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

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Can We Just Crown David Cook And End This Thing?

I hope I get this post done in time for it to make a huge difference in your life. I got back home late from hanging out at the neighbors with Father Rich who came over for a good Catholic house blessing. After praying together and coming home to put the kids to bed, Cindy and I whipped out our respective typing devices, pressed play on the DVR and prepared for night with American Idol and Neil Diamond, who has the highest-arched eybrows of any AI mentor since Andrew Llloyd Weber last week.

Tonight I will choose to address the contestants personally in the event that they read my blog. (It could happen.)

Jason Castro, if you come back next week, I want you to throw out all the mellow songs and beat us up with some angry piece with your eyebrows furrowed and your lips pursed with emotion. Try it..or anything different from the last twentyleven songs that all seem the same.

David Cook, you did an all right job with the first song. Picking the less-heard songs is smart, especially if you make them as cool and current as you do. You are ready for selling CDs; just put all these songs from the last several weeks on an album and slip it in my mailbox, thank you very much.

Brooke, unlike David who made his songs sound contemporary and relative, you've sung like this was the 70's or 80's. And while you might've been able to sell a lot of songs back then, I worry about the marketability of those cassettes today. You definitely did better on "I Am I Said," in spite of the fact that I don't know how to diagram the sentence that is that song. Usually, the word "forgettable" is a bad one when describing a performance, but I'm about to ask Cindy to hit me over the head with a frying pan so I CAN forget that first performance. I know you're a good singer, but sometimes your songs conceal that fact.

David Archuletta in your striped t-shirt and sneakers, your first performance was perfect...for a Neil Diamond-themed episode of the Mickey Mouse Club. And then "America" would be great for Epcot. You did fantastic, but if your career doesn't include Disney I will be shocked beyond recognition. You need to do what I recommended for Jason: sing an angry song, maybe about an ex-lover...or a babysitter-gone-bad.

Syesha, you gave me a taste of what Neil Diamond would've been like had he been born a girl...and black...and with a set of pipes that can really sing. I noticed you were barefoot, and I'm guessing that was imposed on you by the directors in the event you hopped up on a piano for the umpteenth time.

It must be noted that the judges did no judging during the first round of songs, but they DID make general comments at the end of that first round while all of the contestant stood together. Dear, sweet, vicotin-laced Paula commented on BOTH of Jason's songs, even though he'd only sung ONE. I remember when my grandma started losing her mental faculties, and I do so hope that Paula has loved ones like Erma did who will build onto their house so she can live with them and be cared for. We're praying for you, Paula!
Going home?
Brooke or Jason. Either one. I'm not picky. They're both great singers and well-deserving of 4th or 5th place in a national singing competition with millions of voters.

NEWS FLASH! Giveaway Ends Early For Obvious Reasons

It really shouldn't come as a shock that I'm ending the Ghastly-Shirt-From-The-90's Giveaway early.

I've had some great responses from people who don't want it, but clearly there are several who hate it so much that they don't want to risk getting stuck with it by leaving a comment. A few local/live people have mentioned the shirt to me, but they've been too chicken to leave a comment.

Therefore, I'm closing the contest and forcing this horrid shirt on my friend Donna who works with me. If she didn't want the shirt, then she should've written of its terrifying hideousness while she had the chance.

So I'm sure you agree that she deserves to win this abomination fair and square.

So congratulations to DONNA! Please be sure to take a picture of you (or your husband, David) wearing this monstrosity.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Some Things Get Better With Age

It's totally true. Age makes some things better.
Like those Star Wars action figures still in the packaging up in your parents' attic? Better.
Jeans you've worn for years? Better.
A softball glove you've been breaking in for a long time? Better.
Or that woman you married 14 years ago who's having another 29th birthday today (Monday)? Way totally absolutely definitely better.

I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm rubbing it in that my wife is so much better than your wife, but I really can't help it, because she is. It's not entirely her fault. After all, she'd say that part of who she is today is because of me. So to the world I say, "You're welcome. I do what I can."

Actually, I've written here before about what a wonderful woman she is. She'd deny it; she beats herself up sometimes because she doesn't realize that her miniscule flaws only serve to make her awesomeness stand out even more. It's kind of like those spots that models have attached to their faces. On the Wicked Witch of the West, it'd just be called a mole or wart, but on a supermodel, someone decided to call it a "beauty mark." (Whoever was in charge of public relations for skin anomalies deserves himself a raise.)

Please don't get all confused thinking I'm talking about my wife's warts; she has none.

In fact, if I had to list anything negative about her, it would all be limited to the following few categories:

1) Annoying things she leaves under the covers at the foot of the bed.
2) Habits involving her using tweezers on me while I'm driving.
3) Failure to stock up on necessary quantities of cheese puffs and other related "foods" when she goes grocery shopping.

So three little flaws. I only mention those so that when you read the GOOD list you don't worry that somehow I've created a super race of cyborg wives intending to take over the world.

Here's what the rest of the world is missing out on:

1) She hardly wears any make-up. I know, you've seen the photos and it's hard to believe. It's one of the joys of freckles; her skin has natural color and beauty from the moment she pops out of bed. Maybe a little mascara, maybe some lip gloss, but she could go without either and still be oh so dreamy.
2) She makes things happen. I love being married to someone who likes action. Granted, I have my moments when I just need a nap, but she's great at keeping our social calendar balanced with down time and up time. And when she wants to exercise, she rounds up several friends insane enough to get up before 6 a.m. to sweat together. I assume she's just concerned about her cardiovascular health, because I can't for the life of me figure out any other reason she'd be exercising.
3) She's the world's best teacher. She homeschools our kids. She teaches children at church. She teaches women. She teachers me. She volunteers with a literacy group at the public school. She leads a children's choir. And she's great at ALL of it.
4) Cindy is generous and compassionate and thoughtful. I really should have put that first on the list. It's something that so many people see in her. She reaches out to new people, hurting people, people in need. She rejoices and celebrates other people's victories and joys.
5) She's so stinking smart. She figured out this blogging thing looooong before me. She's learned to do different things on the computer and personalize things. I used to be the one to explain computery stuff to her, but now the student has become the teacher.
6) She dresses me well (when I let her). If you read my post last week about that shirt I almost wore, then you understand the debt of gratitude that this planet owes her. I love it when she comes back from bargain shopping for me. I can be guaranteed at least a couple weeks of compliments from coworkers telling how nicely I clean up.
7) She loves God. And she wants to keep loving him even more. She reads her Bible and studies and watches speakers and listens and learns and grows. And the children and I are directly blessed by her faith and love.
8) She's never really mocked me for watching "Battlestar Galactica," and that really is something huge. Most other shows I've watched, she's said, "Do you really think you need to be watching that trash?" But even though she doesn't watch BSG, she somehow gets that it's part of me and I'm part of it, and she's secure enough in who she is in my life not to be threatened by President Laura Roslin or Commander Adama or that blonde Cylon.
9) She sings with me in the van.
10) She makes a beautiful home.
11) She smells nice.
12) She...

O.k. you can tell I'm starting to rush there near the end. I'm blogging up here in bed, and she's heading this way. I don't want her to know what I'm doing, so I have to hurry and finish!

