Tag Archives: humor

12 Kids’ Book Characters Who Are Not To Be Trusted (NickMom)

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NickMom — Yeah, don’t act like you haven’t thought about it.

The full version over at NickMom.

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I Make My Junior High Band Debut at Age 39

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This thing is harder than it looks, man.

Island Packet — I don’t want to make a big deal of this, but I performed at my first-ever junior high band concert last week. Stage and spotlight and my mom in the audience taking pictures and everything. It was a pretty big milestone, especially since it was a concert for fifth-graders and I’m actually 39 years old.

See, I never participated in band in junior high or high school for one very simple reason: I didn’t have to. (To be fair, I also possess the approximate musical talent of a sack full of jelly donuts, but it was mostly that first one.) I wasn’t just going to go “joining the band,” man, I had important demands on my time, such as getting really into pro wrestling for three years, learning to beat Super Mario Bros. 3 using only muscle memory and thinking very hard about maybe possibly one day asking a girl out. Band for me was not mandatory. Band at my son’s school is mandatory.

That’s pretty great, of course. Schools across the country are slicing away everything from band to PE to art to textbooks with evolution and climate change in them, so we’re incredibly lucky to have the 10-year-old enrolled in a place that not only prizes music education but also punches you in the face with it.

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Photography Turns My Generally Pleasant Son Into a Sobbing Red-Faced Mess

This is actually a pretty good one.

This is actually a pretty good one.

Island Packet — My younger son, 3, is a delightful little potato of a child. Where his older brother was cautious, he’s unguarded and impulsive. Where his older brother was quiet and thoughtful, he’s boisterous and shouty. Where his brother can subsist for weeks on Clif bars, microwaved bacon and blue Gatorade, he’ll shovel down three slices of pizza in one sitting and then, upon being put to bed, report with precious sincerity, “I need to eat a Pop-Tart.”

He’s a physical, external, gregarious little Weeble person, except in pictures. In pictures he’s a sobbing red-faced mess who, according to the photographic record I’m establishing anyway, lives the approximate life of a Dickens sweatshop orphan, only without all the whistling and hope.

I cannot figure out why this is, if for no other reason than the sheer volume of pictures that exist of him. I take a lot of pictures. A lot of pictures. Whenever the Apple people upgrade their iCloud storage, they check with me first. There are a couple of buildings on the Google campus named after me. This guy from Life magazine called once to be like, “Dude, is everything OK?” It’s a lot of pictures, is what I’m saying.

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The Secret Fast-Food Menu Items OF THE DAMNED (GQ)

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GQ — As if we needed further evidence that the whole secret menu craze at fast-food restaurants has jumped the shark, yesterday a latte enthusiast named William E. Lewis Jr. ordered himself a very much off-the-menu XXXXL cup of coffee including 101 shots of espresso and 17 pumps of vanilla syrup.

What’s next? We got to guessing. Below, the eight next secret-menu items we expect to see:

Burger King: America Burger. It’s just a regular burger, but every time you take a bite an air horn goes off and the chorus of “Rock You Like a Hurricane” starts playing.

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Read the full list here.

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Attention, Teachers: If My Son Seems Tired Tomorrow, It’s Probably Because of Pearl Jam

pearl-jam-jeff-vrabel-eddie-vedderIsland Packet — Soooo everyone here would take their 10-year-olds to a Wednesday night rock concert in a far-away city, right? That’s an acceptable parenting decision? Because I kinda sorta did this, and the response so far seems to be evenly split between “He’ll remember it his whole life” and “You are a negligent monster and we’re kicking you off the PTO.”

I agree with them both, because I started out the night with a fifth-grader whom I wanted to expose to new experiences, but left the show carrying my sleepy baby because he fell stone-cold asleep in an arena chair.

There I was last night with my son at a Pearl Jam concert, a good two hours away from his night-night books, bed and the school he was required to attend at 7:40 a.m. the next morning. And there he was, sound asleep, curled up in the chair like a precious little angel, albeit one surrounded by guys carrying 60-ounce beers and shout-singing lyrics from college. Given the chance, the kid will tuck himself into bed under a bundle of blankets and stuffed bears and read Percy Jackson books until 11:30 each night, but take him to a concert and it’s “Ohhh I’m sleepy at 9:30, did you bring a pillow?”

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Fish Are Expendable As Pets, There, I Said It

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This was easier to find on Google than you think.

GateHouse — First, a confession: I murdered about eight fish this summer.

It wasn’t my fault, and by that I mean it was entirely my fault. The tale is long and tragic, but the short version is that when you’re driving a moving truck, it’s best to not leave Tupperware containers full of goldfish on the floor of the cab, because that floor gets hot. And that makes the water hot. And that makes the fish hot, and dead, mostly dead. If there was a bright side, though, the cab smelled delicious. (And if it makes you feel better, the frogs survived, right up until I transferred them into my new fish tank and they immediately perished, presumably from comfort.)

