When?”
      “When… what?” I asked.
      “When are we getting the grenades and stuff?”
      “No, buddy” I replied, “We’re not really getting the weapons that was just a hypothetical discussion.”
      “What’s hypothetical?”
      “Well that’s a ‘what if’ kind of question. It means something that COULD happen.”
      “Well, Dad, if it’s something that COULD happen, don’t you think we should be prepared?”
I turned and looked at the smirking little smart-ass and said “I’m not buying you grenades boy…your Mom would kill me.”
      “Not if I hid them under my bed, then she wouldn’t know”
      “Just no”
      “Then why did we even bother with the hypochondriac …zombie stuff?”
      “Not Hypochondriac, that’s your grandmother, hypothetical, and we did it just for fun.”
      “Zombies aren’t fun unless you’re killing them Dad.”
      “No guns, no grenades, no swords, not until you’re at least twelve, this isn’t Texas.”
      “Fine dad, but if the Zombies come don’t blame me if I eat your brains.”

Thursday, February 3, 2011

America's Unofficial Holiday.

      This Sunday is one of the biggest days of the year for Americans. Super Bowl Sunday is an icon of American culture forty-five years after its very humble beginnings. The immensity of the day now overshadows the game itself, and has turned the day into a national celebration. Six hundred and fifty million dollars will be spent on bagged snacks like chips, pretzels and popcorn. Fifty million cases of beer will be sold and well over one hundred and fifty million American friends, families, and co-workers will gather to share the day.
      This Sunday's game is primed to break all records for game attendance and viewership as two of the most deeply loved, well run, and successful franchises in the world of sports meet for the first time. The Pittsburgh Steelers who hold the record for most Super Bowl Championships with six, as well as appearances, this Sunday being their eighth will face off against the three time Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers who not only won the first two Super Bowls but the game trophy itself is named after legendary Packer coach Vince Lomabardi. Just talking about it gives me chills and in my head I can hear John Facenda's unmistakable voice narrating my thoughts. It is truly one of the most epic franchise match-ups in Super Bowl history.
      Despite most of America coming together on this day, there are always the vocal minority who feel they need to have their unwanted and incorrect opinions heard. I used to work with this curmudgeonly old lady  who refused to watch any movie not distributed by Disney, and upon hearing me refer to Super Bowl Sunday as America's Unofficial holiday got very vocal and angry telling me in no uncertain terms that is was not a holiday.
        My first response was who the heck peed in your corn flakes? My second thought was...well not printable here if I want to keep it at all family accessible. Then it came to me that I had really never thought of anybody denying this fact before. I said "unofficial" surely that must blunt some of the trauma of her being told that people around these parts find football important, frankly I'm surprised she didn't know. Long ago football passed baseball as not only it's national past time, but a national obsession, and Super Bowl Sunday is the epitome of that.
      I wondered if her anger had anything to do with the fact that when she was a kid the national past time was swabbing the Mayflower's deck or if this was a reaction to the word holiday. Assuming it was the later I'd still be confused, after all the etymology of the word has changed greatly since it was taken literally as Holy Day as many other words have.
      Holiday's have become so much more than just religious celebrations and have even grown past patriotic one's. Just for example consider Labor Day, Martin Luther King Day, and well... New Years Day. I mean seriously what the hell is New Years Day for? All anybody does is watch random College Bowl Games while swearing to God they will never drink again. How is that a holiday in any sense of the word?
      Even Thanksgiving, which is absolutely one of my favorite holidays and one of the most revered and celebrated in this country has no religious or truly patriotic meaning, but it is very important to us none the less. It brings us together with our loved ones to celebrate with food and football, wait sounds familiar doesn't it?
      President's and politicians from both sides of the aisle have referred to Super Bowl Sunday as America's unofficial holiday. As far as I new those were the people who decided what constitutes a holiday, even official ones. Super Bowl Sunday in my eyes is most definitely a holiday whether it's official or not. How many days bring people together like it does? How many days contribute to the American economy like it does? How many days have American's all doing and thinking about the same thing, united in an endeavor, sharing in a moment like it does?
      Now, Super Bowl Sunday isn't even the best football day of the year that would probably be reserved for Championship Sunday two weeks earlier, it is however, America's Unofficial Holiday because it represents America so well. It's a huge party that allows people to indulge in too much food, and beer, be loud, opinionated and pour their hearts into something that allows them to escape from their bad marriages, stupid bosses and co-workers, and everything else on their mind while still managing to remain a day dedicated to American consumerism at its best (or worse). You need to look no further than the famous Super Bowl commercials to see that.
       But, It's also a day when families, brothers, fathers and son's can come together, can take time out of all those daily woes to bond over a common passion. It's a day when friends can get together and renew bonds that have strained because work and family obligations have left them no time. It's a day memories are made and shared and reminisced and I can't think of anything that is more like a holiday than that.