Be sure to swing by her blog and wish her a happy birthday.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

To Blog Or Not To Blog: Top 11 List

I've had a couple of friends start blogging recently. (I should probably get permission from them before I give you links. They may not appreciate the class of readers who find my thoughts interesting.)

As a reader and writer, I love to read the blogs of people I personally know. It's always interesting how uniquely each individual's personality and mannerism translates into writing. Sometimes it can be predictable and comfortable. Other times there are surprises under the surface that pop out in print.

At the same time that some of my friends have begun to write, another has closed down her blog in order to spend her time doing more important things. She may blog again with a different purpose and plan; who knows, but I'll miss reading her writing.

At first, I was caught off guard and was even tempted to be defensive: was she saying that those of us who continue to blog are doing something "unimportant?" I quickly decided that she wasn't. She was just speaking of her life and her priorities, and she has a young baby so our schedules and needs are very different right now. We each have the responsibility to analyze our schedules and figure out what is important and what isn't. We each have the option to drop out of activities that cost time and energy but provide little or no benefit. That's just smart living.

For example, hobbies like scrapbooking, fishing and brick-making may take up valuable time that could be better spent watching TV, reading Soap Opera Digest or collecting Russian nesting dolls. Or vice-versa. Or not. You may have time, energy and resources enought to engage in ALL of those activities without needing to sacrifice anything important or essential in your life.

But for those who have difficulty determining priorities, here is a list of ways to determine if blogging is getting out of hand for you. If any of the following situations apply to your life, it may be an indication that you should cut back on time spent blogging:

1. When you sign your children up for summer pottery class at the community center and they ask for you address, you start to write: http://www...

2. You've stopped answering the phone because it takes so much longer to actually talk to people than it does to write blog comments using abbreviations like ROTFL, BTW, and WYTAW*.

3. You haven't fed your children for three days, but you HAVE read lots of fun recipes from that Pioneer lady and others.

4. Your refer to friends in person by their online names instead of their real names. "Hi, Grace4Gayle! How's your DH?"

5. In the middle of important moments like your child's wedding, a CIA interrogation or a funeral, you pull out your Blackberry and say, "This would make a GREAT post."

6. You don't bother buying CD's or iTunes songs anymore because you'd rather hope you can win everything you want on blog giveaways.

7. You wet your pants when someone links to your blog.

8. You write flattering anonymous comments on your own blog so everyone knows how wonderful you are.

9. Your children try to stay away from you for fear that every cute/embarrassing/dangerous thing they say/do will end up on the blog.

10. You haven't talked to your wife/husband in weeks but you do leave each other the sweetest and most encouraging comments on each other's posts. (By the way, I love you, Cindy, and your hair looks GREAT today. I'm looking forward to dinner with you tomorrow for your birthday! Leave a comment saying where you want to go!)

11. Finally, if you start looking and living like Howard Hughes (see "The Aviator") because you've holed yourself up in your penthouse blogging all day, then it's time for a haircut, and a manicure, and you should stop having your children/spouse slide your meals under the door. They need their dad/mom back.

Maybe you've already wrestled with the subject of excessive blogging and have your own list. What other criteria do you think people should use in determining if they're crossing the line into obsessive-compulsive blogging?

*WYTAW = "What You Talkin' About, Willis?" from Diff'rent Strokes.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

A Little Soul Searching

Occasionally it's fun to do a little research on what brings visitors to my blog.

I've narrowed it down to a few main reasons:

1) Some close personal friends and family members feel obligated.
2) They got suckered into hitting the link on my dear wife's blog.
3) They perform a Google search for any number of random, crazy things, and since my blog is random and crazy, they find themselves here wasting precious time that they end up wishing they could get back.

Often, based on those Google searches, it's obvious that there are some deep probing questions keeping visitors awake at night. From the past week or so, here are some of the deeper, probing-er questions and topics.

"Oh where is my hairbrush?"
Last I checked, it was under the passenger seat in the minivan, next to a petrified chicken nugget. Next!

"how to turn your jerk husband into a nice person"
Essentially, Google has saved your marriage by sending you here. As soon as I get back from taking my wife to White Castle for some burgers and onion chips for her birthday, I'll get right on working up an answer for ya'.

"how do i know if i have salmonella"
I'm flattered to think that you would seek my professional opinion on a serious medical issue. I think the definitive answer to your question involves an autopsy on your corpse. But I was just discussing with some friends how we all look forward to performing an emergency tracheotomy with a ball point pen in unsanitary conditions. Just a matter of time.

"wife finger in bellybutton"
I can't for the life of me imagine what in the world leads one to type those words at google.com. I assume it's a typo. What you were trying to search for was "what makes scott so cool" or possibly "handsome men who blog." Those letters are all so close on the keyboard. We all make little mistakes like that.

"honey my children ate me"
Clearly, the title of my blog would make it come up in this particular search, but I would suggest that if you find yourself a victim of cannibalization, it perhaps might better serve you to dial 9-1-1 instead of reading my latest insights on American Idol. We all value life differently I guess.

Whether it's Google that brings you here or just really bad judgment, welcome one and all.

Stay tuned for some upcoming mind-numbingly exciting details from our most recent softball adventures.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Fashion-less Giveaway

I don't profess to have an eye for fashion. In fact, just the opposite.
Occasionally, people may compliment me on the snazziness of what I'm wearing, and I feel a moral obligation on those rare good-clothes days to assure them that either:
a) My wife dressed me,
b) The clothes were hand-me-downs from a cool friend.

Usually, it's a combination; my wife dressed me in clothes from a cool friend.

If you know anything about the public court of fashion and style, then you probably know that it is nothing if not fickle. Today's bell-bottoms will be out of style tomorrow, but back in style the following Thursday at 4:17 p.m.

Yesterday, I started to walk out of the bedroom wearing THIS:

I know what you're thinking. Did you get dressed in pitch black? Was your wife out of town? Do you hate everyone with eyes that would have to SEE this monstrosity? No. No. And no.
It's just a case of me being stupid and thoughtless. You can all thank my wife for stopping me and redressing me in something less offensive to the senses.

Officially, this was a hand-me-down from a stylish friend.
Back in 1994-ish.

Personally, I've always liked the shirt...because it never needs ironing. I've discovered that clothes with loud, busy patterns hide a multitude of wrinkles. I really like that. Unfortunately, pants with wild patterns are currently frowned on and possibly could still be frowned upon on the aforementioned Thursday at 4:17 p.m...or not. I don't really know these things.

Therefore, it is my wife's extreme pleasure for me to offer this formerly delightful piece of apparel to one lucky winner!
Here's a close-up of the print. Yes, this is a man's shirt...I think?
It's a Large, but it's more of a wide-large than a tall-large.

So leave me a comment between now and next Wednesday (4/30).

The winner (or more accurately the "loser) will be the commenter LEAST revolted by it, so write about how angry the shirt makes you or the number of friends you would lose or any number of other ways your life would surely be ruined if you ever were forced to wear such a thing. Otherwise, you might get stuck with it.

I'll announce the winner/loser next Thursday at 4:17 p.m. at the precise moment the shirt comes back in style...or not.


The contest has been closed early and the winner has been announced here. Congratulations to everyone who lost.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Don't Cry For Me, American Idol!

