Tag Archives: humor

Exactly What Is This Viscous Black Substance Pouring Forth from the Carpet Cleaner


This is more or less what emerged from our carpet cleaner. Otter included.

GateHouse — Never rent a carpet cleaner.


Never rent a carpet cleaner.

Just don’t. Realize that carpets, by their filthy fibrous natures, will always contain some considerable amount of playground dirt and cosmic dust and standard-issue housefunk and dog hair and old food and and that’s just how it is, and you should be OK with it. Maybe it, you know, boosts immunity or something.

We rented a carpet cleaner this weekend. Related: We live like farm animals. Related: That’s not true. Farm animals would not let their living spaces get like this; at some point a rooster or something would be like, “Guys, seriously. Also, cock-a-doodle-doo!”

Oh sure, there is a hygiene upgrade and general peace of mind that comes with the post-clean knowledge that your carpets are so sterling you could eat off them (so long as you didn’t mind fibers in your steak or the occasional ball of fuzz in your soup). Sure, it’s nice to have a clean house. We have two kids in ours, so this last part has gone from being an occasional delight to something we remember from a time we’ve come to know as “The Restaurant Years.”

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My 9-Year-Old’s ‘Star Trek’ Obsession Obviously Must Be Crushed Immediately

My interest in “Star Trek” directly corresponds to the amount of times Spock reads the brain of a whale

Island Packet — My dad and 9-year-old are downstairs right now watching the first of the new “Star Trek” movies, the one that came out in 2009 and is cleverly titled “Star Trek.” I’m making that point because it’s going to get hairy with the titles here in a minute.

We watched the second of the new “Star Trek” movies, “Into Darkness,” last night. That’s the one that was released this spring and contains Evil and Pale British Khan, and at the end they eradicate 85 percent of San Francisco and — you’d think a bigger deal would be made of this — stumble upon a way to CURE HUMAN DEATH, yet neither development really causes any of the characters to look up from their phones much.

But there’s a separate issue developing. My son becomes obsessed with detail, the sort of detail that eludes the casual viewer, and by “eludes” I mean “bores the pants off of.” He’s been known to spend the better part of a road trip expounding on the stylistic differences of various years of Honda Odyssey minivans, because I have the only budding car kid in town who is less into speed and danger than he is fiscal sensibility and good Consumer Reports ratings.


That Time My 2-Year-Old Found Out We Didn’t Throw Him a Birthday Party


Island Packet — The little giant turned 2 last month, and we celebrated the occasion by doing quite a lot of nothing.

It wasn’t technically nothing. We made cupcakes and sang, had a tiny party in the house with my oldest friend Alex, who sings “Happy Birthday” like a pro and made the rest of us look bad. We went on a sunset dolphin cruise, because there are few activities more enjoyable than chasing a 2-year-old around a moving sea vessel in the dark. We opened a bunch of presents from out-of-town relatives, then made a note to send them all thank-you cards — HAHAHAHA, just kidding, never happened, but thanks guys, for real.

(The boy, for his part, marked the morning by spraying his blanket, crib sheets, crib bumpers, wall and floor with a festive spray of throw-up, which, now that I think of it, may have been a result of the cupcakes. He felt fine for the rest of his day, but it’s hard to be enthusiastic about someone’s birthday when they smell so terrible.)


Toddler iPad Addiction Is Real, And The Evidence Is Currently Screaming In My Lap


Pictured: Not my toddler, but this game is all I hear in the house anymore.

Island Packet — The Internet is chock plumb full of awful parenting advice, blank scare tactics and a bunch of stuff that people just make up (like there’s really a guy named “Benedict Cumberbatch”), but now and again it hits on something: It was on the Internet that I first read of “iPad addiction,” a new addition to the ever-turning Carousel of Things to Fear Regarding Your Toddler. (Since I live in the Lowcountry, I’m still keeping my No. 1 as “snakes and spiders,” and yes I realize those are two things but I’m convinced they are in cahoots.)

The cause of iPad addiction is simple: Parents in need of a few sweet moments of work or dishes or not-playing-robots time grant the child a brief electronic distraction. But the effect is simpler: Before long the child gets really super crazypants attached to the device, and when you try to eventually take it away for something imprudent like “a bath” or “eating,” the child contorts his face into a demonic visage of rage and shrieks murderously, for like a half an hour, in your face, even during a bath.

Or at least that’s what my son does.


Monopoly Isn’t Getting Rid Of Jail, But I Will Still Crush You At It



GateHouse — First of all, the good news is that Monopoly is NOT getting rid of jail. JAIL IS SAFE, EVERYONE. Well it’s not safe, because it’s still jail, and I’ve heard enough about “Orange Is The New Black” to know what I’m talking about, but you get the point.

This is a big deal because last week there was concern when The Internet, which is the thing you read when you sort of want news but mostly want to know about “14 Things That Happened When A Waffle House Opened In The Braves’ Stadium,” reported that a new version of the venerable board game was doing away with jail.

