Outlook for the future of education? It looks just… Pee Chee

Education Secretary Arnie Duncan promises no child's will get left behind when it comes to getting a Pee Chee folder.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan promises no child will get left behind when it comes to getting a Pee Chee folder.

When I was a kid, our school supply list consisted of a Star Wars notebook and a Pee Chee folder. The notebook helped us organize our assignments; the Pee-Chee folder was used for entertaining ourselves during class by drawing thought balloons for the athletes on the cover.

Football Guy: (Getting tackled) “Oh sure — run the old L-42 play, THAT always works…”
Tennis Girl: “If my skirt gets any shorter, I’ll be playing Olympic volleyball…”

You get the idea.

Just about everyone remembers this folder because, like Al Sharpton’s hair gel, it has remained virtually unchanged since 1964. What has changed, however, is the growing list of items parents must provide throughout the school year. This comes in addition to rudimentary things, such as clothing, snacks and a recent urine sample. The reason is simple: The government is tired of wasteful spending, particularly in the educational system, where a special task force has discovered that schools routinely get bilked into spending thousands of dollars on paper alone.

“And, shockingly, most of this paper has turned out to be blank,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Continue reading

Camping with your teenagers is like one big (search) party!

image Our family loves to go camping. In fact, we make sure to get out and pitch our tent — without fail — once a year.

Traditionally, this takes place during the busy Labor Day Weekend so that as many people as possible can witness a 49-year-old man being attacked by his own tent. In my defense, I have to say our tent is very large; especially when it is laying flat on the ground.

If I hadn’t lost the step-by-step instructions that came with it, I’m sure the assembly process would be a lot easier because, as a man, I could use them to, step-by-step, blame everything on having lousy instructions.

What this means is that over the Labor Day Weekend my handiwork will again be mistaken for a hot air balloon that has crash-landed into our family’s camp site. Continue reading

A man’s guide to romantic cuisine — Step one: Insert beer into chicken cavity

image Men, by their very nature, are grillers of food. If you follow me on Facebook, then you know I love grilling everything from steak kabobs to bacon-wrapped bratwurst. This is because grilling, aside from providing men with a legitimate excuse to drink beer and play with fire, is actually a sign of romance and affection dating back to the discovery of fire itself.

We know this thanks to recently discovered cave paintings depicting what archeologists believe is a romantic meal prepared by a Neanderthal named Glork soon after the discovery of fire. According to archeologists, the sequence goes like this:

Painting one: Glork makes a small fire using a careful mixture of embers, dry leaves, and an assortment of twigs. He then douses it with liberal amounts of highly flammable liquid, creating a massive fireball that scorches the roof of his cave.

Painting two: Glork adds a marinated pterodactyl drumstick to the fire and begins drinking an unidentified beverage.

Paintings three through six: Glork continues drinking a lot more of his unidentified beverage.

Painting seven: Attempting to capture the attention of an attractive cavewoman, Glork uses the flaps of his animal skin to fan the aroma of dinner in her direction. In the process, he inadvertently exposes himself, leading to the creation of what archeologists believe is the very first “Kiss the Chef” apron. Continue reading

When it comes to looking ahead, look no further than your behind

image You should be aware that the idea of promoting an important issue through a week of “National Awareness” has gotten… How can I put this tactfully..?

Really stupid.

There was a time when, in order to command the attention of our entire country for a whole week, you actually needed to have an issue that was important. It needed to be something that could save lives, improve society or, at the very least, boost the sale of Hallmark cards.

But not anymore.

I say this because, as you may or may not know, we’re in the middle of “National Psychic Week.” (For those of you who did not know this, I’m sorry — but there’s a good chance you are not psychic.) According to one website, the purpose of each week-long focus is to: “dispel skepticism [of psychics] through factual awareness.

Thanks to an article that appeared in the Eugene Register-Guard, I have a better understanding of how it might take an entire week to dispel all that skepticism — especially after reading about Ulf Buck, a blind psychic from Meldorf, Germany, who claims he can read people’s futures by feeling their naked buttocks. Continue reading

True happiness began 7 years ago for me, when she became my wife

imageI remember standing at the altar, watching as she crossed the courtyard toward the church. I remember smiling so much my cheeks hurt; I remember the pride and appreciation I felt knowing I was about to be her husband; and I remember a momentary breeze lifting a stray strand of hair away from her face, like God’s finger gently brushing it aside as she entered the chapel. As with any rare occasion when we don’t enter a room together, our eyes found each other immediately. So much was said to each other during that long walk to the altar. Not in words, but spoken between our two hearts — in a language we had been fluent in from the moment we met…

Seven years ago today, I became the man I was meant to be by marrying the woman I was meant to be with. The moments we have shared since then are more than memories — they are carried within each pulse that beats from my heart; like a constant and steady flow of warmth and wonderment inspired by her presence. We came into each other’s lives as parts of a fractured whole, survivors with scraped knuckles from time spent trying to repair broken marriages with parts from ourselves. Perhaps because of this it was easier to recognize one another when our hearts met for the first time. And perhaps because of our past experiences we were able to appreciate even more the rarity of what we felt. Continue reading

Turning 49 doesn’t matter much when you don’t act your age anyway

image Last night, a good friend suddenly and without warning offered a pre-emptive toast to my turning 49 next week. I call him a “good” friend because, until as recently as last night, I considered him a “great” friend. But I honestly can’t remember his name now.

Haha! Just kidding!

We were actually never very close.

Ok, in all seriousness, until his good-natured ribbing about turning 49 (I still can’t stop laughing!), I hadn’t given it much thought. That’s because I don’t really think about myself relative to age.

Relative to the nearest strip of bacon, coffee shop and my wife, sure.

But age?

Not really. Continue reading