The Lovely Cindy's not here to liveblog with me. So instead of typing on my Blackberry, I actually get to use the laptop. This will also allow me to type with all 10 fingers instead of just my thumbs.
Here we are, sitting in front of the TV watching the Idol kids singing Andrew Lloyd Weber tunes.
So you know what that means?
Yup. I'll probably be singing along dramatically at the top of my lungs. Wish you could be here for the show in our living room.

Syesha's up first and--you guessed it--she's standing up on top of a piano. I dunno, we were taught not to put a drink on a piano even if you used a coaster. I hope my piano teacher Mrs. Simmons isn't watching, because Syesha would definitely not get a coveted star in her lesson notebook this week. Unfortunately for the audience here, I don't know this song so my kids only get to listen to me scream "GET.YOUR.FEET.OFF.THAT.PIANO."

Poor Jason has never seen any of these musicals, so he's...oh, no...I can't even finish the thought because he's started singing "Memories" from "Cats." It's a bit cliche and a rather hideous song choice for a boy in dreadlocks who plays ukuleles. At least I KNOW this song, so I could sing along while crawling around the room and licking myself like a cat. I could, but you'll be happy to know I didn't.

EVEN POORER BROOKE. She started the song, and then she botched it in the second line and started over. I just sat here shaking my head non-stop through the whole song wanting to wish that no one had ever invented this show in the first place and put America through this awkwardness. I cried and cringed and tried to erase the whole event from my memory. Then I hit rewind and watched it a few more times.

If you missed tonight's show, then you missed David Archuletta getting hugs from a half dozen prepubescent girls during his interview. And you also missed him singing "Think Of Me" from "Phantom" with the reminder from Lord Andrew to Open His Eyes. He did a great job, and it didn't have the cheesy Broadway quality you'd worry you'd have to endure. It was contemporary and soulful and perfect...except for a line he mumbled because he forgot a line we think, but not in an "Oh no, start over band" kind of way like Brooke.

Carly was told by Mr. Weber NOT to sing "All I Ask of You" and instead perform "Jesus Christ, Superstar." She obeyed, bless her soul. Amazingly, this type of song would've made a huge tattoo on her upper arm totally appropriate, but she wore sleeves, for Pete's sake; she's doing a really bad job reading my mind. But an exciting performance in every sense of the word.

David Cook is taking on "Music Of The Night" from "Phantom." "I'm a gorgeous 17-year-old girl from the chorus line," says Weber to inspire him. If that doesn't draw out some raw passion and sensuality from David, I don't know what would. Evidently, Mr. Weber must be a hottie, because it worked; David had a lot of feeling dripping out of his performance.

Now that I've seen all the contestants,
1. I'm narrowing my favorites of the night down to the two Davids.
2. I'm finally releasing Brooke from that special place I'd held for her in my heart.
3. And I'm wondering if anyone else thinks that Andrew Lloyd Weber looks a lot like Mike Myers (austin powers, wayne's world, etc). Check out Tamara's photo comparison for definitive proof. Better yet, let's all agree that it IS Mike Myers on AI, because I have it on good authority that A.L.W. looks like a gorgeous 17-year-old chorus line girl.
4. Finally, I'm heading over to Boomama's to see how many people are smart enough to agree with me.
5. Update: Cindy's back and has now published her American Idol Senior Superlatives.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Where 20 Or More Are Gathered...

Perhaps you spent the weekend in your yard doing a little landscaping.
Maybe you were at the ball fields watching your children play.
Or were you curled up on the couch with a riveting book?

Or maybe you spent your weekend like I did, off in uncharted regions of rural Indiana at a retreat with 20-30 ministers,deacons and elders from your church. I know. It sounds invigorating, doesn't it?

Fortunately, I had prepared for the event. I packed earplugs, sleeping medication and wild cherry flavored M&Ms. (The plugs and medication were for bedtime, NOT for the meetings, even though the thought did cross my mind...)

Well, I can't tell you about everything we talked about. It's not secret; it's just that I zoned out half-way through and can't remember much of it. (Naw. I'm just kidding. It was good material and great discussion. Our church leadership rocks it like a hurricane.)

But what I do remember is our rip-roaring game of Uno that lasted well past 11:00 p.m. We wisely allowed our senior minister to win three hands in a row. Our worship minister, on the other hand, was not treated as gingerly, as he left the game at the end with nothing left but bloody stubs where his arms once were. We can be pretty harsh on those who play or draw cards when they shouldn't.

We didn't keep score, but I can report these results of the game: two staff members have left the ministry for good, 3 elders have been demoted to deacon, and 1 minister is on probation. It was THAT fun.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I'd Only Give It A 5.3 For Artistic Interpretation

Cindy and I ate ate some sausage pizza late last night. And some humus and Wheat Thins.

This may have contributed to me waking up all night long and finally throwing in the towel about 4:30 a.m. I got up and watched the news, hoping to go back to sleep.

(I know. Riveting post so far. Hang on; the drama builds slowly.)

At 5:30, I was still wide awake and enjoying such powerful Indiana news stories as the reported UFO sightings near Kokomo. They had some cool night-vision video of lights and stuff, but the Air Force is reporting it was just some F-Somethings breaking the sound barrier. (Likely a cover-up?)

At 5:38, our house began to shake like the spin cycle had reached full tilt. However, I knew that, even though we do a lot of laundry, we don't do it until we have to, and nobody HAS to do laundry at 5:38 a.m. The dishes rattled in the cupboard, and every seam in the house and roof seemed to creak while a low rumble lasted for at least 30 seconds.

My first thought was UFO's of course, so I continued to watch the news to see how long it would take the Air Force to come up with another cover-up to throw us off the trail of those brain-sucking extraterrestrials.

Turns out it was just an earthquake, 5.4 magnitude, about 70 miles away. (Update: it's been downgraded to a 5.2. Now don't I feel silly for making this big a deal?)

We don't get that kind of action around here much, so you'll be happy to know that our local stations are pre-empting the Today show and Good Morning America in order to keep things local with this late-breaking news.

"The shaking woke me up," one caller claimed. "My bed shook and moved about two or three feet." Another person reported "several lamps" falling off stands and other such happenings.

These people were even farther from the center than us. While there was a good rumble and shake, I'm guessing there's some overdramatization.

Either that, or somebody has bedroom floors with a 30-degree slant to begin with and end tables and lamp stands built out of toothpicks.

I just wanted you to know that if word of a gaping hole created in the earth in southwest Indiana makes the news in YOUR area, don't worry about us. I was able to rescue our family from under the pile of bricks and debris.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Blender Tag

Oops. I forgot to tell Greek GRITS Tammy and Hospitality Lane Becky K. that I had already called time out before they "tagged" me. Naw. Just kidding, friends. I'm such a good sport that I'll appease both of you sweet ladies at the same time with a combined post.

One of the tags requests 7 random or weird facts about me; the other wants to know what I was doing 10 years ago, what's on my to-do list tomorrow, what snacks I like and what I'd do if I were a billionaire.

So as I pull those out of the blender...

