Thursday, February 16, 2012

“Get Thee To a Nunnery!”: How I Will Reasonably, Rationally, and Maturely Comport Myself With Dignity and Grace When My Daughters Start Dating

Is there some sort of best-selling book I’ve never read that teaches people how scare the living heck out of new fathers everywhere?  Have I consistently glossed over 101 Fun Ways to Make Young Dads Wet Themselves while perusing the shelves at Barnes & Noble?  Or is there some sort of evolutionary advantage to keeping a man in such a state of constant fear that he starts to think, “You know? Maybe the Dursleys were on to something, keeping Harry Potter locked under those stairs.”?  I only ask because, for the first three-plus years of my twin daughters’ lives, total strangers have seem to find a sadistic joy in joking about that which terrifies me most of all:  “Oh, they’re adorable!  Wait until they’re teenagers.  You’re in trouble.  What are you going to do when they start dating?

Trying to laugh it off, my usual, only half-joking response is “Well, they’re going to be 25 and living on their own when that happens.  So, I don’t think I’m going to be able to do much about it.”  In contrast, my typical thoughts are THEY ARE BABIES!!!  MY LITTLE ANGELS!!!  WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME?!!  DO YOU LIKE SEEING ME TREMBLE WITH FEAR?!!  IS THERE SOMETHING ENJOYABLE IN WATCHING A GROWN MAN CRY?!!   ARE YOU CURIOUS ABOUT WHAT I WOULD LOOK LIKE BALD?!!  I’M PRETTY SURE IT WOULDN’T BE A GOOD LOOK FOR ME!! SO, WHY?! WHY?! WHY?!

I’m absolutely certain this will be the first of many posts I will write about how raising daughters is easily the most terrifying experience of my life, with the possible exception of being dragged to that Nickelback concert.  THE HORROR.  THE HOR-ROR.  Truthfully, I’ve been afraid long before they were born, from the very moment my future ex-wife and I found out we were having girls.  Since that time, I’ve been secretly dreaming they would come home one day and tell me they are lesbians.  Is this sexist?  Absolutely, and I don’t care one little bit.  I have fairly extensive experience with guys, being one myself.  I wouldn’t want my daughters to come within 30 feet of me as a teenager…AND I WAS A GOOD ONE.  I will spare you the bone-chilling stories I could tell you about the bad ones.  It keeps me up at night thinking about them bringing home some teenaged d-bag who rides a moped and smokes clove cigarettes or someone even worse, like a brooding, sparkly vampire or a member of Nickelback.  THE HOR-RORRRRR.

Heeeeere's Daddy!
But I have to admit:  This fear of mine?  It makes me act a little crazy at times.  Not long after my daughters turned two, I took them to a playground we frequented regularly.  A little boy, maybe 3-years-old, walked up to one of my daughters and handed her a purple bunny eraser.   I swear that is the dirtiest look I’ve ever given a three-year-old in my life.  “Aww, that’s so nice.,” I said to my daughter, “Say ‘Thank you,’ honey.”  Then, to the boy, “Okay, now why don’t you go find your parents?”

And keep your stinking erasers to yourself, you little punk!  Yeah, you, in your adorable, baby blue “Mommy’s Little Man” t-shirt.  You may have fooled everyone else here, but not me.  I’m onto your little game.  First, it’s the eraser.  Then, you’ll be sharing a juice box.  Next thing you know, you’ll be giving her rides on the back of your tricycle.  Yeah, I’ve got you on my radar, “Little Man,” and my missiles are locked and loaded.  So, I suggest you change course before this shit gets real.

Part of me even wants to go all Tyler Durden on these boys: The First Rule of Dating My Daughters is YOU DO NOT DATE MY DAUGHTERS!!!  The Second Rule of Dating My Daughters is YOU DO NOT...DATE...MY DAUGHTERS!!!

Still, one of the few advantages of this particular brand of crazy is creatively imagining new ways to impart my fears ten-fold onto the young men my girls will one day date or to ensure that my girls never meet these boys altogether.  Discussing all of these ideas right now would make this post entirely too long, so I will share just a few at this time, and save the rest for later.  After all, my girls are three-years-old.  I’ve got at least the better part of a decade to create new plans and refine old ones.  Muuuaaaah-ah-ah-ah-ahhhhhh!!!

