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Archive for the month “June, 2015”


Courthouse Bug

Me: Look at this creepy bug I saw at the courthouse. Can I keep him?

The Wife: EWWWW. No! Keep him there.

Boy Kid: Why was it at the courthouse?

Me: It was paying a parking ticket.

The Wife: You got a parking ticket?

Me: THE BUG. I said the bug was there paying a parking ticket.

Boy Kid: You hafta pay for a ticket to park?

Me: You have to pay a ticket if you park too long.

Boy Kid: Why?

Me: You’re all kind of missing the point. [To the Girl Kid] You wanna see a creepy bug?

Girl Kid: No.

*The Dad of the house slinks away with his phone. Maybe the cats will appreciate his photography.*

The Cats: Feed us.



All over the country, dads in torn “#1 Master-Baster” grilling aprons and knee-high black socks down around their ankles, are crawling through the wreckage of another Father’s Day gone by. Faces stained with barbecue sauce. Knees covered in grass stains from ill-advised touch football games with their kids’ high school friends. Pockets bulging with…Alka-Seltzer, Zantac and pain reliever.

While all you dads collapse into your recliners – look out, Maizy, the half-dead dog! – this is a good time to reflect on those little regrets. Sure, you’re all great guys. There’s a whole day dedicated to you, for crying out loud. Still, you could stand some improvement – and we don’t just mean your waistline (though cutting yourself off at a baker’s dozen Italian sausages wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world).

Having trouble thinking of anything? Here, hold my bag of Doritos and jar of peanut butter and I’ll start:

I’m sorry beer bottles don’t make better croquet wickets.

I’m sorry for my Father’s Day movie pick. On the other hand, the kids are pretty young. And it’s summer. Plenty of time to make up the sleep they missed Sunday night.

I’m sorry for the card I picked out for your dad. I think the fart jokes of 18th century Russian poets are a lot funnier than 21st century fart jokes. Sue me.

I’m sorry I wanted to spend the afternoon reading a book. Forgive me for wanting to expand my mind. And “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue” is, technically, a book.

I’m sorry I called your mom “Dad”.  In my defense…I couldn’t actually remember her name.

I’m sorry dinner took so long. I know it was my idea to grill. I thought you’d like grilled ketchup.

Okay, fine, there were supposed to be burgers to go with the ketchup.

Good news is Maizy loved them.

And she’ll probably recover.

I’m sorry I already spent the gift card. A closet full of gumballs has always been my dream. In hindsight, I probably should have told you before you went to put the coats away.

I’m sorry Father’s Day comes just once a year. There’s only so many empty calories you can pack into one day.

I’m sorry I ate the last Oreo. Wait, no I’m not. It’s my day.

So really the moral of Father’s Day is not to atone for regrets. The moral is:

“Because I’m the dad. That’s why.”

(As long as Mom says it’s okay.)


The first man to eat a pickle
Said, “This cucumber’s rather dill.”
The first man to find a salt mine
Thought the worth of it was nil.
– From the Rankin-Bass “First Easter Rabbit” TV special, though I’d swear I saw it in a Christmas one

People invent a lot of stuff that is demonstrably Earth-shaking: Guns. Automobiles. Chocolate WITH peanut butter.

But there’s a lot of other stuff we use and take for granted every day. Somebody had to invent those things too, even if they are less sexy. Here, then, is a moment for the League of Ordinary Boring Stuff We’d Crap Our Pants if We Didn’t Have


Back when Neanderthals and other early hominds had developed to the point of actually giving a shit about being naked, they’d just throw the skin off the last thing they ate over their bodies and be on their way to killing the next thing. After a while, someone said, “That buffalo hide looks good and all, but it’s literally off the rack – of ribs. We need a little more style.” So, they went to the sewing department in Wal-Mart and pick up needle and thread and invented proper clothes. THEN that someone stuck his nose in again and said, “Okay, I dig the new outfits, but, you know, when I’m out hunting, my hands are full, you know, with the giant club I whack things with. I could really use somewhere to put my ancient-iPod. By which I mean, the stones I beat on other, larger stones to make music.” And, hence, the pocket was born. The invention of pocket billiards was not far behind, but that’s a post for another time.


You know how excited archaeologists get when they find a new pyramid to break into, or unearth a new ancient settlement? Finding old homes and the stuff left in them gives valuable insight into the lives of the people who occupied them. You know why those archaeological finds exist? Those people hadn’t invented the doorknob yet. They piled all their historically and culturally significant crap into their homes and shut the door, only to realize, “Shit. No doorknob. I can’t get back in.” And so, history was assured.


But, of course, once in a while, the historical peoples of history would actually figure out a way into their houses, even without doorknobs – shimmy through a window or something. They’d kick back on their Lazy Ancient Boy recliners and read a book. But then…”Oh, shoot,” they’d say. “I left the monk – one of the few groups who can read and write in this era – who hand-copies books because we haven’t yet invented the printing press – on the second floor of my house. How the hell do I get him down now? I could use a ladder, I guess, but how can I hold the monk in one arm and his motivational bowl of Chex mix in the other? I really do need my hands free.” He’d stew a bit. “That’s the third monk this year. Gotta stop putting stuff up there.”

Up there, of course, sounds like “upstairs”. And the rest is history.


Back in the day – a Tuesday I think – people brushed their teeth with hedgehogs. This worked well enough, considering it involved shoving a live (usually) animal in your mouth twice a day. But the hedgehogs organized, demanded better wages and every other Friday off. People opted to go without brushing, rather than hire a hedgehog. They moved out of dental care and into the electronic gaming arena, along with their patron saint Sonic.

Meanwhile, the whole not-brushing was making people’s knob-vanquished swinging-singles pads into single-forever pads. Living on a steady diet of coffee and onions didn’t help. (The refrigerator light was another mundane, but crucial, development yet to come.) And, so, the toothbrush was needed. No one had one, of course, so somebody invented it.

History happens in fits and starts. So does life.

Also, homemade ice cream.



Okay, so how do I know my kids enjoyed this?


Because, when it was over, they ran around the hotel room singing songs from the show like this:


Mary Poppins on stage rocks. Not because it’s the Julie Andrews movie transplanted to the stage. It’s great because it is its own thing. Trying to recreate the movie would be a mistake. Instead, we get an original show based on famous characters from the P.L. Travers books.

To be sure, they do use some of the movie tunes, like “Chim Chim Cher-ee” and “Jolly Holiday”. But there are a lot of original tunes and characters. The show is bouncy and colorful, but Mary is a bit sterner character more in line with the books. Mr. Banks has more darkness and backstory. Mrs. Banks is way more fleshed out and has a story arc of her own.

I loved it. We had awesome front row, center stage seats at Chanhassen Dinner Theatre in Chanhassen, MN. Year 2 of my family’s now annual tradition of attending a show at this favored place from my own childhood did not disappoint. Well, not entirely. I was a little bummed this guy didn’t talk like in the movie:


But I’ll get over it. Yes, we bought the souvenir parrot-head umbrella. AND the carpet bag purse. AND the charm bracelet, teddy bear and soda cups. All worth it. I’d go again, given the opportunity.

We saw “The Little Mermaid” last year. Now “Mary Poppins”. Can’t wait to see next year’s schedule.

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