Southern Discomfort


Well folks…today was a sad day indeed.  After a wonderful New Year’s celebration last night and a great dinner with my family and friends this evening, my 2011 bubble was quickly burst when my Southern upbringing reared it’s country head.  Yep, y’all heard me right.  My evening was shattered by an “accent malfunction”.  Allow me to explain…

My wife, kids, and I went to our friend’s house this evening to enjoy some Yakiniku (a Japanese style cookout where you grill your meat and veggies on a small electric grill placed in the middle of the dinner table).  After dinner, we decided to play a few games; couple versus couple.  First we played Catchphrase, which went pretty well.  My wife and I won one game and our friends, Rebekah and Kevin, won the other.  After Catchphrase, we decided to try our hands at Pictionary.

I will be the first to admit that my drawing skills are less than desirable.  My rabbits look deranged and the cows that I draw normally turn out looking like obese mountain lions, but for some reason, my wife is very skilled at deciphering my scribbles.  We did very well the first game and ended up winning.  I must admit that the hamster that I drew on a tight rope was very abstract and thoughtful.  After our win, I suggested that we switch from couples to Man versus Woman.  The ladies obliged and we began a literal battle of the sexes.

At first, Kevin and I were handily dispatching our lovely female foes; quickly guessing what the other was drawing. Eventually though, we began to falter.  The ladies had a pretty astounding run in the end and were able to tie the game.  With one move left for the win, it was my turn to draw.  Flexing my skilled fingers, I sharpened my stub of a pencil and selected my card from the box.  My daughter flipped the hourglass timer and I began to draw.

After a few moments, Kevin had guessed that I was drawing Gel; the kind that you put in your hair when styling it for a night on the town or the form in which toothpaste comes inside of the tube.  Unfortunately, my dear wife had glimpsed the card as I passed it to her and she wore a look of both confusion and amusement on her face as I “high fived” my partner and congratulated him on a job well done.  Rising from her chair, she dug the card from the discarded pile and showed it to Kevin’s wife, who then joined my wife in a bout of hearty laughter.

“What the heck is so funny?” I asked.  “Do you guys enjoy losing?”

“Think again there Redneck,” they said as they showed me the card.

The card said Jail, not Gel.  Crestfallen, I hung my head in shame.  How could I have made such an error.  I cursed my Southern upbringing and my country accent as my wife and her friend celebrated their glorious victory.  There are many times that I relish my Southern roots, but tonight they betrayed me.  Damn my sweet sweet Georgia drawl!

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Have a Merry Winter Holiday!


Christmas postcard, 1911

Goodbye Santa

Well Folks…it’s that time of year again.  Families are decorating holiday trees, lovely artificial Georgia Pines festooned with low watt energy saving winter lights and orbs of colors that span the rainbow.  Mothers everywhere are baking Gingerbread Person cookies outfitted in smart pants suits smudged with blue and pink icing.  Dad is gearing up in the gym, going to cross fit classes so that he can fit into his new chinos from Banana Republic.  With all of these things going on, I think that it is high time to share the history of how Christmas became Winter Holiday…

A very long time ago there was a man named Santa Claus.  He lived in a wondrous place called the North Pole.  Each year, with the assistance of a highly trained cadre of elves (a tiny breed of human who in the Eighties we referred to as midgets), Santa made and delivered toys to all of the world’s children on Christmas Eve.  He asked for nothing in return.  He simply loved to put smiles on children’s faces; much like Michael Jackson (too soon?).  Santa had a team of reindeer that could fly.  They pulled him in a huge sleigh through the chilly winter skies, landing on rooftops all over the world to deposit Santa down chimneys so that he could deliver toys to the little boys and girls.  This happened every year for many, many years.

Today we have no Santa.  We have replaced him with nervous parents who scour the internet searching for age appropriate toys (usually geared towards learning tolerance and/or foreign language skills) for their children.  Our children no longer feign sleep just to wake up to GI Joes and Barbie dolls.  Nope, those days are long gone.  The kiddos are now nestled snugly in bed with their laptops and iPads cruising Facebook and being internet bullies, waiting for the morning to come so that they can open the presents that they helped their parents pick out.  How did this happen?  Let me explain:

I’ve told you about the glorious days of Santa Claus, but I did not share the story of his terrible fate.  You see, Santa caused a lot of discontent to a lot of people (mostly residents of California, but I digress).  The first problem that Santa ran into was global warming.  His snowy homeland, a place held together by the imagination of millions of children around the world, began to melt away.  Children everywhere were being indoctrinated into the myth that is global warming and with each tear shed for a sweaty penguin, Santa’s home began to melt.  The next problem that Santa faced was a heavy accusation of running a sweatshop full of undersized adults, or little people.  This ridiculous subterfuge caused discontented mutiny in Santa’s workshop once word spread to the elves that they were being kept down by “the man”.  Soon, Santa had no one to help him make toys.  To add insult to injury, Santa’s jolly wife, Mrs. Claus, left him for a woman named Marge after attending Lilith Fair.

