Friday, October 26, 2007

Carrot Topped?

Hey--remember this guy?

I do...Vaguely.

And I used to do stand up.

Actually, every time I think of Carrot Top, I remember that he once won Comedian of the year over this guy:

Of course, the award was announced a week or so after this guy died, so it really doesn't matter. Bill Hicks really didn't give a shit about winning the CoY award. He just didn't want it to go to a hack corporate sellout like Mister Top.


So what's ol' Carrot been up to these days? Well, he's got a semi-permanent gig at the Luxor in Vegas, where apparently all he does is his act and pump iron:

At first, I thought this might have been photoshopped, but it's not.

Steroids, anyone?


Monday, October 22, 2007

Weekend Pictures

Every fall, my church goes to an orchard, where we pick apples, then we bring them back, and using equipment that would make an OSHA inspector blow a gasket, we turn many of them into cider. Then we drop turkeys into vats of 400-degree oil, and consume them as well.

Apparently, sometimes we can take a pass on the second deadly sin if it's a church-approved function.

Some of them apples, however, were put to other use, as my daughter demonstrates:

My son was too quick for me to capture the apple-bobbing. However, I was able to capture this bubble-blowing moment:

When I drag out the ol' photo album for their future boy-or-girl friends, boy are they gonna be pissed.


Friday, October 12, 2007

Musical Interlude

In light of the school shootings in Cleveland, I thought this song would be appropriate:

Sing along, everybody:
The Kingsmen came together in a garage. They could hardly even play.
But they practiced night and day
And pretty soon they got to where they could really play
That song Louie, Louie
So, they saved up all the money from the shows,
Went in to one of them studios
And gave their version of the song Louie, Louie a try

Now, I don't know the words to that song Louie, Louie
And I'm pretty sure the singer for the Kingsmen didn't know ‘em either,
If he did know ‘em he didn't get ‘em right on the record 'cause on the record they sound completely jumbled in his jaws:

"Me think of me girl oh so constantly
Ahmayaaah makaaaah aahh ooohoooh aaaaah"

Well, that last part scared everybody from the PTA to the FBI
You see, the kids had been going kind of crazy lately
And it seemed like nobody could figure out why,
So they decided to form a coalition,
Launch an investigation
You know for the children, they at least had to try
To figure out the words to Louie, Louie

It's the feel good hit of this endless summer
It gets these kids out of control
Singin' along to that star spangled bummer,
Hail, hail rock and roll

You know, Marilyn Manson’s real name is not Marilyn Manson,
He's a skinny public high school Kid from Ohio,
He's not some monster from out of this world.
And like of a lot other skinny long hair public high school kids
He was sick of getting beaten up by the pulling guard all week
Only to go out on the weekend, and watch the quarterback get all the girls

So he formed a band.

He gets a lotta chicks now.

They're weird chicks

But they're chicks.

A few years later a couple of latchkey kids go tragically mad
And everybody's standing around the television store at the mall trying to figure out what went wrong.

This guy says:
You think the life of a kid goin' to high school around here could've gotten so bad?
The other guy goes nah,
It's just the words to one of them goddamn Marilyn Manson songs,
You know which one I'm talkin' about.

It's the feel good hit of this endless summer
It gets these kids out of control
Singin' along to that star spangled bummer,
Hail, hail rock and roll

You know, every ten years or so our country and some other little country,
We start firing all of our newest weapons at each other
For some reason or another, right or wrong,

Like it or not, it does happen, and when it happens
People get shot and when people get shot,
They show it on TV a lot
Every night at six o clock

And you don't even have to be eighteen to see it
You don't even have to be in first grade,

First grade where they teach the kid pride
They tell him he'll need to thrive,
In a world where only the strong will survive,
So he's taught the art of more
To compare to and to keep score
Monday thru Friday while he stares at the floor
'Til Sunday they make him go to school once more
Only this time they make him wear a suit and a tie
And listen to some guy who claims to know Where people go when they die
Tell him that only the meek are gonna inherit the earth
Well shit!
By this time the kid doesn't know what anything is worth
Now brothers and sisters I am only one guy
And I don't even know the words to that song Louie, Louie
But I can tell you right now without batting an eye
That the next time some latchkey kid goes wrong
It ain't gonna be cause that Eminem gets to say the word Fag in his song
Or because anybody gets to say anything in a song.
And I'm not trying to preach to ya either,
I'm just trying to sing to ya too
You know work my way up to San Francisco

Hey kids...
Lets get it on,
Lets get it on


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A Cat by the Tail

Friday we made apple pancakes. The kids had the day off from school--the calendar says it's a superintendent's conference day, but the cynic in me sez the teachers wanted a four day weekend. So I took the days off, too. My son's started to take an interest in cooking, and was helping me. The big treat with pancakes (aside from eating them, of course) is The Flip, which I do sans spatula--just slide it off the far edge of the skillet and let it flop back in the pan. I had a cake already flipped and ready to go in the pan, and was letting him get the hang of flipping. He had done about three successful flips, but wanted to change his grip, so he grabbed the handle too close to the pan, and burned his finger.

