Curse you, back-to-school sales!

Holy Gap, I hated back-to-school shopping as a kid. Primarily I hated it, obviously, for what it signified. I wanted no part of going back to school and no amount of those Toughskins with the crotch-chafing consistency of freshly molded fiberglass was going to change my mind.

School shopping was just all-around bad. But somehow Mom usually seemed to manage to find something that would at least make it not TOO terrible (cool sneakers, I'm With Stupid t-shirt, some kind of tricked-out backpack…). Corinne had Josh out tonight for round one and she managed to get this hint of a smile with some kick-ass Nikes and that totally butch necklace.

  • Rockinshoes

  • Happyboy


Moms are great that way.

Dad's? Not so much. God help you if you ever had to go back-to-school shopping with my Dad.

[commence flashback sequence]

Dad: Greg?! Where the hell are you? Get over here. No, over here. Over by the clearance rack.

Greg: [mumble, mumble]

Dad: There you are. Here. Go try these on.

Greg: But those aren't even jeans, Dad.

Dad: Of course they're not jeans. That is one sharp-looking pair of slacks. Listen kid, you put those on and you're gonna have to beat the women off with a stick.

Greg: Dad, can't I just get some jeans instead?

Dad: What the hell are you talking about? This is a classy pair of pants. And they're on clearance. Have you seen how much they want for those jeans you were looking at? When you get a job, you can buy yourself some jeans…

Greg: [grating, high-pitched whine] But Dad, I don't LIKE these.

Dad: [exasperated, fist-clenching attempt at a calm voice] Oh for the love of God, what the hell is WRONG with these pants? Take them in the goddamn dressing room and try them on!

[painfully slow trudge toward the dressing room, followed by sniffling, horrified donning of said garment and reluctant emergence from dressing room stall]

Dad: He-hey! Now THAT is spiffy! Hoo-hoo!

Greg: Dad, they're too short! Everybody's gonna make fun of me.

Dad: They're NOT too short, they're perfect. Look, see, you've got just a little bit of a break there in the front where it meets the shoe. That's perfect – just the way I have mine tailored.

Greg: Yeah, but Dad, you… Never mind. Can I at least go back and get a bigger pair.

Dad: Are you kidding? Jesus Greg, how many pairs of these do you think they have out there? You put a deal like this out on the clearance rack and you don't think they're going to jump off the shelves?

Greg: [return of the mumbling]

Dad: Stop that damned mumbling.

Greg: Dad, I can't even tell what color these are.

Dad: What the hell are you talking about, they're brown…er…well, they were brown over by the rack. I think they're green. Whatever color they are, I saw some fantastic v-neck sweaters over there that would go great with them. Come on…

If anyone could appreciate the importance of a good drink, it was that fish

Okay, here's your ethical dilemma for the day.

On a fantastically sunny, calm summer evening, with a crackling fire burning cheerfully and the beloved warmth of family all around, which is the more virtuous path:

• Should one risk the accidental spillage of a cold, hoppy, well-deserved beer by placing it precariously in the grass?

• Or should one reach over to the pet graveyard tree and metaphorically invite a fallen friend to join in the revelry?

Molly was thoroughly offended. ("That's Rainbow's tombstone!") But I'm not sure she understands that this was a good beer. (I want to say Fat Tire, but it looks a little dark. Let's just say not PBR.)

Plus, I think I knew Rainbow pretty well. He and I shared more than a few laughs while I'd give him fresh water and scrub out his little glass fishbowl. That was a fish who liked to unwind and who appreciated the value of a refreshing drink now and again. Not like that uptight jerk, Mr. Wiggles. Boy, did that guy have a stick up his gill.

Leave me alone – I’m busy being lazy

Yeah, I know it's been awhile since my last post. And yeah, I know that's in violation of the spirit of my six-month commitment to post twice a week. But I never really said those two posts would come within the Gregorian confines of that calendar week.

See, what I really meant was that I would post no less than 52 times* in that six-month period. And don't worry, I've got some brilliant stuff coming up here. So get off my friggin' back.

In case you're at all curious, I think this little gap has been the result of alternating pressures from both ends of the energy/lethargy spectrum. In other words – for one of the lost weeks I was totally slammed at work (still am…but that's a different story) and just didn't have time to post – for the other of the lost weeks I was on vacation and just didn't care to muster the motivation to talk to you people (not that I don't love each of you dearly).

But, busy or not, here I come. Time to get back to posting.

*And guess what? This pointless little informational black hole, with no photos, no witty anecdotes, no cute kids, no broken appliances and no dead animals? Still totally counts toward 52. It's my blog. I get to make up the rules.

Click here. My kids’ happiness depends on it.

