Motherly insights include how to control children with a jalapeño

image This year perhaps more than any other, my wife deserves something special for Mother’s Day. That’s because in spite of our youngest daughter’s many pre-pubescent mood swings, my wife has somehow managed to avoid what I’m sure has been a strong (some might even say natural) urge to eat her young. This hasn’t been easy. As I mentioned, our daughter is experiencing the physical and emotional challenges that accompany adolescence. One minute she is merrily talking about her favorite kind of cheese; the next minute, she is blaming cheese for ruining her life. As a father, my instinct is to fix the problem by addressing the root of the issue by going directly to the refrigerator and throwing out everything that is — or has the potential of becoming — a cheese-like substance.

My wife, on the other hand, understands there are complex emotional issues at work, and that, in spite of my good intentions, the likelihood of me being able to resolve such issues is akin to having a bomb successfully de-activated by a goat. Thanks to her motherly intuition, my wife was able to explain to me that what our daughter says, and what she really means, are two completely different things. Continue reading

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

imageYou 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.” What? You didn’t know? Don’t worry! There’s actually another one in August. That’s the good news. The bad news is that 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

Full-contact bowling could get more men to yell at their TVs

(Around here, Sundays are for more than just sleeping in — and my kids make sure of that. It’s also the day I reach way, wayyyy back into the archives, arching my back like an Olympic gymnast in order to retrieve a post from a time when my total followers matched the number of people in my immediate family. On an unrelated note, I could use the name of a good chiropractor…)

Full-contact bowling could add a whole new meaning to the agony of defeat.

Full-contact bowling could add a whole new meaning to the agony of defeat.

Like millions of other red-blooded, unathletic men across America, I will spend a good portion of New Year’s Day sitting on the couch, eating handfuls of assorted snack foods, and whining every time a player from my team makes even the teeniest mistake.

It doesn’t matter that these men are performing feats of athletic skill I can only achieve in my dreams (after which I usually wake up with a pulled groin muscle.) And it doesn’t matter that each of these men possesses more muscle mass than my entire body weight plus a mid-sized SUV. Continue reading

It’s time to separate Thanksgiving fact from fiction with the help of Mr. Knowitall

image It’s been 389 years since that first Thanksgiving, when the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians sat down together in celebration and, much like the Americans of today, made a solemn vow not to eat more than your standard bull elk.

We know this because of a passage recently discovered in the diary of Pilgrim Edward Winslow, who described the first Thanksgiving like this:

Our harvest be large so that we might rejoice! Our plates and bellies be full to swelling! We have feasted on meats and gathered crops, and pies of sweet fruit!
Aye, I say! I think it be time to vomit!

— Edward Winslow, Dec. 13, 1621

In spite of this kind of irrefutable historic documentation, many myths still exist about one of our most celebrated holidays. For example: Did anyone actually eat the Indian corn, or was it just used as a decoration? Continue reading

So you’re cooking your first Thanksgiving turkey! Don’t lose your giblets

(If you’re reading this and still haven’t begun defrosting your Thanksgiving turkey, stop RIGHT NOW and place your bird in the shower, where it can be defrosted and monitored properly, as well as cleansed regularly, between now and Nov. 28. This is just one exciting example of the kind of tips you can expect from this week’s edition of Flashback Sunday! Now, please wash your hands…)

Don’t let your first Thanksgiving turkey become memorable for the wrong reasons.

The countdown has begun. Soon, thousands of newlyweds will be in the kitchen preparing their very first Thanksgiving turkey. As a service to readers, I felt a responsibility to help educate people about foodborne illness by offering a special holiday feature that I’d like to call:

Don’t lose your giblets this Thanksgiving.

Being a writer, I’ve naturally spent a good portion of my career working in the food service industry. And like most writers, it was there that I was able practice my craft and eventually acquire something that ALL good writers must have: A Food Handler’s Card.

Because of this, I can stand before you as someone highly qualified to talk turkey.

So let us begin. Continue reading

Your decomposing pumpkin could threaten mankind

(It’s time for this week’s Flashback Sunday! That special day each week when I wait until no one is looking, then dig into the archives for a while before pulling out something very few have seen. Wait! I know how that sounds and I apologize! I also promise I washed my hands before posting this…)

This weekend, watch for falling pumpkins.

I left the house this morning and made an important realization: What I had assumed was a fleece-lined, bright orange sweatshirt laying crumpled on the front steps was actually NOT a garment at all.

It was our jack-o-lantern.

This realization was made while attempting to pick it up. Though my intention was to give my children a stern lecture on taking care of their clothing, I decided instead to scream uncontrollably after grabbing a handful of pumpkin mucus. Somehow, our pumpkin’s aging process had accelerated, causing it to collapse in on itself and sprout white fur — literally — overnight.

This isn’t an isolated incident. Anyone who hasn’t disposed of their jack-o-lantern by now has witnessed this process, which we can all agree defies the natural laws of physics. One morning, your pumpkin’s face is triangle-eyed and gap-toothed as normal. The next morning, it is Buddy Hackett. Continue reading