Just for the record

"As far as I'm concerned, a dip in the pool counts as my shower for the day."

True Colors

Yesterday, driving home from the coffee shop, I heard the song "True Colors" by Cindi Lauper on the radio. Instantly I was transported back to elementary school when this song was popular.

You see, in the 5th grade there was a blind girl who was fully integrated into our class. She did everything we did, only instead of pen and paper she had a special typewriter that typed braille. And instead of books, she had thick stock paper with raised dots all over them organized into folders. I was astonished that she could make sense out of any of it.

What this has to do with Cindi Lauper is that this blind girl, whose name escapes me, would on occasion sing Cindi Lauper songs to our class. I guess she was kind of famous for doing this impersonation. At first we thought this was pretty cool and interesting that this blind girl, who was only in the fifth grade, could do a pretty good impression of Cindi Lauper.

But then, when it was happening every Friday afternoon, and even one time for the whole school over the P.A. System, it started to get old. Eventually, we were rolling our eyes when she went to the front of the class to serenade us once again with "True Colors... because that's why I love you."

I say all that to say this, had it not been for hearing this song again, I wouldn't have remembered this totally funny and unique memory from my past. I wonder where that blind girl is today, if she still has strawberry blonde hair, and if she still sings for people. I hope she is doing well because I can't even begin to imagine how difficult it would be to navigate this world with out sight.

In my mind, I have age progressed her to look like Bryce Howard, who played a blind girl in M. Night Shalaman's "The Village." Here's to you former classmate.

Have You Ever Noticed?

After going to the pool for the first time this season I have concluded the following:

Fat on the human body looks better when it's tanned.

Black Olives would like to speak with you

"Listen. I know you love eating me during the Holidays, but is that all I'm good for to you? Don't you realize that I'm delicious 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Plus, I'm inexpensive and easy to serve. Just open a can of me with a can-opener, drain the water, and dump me in bowl. And kids love me, too. So what are you waiting for? Go buy me at the grocery store today and have me for snack tonight. I'm black olives for heaven's sake!"

Inspired by a made up conversation in my head after eating olives recently.

Oooohh... this is a funkalicious slam dunk!

Sometimes I dream, that he is me, you got to see that's how I dream to be...

Man, if I could dunk like this for just one day I would be in heaven.

Boy Bags Wild Hog Bigger Than 'Hogzilla'

An 11-year-old Alabama boy used a pistol to kill a wild hog his father says weighed a staggering 1,051 pounds and measured 9-feet-4 from the tip of its snout to the base of its tail.

How can this be true? I'm scared just looking at the picture. You can read the rest of the story here.

Austin and I build a T-Shirt Folder

I told you I was going to build this.

Now, don't be jealous just because I can fold my T-shirts quicker than you. I'm sure you have other great skills and abilities.

How To Get To Know Yourself

Try this scientifically proven exercise to gain insight into who you are.

Step one: Google your name followed by the words likes to in quotation marks. (ex: "John likes to")

Step two: Record the ten most interesting findings on your blog.

Here's an assessment of myself.

#1 John likes to play dressup!
#2 Tomorrow's memories, painted today is how John likes to describe acrylic paintings
#3 music is difficult to categorize, John likes to classify it as simply guitar music
#4 john likes to believe that he is both funny and engaging,
#5 Then they found that John likes to partake in marijuana, as they found a small ...
#6 John likes to wear his giraffe slippers, but they are getting holes worn in the ...
#7 John likes to articulate our defleshed bones.
#8 John likes to analyze every aspect of softball, including his "chopping" method
#9 ...As John likes to point out, "The government insists my writing must, by definition, be fiction!
#10 ...John likes to drink coffee and is instantly recognized in restaurants everywhere ...

(ht to EE)

I'm Going To Start A Secret Society!

Tonight in my class, Social & Cultural Foundations, we watched a video on "Secret Societies". It was recorded from the History Channel show History's Mysteries. It was pretty entertaining and full of conspiracy theories. They highlighted secret societies such as the Freemasons, Heildelbergs, Illuminati, and Skull & Bones. The main premise was that these secret societies control the whole world.

So after little thought, I've decided that I'm going to start my own secret society. If I don't talk to you about it later, you are not in it. If you ask me about it later, I will deny it.

Yes there will be secret handshakes, and funny costumes. I'm toying around with the idea of all members wearing a kilt and an eye patch over their left eye (the evil eye) during our meetings.

The purpose of the group is to bring about world domination. Our first order of business...

The systematic removal of all clowns from the face of the earth.

I love my kids but.....

