"The Muffled Cries For Help From a Daddy of Four Beautiful Little Girls"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Final Clue -- the daBlogi Code (make your guess)

Here's your last clue for the daBlogi Code.

You probably never noticed this before in all of your art history studies, but hidden in this famous painting by whatshisname, is a single letter.

Find it, and you have found the very last clue to...
...the daBlogi Code.

Add it to the letters you found in the previous riddles, puzzles and annoying conundrums, and you may be able to figure out this important message:

__ __ A __ __
T H __
__ __ __ T
D __ __ __

O.K. Here's a big hint: You may remember that the clues for the code originally appeared on the bathroom wall.

Bigger Hint: Here are the letters you should have gotten out of all of the clues: A, W, E, S, E, L, E, V, E, N, O

Once you've uncovered this earth-shatteringly important message, comment with an estimate of how much of your life was wasted trying to figure it out and email me your answer. You've got until December 7 to figure this puppy out before I award a winner with a free book! (I'll give you three or four to choose from.)
Email Scott your guess!

Clean Pet

It's 'Works For Me Wednesday' when bloggers every where are imparting wisdom and genius to strangers everywhere. For a gazillion wonderful ideas, go to Rocksinmydryer. For a lame idea, read below.

So this may not be helpful for everyone.
But if you have a small rodent-like creature (hamster, gerbil, mole, shrew) and you're tired of all that bedding and stuff flying through the wire cage and spreading throughout the house, then here's a gem of an idea:
Put it in an aquarium.

You're smart. You have probably already done this.
(note: do NOT fill the aquarium with water, Mr. Shumway.)

I noticed this is what they're in at the pet stores, so after a few years of vacuuming up pine bedding out of the carpet within a 2-mile radius around our wire cage 12 times a day, we finally bought an aquarium.
Lo and behold, we now only have to vacuum our house once every other month (just kidding).

We DID buy a wire cage-thingie that fits on top of the aquarium so the hamster can have a penthouse, but the bedding still stays down in the aquarium, and it really has made a huge difference in cleanliness.
I did some modifications so the penthouse can be removed more easily by the children, but now we've got it just the way we like it. And the clear glass means we have a better view of the little vermin than ever before.

And the hamster must like it a lot too. She used to break out of the old cage every once in a while, but she hasn't tried to escape this one yet. She must really love living in it. Either that, or she's unable to chew through glass.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What NOT To Say

Evidently, some people thought yesterdays's post was about feminine hygiene projects, even though it was clearly more about time travel. Who would even confuse the two?

Granted, there was a brief mention and a subcontext and it was in the title and what-not, so I apologize to anyone who was affected by yesterday's post. Send me a receipt, and I will gladly refund you the cost of the bleach you had to buy to cleanse your brain from that filth.

So as to avoid the need for any further cerebral sanitizing, I am starting to compile two separate lists:
A) Things to blog about
B) Things NOT to blog about

I've started it. Please feel free to help out with other ideas.

o.k.: Things that embarrass ME

NOT o.k.: Things that embarrass CINDY

I came up with this list on my own, so you see, I DO have some sense in this bald (shaved) little head.

I will also do my best to refrain from blogging about bodily functions and/or secretions. For THAT you have to head over and visit Gayle, but not while eating.

Anything else I need to avoid?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Time Traveling Hygiene Products?

I'm such a science fiction buff. But not in a nerdy way, I tell myself. Myself chooses to believe this.

There are some really huge science-y subjects that impact our lives. Some are almost theological.

Like, is it possible to travel back in time and alter the future? If so, it would be so awesome to travel back in time and plant objects in just the right place to be used who-knows-when in the future.

For example, that time I needed a pen to fill out an ATM deposit envelope...totally would have saved me a trip inside the bank if tomorrow-me had had the forsight to travel back in time to put a pen in my car yesterday so it would be here for today-me.

Or if tomorrow-me could travel back in time to have purchased milk at the store so today-me wouldn't have to.