Here are the 7 random or weird items on my to-do list from 10 years ago when I was a billionaire in the snack food industry:

1. Have a talk with the governess about being quieter in the mornings
when taking care of our almost 2-year-old Cassie. Cindy and I need a
little more shut-eye after jetting back so late from Paris.

2. Wallpaper the guest room with 100-dollar bills and caviar.

3. Buy a country villa...or a country.

4. Remind Cindy to decide which tux I should wear at the gala for the
opening of the new wing at the hospital named after me. (The "Honey, I
Operated On the Kids" Wing?)

5. Go hunting for bald eagles. It's never to early to plan for
Thanksgiving dinner.

6. Hire someone to learn Japanese for me.

7. Adopt at least a dozen children. (I put this one in here
for you, Cindy. I know 12 is a low number, but this is just one day's
to-do list. We can adopt another 12 next week, babe.)

Wow. That was fun. It feels kind of freeing to be so vulnerable and real with you all like this.

Because I have little experience with this process, consider yourself tagged if:
1. "E" is the third letter of your middle name.
2. Your pet and/or child peed on your couch in the last week.
3. You just colored your hair for the 3rd time in 2 days.
4. Your answering machine only has messages from political campaigns or research groups.
5. You're on bed rest.
6. You eat braunschweiger.
7. You still own a phone with a cord.

(I assure you, if ALL of those apply to you and you still don't want to be tagged, just write me and I'll send you the exemption paperwork. If really shouldn't take more than a few hours to fill out; I'm sure you'll think it's worth it.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

We're Having A Ball! WFMW

I have a very addictive personality. I can become obsessed with something pretty easily; take blogging for example.

My latest addiction involves what my 7-year-old daughter received from Grandma for her birthday.

It's a cool marble track that you build, and then the marbles can go down the different paths and twists and turns.

I'm not exaggerating when I say I have gotten up in the morning and played with this by myself before the girls were ready for school. You can't imagine the satisfying rush of creating a tower four feet tall with four different routes for the marbles to travel. Then I like to place the funnel piece near the end for all the paths to converge into. All the marbles will spin forever in that section before finally dropping into the tray at the bottom.

I'm getting the shakes and starting to sweat just writing about it.

Our girls like it too, as do other kids who traipse through our home.

I'm not sure where my mother-in-law got this set, but there's a website on the box: http://www.mindwareonline.com/

Now I have to go build another track. Will someone call the office for me this morning and let them know I won't be in? Tell them I lost my marbles. Thanks.

(You can always find more cool ideas for your family and home over at rocksinmydryer every Wednesday!)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mariah Carey Okee Night

Another Tuesday night, another hour glued to American Idol.

The three daughters who are NOT grounded for life are here with us watching Mariah Carey mentor these young artists (though I could have sworn that Ryan Seacrest said "Mariah Carey is the DEmentor).

David Archuletta's singing a Mariah Carey/Whitney Houston duet. Who DOES that? He a boy. He's kinda white. And yet he did really well...especially for a little kid in--what are those he's wearing--rubber pants? O.K. My kids are telling me this song was from the Moses movie "The Prince of Egypt" which makes me cry every time I see it...and it's a cartoon. What kind of man am I?

Carly's wearing "The Dark Crystal" around her neck right now in her pre-song interview. Wouldn't it be funny if the Muppets sang back up for her? ...Well, she's opted for the human piano player instead of Rowlf, but he's good too. She's also opted for singing with her tattoo covered which allowed me to focus more on her husbad's tattoos. Oh, she sang great too.

Syesha. I don't know what she's singing, but it sounds good... Thank goodness Paula just told us that a lot of people don't know this song, so I don't feel as out of touch with contemporary music as I did about 2 minutes ago.

Let me just say that I'm proud of Paula Abdul tonight for wearing a dress that both covered her breasts AND didn't choke the ever-lovin' life out them.

Brooke is singing "Hero" at the piano. I have sung before and I have played the piano before and if I had to do both at the same time on a stage on TV I would wet my pants and run off crying. She did neither.

Kristy Lee is giving Mariah Carey goosebumps in the video piece, so I'm pulling up my sleeves to prepare for this song, "Forever." Wait for it. Wait for it. Nope, no goosebumps, but it WAS good. Maybe if she sang one of MY songs, I'd get the coveted chills. Kristy, call me and I'll get you the music and lyrics for my hit VBS song, "VBS Mart" for next week's show.

David Cook is supposed to win this thing according to my prophetic gift, but he's not rockin' this song yet. O.K. He just took it up a notch, and the strobe light is flashing. Simon said something about "Karaoke Hell" but I think it was in reference to the rest of the night and a huge compliment to David, who is now in tears and speechless. NOW I have goosebumps.

Mariah is giving Jason Castro a hug in the video and her hands are all over the dredlocks. Will someone out there please let me know what that feels like, because my initial reaction was 'ick,' but I'm sure dreds aren't as creepy to the touch as my midwest white mind is imagining. Randy thinks this song is luau material(?), but Paula is in the mood for poi as is Simon, so a great big "Aloha" goes out to Jason.

Just so you all know, in honor of departed Michael Johns, I'm posting this while wearing an ascot.
(photo added at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday. I apologize to my early readers who missed it! Click here for more crazy photos and a glimpse into the scary mind of my wife...or here for her colorful take on American Idol.)

The Check's In The Mail

I don't mean to brag, but we paid our taxes this morning. First thing. On the way in to work.

Yup. I hand-delivered the envelope to the post-mistress at the quaint little post office around the corner. I swear there was a glint of joy and delight in her eye as she received it, obviously thinking, "Sir, you are one heckuva responsible citizen getting this taken care of so early in the day."

To her, I say, "Thank you, ma'am" and "you're welcome."

Many times, it's been much later in the day that the check gets in the mail. But this year I took the bull by the horns and made it happen.

Well, I can't take all the credit. After all, my wife emailed me yesterday and instructed me, "Do whatever you need to do to get taxes sent in." So I will let her bask in the glory of this moment as well, because honestly, I had completely forgotten all about it till she reminded me.

Sure, I had done them online (I TOTALLY recommend Turbotax online; I don't mess with getting a CD or nuthin'), but I delayed mailing in my check until today because I wanted that 4 cents of interest my tax payment earned sitting in our account for the last few months.

I'm telling you, it's wise money management techniques like this that allow us to maintain the kind of lifestyle to which we have become accustomed.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Soylent Clean

I've mentioned previously that I think I may be experiencing man-o-pause. Something is happening to me that I can't quite explain. A huge change.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally cleaned up my office. blah blah blah. I've already written about that. Let me tell you, though, that as long as I don't do any work, I don't think I'll have to worry about it getting cluttered again. Whew!

THEN last weekend, my personal internal transformation continued as I reorganized my garage. MY GARAGE! I repurposed some desks and counters to create better bones for storage and organization. I can actually park both cars and 6 bikes in the garage. I did have to remove the giant Power Wheels Jeep because our children are a little big for it now, so I may add that to Tina's winnings from the Office Giveaway yesterday even though it's completely unrelated to the office. It wouldn't cost much to mail a giant kid's jeep to Thailand, right.