Do they have to get up at 6:30am EVERY SINGLE DAY!!!! EVEN ON THE WEEKENDS! COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I could be sleeping in today.

A good reason to get a second opinion

Did you hear this story? A man is told he has months to live so he sells everything he has and lives it up. The problem? The doctors misdiagnosed him! So now he's healthy, but he's broke. You can read the whole story here.

This is not right.

I do not condone or endorse this.
(My kid eating straight butter.)

An Early Morning Suprise

So what happens when your five-year-old plays with the temperature dial in your refrigerator and leaves it on the coldest setting?

At breakfast when I crack an egg, nothing comes out.

At lunch my salad is covered with ice and my cherry tomatoes are as hard as rocks.

At dinner... we eat out.

NBA Playoffs - Yawnnnnnn!

Last night I watched some of the NBA playoffs and it was a giant snooze-fest. For some reason basketball just doesn't do it for me anymore. I think I was spoiled getting to grow up in the Michael Jordan era. Watching Jordan play was an event. There was palpable excitement in the air. And you had to watch because you knew something special was going to happen. Jordan would do something so amazing, so wonderful, so unbelievable that you didn't want to be the only person that didn't see it live.

Basketball today - not so much. Check out this video of his Jordan in his prime.

And the Oscar goes to...

Last night at the store I someone buying "Artificial Tears." Appalled, I wanted to tell them that if you are going to cry for someone, make them real tears!

Did you pay attention to the words you sang at church last weekend?

Ht to Marko

I'm So Excited!

On the way to work the other day I heard the song "I'm So Excited" by the Pointer Sisters. In an instant I was transported back to the summer of 1984. It was the summer of the Olympics and Mary Lou Retton would make history becoming the first American woman ever to win a gold medal in gymnastics. With her perfect 10's she captured the imagination of Americans everywhere... but more importantly she stole my heart.

I vividly remember watching a video montage of her exploits set to the song "I'm so excited." I was glued to the set, my heart fluttering as only a 10 year old's heart can. I was in love. With my heart aching I wondered how was I ever going to make contact with my Mary Lou, and would she reciprocate my love? I was crushing hard.

Well, it never worked out for me and Miss Retton but in a sick twist of fate I would end up graduating from Northland Christian High School in Houston, TX, the ALMA MATER OF MARY LOU RETTON!!! Unfortunately she graduated many years before me. I did however go to school with Kerry Strug another Olympic Gold Medalist. We even sat together a couple of times in the cafeteria. But she could never fill that hole in my heart left by Mary Lou.

Well, that was my childhood crush on someone famous. Who was yours?

I love dreams

I dream almost every night. And they are so vivid. It's almost like entering another world. Some people have told me they don't dream when the sleep, or at least can never remember them if they do. I feel sorry for these people because I know what they are missing.

If I wake up in the morning and go right back to sleep, I can usually pick up my dream where I left off. When this happens I have more control in the dream. I basically can direct it like a movie. This is called lucid dreaming and it's the best.

That being said, I had a hilarious dream last night. I won't share all of the nonsensical stuff but here's the gist of it. I went back to college with my wife and we both moved back into a small dorm room. It was funny because we tried to decorate this little room like a home, all 10ft x 10ft of it.

But here's the kicker. We had to share the room with two other girls! So in one dorm room there was I, my wife, and two girls! We each had our own twin beds, my wife and I shared one side of the room while the two girls shared the other. As this new arrangement was sinking in, I began to wonder...

NOT, how am I going to make love to my wife when there are two other girls in the room?

NOT, how are we going to get dressed in front of each other?

No, my big question was, how am I going to pass gas around these girls I barely even know? I know I'm going to have to fart sometime. This is a small room! I could stink up the whole thing.

Thankfully, as panic was setting in, I woke up not having see how it would turn out. Disaster avoided.

Here's my new roommates

I Have A Confession To Make

I don't know when it happened or how it happened... but I am now a "nose-breather". That's right, I like to breathe through my nose. I swore that I would never be one of those people. You know, the kind that stand right next to you, taking big sweeping breaths through their honker; the air whistling as it goes in an out.

Yeah, that's me, now. And I actually enjoy it. Maybe it's because it forces me to slow down when I breathe. There is no way to do it except slow. It's very therapeutic.

I know it's loud, but I can't help it. I know I've crossed over to the dark side.

But at least I'm in good company.

Is this you?

Mexico's Contribution to the Bakery World

I purchased this at a gas station when I was in Texas because I thought it was too funny. Bimbo Conchas. I know what Bimbo means. I'm scared to ask about Conchas.