Today you can still see Santa, smelling slightly of liquor, panhandling for change in front of outlet malls all over the country.  Do yourself a favor and give the guy some change.  Maybe some hope and change.  It seemed to have worked for America.

Strange things can happen…


Strange Men in Pinstrip Suits Blog Award

So…I was surprised to see that I had been given an award for my blog.  Lynn Rush was kind enough to list me as a recipient of The Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits Blog Award.  Thanks Lynn. 

Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits award

This award is based on the release of Cate Gardner’s short story collection, Strange Men in Pinstriped Suits. The book is available for pre-order and at a discount of $1.99 off of the cover price. To help celebrate this release, Cate and Strange Publications have a contest with two prize packages to choose from.

 The ‘Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits’ award is given to only the strangest of folk, and as the recipient of such you are deemed very strange indeed. Congratulations.

Now you must go forth and celebrate the strangeness of friends (and strangers – strangers are always allowed) by nominating blogs run by strange folk. *Beware, some people don’t like you to refer to them as strange…Try to avoid them if possible.

Some rules:

1. Add the logo of the award to your blog post.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded it to you (don’t mess with strange people).
3. Nominate seven other blogs telling us why you think the recipient is strange enough to deserve the award.
4. Leave a message for those nominated on their blogs.
5. And, if you email catephoenix(at)gmail(dot)com and tell her you’ve received the award for your strangeness, she’ll enter you in the biggest kick-ass Strange Men competition ever. Details over at strangemeninpinstripesuits.com (click on the award link on the home page)

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The hardest part of this is getting together 7 blogs that I think are “strange”.  I don’t want to put anyone off by bestowing them with such a title, but I guess that I’m just going to hold my breath and jump into this one.  So, here goes:

Jeremy-This is probably the strangest guy that I know.  His very short lived blog is just another example of his strange ways.  You can check out his true talents by clicking on his Facebook Photography Site link in the right margins of my blog.

The Ignorant Bystander– I enjoy his strange range of topics and writing style. 

RD Carter– Mrs Carter has some very strange Titles for her blogs.  Very funny…

SelfProclaimedM…-Good blog about topics that are all over the charts.  Strange stuff indeed.

FreakCycle-Strange things going on over at FreakCycle. 

Danny-Some strange short stories on Danny’s blog.

KC-Kids say the stranges things sometimes.  This is a great blog about KC’s daughter, Max.

Well…that about wraps it up folks.  Thanks for reading.  Stay Strange!

Economy devistates children all over the world: The Toothfairy files Chapter 13


The Tooth Fairy Tats 2000

Image via Wikipedia

Well, well, well….times sure are tough folks.  Here is a great example of just how tough they really are:

My son lost his first tooth this week and boy was he excited.  For once, we did not have to coerce him into going to bed.  We didn’t have to tuck him in or turn out his lights or read him a story.  Nope, not this time.  This time, he hit the sack like a champ.  Lights out, tooth under pillow, and a gapped grin spread across his sweet little face.  This was pay day-Tooth Fairy Day!

Our son is only six, but he knows quite a bit about life and it’s guarantees.  He knows that if he cusses, he gets a spanking.  He knows that if he is good, he gets to play Xbox.  He also knows that the Tooth Fairy pays top dollar for bottom teeth!  Unfortunately, our son woke up rather disappointed on Friday.

I heard him rummaging around in his room early Friday morning.  I could hear him talking to himself and I could also hear him tearing through his sheets looking for something.  Not one to miss out on his strange antics, I got up and made my way to his room.  He looked very disturbed; angry even.  I could tell that he had something on his mind, so I asked him, “Son, what’s the matter?”

“I got stiffed Dad,” he said.

“What do you mean, you got stiffed,” I asked.

“The Tooth Fairy…she didn’t leave me any money,” he shouted.  He lifted his pillow to lay proof to his claim and sure enough, there was no money to be found.  The only thing that lay under his spittle stained pillow were broken dreams.  The tooth was missing, and so was the money.

Shocked, I tried to muster up some encouraging words of wisdom to offer my sobbing child.  I had nothing.  Never in my 30 years on this earth had I heard of such an egregious circumstance.  The Tooth Fairy failed to make good on payment due!  There had to be a logical explanation.  So, like any good Father, I looked to Google for advice.