AND THEN last week, all six of us headed to the back yard for another purge. Cindy and I haven't spent much time out back through the winter, so entropy had gone unchecked. We have woods behind our house and a street behind those woods. It seems that people like to drive by and dump their trash in our woods. And then our children like to bring these "treasures" to our back yard and arrange it assymetically around the playground and porch. Here is what we encountered when we headed out back:

The animal skull (which you may already have read about)
Two broken mailboxes
A broken concrete bird bath
Assorted giant metal pipes, apparently the frame for a trampoline
Large rolls of plastic sheeting
Light bulb
Various lengths of 2x4's
And this list goes on...

My mother-in-law stayed with us last weekend before the big clean and had the luxurious guest suite with the view of the back 40. I asked her, "When you look out the window, do you feel like you're on 'Sanford and Son.'"

She was very gracious and said only kind things about her accomodations in the basement with the lousy view, the scary bathroom, the loud furnace and the noisy plumbing.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

You Are All In My Prayers

I'm awfully worried about some epidemic that must be pretty rampant at this point.

Several people who visited my blog yesterday even commented about how sick they felt. Stomachs were churning and people were turning green.

I hopped around to other people's blogs, and it was weird. Nowhere else did I read about people retching or running for their vomit bowls.

Is it possible that there is some eerie link between my readers and this unknown epidemic? I know a lot of my readers are church-goers, so maybe there's some church-related connection...but I couldn't find one.

I really hate to think that the illnesses described were caused solely by my post yesterday. After all, the Fruity-Pebbles-Encrusted-Cream-Cheese-and-Strawberry-Jam-Stuffed French Toast was delicious by all measures.

Here's hoping more readers aren't afflicted.

For those of you that already are, let's get better in time for next week's Parmesan-and-Snickers-Glazed Tilapia.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Death By Breakfast: Stuffed French Toast

Welcome to my kitchen.
I'm so glad you've decided to join me here in the middle of my breakfast preparations.

We slept-in a little this morning, and since the whole family is here and we don't have to rush off to any activities, let's whip up something home-made and wholesome, shall we?

French toast sounds good, doesn't it? I'm glad you thought so. However, since it really wouldn't be worth blogging about regular french toast, let's throw in a couple of twists along the way.

For those of you who don't already know, "French Toast" refers to making bread healthier by coating it in eggs and frying it up. I'm sure you can extrapolate that French Fries are probably dipped in eggs(?), and French Dressing must be dipped in eggs, and you get a French Pedicure by..you guessed it...dipping your toenails in eggs.

At OUR house, we usually enhance all the healthy, eggity goodness of French Toast by serving it with gobs of butter that quickly melt and then sprinkling sugar on it which partially dissolves in the melted butter. But we understand that at other houses, you may prefer buying your sugar pre-dissolved in the form of maple-flavored high-fructose corn syrup. Whatever floats your boat.

Today, though, we're going gourmet with STUFFED French Toast.
(Oooooh. Ahhhhhhh.)

First, let's prepare our egg mixture. My Better Homes & Garden Cookbook says to beat 2 eggs and add 1/2 cup of milk. I used 4 eggs because we have a big family, and a full cup of milk. I took trigonometry (twice), so that conversion was easy for me to arrive at. I also normally throw in some vanilla and cinnamon for plain french toast. You can decide whether your Stuffed French Toast needs those addendums after you see what other flavors are at play in later steps.

What, you may ask, is this toast stuffed with?
I chose cream cheese and strawberry jam, because that's what I could find.
As you can see, this isn't so much a "stuffed" toast as much as it turns out to be a sandwich. I suppose if you happened to use that cool thick-sliced Texas toast, you could cut a pocket in it and truly stuff it. But buying that kind of bread in advance takes foresight, something we avoid. Please note the loaf of wheat bread in the back, because we are obviously very health-conscious.

Once the sandwich is put together, I shall now reveal the secret coating we'll cover the sandwich with before cooking.

Fruity Pebbles. Yup.
They're like Rice Crispies but with awesome fruit flavor...and sugar. After pouring some on a plate, you'll want to crush them with the bottom of a glass or a fist, your choice.
These next steps all happen pretty quickly, so take a deep breath and...

Dip that sandwich in the egg mixture. I let it soak on each side for several seconds, longer if the bread is particularly dry and parched. If your bread is incredibly fresh and soft, it may disintegrate. I'm sorry I don't have a table or chart to help with figuring out soaking times for you. Maybe you'll find something on the internet. Good luck.Tongs are very useful for keeping my skin away from the raw egg, but you could use a couple of forks or a rubber glove. Heck, you could even use your fingers, just don't run them through your hair until after either washing them or cooking them for a couple minutes.

Once the bread is good and wet it's ready to be plopped onto the crushed Fruity Pebbles which will stick to the eggy wetness. After coating both sides with the cereal, toss that puppy on the griddle or frying pan and cook it on both sides.

After making one of these delicious creations, you might just want to make several regular pieces of french toast as well. There is a slight chance that, if your kids are like mine, they won't even try this fancy schmancy stuff. That's all right. I enjoyed mine very much, thank you.

Yummmmm. Think you'd like some too?

If not, perhaps my wife's legitimate version will be more to your liking. Check it out here.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Power of Words

Words have such power. Think of the Gettysburg Address or the Declaration of Independence.
There's Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have A Dream Speech" and JFK reminding us "Ask not what your country can do for you."

The power of words in our lives is underestimated at times, but they can bring tears of sorrow or joy; they can break down barriers or build them up. They can even save lives, "Help, I've fallen and I can't get up!"

Or, as was the case today, words can motivate me to change my pants.

Cindy (wife): OK. Go change your pants, and let's head out for our date.

Me: Why do I need to change my pants?

Cindy: Because they're out of style, and you're going to be with me, and I'm looking really good today.

She absolutely had a point, so I quickly changed into the pants that will undoubtedly be out of style tomorrow.

Then after lunch, I dropped her off and picked up a little boy for me to babysit this afternoon. Again, I heard powerful words.

Ben (4 years old): Your car has trash. Our car doesn't have trash.

Me: Yes, there sure is a lot of trash back there.

Ben: Why do you throw trash away in your car? Our car doesn't have trash.

Me: Well, our girls are messy and just throw their trash on the floor of the car.

Ben: Our car doesn't have trash.
The sad thing is that I think the car was actually pretty clean compared to other times, but his words made me want to clean the car anyway. Not actually CLEAN the car, just WANT to clean it. Clearly, his words weren't nearly as powerful as Cindy's pants-changing power words.

What Do You Think Of Idol Worship?

Sorry to have a third post this week related to American Idol. I really do have a life outside of that show. For example, I'm anxiously awaiting the next episode of Battlestar Galactica and Dancing With The Stars.
(Oh, and sometimes I even spend time with my wife and children, or possibly go to work.)

But for those who don't watch American Idol and haven't heard this tidbit of joy, I wanted to share that the contestants came back again on Thursday night and kicked off with a repeat of "Shout To The Lord."

Whereas on Wednesday they "safened" the lyrics by singing "My shepherd, my savior," Thursday they went ahead and sang it straight-up "My JESUS, my savior." Either way, a powerful and significant song and moment.

The audience was on its feet again, and my wife was sitting on the couch with a hand raised and glistening eyes.