 I want to add a separate thought here. a very personal anecdote if I can. Feel free to ignore it if you wish.

       I have been watching Super Bowls so long I barely have memories of when it started. Although it started when I moved next door to my grandfather when I was three. He inspired my love of  football and the Pittsburgh Steelers at that young age, and it is a bond I have kept with him through these many years. I have watched Super Bowls with numerous family and friends through the years and have valued every one of them.
      There was a year though that I was living with my biological sperm donor (I believe you call them fathers) when Super Bowl Sunday came around. On that day he decided to go bowling. I sat alone watching the game, It was Dan Marino's rookie season and I would love to have had that memory to share with someone, instead, on what should have been one of the happiest days of the year for me I was alone, depressed and miserable. That was the day I pulled out his man card and tore it up, and it was one of the final straws in our relationship. He had left us as children, he had left me alone on Super Bowl Sunday, and it was part of a pattern of abandoning his children that would continue and eventually sever our bonds with him.
       It saddens me greatly that this Super Bowl Sunday, one that means so much to our family, will be the first one that I will not share with my oldest son, he has chosen to be elsewhere, but I am overjoyed I will still have family and friends here with me. I will treasure the time because these moments are getting fewer and further between as my children and I grow older. I wish my father had not been so selfish and had realized how much it meant to me that he stay whether he wanted to or not.
       You think I loved all the time I had to spend watching Pokemon cartoons and movies and card tournaments do you? But as a father these are the things you do, the sacrifices you make that allow you the privilege of being called Dad. For so many of you it's not too late to share a moment, bond and laugh with someone you love and don't forget as short as life is it's not always about what your doing but who your doing it with.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shorties....Or why kids make you bald.

      Dad: Ugh I need to lose a few pounds.
 My Boy: You're not fat dad.
      Dad: I feel fat.
 My Son: Then stop feeling yourself.
      Dad: That's not what I meant.
  My Son: That's what you said.
       Dad: I meant feel, as in the emotion.
  My Son: I thought you said only woman got emotional when they got fat.

      Dad: Get your shoes on boy, we're going to the movies.
 My Son: What are we going to see?
      Dad: You'll see when you get there.
 My Son: That means it's something I won't like. There won't be kissing and stuff right?
      Dad: What's your problem with kissing and stuff?
 My Son: I hate the faces they make, they look stupid.
      Dad: Someday, you'll be kissing and making stupid faces.
 My Son: Grow up dad. By then I'll be old and won't care if I look stupid.

      Dad: Hey boy did you do any reading today?
 My Son: No I want to watch cartoons.
      Dad: I want you to do some reading.
 My Son: Fine, I'll watch some Japanese cartoons then.

 My Son: Why do you paint your nails Mom?
     Mom:  To make them look pretty.
 My Son: Its not working.

      Dad: Hey boy, were having Chinese tonight, what do you want me to order for you?
 My Son: A panda.

Youngest Son: Hey dad, can I turn the TV on?
               Dad: Shhh, I'm trying to write.
Youngest Son: No your not, your typing. If you were writing on your computer it would ruin it.
               Dad: Very Funny.
     Oldest Son: Very funny? How would you know dad?


Thursday, January 20, 2011

The nineties killed the video star.

