Time to mow again? Learn CPR first

image Men, now that spring is here, it’s time to start preparing for the very real possibility you will soon be neck deep in grass clippings. I know this because I received a Sears catalogue depicting what appears to be an all-American family taking time off from its busy modeling schedule to cook hamburgers on a brand new stainless steel grill large enough to accommodate an entire side of bull elk. As you would expect, children were in the yard squirting each other with water toys and running barefoot over a perfectly manicured lawn which, judging from the size of the family dog, must be self-cleaning. Mom was nearby, well oiled and laying on a lawn chair in her bathing suit, still recovering from her recent Victoria’s Secret lingerie shoot in the Bahamas.

Around the Hickson household, summer starts out a little differently. I was reminded of this yesterday as I stood in our back yard, waist-deep in weeds, swatting at a mosquito with a rusty spatula and trying to remember the last time I saw our hibachi. Continue reading

Want to keep your writing fresh? Start with regular flossing

image I’d like to thank the American Dental Association for sponsoring this week’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing, which brings me to a startling statistic: 4-out-of-5 dentists have never recommended or even heard of this blog. The fifth dentist only heard about it when, moments after my lips went numb, I was trying to say “Ben Roethlisberger’s lob” and he thought I said “Ned’s worthless blog.” Regardless, there are many similarities between keeping a fresh feeling to your writing and avoiding gingivitis. So think of me as your “literary orthodontist” as I take you through a quick writer’s check-up. Please remember I don’t have a saliva vacuum…

A good dentist will tell you it’s important to floss between meals, and will demonstrate its importance by flossing for you during your visit. That’s unless he also happens to be your proctologist, in which case I’d like to welcome you to the National Health Care Plan. Continue reading

Can life be the same with less bacon in it?

image The thing I hate most about doctors — not counting proctologists — is that they’re always trying to tell you HOW TO LIVE!

For example: “Ned, unless you lower your blood pressure, you’re going to die.”

The nerve!

Though I’m well within my optimum weight range (190 lbs.) for my age (48) and height (6’1″), am active and have a relatively low-stress lifestyle (when our three teens aren’t home), my blood pressure is still high.

Apparently, it’s something that runs in my family. Which is ironic considering my family isn’t known for running.


Because I don’t really need to lose weight and my heart sounds fine, my doctor has started me on a very mild dose of blood pressure medicine. “Just take 10 milligrams each morning at breakfast,” he said.

“Can I wrap it in bacon first? Ha! Ha!” I joked.

Well, mostly. Continue reading

40 years ago this week, “Jaws” made a bed-wetter out of me

image I was a few weeks short of my ninth birthday when Jaws premiered in our local theater. Even though I wasn’t old enough to see it, that didn’t keep us from sneaking into the darkened cinema to experience a movie that prolonged the bed-wetting experience by at least two years. Though I lived in Redondo Beach at the time, I was never a big fan of being on — or in — the ocean. To me, the sea was like a bees’ nest; naturally beautiful and the keeper of deliciousness, but I wasn’t going to stick my hand inside.

In the years since then, “Jaws” has become one of my favorite movies — an example of masterful storytelling by Steven Spielberg that is as engrossing today as it was 40 years ago. While I could identify most with Roy Scheider’s “Chief Brody,” it was Robert Shaw’s portrayal of “Quint” the shark hunter that I have come to appreciate the most — and whose telling of the “delivery of the bomb” still mesmerizes me every time. Continue reading

Father’s Day gift ideas you can swear by. And so will Dad

imageJust like Kanye West’s next public outburst, Father’s Day will be here before we know it. That means Dad will once again be wearing new underwear and smelling like he’s been attacked by a cologne salesman (who, in self defense, Dad likely strangled with his new paisley tie.) This year, why not break from tradition and do something special by letting Dad keep his multiple-exit underwear and, instead, give him something he really wants?

Like, say… bacon-scented body wash?

That’s right. As a service to fathers, I have assemble a short list of alternative gift ideas for Dad over at Long Awkward Pause. These are gifts that say how much you care about him even though, apparently, the Consumer Products Safety Commission does not.

Before we start, let me assure you that all of the items are:

1) Real products.
2) Created by people whose primary heat source — I’m guessing — is a bong.

Some come join me at Long Awkward Pause by clicking HERE!

Having trouble? HERE works, too!

Want to boost your daughter’s self image? Don’t go for bust

image When I first read about Jenna Franklin, the British girl whose parents are giving her $8,000 breast implants for her 16th birthday, I was shocked by the notion of a father willing to be part of anything that would make his teenaged daughter more enticing to teenaged boys.

Looking ahead to my own daughter’s sweet 16, I’ve begun saving up for a special birthday ensemble that includes sheet-metal pants and a turtleneck sweater made of chain-link. And possibly a make-up kit to go with it, depending on whether she wears her metal visor up or down.

I have no doubt my daughter will thank me later for adding a degree of difficulty to the courtship process, which will eliminate those who aren’t persistent.

Or, at the very least, those without a blow torch.

While Franklin’s parents say their “gift” is meant to boost their daughter’s self esteem, I don’t think going for bust is the answer. Even though Kay and Martin Franklin are cosmetic surgeons themselves, and say they only want the breast for their daughter, they have to see how the need for self-image “improvements” won’t end there. Continue reading