Sleep Walking Child

Around 11:30pm last night I heard the kid's bedroom door open and then some mumbling. I quickly realize it was my 5 year old son Austin and he's probably sleep walking.

So I get up off the couch to help him back to bed and for some reason he's heading towards the kitchen. Before I can stop him, he opens up the door under the kitchen sink, pulls down his pants, and pees on the side of the kitchen garbage can.

I don't know why, but I thought it was hilarious and started dying laughing. I said "What are you doing bud?" And he kind of woke up and realized what was going on and he started laughing too.

It's obvious that he had to go to the bathroom but he was too tired find it. What's really funny is that he had to pass the bathroom to get to the kitchen!

The Secret Language of Hairdressers Explained

Errors in communication between my hairdresser and me in the form of "what i said and what he heard".  by Jez Burrows

said: Just a little off the length, and a little thinned out.
heard: Could you make me look like a clown’s apprentice?

said: A little shorter, thanks.
heard: I want the style that would emerge if you combined all three of Charlie’s Angels.

said: Just the usual — little shorter and thinner.
heard: You know when you have a bubble bath and you shape the bubbles all around your head? I want it like that.

said: If you could take some of the width off, that’d be great.
heard: If you could make it hard for me to appear in public, that’d be great.

said: Of course it isn’t okay — you’ve disfigured me beyond repair. I look like a mushroom.
heard: That’s perfect. Take my money.

The Bizarre Behavior of 5 Year Olds.

Everyday at 1pm my two kids have a quiet time. Carter, my 1 and a half year old, goes to his crib and Austin, my 5 year old, goes to my bedroom. The rule is, they have to stay in bed for one hour. They don't have to sleep if they don't want to, but they do have to stay in bed for that one hour. Most of the time they fall asleep during this time, but not always. Sometimes Austin will start rummaging around our room and get into things he shouldn't.

So the other day after hearing some noise in my room, I went in to discover this. My son was wearing one of my hats, a pair of my wool socks pulled up to his knees, and my underwear!

After dying laughing,I quickly got him back in his own clothes. This is not a good look for him.

Overheard in the Walgreens Checkout Line

An elderly woman handing her groceries to me from her basket--

"Here's my nuts."

Is it illegal to punch a teenager?

I had the weirdest experience happen to me yesterday. On my way to the DMV to renew my tags, a red car pulled up beside me with two male teenagers in it. I looked to my left and the kid on the passenger side is mouthing the words, "F_ _ K You." Again and again, "F_ _K You." I thought, did I cut this guy off or something? But I didn't think so. In fact, he wasn't ever in my lane. So I mouthed the words back "why?" And with a smile he flipped me off.

So we eventually end up at a stop light and I'm very curious at this time to why this guy is cursing me as we drive down the road, so I roll down the window, look him straight in the eye and ask politely, "Why are saying that?" His reply, "Your car makes you look like a Sh_t-head." His friend, the driver, just shook his head like his friend was an idiot. I couldn't agree more.

At this time, I wanted so badly to get out of my car, walk over to his window, grab him by the shirt and punch him in his mouth. Not because he insulted my car (I'm not embarrassed by what I drive-a 96 Saturn SL1). I wanted to punch him in his mouth because of his arrogance, because of his rude crassness to a complete stranger. What if I was driving home after a doctor's appointment where I was just told that I have terminal cancer? Then I had to deal with this punk spewing his evil at me. This guy didn't know me from Adam and he was verbally assaulting me.

His actions were just so insensitive!

 And for that, I wish I had punched him in the mouth.

Credits at the beginning of a movie.

Let me put on my counselor hat for a moment and diagnose "the director who puts credits at the beginning of a movie".

This type of person obviously hates their audience, and maybe even people in general. They enjoy causing the needless suffering of humanity by making them watch a long list of unknown people crawl at a turtle's pace down the screen before the movie begins, when they could have just as easily placed the credits at the end of the film to be viewed by anyone who cared!!!

Bored? Why not draw a masterpiece?

Look! I'm an artist!

or at least I am with the The Scribbler generator.

It's very easy to use. You just draw a simple picture on the screen. Press Done. Then press the scribbler button. In seconds you're the next Pablo Picasso!

If you get bored this weekend you should try it.

Finally! No more losing my remotes.

(ht to Tony Steward)

Funny Words

There are two words, that when I hear them said together, always make me laugh inside.

These two words are "Sticky Buns".

What word combinations tickle you?

Coffee: My Wonder Drug.

Well, it's official!  I've become a coffee drinker. 