Second confession: I don’t have much experience with taking pets for operations. I’ve only done that once in my life, and it was with a dog, and it was less an “operation” and more “the last walk she ever went on, if you’re catching my drift.” But I do know this: Cutty’s non-operation would have been expensive, prohibitively so, and as much as we loved her, and as cold as it sounds, it wasn’t feasible. And that was for a dog, an animal that can interact with you, slobber on you, provide “unconditional love and companionship” or whatever for you. I can’t imagine what our financial cutoff would have been for a fish. Wait, yes I can. It’s zero.

Because fish, let’s be honest, are expendable. There, I said it. I realize I’m inviting volumes of hate mail from the nation’s lively lobby of fish fans, but I’m not too worried. Their influence lately has been… scaled back. I pretty much think they’re… fin-ished. Do you see what we just did there, how veered from an emotional moment about euthanizing the dog of my childhood to idiotic fish puns? We’re all about versatility today.

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The Day They Let the Fifth-Graders Work From Home

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This is basically what it looked like, except with slightly less unhinged stock-photo joy.

Island Packet — I am lucky enough to work from home, which is pretty great. I don’t have a commute, or problems with the printer, or cubicle-mates. My wardrobe is usually somewhere between “daily jeans Friday” and “Jimmy Buffett concert.” I work on porches and eat a lot of waffles on the clock. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t had a lot of jobs where waffle consumption has been this acceptable. Pretty much just this one and that one summer I robbed a Waffle House.

But working from home works because I’m 39. I can segment my time, establish a block here for working, a block there for lunch, 10 minutes here to change the laundry, 10 minutes to run to the coffee shop. I can do that because I’m old. I’d have been terrible at it in fifth grade.

I bring this up because my 10-year-old was home on Tuesday for what is known in his school as an “E-Day.” You might think the “E” stands for something critical, something so extraordinary as to warrant parents taking the day off. Like “Evacuate the school!” or “Excused! You’re excused because you’re sick.” But no. The “E” stands for “electronics,” and it’s a day — a mere two weeks into the school year — when kids are supposed to stay home and learn.

There are going to be three more of these things too.

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In Which I Try To Convince a Grown Woman That You Shouldn’t Eat Babies

A-Calm-Reasoned-Argument-For-and-Against-Eating-Your-Cute-Fat-Baby-by-Kim-Bongiorno-and-Jeff-Vrabel Let Me Start By Saying — This week, over at the great Let Me Start By Saying, I make a thoughtful, reasoned argument for why you shouldn’t eat babies. I feel this is a pretty logical point, but there appears to be some pushback. Read the entire debate here to find out exactly how I lose.   . .


I Really Need These Lego Robots to Stop Blackmailing Me

Why can't you all just be nicer, like this guy?

Why can’t you all just be nicer, like this guy?

Island Packet — If it wasn’t for all the blackmail, sign-ups for this Lego Robotics team would be going pretty well.

It’s not a problem with Legos (which my 10-year-old and I love) or extracurricular activities (which are good) or robots (which are mostly good, with the obvious exceptions of Siri, the Matrix, Mechagodzilla and those little red ones that claim to vacuum your house but are hopelessly baffled by stairs). No, it’s a problem with humans, and the pressures they create. Because my son’s Lego Robotics team currently lacks one key component: a coach. And I’ve been warned that without a coach the team will be canceled, deleted, become as hopeless as a Roomba trying to reach a second floor.

This, of course, is bad. Obviously I don’t want my son to miss out on extracurricular Lego camp, for two reasons: 1. His is a mechanical, engineering-oriented brain that would benefit from such imaginative exploration, and 2. It represents several weekly 90-minute blocks that he’d be out of the house, and thus not asking me endless questions about dragons while I’m working.

But — and there’s really no way around this — I can’t coach a Lego team. There, I said it. Yet the emails about my son’s team needing a coach have gone from gently encouraging to increasingly insistent to essentially bulletins from a shattered dystopian future where there are no Lego Robotics teams, or, if I’m reading this right, human joy. “If we are unable to find a parent coach THESE TEAMS WILL BE DISBANDED and refunds will be issued,” reads a typical email.

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My 10-Year-Old Is Enjoying the Ice Bucket Challenge Far Too Much

 

Pictured: Me taking the Ice Bucket Challenge last week.

Pictured: Me taking the Ice Bucket Challenge last week.

Island Packet — There is no joy on Earth so powerful, no happiness so unchained, as that seen in the eyes of a 10-year-old who has just learned he gets to dump a large bucket of ice water on his father’s head.

You should have seen this kid’s smile, his maniacal, delirious, 75 percent unsettling smile. I think he’s still got it; he’s upstairs asleep with it. Sci-fi evildoers from the ’70s smiled like this, but they also had villainous goatees so it looked kind of natural. I’ve special-ordered this little punk Lego trains two days before Christmas and didn’t get half the wild-eyed glee I got by saying the words, “Hey, remember those ice bucket videos we were watching? Sophie and Eva’s dad just challenged me.”

His eyes, wide. His hands, shaking. His brain, whirring and whizzing with possibility. “This sounds like fun! Can we do it now?”

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