Stuff like that. Many people would look at the pen-lessness of my car or the milk-lessness of my fridge and fail to see the science-fiction/physics/multi-dimensional aspects with which those scenarious are clearly dripping.

Thanks to a momentary rip in the fabric of the universe, I was able to get a quick peek at just such an incidence in which I think time-travel must have occured.

While Thanksgiving-ing at my parents, my wife determined that she was in need of certain products...on a day when many stores are CLOSED (more importantly on a day when I'm not planning on leaving the couch much less the house).

Fortunately, before I returned from the back room with a tube sock and a belt to tide my wife over, my mother happily announced that someone had left some of the badly-needed product in the past (or from the future? hmmmm) and it was under the sink.

So whichever sister-in-law-of-the-future had returned to save Thanksgiving, my wife and I thank you.

And I returned the favor. If one of you in the future has need of a tube sock, it's now been left there in the past.
You're very welcome...or you will be.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What's So Funny?

Our friend Sharon had planned her memorial service before she died. It was perfect.

Two ministers and her husband spoke, and each of them included humorous little tidbits, because, after all, Sharon was a very funny person. It would have been totally inappropriate to stay too serious at a service to remember her.

At one point, 6-year-old Jenna looked up at me with a confused expression after laughter had rippled through the room with at least 800 in attendance.

"Why are they laughing?" (as in "I don't get the joke" not "I think this is inappropriate.")

"If you were paying attention," I told my fidgety daughter, "you would understand."

"I AM paying attention," she insisted, insulted that I would think otherwise.

So she sat up even straighter and listened even more intently. The minister made a humorous reference to Sharon's temper which drew another round of laughs.

Jenna wasn't laughing.

She just looked up at me and said, "See?"

Yes, Jenna, there are just some things that don't make sense to young minds. But someday you'll experience more and know more and understand more.

...just as there are things that Sharon now understands so well but I haven't even a clue.

But someday...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Caloric Intake

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, regardless of what shape your food pyramid was today.

Aunt Marilyn (or was it Marcia?) told us today that the average person consumes 2900 calories on Thanksgiving.

I just want to tell whichever person it is out that took in 430 calories that I had them covered for the rest.
They should stop there so as not to throw off the numbers.

And in case anyone was wondering, cheese showed up on the buffet line today on the cauliflour (sp?) and in a yummi cheese ball.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

So How 'Bout That Gauge?

Anyone who's up on model trains, please comment on the relative superiority of N-gauge to HO-gauge.

I will not sleep until I have answers.

(It's a lie. I only posted that because of Tim's comment on the previous post. Per my understanding of model trains, "guage" refers to the shininess of the paint, right?)

Origami Wedding Dress in Latvian Rainforest

Perhaps some of you use "statcounter.com" or other such service to analyze traffic at your website or blog.

One feature they have is "keyword analysis" which lets people know which web searches land people at your site. I'm sure this is an important feature for some websites. For me, it's just a novelty. Of course, I know friends are reading my blogs, and then others chance upon it after linking from others friends' blog and then it get viral from there. But every once in a while, it's interesting to think that a total stranger with little or no intention of actually visiting my blog gets tricked into coming because their Google search had me pop up.

For example, I had blogged about hairbrushes and how my girls always lose them. So it was no suprise to see that people had found my blog by googling "Oh Where is my hairbrush."

Some of the more curious/worrisome searches have included:

"Hilary Clinton's body measurements"
"feeding husband to children"

Seriously, who are these people? And why are they being allowed access to the internet?

Just for fun, I'm going to include a few random phrases now and see who else gets sucked in from Google.

"poison dart frogs"
"Huckabee Gets Spray On Tan"
"Mel Gibson in a tutu."
"eating pizza on fine china"
"sub saharan model train collecting."
"just won the lottery am looking for nice family to share winnings with"

Welcome to my blog, you weirdos (and/or generous lottery winners).