I know that not everyone can appreciate Christian praise and worship songs, and I hope that they'll tolerate this development this week as much I tolerate some of the stuff that comes out of the mouths on Idol at other times.

I just wanted a couple of you readers who never watch tv to get that update. There were a few moments of worship on stage at American Idol and in living rooms throughout the country two nights in a row.

Enjoy it while it lasts, and then head to your local church this weekend and pick up where the show left off.

Sing loud, go ahead and shout to the Lord in church this Sunday!
And to prove that I'm not overly obsessed with American Idol, I'll be posting later today on a non-television-related topic. Most likely cheese.
Unless the contestants sing "A Mighty Bulwark Is Our God" in a special tonight. You never know.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Really? Did I Just See That? Did YOU?

I wasn't planning on blogging tonight. You know, I had to watch "American Idol Gives Back" with the family, and it was, like, 2 1/2 hours long. Who knows if I'd even stay awake all the way through it.

But as the show ended, the Idol contestants came out in all white outfits and sang, "Shout To The Lord." (The song with the mountains bowing down, seas roaring and such.)

Really? Isn't that a church song? About Jesus and God and all?

I know that it's not likely that any non-Christians who hears that song are going to be converted by the song's awesomely fantastic goodness. However, as a Christian, it wrapped the night up wonderfully for me.

Throughout the show, I saw video after video of sorrow, grief and despair and celebrities and stars moved to tears at what they were experiencing in various corners of our world. Their messages and pleas for us to reach out to the least of these was not a new one. The call to help widows and orphans, to extend a hand to the poor and downtrodden, has been echoing through the ages.

Before Jesus' death, he spent three years touching lepers and feeding the hungry and preaching a message just like Annie Lennox, Bono, Daughtry, Reece and many others shared tonight.

I pray that every belly is filled, that every sickness is attended to and that every child is cared for.

Perhaps, if you have yet to follow Jesus' instructions to give, serve and love, maybe a crazy little show like American Idol has opened your eyes to a need and your ability to meet it. Whether it's sending money to "Idol Gives Back" or volunteering at a local homeless shelter or reading with struggling schoolchildren, I hope you find joy in your selfless acts of love.

We can leave this world in better shape than it was when we got here. WILL we?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

AI: Whatever Makes The Chihuahuas Happy

OH NO!I have had every intention of keeping my American Idol recaps completely devoid of any comment on the actual singing. But occasionally tonight, I paid attention to the songs and the voices. So don't be surprised if I accidentally let slip a statement or two about the singing.

Michael Johns needed a furry hat with a wacky feather to go with his neck scarf thing. While I'm not crazy about this look, it caught Paula's eye and heart: "you sound as good as you look." And evidently, Paula's chihuahuas are fans of his voice as well.

Syesha, I want my ring back. You know, the big honkin' one from that vending machine at Pizza Hut? I had to use about 7 quarters to finally get that particular ring, so I'll trade you both the spider ring AND the sparlkly mood ring to get that one back. (Email me.)

Jason Castro rocked on the ukelele. Unfortunately, it was a ukelele. No offense if anyone out there plays first seat ukelele in the London symphony; it's just that it's called a ukelele which makes me giggle...like the jew's harp or keytar. You're giggling too now, right?

Kristy Leigh, whose name I choose to spell differently each week, sang "Anyway" which can't even compete with my rendition in our minivan, but I appreciate her attempt. Actually, she did awesome. I just choose to believe that I'm awesomer.

While we're on a commercial break, let me insert a quick comment regarding Paula's clothing choice. If you saw it, you know exactly what I'm thinking. If you didn't, then... Oops. Commercial's over, so my comments about her chest and suffocation and puff pastries will have to wait.

David Cook. Oh. I'm counting the seconds until this song is over. Not working for me. He's one of my favorites, but this song demonstrates why I will only buy music singles online instead of whole albums. For "inspirational" song night, the only thing this song inspired me to do was sew some extra buttons on some lapels.

Something about Carly's leotard top made me expect to see some legwarmers when the camera panned out. But instead, I saw the belt that matched Wonder Woman's bracelets. That should protect her from Paula's chihuahuas.

David Archuletta sang "Angels" while playing the piano. It's almost like he was trying to outdo Jason with a heavier and more internationally-recognized instrument. I really liked the song, though I couldn't tell you what in the world it's about.

Brooke sang "You've Got A Friend" which I recognize from one of our James Taylor CD, now downloaded on the iPod. Cindy likes to play it when she cleans the house, because it makes her happy, she says. So needless to say, I had to get up in the middle of the song to spray some Pledge on the dining room table.
Now that the dusting is done, I must say that my favorites of the night are:
1. Michael John
2. Kristy Leah
3. David Archuletta

My least favorite was David Cook, but that was just tonight. I'm fickle, so he'll probably shoot up the list next week.

Oh, and to help you make sense of Michael John's neckwear in the coming weeks:

(Why not pop over to BooMama and sing a little bit of "One Moment In Time" for her as you check out some other AI reviews. Meanwhile, I'm off to get my wife some ice cream because she wrote her own recap as well and it took a lot out of her, I guess.)

Dearly Beloved...

Usually, I can count on my wife to be wise and discerning.
Occasionally, though, she makes a bad choice.
Like today, on her post.
Don't get me wrong. The post itself is wonderful and sweet and all. It's about our dear friends and their journey and how the next part of their journey should take place on a ship.

The problem is the photo she included of me and Phil at our wedding (mine and Cindy's, not mine and Phil's.)

He emailed her and commented on it as well.
"With the headings of 'Still His Girl' and 'Great Romance,' and then the picture of Scott and I standing together in tuxedos, I thought that it made your blog look like it could be a g@y marriage promo. But you should probably not mention that on the blog."

Oops. I just did.
If you have it in you, you're invited over to Cindy's blog to read about Phil and his wife Lisa who gave birth to quads and how you can help them win a contest by voting for their video. I believe that voting also enters you for a prize (free Princess cruise) as well.

Monday, April 7, 2008

One Scoop Or Two

The girls feel that because they have been responsible with hamsters for the last several years, they should be rewarded with an automatic upgrade to a dog.

Heretofore, we'd been able to squash these dreams by blaming it on Mommy's and Daddy's allergies.
US: "Oh, we wish we could get a dog too (lie), but if any dogs moved in, we might die from acute allergic reactions (another lie)."

THEM: "Tell us about that life insurance."

Unfortunately, OUR dreams have been squashed because these girls have a number of friends sharing testimonials about their fancy schmancy hypo-allergenic dogs that you could literally rub against your corneas or the interior of your nostrils with little to no effect. So now we're forced either to come up with some new and unwavering religious objection to dog ownership based on an obscure scripture OR give in and buy a doggone dog.

Unless we could find a way to make then NOT want a dog. Like this:

Brynne was invited to a friend's house this weekend, and I made a deal with the parents. In order to give Brynne a taste of the brutal realities of dog ownership, I suggested that they ask her to help with some serious doo-doo removal from the back yard. I was only half-way joking.

When I went later to pick her up, sure enough, our friends had accepted the challenge, and Brynne was out there scooping poop with a little shovel. She looked up with the hugest smile and said, "This is FUN!!!"