That’s right: NO MORE JAIL! Why, the very thought of it was enough to send the Internet’s army of unpaid clones into a tizzy about the injustice of a world that allowed modified board games, an injustice that was so fierce and disturbing that it left little energy for fact-checking, which would have saved loads of time since the story turned out not to be true. I KNOW, you’re saying, The Internet usually doesn’t get things wrong, unless it’s Boston bombing facts or the name or the occasional school gunman, but it’s straight-up all over this “32 Signs You’re A Weasley” thing.

Let me back up a little: For you youngsters reading the paper (HA!), this “Monopoly” is a Precambrian “board game” once played by children before the invention of a video game you played by hopping around your living room like a lunatic, and it basically made family-friendly sport out of basic economics. That’s probably why fewer people are playing it now, because most modern parents can’t hand over even fictional cash to theoretical utilities without bursting into tears.



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7 Things All Parents Can Agree Are Completely Awful (NickMom)


The full version over at NickMom.




Why I’m Not Powering Down My Toddler’s Approved Electronic Device

This man is all that stands between my 2-year-old and a deeply unpleasant 20-minute landing process.

This man is all that stands between my 2-year-old and a deeply unpleasant 20-minute landing process.

Island Packet — You’ve no doubt been in awkward situations before; you may have had to endure uncomfortable meetings or entrances or appearances. But there’s nothing that tops the stabbing looks you get when you stroll onto a plane carrying a squirming, lip-quivering and visibly mucus-covered 2-year-old.

Due to my wife’s lively work schedule, and the fact that she’s far too smart to actually board a plane with a tempestuous toddler, I recently flew to Chicago with the baby and, for one leg, his 9-year-old brother. I did this both to hit up a family reunion and because of my love of extreme inconvenience. I did this because when I booked the flight the younger one was still of “lap-baby” proportions. When I booked the flight he was an infant; when I boarded the plane, he was a giant moody red-haired potato.

This was supposed to be so easy.

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What A Weekend Without The Kids Is Really Like

Well for starters, here's something I didn't once think about.

Well for starters, here’s something I didn’t once think about.

Island Packet — Since this is a parenting column, I thought I’d write about something unusual that happened last week regarding my children:

They left for four days.

Everybody left, my wife too. They all flew to visit family in upstate New York, a trip I skipped because of work and because, at some point, I was presented with an option to avoid a round-trip one-connection flight with a 2-year-old. I love that little shriek machine to death, but come on. I’ll spare you the details of trying to change a loaded diaper in the sprawling comfort of an airline lavatory, but let me put it this way: Have you ever had to put on a full suit of chain mail in a phone booth? Because that’s a three-month summer vacation to Tahiti compared with changing a diaper in an airline lavatory.

The balance of this column may put off anyone with an aversion to being apart from their kids for more than short spells at a time; it may also burn feverish jealousy in those who don’t. So let’s get out of the way that, of course, I missed them and of course I was happy to have them home. But that interim period, those four days of not-Temple Run and not-daily dishes and not-cleaning up flying globs of peanut butter … well, it wasn’t the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.


When You See A Shark Someplace Like This, There Is Only One Explanation: Sharknado

trail shark

Despite what Jimmy Buffett tells you, sharks cannot swim on land.

GateHouse — Little do you all know it, but two years ago I came across the very aftermath of a sharknado.

At the time, I considered it no great shakes. I live on a resort island in South Carolina, a sleepy, mild-mannered community filled with retired people, golfers and retired golfers, as well as a great deal of Darius Rucker fans, shrimp experts and people who I really do not need to ask about their thoughts on this Zimmerman thing.

So my sharknado episode came and went and I paid it little mind. Because, I figured, if a sharknado could happen here on this isolated, tucked-away spot filled with birdies and senior discounts and sort-of country music fans, it can’t be that novel, can it? If verified photographic evidence of a legit sharknado happening here on our shores was real, wouldn’t someone from the newspaper have at least tweeted me about it?

Today, of course, sharknadoes are big deals that everyone gets all worked up about, because of some basic cable movie starring, if I’m reading this correctly, a rehab clinic filled with actors who you would have heard of in 1995 if you only watched movies while drunk or trying to sleep on the floor at 5:30 a.m. It also occurs to me that I’m not sure if it should be “sharknados” or “sharknadoes,” so if someone could pitch in on the grammar for me I’d appreciate it.

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“Mr. Vrabel? First Of All, Your Son Is Fine…” #ridiculousinjuries #boars


This story will eventually involve a rubber ducky.

Island Packet — The phone buzzed, and it was the school’s number. “Mr. Vrabel?” said the slightly too-calm voice on the other end. “First of all, your son is fine …”

Now, there are multiple thoughts that fireball through your brain whenever someone in a position of authority says “Your son is fine,” and the first one is almost always “AAAAAAAUGH HE’S OBVIOUSLY BEEN CARRIED OFF INTO THE WOODS BY A MANIC WILD BOAR,” which is odd, because I actually don’t think wild boars do that, or even get manic.

But whenever the phone rings and those are the first words you hear, it almost always means that someone is bleeding and that person is probably related to you. It’s gratifying, of course, to hear that everyone’s OK, but though the “logic hemisphere” tells you that the outcome is decided and the danger has passed, the “illogical storytelling chaos hemisphere” likes to sprint through the many colorful scenarios that could end in that sentence — most of which, if you’re me, involve dinosaur attacks.



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