1. I’m inventing new weapons.  I thought about buying some guns, breaking them out and cleaning them every time a boy comes to pick one of my girls up for a date.  However, I thought that might be kind of trite, sort of your average, everyday crazy.  Then, I thought, You know? A really sick individual would invent new weapons of torture and show them off with a sense of self-satisfaction when these boys come over.  I’ve come up with a few already.  My personal favorite is the batchete: part baseball bat, part machete.  I figure I can make that sucker about 5 feet long.  Then, I can show it off to my daughter’s “gentleman” caller, brag about how I’ve made the blade extra sharp, and ask him something like “Ain’t she a beaut?” as I beam with pride.  Then, after he nervously agrees, I’ll change my mood abruptly to one of disappointed sadness.  “It’s a shame, though,” I’ll say, “I’ve never really had the opportunity to use it.  I’ve been looking for just the right moment, you know?  Between the sharpness of the blade and the centrifugal force created from swinging such a long weapon, I probably could cut a cow clean in half with this. What do you think?”  I figure that pretty much ensures he’ll keep an empty seat between my daughter and him at the movie theater.

2. I’m considering the nunnery...for them, I mean.  Around the girls’ 12th birthday, I could send them off to a nice, quiet convent, where they can train for the spiritually-uplifting and celibate life of a cloistered nun.  If TV and the movies have taught me anything, they will either (1) marry a rich, Austrian widower who already has seven children of his own; (2) obtain the power to fly; (3) sing in a papally-lauded choir led by a sassy mob informant in hiding; or (4) solve murder mysteries with a priest who looks an awful lot like Mr. Cunningham from Happy Days.  I think any of these outcomes would be rather fulfilling.

3. I’m making it very easy for them to respond to “sexting” requests.  This whole “sexting” phenomenon has frightened me more than anything.  Young girls everywhere are being pressured into sending nude pictures of themselves, foolishly thinking that everyone is doing it and that they can trust their boyfriends not to spread those pictures around.  I think we all know how that story ends.  Fortunately, I think I’ve come up with an easy solution for my girls if they ever find themselves in this predicament.  When it comes time to get my girls cell phones, I am going to give them each one with a preloaded picture of me holding a shotgun aimed at the camera (or maybe I’ll use my beautiful batchete).  Regardless, the pic will be titled, “If a boy ever asks for naked pictures of you, send him this.”

I’ll leave you with that for now, dear reader.  If you have daughters, feel free to use any of these ideas.  If you have sons, keep them the hell away from my daughters.  Have a great day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

THE WEDNESDAY HANGOVER - Post Valentine's Edition

AUTHOR'S NOTE:  This post has been Rated M for Mature by the Blog Association of America (BAA) for Adult Language and Mild Cartoon Violence.

Every Wednesday, I'll post reader-submitted pictures and videos on that week's THE SUNDAY FUNNIES theme. So if you don't laugh, you have no one but yourselves to blame.

That's some spicy chili!! (From Katrina S.)

This made me laugh an unreasonable amount. (From Kathy W.) 
What Valentine's Day in Elementary School is Like.  (From Ian G.)

I have some fellow Walking Dead fans.  (From John T.)
Now, that's love.  (From Danielle E.)
For that special...uhhh... (From Brian K.)

Oh, Barney. So wise beyond your years. (Also from Ian G.)
Still the best Valentine of all time.  (From Matt R.)

And this was just absolutely adorable.  (From Jenny M.)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Four Reasons to Love Valentine's Day (Even If You Hate It)

Rippin' out a hole with my paper heart.
Love is in the air...and it's making people want to puke.

Maybe they don't have anyone with whom they can spend the day.  Maybe they hate a holiday created by card companies.  Maybe they got divorced in June, and their ex-wives are getting remarried Saturday, and while they don't want to get back with their ex-wives and sincerely wish them and their new spouses (who are great) the very best, the whole thing is just kind of making them a little lonely right now...hypothetically speaking, of course.  Regardless of the reason, some people just want to beat Cupid's bare bottom until it's black and blue.