The sad thing is that she wasn't just trying to trick me. She was genuinely having fun. The kind of fun that was next to impossible to pull her away from. I truly believe that she would have scooped for another 5 hours if I'd let her.

Back to the drawing board.

Giveaway Winner Announced (insert award show music here)

You can probably guess why I hardly slept last night.

The anticipation was killing me.

I awoke early and headed to the garage to build myself a handy little wooden wheel to spin and pick a winner for the office contest. I found a little plywood, some nails, a bolt, some washers, a few different colors of paint and board game.

In the interest of time (and energy), I left the first five items in the garage and decided just to use a spinner from the board game.

And now, I just need to give this wheel a little spin...
Fooey. I flicked it, and it just hit my fingers and stopped abruptly. I hate it when that happens.
Second try. Oooh. On the line.
Third try. Blue!!!
We have a winner!
Congratulations to "Tina from Thailand!"

I'm kind of hoping that "Thailand" is a code name for a town in an adjacent county or state for mailing purposes, but I have a hunch we're talking the country formally known as Siam. Which is cool, too, in a sort of Asian way. My grandparents were actually missionaries in Thailand long, long ago with the Lisu people up north, and I am hoping to get over there some day in the future. There are so many intriguing stories of their time on the mission field, including my dad being born in a prison camp during WWII and other brushes with death.

So Tina, drop me a line (my email link is on the sidebar, I think), and we'll figure out how to send you some stuff that is really, really cool, but not cool enough to warrant staying in my office.

And to those of you who lost: If the hope of winning this contest was the only thing keeping you alive, let me know, and we'll see what we can do to keep you hanging on for another couple of weeks until my office devolves into its usual bottomless cesspit.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Nature vs. Nuture

Coming into the kitchen, I found Jenna typing away on her new "laptop."

As you can see, this is one of those low-end computers made mostly of paper with a hint of #2 pencil. She has all the keys there as well as a touch pad. Part of its genius is that it's cordless and runs on giggles and rainbows and other such creativeness.

There's also a nice big screen. If you look carefully, you might be able to recognize that's she's working on a BLOG. It has the main body in the center and some kind of background on each side. What a great template; she's obviously quite gifted. I'd been wondering how long it would take for our children's blogging genes to finally kick into gear. Now we know. Time will tell whether she develops into a witty, sensitive and thought-provoking writer like her mother, or a writer of meaningless garbage like me.

Even though Jenna's a fairly decent writer by 1st-grade standards, for her first post you can see that she's opted for writing gibberish in order to focus more of her energy on creating the "photo."

Can you make sense of that photo? Anybody want to guess what she's blogging about?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

They Were Always Such Quiet Little Girls

If your children don't want to come over to our house and play with our children, I'll understand.

Really. It's all right.

It can be a traumatic experience for some kids, I know.

That dead hamster that's been chilling in our garage freezer? I just found out this morning that a couple of friends have taken it out of the freezer and out of the plastic bags to hold it! I'm just horrified, so Pepper is leaving pronto.

But even with the carcasses removed from our food storage units, there's still the matter of the animal bones strewn across the property.

Visitors are first greeted by a pile of bones on the sidewalk. How quaint.

The gigantic leg bone by the grill on the deck is also homey and welcoming.

And of course, there's a skull in an old mailbox on the back porch.
Presumably, these bones are from various animals like deer in the woods. Or perhaps some old cow bones from the farm that predated this neighborhood. But to add drama to the affair, the girls found an old wallet near some remains. We're fairly certain the bones were deer bones, but it's weird that an animal would be carrying a wallet. Hmmm. That gave them a mystery to work on for a while.

But don't worry; we've already nixed the animal-head collection that the girls had begun. It consisted of a bird head and a chipmunk head (thanks to the neighborhood cats).

Pretty much what I'm saying is that when my girls finally make the news on a Dateline criminal special, the quotes from neighbors will be, "We should have guessed something was up with those girls, what with all the bones and body parts all over the place."

Playdate anyone?

Friday, April 4, 2008

I Didn't Know There Was Blue Carpet Under That Stuff

It's been eight years in the making, but the moment of truth has finally arrived.

Yesterday, I devoted the entire morning and some of the afternoon to clearing out clutter from my office. In some ways, as I threw out things that I haven't been able to get rid of in years, it felt as though I were cutting off one of my limbs, or giving up a child...or cutting off a child's limb.

So you see, this was very difficult and emotional to say the least, and perhaps illegal in some states.

Can you see a couple of children hiding under the desk?

My secretary was instrumental in the whole operation. At one point, I was sitting at my desk sorting through paper to toss out, and she was standing up on the counter behind me to wipe down the window blinds. It sure looked to passersby that I was slacking off while I had my assistant climbing on the furniture working like a slave. How astute of them to notice. For her efforts, I told her she chould keep any coins she found.

We set up a couple of FEMA trailers outside my office to house displaced/refugee items until a proper home could be found for them. A few useful (but unwanted) items made it to the shared workroom so that others could claw and fight over such things as empty baskets, an unused ledger book and a tin of 4-year-old candy. (Don't worry. I'm holding onto some things for the giveaway.)

No fewer than 87 people stopped by to express surprise. "Were you fired? Are you clearing out your office?" Most of them sounded sad at that prospect. A couple others might find themselves the proud recipients of my four-month-old wheat rolls if they don't apologize for sounding a little too excited at the thought of me leaving.

If you know me, then you know I loved the attention regardless of tone. In fact, I received about as much attention for my CLEAN office as I used to receive for my MESSY office. "Scott, are you in there? I can't see you behind that pile of plastic pumpkins and Legos."

My conclusion: my personality requires me to have an uber-clean or uber-messy office. I'm fairly certain I wouldn't receive much attention for a middle-of-the-road office: "My, Scott, doesn't your office look absolutely average today. What are you doing in there? Your job?"

So far now, clean is in. And not just normal clean, but so insanely clean and tidy that I'll probably want to work from someone else's office so as not to sully my newly pristine domain. (Did I mention we actually found surfaces to dust? I have surfaces now.)

Next up? I'm off to build that giant wheel to spin and help me select the winner of the giveaway on Monday. It's not too late to enter. I even came across more artifacts that I'm going to surprise the lucky winner with. Lucky lucky lucky indeed.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Another Benefit Of Bad Parenting

I know I know I know I know I know that you shouldn't give children too many sweets and candies. I know this.

But we have this tradition that on April Fool's Day, we do everything in reverse meal-wise. This means that the morning started off with what might normally end the day.
Our children ate ice cream for breakfast.

And they ended the day with a nice glazy Krispy Kreme doughnut or two...preceded by bacon and a few chocolate-chip pancakes.

Riding home in my car after church tonight, they found my secret stash of jelly beans which I was forced to have to share, because they think I'm nice and all. It was either that or hook them up to the drip bags of high fructose corn syrup at bedtime, and you really shouldn't do that two nights in a row.

After all this, Jenna (who I believe had sugar crystals forming on the edges of her pores) saw me making myself a ham sandwich for a late dinner. She asked, "can I have a piece of bread for a snack?"