I've resisted for a long time but I absolutely need it now.  It seems like I can't read a book without falling asleep.  Reading seems to be the true test of tiredness.  T.V. can keep you artificially awake for hours.  Not so with reading.  If you're tired when you sit down to read, you'll be asleep in minutes. 

Coffee gives me the needed jolt I need to make it through the day, reading to my hearts content.   

And I'm pretty amazed at the miracle of the coffee maker. This machine in my kitchen takes cold water and somehow makes it piping hot in less than 2 minutes, pushing it through coffee grounds, giving me a delicious cup of coffee!  I then add some creamer and suddenly I'm a Barista!

Unfortunately because of the simplicity, I end up drinking too much and I spend the rest of the day shaky and peeing every 5 minutes.  But it's a small price to pay for being awake alert. 

Pet Peave

Does this bother anyone else? I can not stand the sound of someone else eating while I'm not eating. If we're both eating, I'm fine. But if I'm not and I have to listen to every chew, swallow, and smack of their lips, it's like nails on a chalkboard to me.

Take this morning for instance. I was minding my own business, using my laptop to catch up on some blogs at my kitchen table. Then my wife sits down at the table to eat a bowl of cereal. At first I didn't notice it because I was engrossed in what I was reading. But then without warning I could hear everything. It was like I was sitting across from a cow chewing its cud (smack, smack, smack). It was so loud and disturbing to my ears that I almost had to leave the table or make some smart aleck comment like, "Wow, that sure SOUNDS good."

But thankfully, I didn't do either of these things. I know that the problem is mine. I blame it on big ears. So I just grinned and beared it.

Is That You I Smell?

I saw the following story on "Inside Edition" about a Rare Medical Disorder.

Its a genetic, medical disorder called, Trimethylaminuria, which causes those afflicted to produce malodors similar to fish, garbage, and other foul-smelling substances. INSIDE EDITION meets a beautiful teacher who talks about how the disorder affects her everyday life.

The beautiful teacher, mentioned above, admits she smells like rotting fish! Doctors say it's due to a genetic mutation and there is no cure. Talk about being a dealt a bad hand in life. She stopped being a teacher when she could no longer handle the taunting by the kids. The students called her Miss Fishy. ABC news also did a story on her and you can find it here.

File this under: just another reminder that my problems really aren't as bad as they seem and that others have it way worse.

That's sick!

This was the response of my 5 year old son, Austin after watching "The Year Without A Santa Claus." We borrowed it from the library today. I asked him what the movie was about and he said it was about Santa taking the year off because people lost their Christmas spirit. I asked him what that meant and he said they stopped believing in Santa. Then with a shaking of his head he said, "That's sick."

To my son, not believing in Santa is sick. How cute is that?

Favorite Super Bowl Commercials

This year's Super Bowl had some really great Ads. Here's my top 5 and why.

#1 Sierra Mist: Beard Comb Over.
Reason: Three words: "Beard Comb Over!" / I love these comedians

#2 Snickers Kiss
Reason: I didn't see this coming. / Gross Out factor

#3 Coca-Cola: What Else Haven't I Done?
Reason: "Inspirational!" / "You go boy!"

#4 Career-Builder: Office Jungle Fight
Reason: Truly captures the feeling of a crappy job / Ingenious use of Office Supplies / Memorable tag-line

#5 Bud Light: Rock, Paper, Scissors
Reason: Reminiscent of the time I stabbed a man for an Almond Joy

If you missed any of the commercials you can find them here. They are divided by the quarter they were shown and by advertiser.

Super Bowl Sacrilege

One of my favorite parts of the whole Super Bowl Sunday experience is the commercials. You can always count on seeing a commercial that everyone will be talking about the next day.

What really surprises and frustrates me about this year is that many of the commercials are already being aired either on the web or on some news show talking about Super Bowl ads. How come I can never remember this happening before? Wasn't it DURING the Super Bowl when advertising agencies revealed their big ad?

For example, Kevin Federline did a commercial for Nationwide that will be shown at the Super Bowl. I've seen it and it's hilarious. However, I would have appreciated and enjoyed it even more if I had seen it for the first time during the Big Game. Is nothing sacred anymore?

If you don't mind spoiling your Super Bowl dinner, here's some Kevin

It's Time For A Black President!

How can it be that in the history of the United States we have never had a black President...

or a Female president for that matter?

Can anyone really argue that the only people intelligent enough and qualified enough to be President are white men? Now I have nothing against white men (I am one). I just can't believe the favor that white men are still given in politics. Just the fact that it would be a monumental story for a black person or a woman to be President reveals our prejudices against them. I want to see more qualified women and people of color get a shot at the big dance.