A quick search for instances of Tooth Fairy misconduct yielded astonishing results.  I clicked on the first link and found that a young couple in South America had suffered through a similar experience.  Dios Mio!  To add insult to injury, the tooth was not the only thing missing from their young Daughter’s room.  It seems that someone had also taken the poor child’s Ipod.  Despicable.

I checked another link…same story.  Tooth gone, no money, and items stolen.  Alarmed by the eerie coincidence, I rushed to my son’s room for a quick inventory of his belongings.  Sure enough, it seemed that he too was the victim of a looting.  His prized copy of Halo for the XBOX 360 was missing.  In it’s place, there was a note.  It read:

“Dear Young Man,

I regret to inform you that due to dismal returns on my investment portfolio and a string of poor choices of a personal nature, I am unable to reimburse you for your lost tooth.  I have, none-the-less, taken said tooth; as it is my inherant duty to ensure that it finds it’s way to it’s final resting place.  It saddens me even further to inform you that I have had to take the liberty of ascertaining one of your video games.  I do hope that I chose one that you don’t often play.  I pray that you hold no ill feelings towards myself or any other variety of fairy.  Our people are in dire financial straights, as we do not qualify for governmental assistance or any social recovery programs.  I did, however, petition President Obama to support a program entitled ‘Cash For Molars,’ but he laughingly declined.  Do not discount the resilient nature of fairy folk.  We will prevail through these difficult times.  My uncle, the Toenail Fairy, has already seemed to have  had some luck in emerging markets.  On a final note, I hope that you are not overly fond of the upcoming holiday, Halloween.  I hear that the Pumpkin King has been incarcerated for selling bootleg DVDs.  It seems that he is unable to make bail.  Best Wishes.  The Tooth Fairy.”

I hope that the economy bounces back soon.  I couldn’t live without Peeps!

The Twilight Phenomenon: A concerned Father fights back (via The Good Twin)


Hello Folks…I’m re-posting this to celebrate the news of Twilight’s final movie. Perhaps this ridiculous tween battle will soon draw to a close….

The Twilight Phenomenon:  A concerned Father fights back So, my daughter is enamored with the whole twilight thing.  She has watched all of the movies.  She has read all of the books.  I must admit that initially I was excited that she was so engrossed in a book.  I am an avid reader and find few things more relaxing and enjoyable than a good book.  So you can imagine that I was happy when my little girl was showing interest in something that I love to do.  Little did I know the consequences of her cho … Read More

via The Good Twin

I joined the e-reading bandwagon! I feel like a traitor, but it is still kind of cool…


A Picture of a eBook

Image via Wikipedia

Today, in a moment of weakness, I broke down and took a left down E-reader Blvd.  I know folks; I have been a staunch defender of antiquity when it comes to traditional reading, but things have a way of changing.  They certainly do.  Sometimes necessity breeds that change, and so it was in my situation.

I have an extended business trip coming up soon and I really want to get a few good books under my belt while away from the family.  Books kind of make the time fly by just a little quicker, but I only have a limited amount of space,  so I find myself at an impasse:

Do I buy more books that take up a lot of room?

or

Do I acquire an e-reader?

You guessed it!  I went the e-reader route.  I am famously cheap, so purchasing a kindle, sony e-reader, nook, or i-pad is out of the question.  The next best thing is anything free, so I searched the web for a bargain.  I found exactly what I was looking for right here.  Amazon has a Kindle application for PCs that works very well (according to the demo), so I downloaded the app and began my electronic reading journey.

I know that a laptop is fairly large, but don’t blow holes into my decision just yet.  I don’t expect to lug around my HP every time I want to do some reading, rather I intend to use it as a platform for a quick read while taking a break from work.  I can minimize anything that I am working on and pop open a good book; all in the matter of two mouse clicks.  Pretty cool huh?  I think so.

I’ve already downloaded a couple of titles from amazon and I’m pretty excited to check them out.  They have an extensive collection ebooks for sale, not to mention, a broad array of free ebooks!  Goes well with my frugality.  I’ve also packed about four “old school” paper books into my bag for the trip and look forward to immersing myself into those beauties each night prior to bedtime.

Well, I better wrap this up.  I have some e-bookin’ to catch up on.  See you on the information superhighway!

OB/GYNs are Peeping-Toms


Lounging around the womb.

Hello Folks. Yesterday I accompanied my lovely wife to the doctor’s office to take a sneak peek at the kiddo in utero, and boy what a cool little ‘field trip’ that turned out to be. For those Dudes out there who have never had the pleasure of spying on a fetus, I’ll give you the down and dirty…

The first thing that happens when you arrive for your appointment is the pregnant woman (we are going to call her Momma) gets her vitals checked out. It is important to make sure that Momma is on track with blood pressure and weight gain. We don’t want the baby to be hungry or tweaked out, so a quick check of the vitals is imperative. Everybody loves a chunky baby, right?