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm A Rebel, Oh yes, I Am

You know that movie that a lot of Christians are boycotting this winter?

The one that comes out in theaters soon and is based on a book written by an atheist?

You know. That movie with Nicole Kidman that’s about this godless stuff?

The one that everyone is emailing everyone and telling them also not to see?

Yup. I’ve checked the book(s) out at the library.

Why, you may ask?

I’m a rebel.

And I wanted to be able to speak firsthand about the books/movies if people ask me if they’re bad or good or what.

And to be able to tell me children why they’re going to have to wait a while to see this movie: “Because DAD said so,” not “because SNOPES.com verified the email(S) I received.”

But mostly I’m a rebel.

To be honest, I also checked out the audio books. The actual books made out of paper I got so that the library lady (the one with the hair extensions a slightly different shade from the rest of her hair) would peg me as an intellectual. The audio books are so I could sit in my car listening while I ate straight out of my can of Chef-BoyR-Dee spaghetti with meatballs in the parking lot. (God bless the man who invented the pull-top so I didn’t need a can opener. Plus I believe/hope the meatballs are precooked, so I didn’t need a microwave either.)

Finished the first “book” and on to the second.

I hope no one at my church finds out. (My wife is mortified, I must say. She's still recovering from me bringing home Harry Potter. "What if the neighbors find out?")

Other rebellious things I do:


Watch TV

Eat Velveeta (Only rebellious because I've been told NOT to eat the whole block in one sitting)

Listen to the Christian station with ROCK music (sometimes)

Lather, rinse, NOT repeat

And when I get those cute emails with the puppies and the music and the poems that say I should forward it to 5 people if I truly love them and God?

You guessed it. I delete them.

Anyway, when I finish the series, I may be jotting a little bit of info down here for your enjoyment.

If anybody else out there has read or seen “the Golden Compass” or its sequels, I’d love your insights.

I also welcome the insights of those who choose not to read or watch. I am an equal opportunity acceptor of comments.

So have you lost all respect for me?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

daBlogi Code -- Clue # 4

O.K. For those of you tracking along and uncovering "the daBlogi Code"--including my own 4 darling children and at least one their friends (Hi, Maddie!)--I hope you're not too frustrated with the difficulty of that previous clue yesterday. It WAS a bit misleading, but HEY, no one said this was going to be easy.

I totally understand if you feel like giving up.

I won't even try to make you feel bad if you do, moron.


So far we've found some of Leonardo daBlogi's clues hidden in works of art, in eyeball-straining visual puzzles and in grammar-loving nerd-writing.

This next clue is a MATH puzzle, and it's only hard if you think it is.


Clue # 4


Twenty-one bloggers were online in the small town of Blogsville at 11:02 p.m. Twelve were leaving comments at Blogger #1's blog. Six were leaving comments at Blogger #2's blog. Three were shopping for salad tongs on eBay.

At the same time, a train left Blogsville traveling west toward Dotcomsburg at the speed of 60 m.p.h.

At that exact moment, another train left Dotcomsburg traveling east toward Blogsville at the same speed...ON THE SAME TRACKS.

16 were injured in the trainwreck that occured at 11:32. Half of the inured had broken bones, and half of THOSE had multiple fractures, and half of THOSE also ruined expensive designer shoes.

All but eleven of the bloggers had logged off and were in bed when the accident occured.

How many of the original Blogsville bloggers were still online at the time of the wreck?

Spell that number. Those letters will be added to the letters from the previous clue.

You're starting to get close to solving...

...the daBlogi Code.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Clue #3 -- The daBlogi Code

Welcome to Clue #3 for the daBlogi Code. So far, I've only had two lawsuits against me for the clue in the previous post. My apologies to Halfmoon Girl for that last clue which may have undone her recent corrective eye surgery and to Emily for accentuating her incompetency.

Anyway, on to the next clue. This one is a little more academic, so my apologies in advance to any of you who have intentionally avoided continuing education because you HATE SCHOOL. The following paragraph will further solidify that hatred.