So for the next presidential election I'm definitely going to be looking closely at Barack Obama. I currently no nothing of his politics, but initially, he sounds intelligent, he's well spoken (unlike George Bush), and he looks presidential. If he closely represents my views and I think he will do a good job in office, Barack Obama will get my vote in the next election.

P.S. If Condi was running for President, she would definitely get my vote. (sorry Hillary)

My New Competition

Johnny DeMarco

What Makes Unicorns Cry

Thanks to Mark Oestreicher I learned what makes unicorns cry. Compliments of McSweeney's Book of Lists:

By Bob Shea
  • Seasonal allergies
  • Those who refuse to believe in them
  • Orphans throwing socks at them
  • Renegade wizards who refuse to join the alliance
  • A sad movie
  • Getting punched in the horn
  • Unicorn-themed fan fiction
  • War, poverty, injustice, the same stuff as you and me
  • Older, mean-spirited unicorns
  • Your habitual lying
  • Overactive thyroid

I Love This

and not just because I wear Old Spice.
Post Script: I just got my friend Jeremy to try Old Spice.

For Your Commercial Enjoyment

If you are interested in commercials and marketing... and people talking about commercials and marketing- than you will love the website Adfreak. I'm not sure who's behind it but it seems to be run by people "in the know". Recently it spotlighted the following nugget. It's about a little boy who really needs a little brother. Too cute!

It also had a short write-up about God having a few new executions of his ad campaign.

Most Annoying Reality TV Device.

Let me just say up front that I love reality TV. Especially Survivor, The Amazing Race, The Biggest Loser, American Idol and The Apprentice. These I consider to be the top echelon of Reality television. I'm currently watching "Armed & Famous" and it is strong as well. Time will only tell if it becomes a classic.

I've also been known to dip into the lower regions of Reality Television, occasionally catching an episode of Hogan Knows Best, Flava of Love, America's Next Top Model, and The Surreal Life, and it is typically in these shows that you find the most annoying Reality TV device known to man. It is called "the awkward pause".

Now don't get me wrong. I find the awkward pause as hilarious as the next guy. My problem is with the "manufactured" awkward pause. This is where they edit the scene adding filler video to stretch the pause out and make it last for what seems like eternity with the characters making weird faces at each other, (only they actually made these faces some other time and were spliced back into the scene)

Unfortunately, it's incredibly lame! I suppose it was funny the first time. But man, every episode now has to include the manufactured awkward pause! How dumb do they think we are? Like we are supposed to believe that these characters are always saying something soooo outrageous that everyone has to stop and stare at them for 15 seconds. It's during these times that I want to shoot my television.

C'mon reality television, you can do better that that.

File this under: That's why I tell you not to touch things.

Our family went to the store recently to purchase some new pots and pans. The ones we had were about 10 years old. Most of them are from when we first got married.

Now, if you have kids you know how chaotic it can be taking your children to the store. I find myself passing on the sage old advice that my father passed down to me when I was a child, "DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!"

And I usually have to say it in different ways like:


If you are a parent, you also know that these three phrases are pitched tonally in such a way that they will not enter a child's ear canal, so the message never actually gets heard.

Now that being said, as my wife and I were carefully looking at the sets of pots and pans we heard our oldest child, Austin, start to cry like he's stuck in a bear trap. A cry that says, ouch and I'm afraid.

Ignoring my admonishments, he got his finger stuck in the handle of a frying pan! So I did what any caring compassionate father would do... I took pictures of it. Enjoy!

P.S. We did not have enough money to purchase this additional pan, so we now have it on layaway and we should be able to get our child back by Christmas of this year.

Be a "Yes Man"

I just finished reading a book called "Yes Man" by Danny Wallace. It is a hilarious true story of the time the author decided to say "yes" to every favor, request, suggestion, and invitation for 6 months. You can imagine what kinds of adventures this gets Danny into.

On of my favorites is when he gets offered some psychotropic drugs in Holland and the next day finds himself in possession of a charcoal portrait of himself and the imaginary dog he had on his shoulder (which he demanded be drawn into the picture).

I love this book because it has so much inspiration in it. Inspiration to say "yes" more so you won't miss out on life's opportunities. It also holds the cautionary tale of saying "yes" to everything, because saying "yes" to something often means saying "no" to something else. Boy, if I was a preacher I could preach this.

This is the kind of book that reminded me of why I enjoy reading so much. Checka...check it out!
(This portion has been sponsored by "Reading Rainbow".)