Next, Momma gets interviewed by the Nurse. There is a long list of questions that the nurse reads out, which I can only guess was written by a military interrogator. I’m not quite sure what some of these questions had to do with pregnancy, but if anyone can tell me what “when was the last time that you ate a peanut butter sandwich after watching the episode of Grey’s Anatomy when Izzy over-sympathized with a dying patient?” has to do with incubating babies, please let me know.

After the nurse is happy with the answers to all of the questions, you are moved to an examination room. Here is where things start to get a little interesting. There is a small television monitor plugged into an outlet alongside the exam table. This is the ultrasound machine. This nifty gadget is what the Ol’ Sawbones uses to photograph and monitor the baby. I’m not entirely sure how this device works, but I assume that it runs on the same principals as SONAR. Like a mighty Spruance Class Destroyer tracking down Soviet subs, this precision instrument pings sound waves through the soft tissue of Momma’s belly and gets a return off of the baby, which is displayed on the screen for our viewing pleasure. I wish that I could have been given free reign over that apparatus for fifteen minutes. I could have literally looked into some bodily mysteries that have always eluded me, but that is for another forum. Back to the baby…

Next, the Doc squirts some aloe-vera type stuff all over Momma’s belly and begins to rub a probe around until we get a good heartbeat from the baby. This part can be particularly stressful. I find this akin to an elderly man scanning the beach with a metal detector, patiently canvassing miles of sandy shoreline, listening for that sweet soft beep. Once you have located the baby’s heartbeat, you are ready for the fun to begin, but do not let the brevity of this description fool you, dear readers. It can take an awful long time to pinpoint the baby’s tiny heartbeat. I don’t know where our little gremlin (this is a pet name, I assure you) could have possibly been hiding, but it must be part ninja because it dropped a fetal smoke bomb and disappeared for a good two minutes. Vanished. Kapoof. After a couple of very long minutes of searching, we found it and relaxed a little. We still had a few things left to do; we had to get a look at our little miracle and do a little prenatal paparazzi-ing.

Once the heartbeat is found, it’s face time. This is when you get up-close and personal with the baby. The Doc switches out the previously used probe for a small instrument that looks like a paddle. This is used to peer through Momma and into Baby. The Doc moved that paddle all around my wife’s belly until she found the ‘sweet spot’ where we could get the best look at our new addition. Now, my wife is only 13 weeks along, so I wasn’t really prepared for what I was about to see. I expected to see a little tadpole-ish dude or dudette looking up at me like an alien who has been trapped inside my wife and cannot figure out how in the heck it got there. Boy was I wrong! The little person that appeared on the screen before me actually looked like a tiny little human. Not a tadpole, not an alien, but a human being. Granted, I couldn’t see a lot of details and this machine was definitely not an HD Sony Bravia, but I could certainly ascertain that this little guy looked a lot like me. It already had arms. It had legs. The little chap had the whole kit and caboodle! From what the Doc said, the only body part that has not formed at this point is the lungs, but it’s all gravy because the baby uses Momma’s blood for oxygen. Kind of spooky, like we have a sparkly little Edward incubating in my wife! Living on blood…yuck.

Back on topic. I’m pretty sure that the baby takes after me because we have a tiny show off on our hands. As soon as we got a good view of the fetus, it started cart wheeling all over my wife’s placenta. This baby was dropping it like it was HOT! We could see the little arms moving. The hands were opening and closing, the feet kicking, the booty shaking. Our kiddo was a rockin’. I must admit that this was a pretty cool experience. The Doctor takes some snapshots of the baby while explaining what you are looking at on the screen. The pictures, kind of like second rate Polaroids, are printed out of the bottom of the machine. Just like the photo booth at the mall, but free! Either way, the snapshots never really come out exactly like what you are actually looking at on the screen. The picture labeled “Baby’s Head and Arms” came out of the printer looking like a dragon that was attacking a medieval castle, but we accepted the portraits none-the-less.

The last thing that the doctor does is some measuring. Doc uses a digital tape measure to figure out if the baby is on the right track, growth wise, and lets you know the age. Cool stuff. Our baby looked good to go, so we were both very happy. All in all, it was a great experience. I enjoyed spying on our little one. Now we are waiting for our next visit when we get to see if my superior genetics have produced another son or if my wife’s secret prayers have been answered for another daughter (I know you want another girl Baby!) Either way, I’m glad that all was quiet on the “southern front”. Until next time, stay classy.

This is the measurement of the baby's head.