Clue # 3
Somewhere in this paragraph are two typoes (or mispelled words). One of them has an extra letter, and the other one is missing a letter. Find out what those two letters are, and you have your next two letters for solving…
...the daBlogi Code.

Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love. How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and physics so important a biological phenomenon as first love? Put your hand on a stove for a minute and it seems like an hour. Sit with that special girl for an hour and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.
—-Albert Einstein
For the answer to this and the other other clues so far, click here.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Clue # 2 -- the daBlogi Code

(if you have no idea what the daBlogi Code is, check yesterday's post to find out what this is all about .)

To find the clue hidden in this post, you'll have to stick your nose right up against the puzzle below that was unearthed in a blog discovered in Naples, Italy.

Go ahead, stick your nose right up against that "O" in the middle.

Count to 20, and then slowly move back away from the computer monitor.

As you move away, your eyes will adjust and you'll be able to tell that there are other letters besides just that "O." Remember what other letter you see, because it's another piece of the puzzle for solving...

...the daBlogi Code.
(to find out if your answer is correct, click here.)


Part of our evening routine is to look at the school lunch menu and determine whether the girls pack their lunches or buy them.

Cassie read through the menu:

Popcorn chicken, PB&J, corn....CORN!

She proceeded to run through the house yelling, "Yay! Corn! They're having corn!"

I am led to believe that our school serves some very fine corn.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

WFMW -- The daBlogi Code

(Check out other great Works For Me Wednesday stuff over at RockInMyDryer.)
Here's my genius creation for my kids to enjoy:

My kids love riddles and mysteries and clues. And I love making them.

So far I’ve done two different series of "daBaƱo Codes" (stole the idea from the DaVinci Code, but I left the clues on the bathroom wall so they’d have something to read while doing their business.)

I’m creating another one here on my blog this week for my children (and for you bloggers, too I guess) to read and solve, but I’m retitling it more appropriately...the daBlogi Code.

Some of the clues will be insanely easy, perfect for little brothers and sisters.

Other clues will require more thought. They might require research on the internet or asking a friend or parent.

Each clue will reveal a letter or letters, and at the end of all the clues, we’ll unscramble the letters to spell the important message that Leonardi daBlogi left for us to uncover.

Feel free to steal my clues and do this for your kids, or create your own and let me know so I can steal them and use them for MY kids.

Oh...if my kids solve this, they'll get a cool prize. And at the end of the clues, there will also be a chance for a bloggy friend to win too!

Here's the Back Story of the Mysterious daBlogi Code

Centuries ago, Leonardo daBlogi, one of the great bloggers of the Renaissance, left clues in many of his posts. When put together, he hoped that bloggers of the future would be able to make sense of his message.

For the next few days, I will be recreating his ancient writings and artwork in hopes that with your help, together we'll be able to solve…The daBlogi Code.

It is believed by many that the message will turn out to be words of doom and condemnation to a world bent on self-destruction. Others predict the words may simply end up being subtly cautionary, or perhaps humorous.

Whatever the message turns out be, most scholars worth their degrees concur that it will likely herald a new age of enlightenment, a modern Blog renaissance...a veritable BLOGAISSANCE!


One of the paintings at the top of the post is the original, and one is a forgery (a fake!). Once you detect which is the original, remember the letter in the bottom corner. You'll need it to solve the daBlogi code later on.

Click here to see if you're right...
...and come back tomorrow to get your next clue!

In Case You Doubted

Here's a quick photo of my lovely bride and me in our superhero get-up to go with the previous blog.
I know what you're thinking. Usually, when you see a woman with blue hair, she's at least 87 years old. And yet, on Cindy, it's mind-blowingly beautiful, donchathink?
And if I could have those muscle pads sewn into every shirt I wear--from my basic white t-shirts to my awesome Bill Cosby sweaters--my life would be that much better.