When Aeschines spoke, they said, ‘How well he speaks.’ But when Demosthenes spoke, they said, ‘Let us march against Philip.’*

So this is my channeling of Demosthenes. This is my call to action. This is my stirring, ‘Win one for the Gipper’ speech.


Please invest three minutes of your life into watching the embedded video below.

Pretty please?

What’s that? What the heck are you watching? It’s a church youth group project starring Molly, Claudia, and cousin Alyssa. It was shot and directed by our very own Josie. (Please don’t ask me what the Glee version of Safety Dance has to do with church youth group. Just go with it.)

There are four teams locked in mortal combat right now for the highest total number of views. (Hey, that’s quite enough of the depressingly cynical comments on mortal combat in the name of religion, jerks. It’s just a youth group video contest.)

So thanks for watching. You’ve made our girls very happy. Want to make them even happier? Watch it again.

I think the kids have until Friday, Aug. 20. So watch it early and watch it often. (It makes a wonderful stretch break at work. Seriously. If your boss gets after you over three lousy minutes, give me a call and I’ll go to bat for you.)




*Love this line from Ogilvy on Advertising. Classic.

Mud Run

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I would say that my father suffers with multiple sclerosis, but that would be inaccurate.

Anyone who’s had to spend any time with my Dad would point out that it’s more likely that MS suffers with my father.

But, whichever one’s been suffering more, they’ve been suffering together for thirty-some years. So Corinne and I would be excited about our next race just because our next race is a fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

But we’re more excited than that. We’re way excited because the Mud Run 2010 looks AWESOME! Take a look at this video and see what I mean.

So this is how we’ve decided to spend our anniversary weekend this year.

Kick ass, right?

Okay, here’s the next thing I need you to do: Click these links and go sponsor me and/or Corinne. We need to meet our fundraising goal before the race on Sept. 11.

Multiple sclerosis interrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body. Every hour in the United States, someone is diagnosed with MS — an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. More than 400,000 people in the United States and 2.5 million worldwide live with MS.

The National MS Society uses dollars raised to fund cutting-edge research, drive change through advocacy, facilitate professional education, collaborate with MS organizations around the world, and provide programs and services designed to help people with MS and their families move their lives forward.

Help move us toward a world free of the disease. Make a donation!

Learn from my mistake

I thought we'd save a couple of bucks.

I mean, it's a tough year and we're working hard to get our heads above water. Plus, both Corinne and I have had monstrous projects in front of us at work all summer, with no end in sight.

So it just made sense that one thing which could get dropped this year — from the budget and the schedule — was a trip to the Bugbee Hive Resort on Bee-Utiful Lake Koronis.

We were frustrated. My parents were disappointed. Siblings and cousins were sad. The kids were pissed. It was a crime against humanity.

But, evidently, it was also a crime against nature.

Screw with the Hive and the bees will get their revenge. In our case, it started with a random yellow jacket crawling around inside the sliding glass door in the kitchen two Sundays ago. And it ended with a frantic Josie making a hasty retreat this Saturday after suffering six stings (an undetermined number of which occurred in the buttular region). We had a house full of bees. (That means they were inside the house, in case you missed my inference there.) Evidently, they were bent on vengeance.

Corinne and I were in Minneapolis for work, so Josie bugged out to her dad's house, dropping the dogs off with Christine on her way. Corinne made some phone calls and finally found an exterminator who would make a Sunday appointment (mad props to Westside Pest Solutions). They met us here at home on Sunday at 1 when we got home. They sprayed some bee stuff all around. And, at the same time, they agreed to dispatch the nasty clan of hugenormous spiders that we've had blocking our entryway all year long (shudder).

We'll be picking up dead bees here and there for the next week or so. (Don't step on the stinger!) But I can't help thinking that all this pain and suffering could have been avoided if we'd just sucked it up and spent a predictably fabulous week at the Hive.

Let that be a lesson to you.


There’s an app for that

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It's Corinne's birthday! And I think I did pretty well on her $5 birthday present.

I got her a $4.99 iPhone app — which would be an oddly pointless gift if we hadn't just caved last week. That's right; last week we gave up the desperate, futile wait for Apple to make the iPhone available for Sprint.

Corinne's switching to AT&T and getting the iPhone she's coveted so desperately and for so long. We shuffled some expenses and some budget dollars…and we'll make it work.

Now, if you're sensing a similarity between Corinne's $5 birthday present and her $1 Mother's Day present — and thinking that indicates a halfhearted effort and lack of creativity on my part — go screw yourself. Just kidding. But, in my opinion, what that similarity indicates is just how well I know and love my fantastic wife. She's a techno-geek. A beautiful, wonderful, adorable techno-geek.

So, as foreign as the idea sounds to me, I think an iPhone app is the thing that's truly going to bring joy to my wife… As soon as AT&T gets their act together and ships the damned phone.

iPhone = awesome

AT&T = lame