      From the time rock and roll became recognized in the 50s it was always more than just background or entertainment it was truly part of youth culture. As time went on through the 60s, 70s and 80s rock's influence became stronger and more obvious. By 1986 music had come to define the generation. Fashion, language, movies, were all a reflection of 80s rock culture.
      Then like a poison arrow more than 40 years of influence was killed. The 90s and grunge destroyed what rock and roll had built and what it stood for. Rock and roll culture has never been the same, in fact I fail to see the existence today of any true music culture at all.  Don't get me wrong there are still great performers and music out there, I'm not saying music ended in the 90s but the great culture of it certainly did. I grew up in the 1980's and for those of you who didn't there is no way to truly explain how much the music of the time permeated every corner and crack of our lives.
      When MTV began in 1981 it was an amazing experience, 24 hours a day of nothing but music videos, it became a way for friends to hang out and be social in a different way, it wasn't uncommon for a dozen or more friends and acquaintances to hang out and talk and bond over the music, for the first time in many, many years TV became a social thing instead of a way to just veg out, and every afternoon with your friends felt like a party.
      When the show "The Real World"  began in 1992 it was the unwitting start to the darkest time in American history...The rise of reality tv, that's right it all started with MTV. They had just begun turning their back on rock and airing grunge the year before. The sight of angry, unwashed, Ritalin addicted musicians telling us how miserable life was while staring at their chucks led to a revolt of the 80s ideals, and the belief that we weren't serious enough, that "reality", and gritty dark pessimism was what this world needed.
        Just in case you weren't there let me explain eighties music in one word..."party". That's right 80's music whether it be rock, pop, new wave or hair metal was about having a good time, enjoying life, sex, love, and getting the most out of every single day of your life...yeah I can see why that was so horrible to all these flannel wearing buttheads. Grunge and it's musical father; alternative music seemed to be a mix of teen angst, self pity and the need to show us all how much the world sucked...thanks for that. Me personally I prefer my music to make me happy, to make me want to dance have a few beers and laugh, not go weeks without washing my hair, and hide in a corner until I slit my wrists.
      One of the most recognizable facets of 80's cultural influence was the fashions, this obviously includes hair styles. Now as corny as it may have been it was recognizable, Whether it be the flashy colors and weird accessories on one side or the long hair, leather and steel on the other when you see an 80s fashion statement you know it. It was theatrical and individual and very representative of the time and it's generation. What about the 50's , the 60s and 70s they all had looks that were influenced by the music. Grunge threw all that out the window and decided that the homeless look was in, it was so bad it killed that aspect of rock and roll completely. The unwashed look was followed in the next decade by...what? think about it what was the recognizable fashion trend of the 2000's? From poodle skirts, to leather jackets and greased hair, to long hair,bell bottoms, and tie dye to fingerless gloves, tight jeans, big hair and skinny ties to flannel shirts and dirty hair to what?
        I remember going to school and every single girl was dressed to the nines, they had spent an hour or more getting the right hair, the right clothes and jeans so tight they had to lay down to get them on, and not a single day went by when you couldn't see at least 3 girls in the lunch line dressed like Madonna. The thought of not showering, not putting on make-up or just throwing on over-sized men's clothes was unheard of, girls as well as guys truly cared about their appearance. Then when the 90s rolled around and I was out of high school I was shocked that so many girls were dressing like crap, had given up make-up and even started shaving their head. The psychology of not caring how you looked or purposely downplaying or damaging your looks went right along with the grunge message that life is shit, why bother.
      Movies and TV have drawn influence from the rock culture for decades, It's obvious in the musicals and comedies of the 50s and 60s, in the old beach movies, and the Elvis movies. In the 80s it was clearly visible whether it was John hughs movies or Cinemax late night, or Fast Times at Ridgemont High and a hundred others. You could see it in the appearances of bands like Vixen In Hardbodies, Autograph in Dudley Moore's Like Father Like Son, and White Lion in Tom Hank's The Money Pit as well as many more. Now if you see a musician on TV it's in a bad reality show.
       Once upon a time music was part of the party, a social medium representing good times and good friends everyone had boom boxes and wanted to share the music they loved with everyone, yes it was hard carrying a 20 pound radio full of 10 "D" batteries everywhere you went, but it was worth it. Now music is a personal thing, everyone has Ipods that only they can hear and our kids lock themselves in their bedroom to listen instead of sharing it with their friends. It's not a social event to get together and listen to the new music by a favorite band. Lost is the joy of the weekly trips to the mall record store with friends and finding something new, instead we sit in front of a computer alone and download it. I went to so many concerts in the 80s I lost track...every week for ten bucks a great new show with amazing bands was at the arena, it sure isn't like that now. I remember in just one summer seeing AC/DC, Aerosmith, Van Halen, The Scorpions, Motley Crue, Kiss, Def Leppard and a dozen others, and they were great memories.
      In the 80's everyone wanted to be a rock star, even the movie stars and athletes. Everyone was in a band, or swore that someday they would be. In our mind every one of us, with hairbrush in hand, stood before our bedroom mirror looking out at a screaming audience of fans who adored us...and threw their panties on stage. Rooms covered in posters of Quiet Riot and Dokken were just the start of what we were sure was our long rock and roll odyssey, we couldn't even imagine another life.
      Rock n roll was for some of us is the soundtrack to our lives, I remember making out with Robin to Rick Springfield, I remember smiling at Stephanie to Crazy For You, I remember Screaming out "Don't give a Damn!" to Survivor because back then swearing in a song was not the norm, I remember a dozen songs I fell in love to and a dozen more I broke up to. I remember every friend I shared them with, partied along side and every girl that reminded me of that certain song. I remember making a hundred mix tapes and I remember laughing a lot.
       The MTV we knew is dead, so is the record, the cassette and soon the CD will follow since all music will be digital. The experience of rock n roll has been stripped down to background noise and computer bytes. There is no more rock and roll culture or fashion or even a true rock and roll experience, there are no more spontaneous parties in the parking lot or at Andy's or Dave's, there are no weekly concerts at the War Memorial and The House of Guitars is no longer a cultural icon, but for those of you who were there, those who truly understand, my friends, enemies, and acquaintances, this weekend throw in your favorite 80s band, raise a beer, and toast to the fact ...that we were there.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Beginnings