By the way, as a word of advice to would-be superheros out there in Cyberinternetoblogoland:

Go ahead and invest in a decent mask. If you happen to cut yours out of purple cardstock and then use a can of spray adhesive from the office to secure it, don't be surprised if, upon removal, you no longer have eyebrows.

Not that that's ever happened to anyone I know or anything...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Super Woman

Sometimes I AM so sweet. Really.
While my wife has been away, I took the liberty of invading her blog and writing about her. She was doing a series on Super Hero chicks. Great women she knows and admires. So I wrote about HER. After all, she is the superest woman I know. (No offense, Mom.)

She 's the best mother in the world. (No offense, Mom.)

The greatest minister's wife in the world. (No offense, Mom.)

The best kisser in the world. (You thought I was going to write "no offense, mom," didn't you? ewwwwww.)

Well, check out her super tribute at her blog.

And here are the complete lyrics to the theme song for the as-yet-to-be-made TV series "The Adventures of StillHisGirl."

"She's A Bad Mama Jama" by Carl Carlton
(cue the *shickawocca* groove sound.)

Look at her

She’s a bad mama jama
Just as fine as she can be, hey
She’s a bad mama jama
Just as fine as she can be

Her body measurements are perfect in every dimension

She’s got a figure that’s sho’ ‘nuff gettin’ attention
She’s poetry in motion, a beautiful sight to see
I get so excited viewin’ her anatomy

(She’s built) She’s built, she’s stacked (Oh, she’s got)

Got all the curves that men like (She’s got all the curves that men like)
(She’s built) She’s built, she’s stacked (Oh, she’s got)
Got all the curves that men like (Got all the curves that men like, look at her)

She’s a bad mama jama
Just as fine as she can be, hey
She’s a bad mama jama, oh
Just as fine as she can be

By the way, the following picture is NOT my Cindy, but I couldn't NOT include this, could I?

(No offense, Mom.)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Corn Dog When It's Night

My eighth-grade girlfriend and I had “our song.” We were so young, foolish and clouded by our “like” for each other that there was no possible way we could have picked the perfect song to represent our feelings. And so a song was assigned to us by our friends.

I learned it word for word. Now please understand, by “word for word” I don’t necessarily mean the EXACT words intended by the musicians. We’ve all done this; when we don’t know the precise words, we simply create some that make sense in context. That’s much better than having to drop out of the song in the middle of screaming it at the top of your lungs in a 1982 light blue Chevy Malibu, right?

Our song was made popular by REO Speedwagon.

Perhaps “I Can’t Fight This Feeling” was your song as well.

And perhaps when you sang the line “You’re a candle in the window on a cold, dark winter’s night,” you also thought it was really “you’re a candle in the window and a corndog when it’s night.”

Seriously, this is how I sang it. And even though I’m a funny person, I swear I didn’t just make up those words because it was funny. I THOUGHT THOSE WERE THE WORDS. Please, download it on iTunes and listen. You’ll agree; it truly sounds like “corndog.” 100%

I never questioned this, because in my 8th-grade understanding of romance, eating corndogs by candlelight for a late-night snack would ROCK.

As far as other songs with interchangeable lyrics, “Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds” is already whacked enough with all its marmalade skies and rocking horse people eating marshmallow pies and such, so why do people giggle when “the girl with colitis goes by”? Come on!

Please, please, please, if anyone else out there has heard these songs like I have, I need some confirmation.

Or if you have equally insane translations from other songs, I’m sure we’d all love to hear them too. (Except for that awful mistranslation from “Blinded By The Light.” We can all do without that one.)


“Secret Asian Man”

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Time Warped

A few days ago, my daughters and I were at another church in the middle of the week. It wasn't my own church, and we'd never been in it before.

So obviously, we had little choice but to snoop around every nook and cranny and see what this place was like. You know, kind of like when I visit your home and am obligated to open your medicine cabinet when I pretend to need to use the restroom.

During our investigation, back behind the small stage in the chapel, we found a door. I turned the handle. It gave.