However, I am going to choose to look at the brighter side.  Of course, that isn't saying much:  The grass in Mordor is looking rather green right now (and one does not simply sweet-talk his way into Mordor).  Still, I am going to make the case that you should LOVE Valentine's Day, even if you hate it.  Here are four good reasons why:

1.  It stimulates...the economy.   One of the few things most economists agree on is that consumer spending helps the economy.  Criticize if you will, but people spend on Valentine's Day.  Moreover, it helps local businesses, like florists and restaurants, the most.  No one wants a romantic meal at Chili's, do they?  (My apologies to any guys who are planning to take their significant others to Chili's AND whose significant others have read this.  On the other hand, you were kind of asking for it, weren't you?  Nothing says romance like splitting a plate of fajitas.)  Interestingly, men spend an average of $169 on Valentine's Day gifts for their significant other, whereas women will spend $87, nearly half that amount, on theirs.  Ladies, once we get this "equal pay for equal work" thing straightened out, I expect this to be rectified.

2.  It gives you one day to dwell on things...and move on.  In reality, Valentine's Day is a merciful holiday.  You only have one day to focus on how you are going to die alone and how your carcass will get eaten by your 32 cats, since it's going to be at least three weeks before anyone notices your gone, instead of dwelling on it for an entire season, like from Thanksgiving through the New Year.  If you're upset about not having anyone on Valentine's Day, remember:  You don't have anyone on any other day of the year, either.  Valentine's Day forces you to focus on this fact for just one day and frees you from thinking about it for the next 9 months.

3. It puts people in the mood.  Any legal means of inspiring people to get it on is just fine with me, and no other day makes people feel like greasing the turtle like Valentine's Day.  I know some of you are thinking:  That's great, but I don't have anyone on whom I can get my groove.  You're missing the point.  Your chances have seriously improved today, so get out of those sweatpants, shower, shave, and getcha some!!   But always remember:  Sex is not the answer.  Sex is the question.  "Yes" is the answer.  (Author's note:  These are the moments when I am so happy my daughters cannot read yet.  I'm going to delete this and many other posts the day they can.) 

4. It allows us to have one of the most wonderful days of the year:  February 15th - Half-Priced Valentine's Day Candy Day!!!  All those red, heart-shaped boxes you are resenting today?  Tomorrow, they become glorious vessels of sweet, discounted indulgence.  Enjoy, friends.  While love may get you down, there is still one constant you can always rely on:  Chocolate.  Chocolate will never lie to you.  Chocolate will never break your heart.  Chocolate just says, "Hey sweetheart, go ahead and hide me in the cabinet above the refrigerator.  No one ever looks up there.  And when you need me, I'll be right here waiting for you.  Always."  There's always tomorrow and the cheap, chocolaty treasures it brings.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Hammies - More Delicious Than The Grammys and Just As Meaningless

Today, we find ourselves squeezed between two pop culture events.

Last night, the Grammys were held in Los Angeles, and Adele and Foo Fighters deservedly cleaned up.  Unsurprisingly, Foo Fighters had a great performance, and Dave Groehl had one of the greatest acceptance speeches I've ever heard.  What was surprising was that Taylor Swift also had one of the best performances of the night, introduced and accompanied by the awesome and soon-to-be-huge folk group, The Civil Wars.  Don't get me wrong: I consider her recorded radio hits a bit of a guilty pleasure.  However, when she performed live, I had never heard her put three consecutive notes together which Randy and Paula wouldn't describe as "pitchy."  This performance was wonderful, and she played the banjo to boot!  Well done, Ms. Swift!

Tomorrow, of course, is Valentine's Day, and when I think of Valentine's Day, I think of a romantic dinner at my favorite restaurant featuring delicious pork dishes and fine champagne.  So, today seems like the perfect day to celebrate music, love, and pork with The Hammies, awards for the best love songs of all-time in various CATEGORIES.

LAST DANCE AT A MIDDLE SCHOOL DANCE (if you're in your 30s)


When I See You Smile – Bad English
Heaven – Warrant
Hysteria – Def Leppard
The Flame – Cheap Trick
I’ll Be There For You – Bon Jovi
I Remember You – Skid Row
With or Without You – U2

And the Hammie goes to...



Maps – The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Stolen – Dashboard Confessional
Black – Pearl Jam
Skinny Love – Bon Iver
Secret Garden – Bruce Springsteen
Cryin’ – Roy Orbison

And The Hammie goes to...



Right Here Waiting – Richard Marx
Hey There, Delilah – Plain White Ts
No One – Alicia Keys
You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift
Open Arms – Journey
(Everything I Do) I Do It For You – Bryan Adams
More Than Words – Xtreme
I’ll Be – Edwin McCain

And the Hammie goes to...



Ain’t Too Proud to Beg – The Temptations
What Becomes of the Broken-Hearted – Jimmy Ruffin
No One Sleeps When I’m Awake (Arnioki Sessions Version) – The Sounds
Sideways – Citizen Cope
Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone – Bill Withers
It Must Have Been Love – Roxette
The Last Goodbye – Jeff Buckley
I Want You Back – The Jackson 5
Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper
Stay – Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories
November Rain – Guns N’ Roses
This Year’s Love – David Gray

And the Hammie goes to...



Can't Get Enough of Your Love – Barry White
Son of a Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield
Possession – Sara Maclachlan
Paradise by the Dashboard Light – Meat Loaf
Your Love - The Outfield
No Ordinary Love – Sade
Smooth Operator - Sade
Let's Get It On – Marvin Gaye
Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye
Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
D*** in a Box – The Lonely Island ft. Justin Timberlake (What?)

And the Hammie goes to...



Good Enough – Sarah Maclachlan
I’ll Be There – The Jackson 5
You’ve Got a Friend – Carole King/James Taylor
To Be With You – Mr. Big
Eternal Flame – The Bangles
Alone – Heart
Lovesong – The Cure
Grenade - Bruno Mars
She Will Be Loved – Maroon 5
Against All Odds – Phil Collins

And the Hammie goes to...



Wonderful Tonight – Eric Clapton
You Are So Beautiful – Joe Cocker
Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
Just the Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra
Yellow - Coldplay

And the Hammie goes to...



Just Breathe – Pearl Jam
Falling Slowly – Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
Babylon – David Gray
Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’Connor
I’m Yours – Jason Mraz

And the Hammie goes to...



Unchained Melody – Righteous Brothers
When a Man Loves a Woman – Percy Sledge
Cupid - Sam Cooke
Unforgettable – Nat King Cole
What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
At Last – Etta James
Walk The Line – Johnny Cash
Bus Stop – The Hollies

And the Hammie goes to...



She Bop – Cyndi Lauper
Photograph – Def Leppard
Dancing With Myself – Billy Idol
U and UR Hand - Pink
Blister in the Sun – Violent Femmes
I Touch Myself – The Divinyls
Pump It Up – Elvis Costello

And the Hammie goes to...



God Only Knows – The Beach Boys
Landslide – Fleetwood Mac
Crazy Love – Van Morrison
Jersey Girl – Bruce Springsteen
Bizarre Love Triangle – New Order
Just Like Heaven – The Cure
Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley or Rufus Wainwright (originally performed by John Copeland)
Drops of Jupiter - Train
Such Great Heights – The Postal Service
Everlong – Foo Fighters

And The Hammie goes to: 


The Top 12 are:

12.  White Shade of Pale - Procol Harum
11.  Accidentally in Love - Counting Crows
10.  #41 - Dave Matthews Band
9.  I Was Made to Love Her - Stevie Wonder
8.  To Make You Feel My Love - Billy Joel (originally performed by Billy Joel)
7.  I'll Stand by You - The Pretenders
6.  By Your Side - Sade
5.  Your Song - Elton John
4.  I Can't Make You Love Me - Bonnie Raitt
3.  In Your Eyes - Peter Gabriel
2.  I Will Follow You Into The Dark - Death Cab For Cutie  (which also has the best amateur-made music video I have ever had the pleasure of watching)

And the Hammie goes to:

1.  Anna Begins - Counting Crows