      So a new year has started and most of us see this as a clean slate, a chance to start fresh in hopes that the future holds better than the past. I am also looking forward to erasing last year, hoping the new one will be better. It was a very rough year for me and my family as well as many people I know, and unfortunately I can not yet see a light at the end of the tunnel....and if I did it would be a train. That is not going to stop me from trying of course. We only have three choices in this world; keep fighting, give up or blame others. This last one of course seems to the most popular.
      It seems to me that the idea that everything is someone elses  fault is a little juvenile. I had an incredibly difficult childhood but I am not a drug addict, a criminal, or a blight on society, at a certain point you grow up and are able to discern right from wrong despite how or where you were raised. If you do bad things it's because you chose to. It's not because you were abused or you were raised in a bad neighborhood, or the man is holding you down. Take responsibility for your own choices.
      Life in general is hard, you will get knocked on your ass several times, by psychotic exes, by horrible bosses and rotten co-workers, by bad luck, bad timing and bad people but you can't let them be the reason you quit, In fact you should never quit fighting. There are others out there like you, other kindred spirits, other decent people fighting to be happy and keep their own standards of behavior high. Those out there who are societal vampires and feed on the misery of others are never going to disappear, the only thing we can do about it is not become one.
      So here's to hoping 2011 is a better year for us all. Here's to those of you who keep fighting, and here's to you.

Monday, December 13, 2010

My 12 days of christmas gifts.

      With 12 days until Christmas I've decided to share with you my 12 gifts to the world. Now I'm not going to give you all world peace and puppies, that's not only too obvious but it's no fun at all, is it? So here it is my 12 days of Christmas.

12 A Christmas carol sung by Neil Patrick Harris and Felicia Day so the rest of the world can enjoy their true talents. (Anyone who hasn't seen it, MUST see Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. I'd give it to you as a gift but hell, it's free on Netflix).

11 Puppies... OK I lied everyone should know the joy of a puppy.

10 Nicolas cage and John Travolta retiring...from everything!

09 A collective bargaining Agreement between NFL owners and players so we can avoid a lockout.

08 The end of reality television. It shall end with a bang though as the Kardashians and the cast of Jersey Shore are tortured and executed for our Christmas viewing enjoyment, On Fox of course.

07 The joy of reading. Reading is one of the simplest and greatest pleasures, I wish everyone could realize it. Besides a world of readers is an educated world, and that's a great thing.