I can't easily describe what happened next. I don't know if I was struck on the head, or if I'd eaten some bad tuna for lunch, but somehow I had stepped into a time warp. Generally, when I step into time warps there is a visual effect of psychedelic swirls spinning and eerie music. And I'm aware of others who travel through wardrobes or magic school buses.

But this time there was no visual cue to prepare me for this leap through time. In many ways, this secret room was obviously from another era. Sure, the carpet and wallcoverings were a tad dated, but that's just the nature of churches. Decorating decisions go through church committees, then to the board, then to a general church vote and ultimately presented for final approval by a founding church member hooked up to tubes in a nursing home only able to blink once for mauve and twice for wood paneling. Not surprisingly, by the time the whole process is completed, the colors decided upon have gone out of style a decade ago and the country-goose-in-bonnet wallpaper is no longer being produced. Some churches have taken sooooo long making decisions that it actually has worked out perfectly...because shag carpet is coming back in. I'm not kidding. I bought some. Of course they have new names like "frieze" instead of shag, but I smell what they're cooking. (It's just like the way they sell bell-bottoms as "flared legs.")

Anyway, the decor wasn't definitive proof of this time warp. What my girls and I found were two ancient artifacts that I haven't seen since last century.

Two 8-track tapes.

I held them in my hands and it took me back. Not only did I feel like I had slid back 30 years, I also felt like I'd been sucked out of that church and plopped inside a wood-paneled station wagon (probably the "back-back," remember that?).

And now I'm embarrassed to admit that I don't even remember what band they were from, because I had to spend way too long trying to explain to my girls what this was:

Me: Check this out. This is something from when I was a kid.
Kid: Is it a cotton gin?
Kid: I know, it's a telegraph.
(yes, my kids have been homeschooled.)
Kid: Is that one of them steam engines?
Me: No, it's an 8-track-tape. It's like an old version of a cassette tape.
Kid: What's a cassette?

By the way, we made it safely back to the present... or what we thought was the present. This may be some alternate reality, because when we returned, we found that Hillary Clinton was running for president. Go figure.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Annoying Meanie-Heads

I just had lunch with a friend here in town. We talked about a number of things, but almost all of it was related to our kids.

He has three boys. I have four girls.

Even though we are obviously living on very different planets, they still have some similar environmental conditions.

He said his boys like to fight. When he first said that, I pictured playful fighting and wrestling like puppies chewing on each other’s ears and swatting each other with those cute little paws. But I eventually figured out he was talking about “angry” fighting. (I was able to figure this out because he used subtle words like “punching,” “bruising,” and “lethal force.”)

My girls fight too. For the most part, it involves yelling and slamming doors and yelling…and yelling.

Ohmygoodness…the YELLING!

At our house, it seems that 98% of “incidents” begin with someone being “annoying.” That’s the word they’ve gravitated toward as the crime of the century.

Instead of saying…

“My sister is being a jerk”

“My sister is a meanie-head”

Or (heaven forbid)

“I hate my meanie-headed jerk-sister”

…they’ve been able to name exactly what the problem is.

“My sister is being annoying.”

And almost every time, I have to agree. And I explain to them that this is the nature of living under the same roof. Our spouses annoy us (at least my wife’s spouse does). Our roommates in college annoy us. Our children annoy us. Our parents annoy us. Anyone who is close enough for us to love and share this wonderful life with in the same general space is going to be close enough to annoy us at times.

So I just count on it. I EXPECT to be annoyed. I EXPECT to be bothered.

So now, when it happens, I think to myself, “So-And-So is annoying me. How unsurprisingly expected and predictable. [yawn] How unfortunate for him/her to be an annoying person. Poor, poor thing.” And then I move on generally unaffected.

For the record, this only works for me because I’m so stinkin’ laid-back that I barely have a pulse.

I know some of you still have to punch things, yell, kick a dog, or do sudoku.

I assume that people like that are annoyed by me.