It took a second of his screaming before I realized that he wasn't going to set the pan down on the stove (he had taken a step back to get a better angle for his flip), so I grabbed his arm and guided the pan back onto the stove, then took him over to the sink to run water on his finger. The whole time from burn to submerge was less than ten seconds, but there was a definite anger mixed in with the pain. And he was letting his anger run, not letting me help him with his finger, refusing to listen to me, and crying about the pain. So, I told my daughter about the time I burned my finger on molten glass, and how the numbing pain of ice was the only thing that kept the pain of the burn down, and finally, he went to the freezer.

On Saturday, while I was shopping, I got a call from my son. This was the first post-divorce-agreement weekend that EW had the kids. They were downtown. They had missed their bus, and it was going to be an hour before the next one arrived. He wanted me to come and get them and drive them back to her boyfriend's apartment. I told him I was at least fifteen minutes away from them, but I would do it.*

At the apartment, as he was walking towards the door, he started doing a goofy little dance-walk down the sidewalk, and turned to see if I was walking. Unfortunately, as he turned, his foot slipped off the edge of the sidewalk onto a little patch of mud, and he fell, twisting his ankle slightly. Again he screamed in pain and anger. His mom, who was standing right there, went to help him up, but she had a bunch of things in her hands, and needed to clear one of them in order to help him. It wasn't fast enough for his tastes, though, and he yelled "Isn't anyone going to help me?"

A pattern emerges.

As a parent, it's very difficult to know when helping becomes a hindrance. I don't want my kids to be hurt, but it happens. And a lot of life is learning how to deal with that hurt.

Getting hurt teaches us a lesson. It teaches us that the pan is hot. It shows us that we need to watch where we're going. Don't want to get burned? Then put it down carefully before you lose your grip. Don't want to fall? Then keep your eyes on where you're going. Or, if you want to clown, don't be surprised when you fall. Just deal with it, and get back up.

And I have to be strong enough to let him learn these lessons. And to let him know he's strong enough to learn them too.

When I picked up the kids, I told them I wouldn't do this again. If they're with their mom, then she's in charge of getting them from place to place. And another lesson: If you don't want to wait downtown for an hour, make sure you get there before the bus leaves.

The title of this post is a reference to a quote by Mark Twain, who took the gist of this diatribe, and condensed it down into a single sentence:
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.

*There's another EW-related story here, but I'm not getting into that one right now.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Well Done

On Friday night, the Pastor's kids came over to play. They're just about the same age as mine, and they wanted to play and watch cartoons (one of the perks of working for an entertainment conglomerate is that I have a lot of television channels available to me at a very low price), and have dinner.

What's for dinner? Hamburgers! Yaaaay!

Everyone loves hamburgers. Except my daughter, who patiently explains to me every time that she doesn't like hamburgers--she likes cheeseburgers.

And my son? He likes Fredburgers.

What's a Fredburger, you ask? Well, it's a hamburger. With muenster cheese. And lettuce, tomato, and onion. And bread-and-butter pickles. And ketchup. And mustard. And ranch dressing. And Worcestershire sauce.

And napkins. Lots of napkins.

Well, when the other kids see the Fredburger, they have to have one too. Pretty soon everyone's a big sloppy mess (except my daughter, who doesn't like Fredburgers--just plain old cheeseburgers with American cheese and ketchup), so I hose them off (it's a warm enough evening that a blast from the garden hose is still a treat)--including my daughter, who doesn't really need it, but how can I say no?--towell them off, and the bunch sit on the living room floor, munching popcorn and watching a show called Avatar.

A nice night.

Saturday afternoon, I read this. Turns out there's a chance I fed my kids--and the Pastor's kids--poison on Friday night.

Admittedly, it's a small chance--I make sure I cook my food well, and it's only been a very few cases nationwide--but spending the weekend watching for explosive diarrhea kinda puts a cramp on the amount of fun you can have.

Pun intended.

Plus the phone call to the Pastor's wife was a bit embarrassing. She was understanding about it and all, but it's not something I looked forward to making.

And I think again about all the recalls we've seen in the past few years--years? Hell, try months--meat, lettuce, spinach, toys--and then I think about a government run by people who think that government is too big and meddling. About EPA heads who want to limit the scope of their watchdog activities. About the Bureau of Mines administrators who don't follow through when safety issues are ignored by mine owners. About Interior ministers who want to open up more wilderness for exploitation.

And about how this was all sold as a way for us to get more goods and services cheaper.

And I think about how it's almost like knowingly eating tainted hamburgers, because they taste so good. But shortly afterwards, you're going to have to pay for it.

If you'll excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom.