Friday, December 19, 2008

Like "Cell" You Will.

I've heard some stories recently about tweens and teens using their mobile phones to participate in some unsavory activities.

This is old news (discussed here way back in June:, so you're probably already aware of what I'm talking about: "sexting"--nude pictures and messages shared via cell phones. Apparently this is a growing trend, becoming more and more commonplace and occurring with an increasingly younger set.

Well, in the above-linked column, Helen Popkin writes:

"...rather than ripping the cell phones from the greasy paws of the young and innocent and declaring Internet Prohibition (yeah, that’d work), probably us grown-ups should try and wrap our heads around an age-old fact that was true when our parents were stupid brats, not to mention us....Once the hormones kick in, kids are going to do stuff we’d rather not think about...
The best we can do is teach every sprog circling adolescence how to use both their cell phones and their bodies responsibly as you would with any other tool, such as a car or a chainsaw. And don’t freak out too much."

So, the solution, she suggests, is in the hands of the parents. I couldn't agree more. That's why this parent, if ever faced with the reality of his son using his cell phone to "sext," will use his hands to, oh, I don't know, maybe rip the cell phone from his greasy paws?

Now, I'm not dumb enough to think that this will suppress his raging hormones for even a moment. As Popkin rightly suggests, he'll find other ways to make a complete ass of himself. And if he's anything like his Dad, he'll do it often. And publicly.

But here's the thing: it's my cell phone. It's not his cell phone. I'm paying for it, so I get to make the rules about its use. Break the rules, lose the privilege. Rule number 1: No T&A. Or D&A. Whatever. It comes equipped with zero genitalia-minutes. Rule number 2: It's a phone, a tool, not a toy. Something I put in your pocket so you can call me if a deranged psycho is trying to harm you or offer you a variable rate mortgage.

Call me naive. I probably am. But my childhood experience taught me that setting and enforcing "for-your-own-good" rules was one of the primary duties of parenting. That, and listening to Barry Manilow. And much to my son's future chagrin...I'm fully prepared to do both.

Oh, BTW--cell phone rule number 3: Use this to cheat in school and it's your ass. Tell me--do parents even consider cheating "cheating" anymore, or is it now seen as some sort of Darwinian imperative? A post for another time...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Black Friday.

I'm writing this several weeks after it happened because I wanted to give myself time to scale back my initial response, which was something like "those people should be shot." I was so shocked (though I probably shouldn't have been) by the story that a chanting mob of Christmas (!) shoppers, in a rush to save 50% on shit they don't need, broke down the doors of a Walmart and trampled a seasonal employee to death that I ranted to my poor (and infinitely forgiving) wife that these people had forfeited their right to live in a civilized world.

Well, time has done its job and I have pulled back from my first reaction. Reluctantly.

But anyone who:
1) had a hand in the chanting and door-busting,
2) touched even a fraction of an inch of the bottom of their foot (probably as close as these "bargain-hunters" get to a soul) to any part of that man, and/or
3) protested when store employees asked them to leave due to the small matter of a man's trampled and broken body, should be as ashamed of themselves as humanly possible.

Yes, that's my Christmas wish. That you members of that mob spend 2009 (and beyond) feeling the most despairing, despondent shame. Aw, you don't have to thank me. I insist! You deserve it! Because, when you put shopping--no matter how spectacular the savings--above the well-being of another human being...well, that's about as shameful as it gets.

Your kind of behavior defines the word "worthless."

Worthless. Just like the flat-screens and iPods and XBoxes and toys and Blu-rays and cell phones and all the other utterly unnecessary crap you despicable cretins killed a man to get.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Pork Group

I was driving down the highway the other day, and as I was passing a truck, I looked over my shoulder to see the most adorable, pink noses snuffling at the vented sides. I actually smiled. Thought to myself "Aww. Pigs're cute, huh?"

'Course, as I passed the truck, I came upon the inevitable. When I pulled up next to the cab, I saw this on its door:

The Pork Group

Now, even though I already knew what these pigs were heading for, this sight hit me for some reason. I don't know what I was thinking, but in that split second after seeing the pink little pig snouts and then the name of their "group," I imagined this:

Pinkerton: "You know, I do believe it's been a long while since we pigs have seen the city."
Percy: "Well, apart from Babe..."
Pinkerton: "Yes. Quite. In any case, I do think it's time for an outing, wouldn't you lot agree?"
Polly: "Are you quite mad? I'm not sure I could drag these teats to the loo, bugger all to the city!"
Pinkerton: "Yes, but we could help you! I'm sure each of the lads would grab a teat or two, whaddya say, boys?"
Percy, Percival, Pete and Hogg: "Aye!"
Pinkerton: "See, Polly? There ya have it. It'll be a swine time! Finally, out and about, hittin' the town! Mothers lock up your comes...uh...The Pork Group!
Percy, Percival, Pete and Hogg: "The Pork Group!"
Polly: "Oh, how clever."
Pinkerton: "Aye, we'll have a ham-tastic time! And, I'll get us the finest transport in the land, with breathing holes and everything! Nothing but the best for The Pork Group!"

...and they had the swinest time, and lived hammily ever after...

Well...I eat bacon. And ham. And whichever part of the pig contributes to the hot dog. But I came home that day asking my wife if she thought it would be possible for us to transition to vegetarianism.