Joker, Smoker, or Midnight Toker?

Yesterday I went to dinner at Panera Bread. After I got my food, I dropped it off at what looked like a comfortable booth for some eating and reading, and then headed to the bathroom to relieve myself before I ate.

In the bathroom their was one stand up urinal and one stall, side by side. I was peeing at the stand up urinal when I smelled the distinct scent of marijuana coming from the stall. I know this smell well because, well, let's just say, I know someone who uses it.

Then I heard some movement coming from the stall. It sounded like someone in heavy winter coat handling a plastic bag. Now I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that someone is in the stall smoking a doobie.

Who does this at a restaruant at 4:30 in the evening? Was it one of the workers at Panera Bread? They have that sort of earthy, back to nature attitude, what with their fresh baked breads and all. Maybe this is what all the workers do during their breaks? What would this mean for my food? Maybe those green broccoli bits in my soup aren't broccoli at all, but ground up cannabis? Did I inadvertently order the "magic" broccoli cheddar soup!

Luckily my booth was close enough to the restrooms to have a clear view of the individual whenever he exited the restroom. After what seemed like forever, someone finally emerged. And it was...

A teenager in a big winter coat with a glazed over look in his eyes (not an employee). So needless to say I wouldn't be getting stoned tonight.

Virtual Vacations

It's pretty easy for me to get stir-crazy in the winter. I just hate staying in the house all day (especially with two kids!) So yesterday I decided we needed to get out and go on an adventure. We went to this coffee house called the Solid Rock Kaffe. I had been there several times to meet with teens when I was still a youth minister, but Donna had never been before. I really wanted her to see it. It is a very nice Christian coffee house in the old part of Eureka, MO.

Inside it feels like a cross between Starbucks and Panera Bread. It has a two large supple leather couches perpendicular to a fire place, a wall lined with bookshelves stocked with current Christian books and Bibles you can purchase, about 10 small tables to eat at, and a corner where musicians can perform on the weekends.

We enjoyed a scrumptious chocolate eclair and a delicious berry smoothie with whipped cream on top. The point of the trip wasn't to eat though (we had just had lunch at our house). The point was to get out of the house and do something. And although I had been there before this was a completely new place for my family. And that's important because this is how we create our own little vacation like moments.

The formula works like this: We (a) go out of town, even if it's just the town right next to us, and (b) eat at a new restaurant. When we do this it almost always feels like we are on vacation, and we love it! For me, life can get so boring sometimes and just seeing some unfamiliar faces, in an unfamiliar city, eating in an unfamiliar restaurant is just the shot in the arm I need to escape the blahs. This is the DeMarco family secret for dashing the doldrums.

Favorite Christmas Gift

One of the gifts that I have really enjoyed receiving this Christmas is a cookbook called "A Man, A Can, A Plan." It's produced by Men's Health Magazine. The premise is... simply made meals from ingredients primarily consisting of canned foods, and all reasonably healthy, too.

I was excited to get this book because I have been really getting into cooking recently and I thought this book would be a great primer.

Here's an example: Border Patrol Casserole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dump 2 -5 oz. cans of chunk lean ham (drained), 2 -15 oz. cans of barbecue baked beans, and 1/2 of a 16 oz. jar of chunky salsa into a casserole dish. Smother with 1 1/2 cups of baked tortilla chips and 1/2 cup of shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese is melted through. Makes 6 servings.

Now doesn't that sounds fun! I made it and it was delicious.

WARNING: If you should happen to pick up this book, let me offer this word of caution! I made this meal and another the following night that also called for beans in the recipe. Not wise.

I WEAR AN APRON. (You got a problem with that?!)

Sometime early in my marriage my wife and I were given two aprons, one red and one blue. For 10 years they have sat in a cupboard above our stove. Well, this year after getting tired of getting wet when I wash the dishes or grease on my clothes when cooking bacon, I finally broke out one of the aprons and have never turned back. I love these things! They are ingenious. I feel like I'm wearing a coat of armor that protects me from all kitchen invaders. So with pride and glory I will shout it from the mountain tops, "I'm a man, and I wear an apron!!!"

Funny Blogging Idea

I saw this on Mark Oestreicher's Blog

The rules are:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next four sentences on your blog, along with these instructions.
5. Don’t you dare dig for that “cool” or “intellectual” book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest!

The closest book to me was "Life Span Development" by John W. Santrock. (I was doing my homework at Panera Bread). Here is the passage:

"Another way of classifying newborns involves whether they are preterm or small for date. Preterm infants are those born three weeks or more before the pregnancy has reached its full term-in other words, 35 or fewer weeks after conception. A short gestation period does not necessarily harm an infant. The neurological development of the preterm baby continues after birth on approximately the same timetable as if the infant were still in the womb."