I'm thinking that if we completely stuff our children with Easter candy for two weeks straight, we might actually make them sick of the stuff, right? We'll have the other three begging for bread in no time.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Works For My Car

Get A Car Battery Charger

A couple of weeks ago, I was having a bad-car week. My Blazer just didn't want to start. Several months earlier, it had starter issues and solenoid stuff and other such mechanical whackiness going on under that hood. I couldn't afford for all of that to come undone now.

Because these things could cost money I don't have, I didn't want to take it in to get fixed until I HAD to.

Instead, I grabbed my brand-new car charger/starter that I had asked for for Christmas. I actually received two, but you really only need one at a time, so I returned the other.

Everyone should have one of these things. I wish now that I had kept the other so I could give it you. Sorry

For three or four days, every time I had to start the car, I simply whipped that puppy out--at the library, at work, at the grocery, at the gas station--and attached it to the battery.

I started to imagine doing this for the rest of the month until payday, and then I began hating my life.

These charger/jumpers are perfect for helping in a pinch, but probably shouldn't become part of your daily lifestyle. Get one anyway, and never be stranded out in that big, scary world...as long as it's just a sick battery.

On the other hand, if you're having starter/solenoid/doohicky trouble, then I guess you'll just have to flail around hopelessly in the Shop-A-Lot parking lot until vast amounts of cash drop from the sky. (Or learn to do car repairs. THAT would be a great works for me wednesday idea.)

I-I-I-I-I-I Will Always Love You, Dolly P.

It's not everyday that you get to see a bunch of teens and twenty-somethings dancing around singing old Dolly Parton songs.

Thank goodness.
They could NEVER be as awesome as Dolly.

Remember, if you were hoping for honest-to-goodness critiques of voices and singing quality, I'm sure there are better reviews linked over at BooMama. HERE is where you can get your best non-singing related AI info.

Because Chikeze left last week, I'll now be able to save about 12 minutes writing this post. That's about how much time was spent last week searching online for how to spell his name correctly, and I'm sure I still got it wrong. I'm also crossing my fingers on Syesha and Archuleta.

Brooke got all folksy with her guitar once more and delighted us with a nice country song. I'm assuming it's country, not only because it's a Dolly song, but also because it begged "Jolene, please don't take my man." Puh-lease. If Jolene's fixin' to take your man, do you really say "please" or do you key their car and carve your name in the leather seats in their SUV like my friend Carrie Underwood?

David Cook sang "Little Sparrow" which I didn't know, and still don't, because I spent the entire song trying to figure out what looks different about him. Maybe an eyebrow waxing? Something different with his goatee? Then Paula helped me solve the mystery: he uncovered more of his generous forehead than ever before. And it looked so much better than that comb-over he's been sporting since Day 1. He's quite handsome...for a guy, you know.

Ramiele just can't let go of the high-waisted clothing. Maybe that's the work of her stylist, or maybe she shops with friends who are jealous and trying to sabotage her by telling her that's what's in. Of course, listening to a 37-year-old man talk about what's "in" on his blog is a lot like listening to Simon Cowell talk about tactfulness.

In the video clip before his song, Jason Castro got his dreadlocks fondled by Dolly Parton. It made me feel a little uncomfortable. Uncomfortable for Jason to have an older woman running her fingers through his hair on national television, and uncomfortable for Dolly knowing that she had to be kind and not wipe her hands off on her apron in front of Jason.

I'm typing this right now before Carly sings. Let me make a prediction: sleeveless Tattoo-baring blouse?
Yup! I WIN! My daughter just asked, "Are there ways to get a tattoo off?" I'm sure there are, but I'll just say no so she won't be tempted to get one. But, dear daughter, if you DO get a tattoo, don't get a whole head emblazoned on your upper arm. It reminds me of Kuato, that alien poking out of the guy's chest in "Total Recall."

I'm telling you, my predictions are usually right, and if they continue to be, then you WILL see David Archuleta dressed as Aladdin on a magic carpet in a parade in Orlando. He will total ROCK on Main Street! Honestly, I think his voice is so young and rich and would be sweet for voices in Disney movies. He DID sing about Jesus, so I'll be nice about the argyle tonight.

Christy Lee, being the most country of the crew, I expected to really shine tonight. And once I translate Randy's "wheelhouse" comment, I'll know if she did or not. I dunno, maybe it had something to do with that ginormous blue orb in the center of her dress.

Syesha sang "I Will Always Love You," the only song of the night that I'd ever heard before. Now that it's in my head, I'll be singing it all night and in the shower in the morning and in the car on the way to work and all through my meetings tomorrow. I'm really pretty good on this song, but I'm sure you would guess that I do it more like Whitney Houston than Dolly because of my particular vocal training.

Australian Michael may have been the biggest Dolly fan in the bunch, and that was kind of sweet. But the Thurston Howell ascot around his neck was a little incongruous with the song and style. Once again, though, I'm not the best person to speak on fashion, so if you want to wear an ascot to work or school tomorrow, have at it. Just don't come crying to me if you lose all of your friends.

Can't wait for tomorrow to see Dolly sing. She is awesome, and when old ladies rock, it makes me want to grow old too. If we could all age like Dolly, wouldn't this be an interesting world?

Because You'd Be Upset If I DIDN'T Tell You

I hope I didn't freak anyone out by showing too much of my sensitive side yesterday.

Since I'm already in the mood, I might as well continue with the mushy stuff.

If you're familiar with such movies as "Steel Magnolias" and "Beaches," then you'll understand why it might be difficult for me as a man to admit that I've cried at each of those...more than once. I have to pace myself, so I'm due to watch one of those in 2010, the other 2017.

If you like a good, emotional bit of entertainment, then there's a TV show I need to clue you into. I missed the first season, so I had to catch up on DVD's that I got from the library after waiting weeks and weeks for my turn in line.
Then I also got seasons 2 and 3 on DVR and pretty much watched each episode and became a little more than overly-emotionally involved.

It's starting its new season this week, and I really don't know how I'll sleep between now and then. My nerves are worked up to a froth.

It has the political intrigue of "The West Wing" as well as the highs and lows of plain old daily living. There is romance, betrayal, courage, life-threatening illnesses. There are children torn from parents and tearful reunions. There are estranged sons and repentant fathers. There are heart-wrenching life and death decisions that keep you awake at night wondering what YOU would have done. Displaced refugees long for a new and safe home. There is faith; there is doubt.
But there is hope, a lot of hope.

I think "Battlestar Galactica" starts again on Friday at 10/9 Central on SciFi.

Seriously, even though it happens in space, it could just as easily take place in this world. When I saw a special on it this week that included folks like Brad Paisley singing its praises, I knew there might be a chance that my wife could love it too. I don't think there's been a single goofy green alien, so that helps make it more real and accessible to normal people like you and me.

My recommendation? Don't try to catch it in the middle. Go get season 1...right now. The opening 4 episodes of that first season are possibly among the most incredible hours of television ever made (Sorry Hannah Montana). I teared up more than once in those opening episodes alone.

If anyone else out there is a fan, I'd love to hear. The rest of you can just make fun of me until you watch it. Then you can thank me publicly on this blog.

Oh, and just to prove how much of a tv-aholic I am, I think you'll be getting my "American Idol" recap right after tonight's show. Two TV posts in one day; I need a life.