"Well, it wouldn't be that bad," she said. "There's lots of stuff out there. It's just a question of whether you think you'd be able to give up meat."

Um. To be honest, I don't think I would.

Damn you, Pork Group! Why'd you have to be so yummy?

And so weirdly British?

I May Not Be Able To Take It.

Things I need explained to me, please:

Why Twisted Sister’s classic anti-authority anthem “We’re Not Gonna Take It” is being used to hawk birth control. Yeah, that's right. I called it a classic. What're you gonna do about it?

People who walk around with a mobile phone perched upon their ear, like it's some electronic aural sex device whispering sweet nothings 24/7. "Hey, stud...your ear wax is nummy."

Celebrities who think it’s cool to name their kids things like Bronx Mowgli. What's next? “I’m proud to announce that today we welcomed our new baby girl! Mother and Queens Baloo are doing fine."

Why there isn’t a government agency responsible for outlawing names like that. I mean, my God, shouldn’t somebody be watching out for the little Pilot Inspektors and Audio Sciences and Dakota Sierras of the world?

Mothers who shriek along with their pre-teen daughters at screenings of Twilight.

Shrieking fans in general.

My neighbor’s penchant for standing in the middle of our street shooting arrows at a target in his garage while wearing a camouflage jacket and, I dunno, hunting tights?

How my son can be doing so well in kindergarten and yet still be seemingly unable to accept full responsibility for wiping his own ass. Sorry--heinie.

How my wife can call the Evil Dead films "stupid" and then sit for hours in front of a Real Housewives marathon.

How anyone could NOT consider "We're Not Gonna Take It" a classic.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I got your "traditional" marriage right here!

I had no plans today to blog about gay marriage again, but I came across this column in my newspaper.

Full disclosure: I vetted this like McCain vets a Veep. (Oh, snap!)
But hey--what can I say? I'm mavericky that way.

Anyhoo. It appeared in The Kansas City Star, which is just mainstream liberal media elite enough for an irredeemable "socialist" like me to buy into.

Even if it's only half true, I'm pretty sure it torpedoes the traditional marriage argument.

'Course, what do I know? I've recently been informed by several letters to the editor that my carefully considered vote was, in fact, manipulated and engineered by the very same liberal elite media I found this column in.

Anyway--here you go. Take a click at a brief
history of marriage.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Yesterday morning was gorgeous. The picture of autumn--cool, crisp, clean. It was the answer to the question "Why is fall my favorite season?"

Yesterday also happened to answer the question "Is my son deathly afraid of spiders?"

We went on "an Explore"--over the river, through the woods, and up a hill. It was fun, invigorating...and stumble-licious. I think the kid fell down, oh, I'd say about every 45 seconds or so.

I don't know if it was the undergrowth, or his natural 5-year-old clumsiness, or the "cute" google-eyed rubber boots he selected (with my wife's enthusiastic encouragement, of course. Note to"cute"-lovers everywhere: on an Explore, "cute" don't cut it), but the little guy was down every time I turned around.

And, naturally, one such fall brought him face-to-face with a spider. I mean, I think it was a spider. He said it was a spider. But watching the way he panicked, seeing the sheer terror that gripped him and hearing the heart-stopping shriek of fear, my first guess was that he had stumbled upon the Gateway to Hell and had caught an agonizing glimpse of the Prince of Darkness leading the damned in an evil version of, say, Mother May I or 7-Up (which I imagine are pretty much exactly the same as the regular versions).

But, no. It was a spider, he said. A "woods" spider, no less, and as we all know, the "woods" spider is the most vicious, vile creature to ever walk the planet. Or, at least, to ever sit on a leaf and wait for my son's face to show up.

So afraid was he that he couldn't even stand up. He began scrambling sideways along the hill, unable to get his feet under him, screaming and crying and freaking out. Freaking me out, too, if you want the truth. So, about to panic a bit myself (or laugh--I was torn), I grabbed a handful of the back of his coat, hoisted him up into my arms and hugged him close, and while he slowly--very slowly--calmed down, I wondered if arachnophobia is genetic. My sister has it...and frankly I don't much care for the eight-legged freaks either.

So, long story short, instead of taking advantage of the event's character-building potential, I carried my son all the way back down the hill. But, rest assured, I made him earn his ride.

I put him on Spider Watch.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I am not a car guy. At all. So, when my gear shifter's knob thingy came loose and started wobbling, I did nothing. It rattled annoyingly for a couple of years...until I loaned my truck to some friends who were moving furniture.

When the truck was returned, I got in, and people--mine eyes witnessed the most glorious sight, which for some reason I feel compelled to share with you.

Silver snake head, piercing, menacing, red ruby eyes. I don't know why I love this ridiculous thing. But love it I do.

First--it's a snake. My name's Jake. You do the math.
Second--the rattling's gone. I had no idea how much I hated it until it ended.
Third--the rings I wear on my right hand make very cool music on the silver serpent's gleaming head.

Really though, I don't know why I like this thing so much. I just don't. But when my brother and his family visited us in our new home, I took him to the garage to show him my new snake head gear shifter knob before I even took him on a tour of the house.

That says something. Probably something I should keep to myself, but hey--I gotta do what the snake commands.

Thanks, D & M.