Now that's one to grow on.

Shower Amnesia

Do you ever suffer from "shower amnesia"? It's a condition that afflicts me all the time. I'm in the shower and I know what I have to do; shampoo my hair, soap up body, and wash my face. It's important that no step is missed. But almost every time after I'm done lathering up my body, I question whether I had remembered to shampoo my hair. For the life of me I can't remember if I did it. So I shampoo again for good measure. There's no telling how much shampoo I've wasted because of this terrible disorder.

Speaking of Urinals...

Could you use these toilets?

Soooooooooo Awkward

I was in a public restroom the other day and was using a urinal much like the one in this picture. I was using the one on the right and after I was in mid-stream someone came in and started using the one in the middle. What happened next could only be described as incredibly awkward.

The man next to me put both of his elbows up on the stall dividers and urinated using no hands. But that's not the worst part! His right elbow was touching my left arm. That's right, he was no handing it and touching me while he and I were peeing! And when I'm saying he was touching me, I'm not saying his shirt was brushing up on mine. His arm was full-on touching me like a man putting his hand on someone's shoulder. Needless to say, I wrapped up my business as soon as possible and was out of there.

Have you seen this?!!!!

A man by the name of Prophet Yahweh says he can summon UFO's from outer space on command. Sounds ridiculous right? Well a T.V. affiliate in Las Vegas challenged him to prove it... And he did! Check this freaky stuff out here. Master UFO Caller

Visit Your Local Library Today

I think one of the coolest things about living in the United States is our commitment to building and maintaining Libraries. Libraries are just like Barnes & Noble only you get to take the books home with you for free for two weeks. How awesome is that? And if you haven't been to the Library in years, you'd be amazed at the changes, namely the ability to also check out DVD movies and music C.D.'s, as well. We often rent children's videos for our kids. Personally, I like to check out the "New Arrivals" book section. I recently checked out "Self Help, Inc. Makeover Culture in American Life" by Micki McGee. It's back cover reads

A lucid and fascinating treatment of the modern obsession with work and self-improvement, this book will strike a chord with its diagnosis of the self-help trap and with its suggestions for how we can address the alienating conditions of modern work and family life.

It's a little heavy but, so far I'm really enjoying it. You can pick it up at Amazon.com or better yet, go see if you can find it in your local library.

For all that's wrong with America, our Libraries are one thing to be praised.

Could This Be True?

I read an interesting article in my Human Growth & Development class called, American Child Care Today. It is very pro pre-school and said the following,

Nonmaternal shared child care is, in fact, normative for the human young, both historically and worldwide: "Nonparental care is a universal practice with a long history, not a dangerous innovation representing a major deviation from species-typical and species-appropriate patterns of child care" (Lamb, in press). Exclusive maternal care of infants and young children is a cultural myth of an idealized 1950's, not a reality anwhere in the world either now or in earlier times. Child care has always been shared, usually among female relatives.

I have never heard this before. To me it's a pretty radical statement that goes against everything I've ever been taught. That's why school is so much fun, though. I love it when universally accepted ideas are challenged causing you to really think about what you believe and why. I'm still thinking on this one.

Arcade Mania

I'm sure you've seen them, but I just bought one of those old school joysticks that you plug directly into your T.V. and has five games you can play. Three of the games are classic (Ms. PacMan, Pole Position, & Galaga). Two of the games I've never heard of in my life (Xevious & Mappy). I bought it to have a little fun with my 4 year old son. Well after three days of nonstop play, here are some observations.

First of all, playing Pole Position really takes me back. I mean, this game is exactly as I remember playing it at that roller rink when I was 10 years old , even down to the same female narrator's voice..."Prepare To Qualify".

And since I brought up the roller rink, four things stand out so vividly about that place.
  • One is eating nachos from the snack bar.
  • Two is skating the limbo.
  • Three is how hard it was to ever get a seat at the snack bar. (It was usually full of older kids and finding a table to sit down at was like finding gold.)
  • And four, easily giving up that seat at the snack bar because "The Eye of the Tiger" is playing and baby, it's time to skate."
My second observation is that, although it's really awesome how far we've come by way of graphics in video games, it pales in comparison to the technological advancement of being able to save your progress. It kills me to play by butt off at Ms. PacMan, finally making it to round 9, only to have all my guys die and have to start way back at the beginning. Not cool. Because of this flaw in old school games, there are levels of Ms. PacMan I'll just never know.