06 Great I need to explain?

05 A sense of humor. If you can't take a know the rest. This world has become so "PC" so litigious and so bitter it really needs this one as well as #6. Hell combine the last three and maybe world peace would be possible.

04 Clean Sheets. Oh come on who doesn't love clean sheets?

03 Penguins!

02 A magic elixir that removes calories from ANYTHING.

01 Instead of universal health care I give the gift of universal health.

Cheers and happy holidays I hope you all enjoy your gifts. :)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving the beginning...

      So today is Thanksgiving one of my favorite AND least favorite days of the year. Why is it one of my favorites? kind of obvious actually, a paid day off in the middle of the week, lots of food, football, beer and for me the one day a year I indulge in pecan pie. In fact Thanksgiving is one of only three holidays I personally celebrate along with Halloween and Super Bowl Sunday. For those of you that just said Super Bowl Sunday isn't a holiday...You're wrong! but I'll get into that in a couple months when it's relevant.
      As to why it's one of my least favorite days...where to start? did you know that 66% of families fight when they get together on Thanksgiving? Unfortunately I didn't make that number up. No normal person REALLY wants to get together with their extended family we do it out of tradition and some twisted sense of obligation that says we must get together with creepy Uncle John and our never pleased in-laws and our psychotic parents. Not to mention all those people around me mean that I can't concentrate on the damn games, trust me I'm way more interested in them than I am Aunt Mary's hip. Oh and if Thanksgiving is at your house then so is the mess.
      But the biggest reason I Don't like thanksgiving is because it officially signals the beginning of the Holiday Season. Oh god the ridiculous shoppers, the terrible music, the fake kindness, the HORRIBLE "Very Special Episode of..." The annoying bells every damn time I walk into a store seriously all I want for Christmas is an AR-15 assault rifle (fortunately there is a pink Hello Kitty version now. I kid you not.)
      To all you sadists who get up at 3am to stand in line on Black Friday with a thousand others to save $10 on a Barbie Doll or get little johnny that new gadget he so desperately wants I only have one question...WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU? If you are so strapped for money that you are willing to face Black Friday shopping to save a few bucks I have some advice for you BUY LESS! I've worked Black Friday sales and watched them from a safe distance and I'm here to tell you this is the circle of Hell that even Dante was scared to tell you about.
      Christmas music is tortuous it's like listening the death cry of a hundred brown bats as they are burned to death by an exploding Santa decoration (Sorry about that by the way, I was aiming for Rudolph).
      I get so very sick of hearing about being kind to each other because it's the Holiday season. Seriously? you idiots all need a special month as an excuse to be nice? If you can't treat each other decent all the time then don't fake it, it's just sad really.
       And OH...MY...GOD what they do to TV during the month leading up to Christmas is the true reason there are so many suicides this time of year. Every show that has ever existed has done a Christmas episode ripping off  "A Christmas Carol" You know what I'm with Scrooge Bah Humbug. If it isn't Charles Dicken's being ripped off it's an episode where someone learns the true meaning of...BULLSHIT!. You know what is learned in these episodes? how to be a talentless hack writer who's ripping off every piece of literature ever written. They can get away with it though because most people will never know since they're too busy frying their brain with other hack writers like Stephanie Meyer. Isn't is bad enough we are force fed Miracle on 34th street and It's a wonderful life every year, for god sakes George just jump and save us all the repetitive heavy handed lessons.
       Now I'm all for helping people who need it, and now more than ever people need your generosity. I mean helping the people who really need help and not the people who keep having kids to milk the welfare system then bull up at the food bank in their Escalade with custom rims. I have no problem with a little charity in fact I encourage as we give ourselves to breast cancer charities as well as different child and animal causes. The difference is once again we don't wait until a certain month of the year to decide people need help people struggle 12 months a year not just December.
        What makes this even worse is the damn ringing bells at every single entrance to every single store in the country. I knew this was out of hand when I saw the chick in the fish nets ringing in front of the adult book store (yes I put money in...what I'm not heartless). I just get the feeling that I'm supposed to put money in every one of those red pots or these bell ringers are giving me the stink eye behind my back.
        So as I sit here writing this Thanksgiving day is coming to an end and the holiday season begins, and it begins not with a song, not with a miracle, but with a door buster sale at Walmart. Merry Christmas to all and to all a sad shake of the head.