P.S. I used to hate this kid.

Facts You Should Know About 1 Year Olds

#1 When given the opportunity to play on the floor with age-appropriate toys, the child will ignore the toys and instead will reach fervently for dangerous objects intentionally placed out of their reach (i.e. salt & pepper shakers, pens, knives, etc.)

#2 No matter where the child is placed in the house, their shrieking cries will penetrate any wall or barrier placed between them and you.

#3 It doesn't matter what you feed your child, the food on your plate looks better to them.

#4 They are still sooo darn cute!!!

Bad Bananas

Why is it that mothers and grandmothers all over the United States use rotten bananas to make banana bread? Whenever bananas go bad, you can count on banana bread being baked shortly thereafter.

Here's a thought. Instead of using rotten bananas, has anyone ever tried using ripe, fresh bananas? Now I'm no chef, but I bet that the bread would still taste great... and you wouldn't be using rotten bananas!

So Who Is The Real John DeMarco?

Have you ever typed your name in quotes and searched it on Google? It's interesting to see the other people who share your namesake. Here are links to a few other John DeMarco's. My favorite is John DeMarco the Entertainer. (You don't know how many hours it takes me to get myself to look like Kenny Rogers).

John DeMarco the Entertainer
John DeMarco the Paranormal Investigator
John DeMarco the Patent Attorney
John DeMarco the Karate Champ
John DeMarco the Counselor

The Tale of Two Haircuts

I hate going to get my haircut. Every time I go I get a queasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. It says I may be leaving this place looking like a complete idiot. I don't understand why it's so hard to get a good haircut today. I've tried Great Clips and they screwed up my hair. I've tried Sports Clips (the place with T.V.'s everywhere playing sports and stylists dressed as referees) and they jacked up my hair.

"I don't care if I get my haircut in a pink room with the stereo blasting Barry Manilow's greatest hits, I just want to look better going out then when I came in."

So today I tried Fantastic Sams. I knew I was in for some problems when I saw three hairstylists, two dressed very hip and trendy, and one that looked like the spokesmodel for Wicca and Fairy Digest. Guess which stylist I got? Yeah, the warlock Goddess with a tattoo on her lower back that spanned the width of her love handles. Now I'm not saying any of this makes her a bad stylist. I just wasn't sure if she was going to be the one to give me the haircut I desired.

Unfortunately, my instincts were correct. First of all, her hands were shaking the whole time she was cutting my hair. I think she needed a cigarette break. And she looked more puzzled than confident as she cut my hair. Not a good sign. And where has barber shop etiquette gone? I thought stylists were supposed to hand you a mirror when they're done, spin you around so you can see your hair at different angles, and ask you how you like it? When this girl was finished, she just dusted me off and removed my hair cloth, sending me on my way. Maybe she didn't want me to see my hair from all sides. Below is the damage.

Unfortunately I was getting this haircut because I'm starting a new job on Monday and I wanted to look fresh, clean and ready for business casual. I called my friend Jeremy to tell him my dilemma and he laughed at me for going to Fantastic Sams. "Their known for screwing up people's hair," was his quote. Then he told me that he goes to this place called the Hair Saloon. He said it was professional and he loved it. You pay a little more, $20. But most importantly you leave looking GOOD, and not like you're auditioning for Dumb and Dumber.

"So to the Hair Saloon I went, hoping against hope they could fix my hair. Here is that experience."

When, I entered they offered me a free bottled beverage; Pepsi, Coke, they even had O'Doul's non-alcoholic beer. I tried an O'Doul's. My stylist, Bobbie, was confident she could fix my hair. She handled the clippers with style and grace. It was beautiful. I never ONCE had an uneasy feeling in my stomach. She was a pro. When she was done, she made sure I liked it. Then she added just the right amount of product, and styled it perfectly. Then, get this, she offered me a hot towel for my face. It felt wonderful. And it had a light smell of spearmint. I was then given a coupon for a complimentary scalp massage for my next visit. If Fantastic Sams was Hell, this place was Heaven. I will definitely be back. Thanks Hair Saloon for saving my hair!

The Best Radio Show You've Probably Never Heard Of

O.K. folks I have a delicious treat for you tonight. I'd like to introduce you to Jesse Thorn. He has, by far, the best podcast on the internet. If you are looking for a highly entertaining, very intelligent radio talkshow then head on over to The Sound of Young America. Most of his guests I've never heard of, but once it's over, I'm glad I took the time to meet them. He finds the most fascinating guests from the world of movies, comedy, music, and pop culture in general. And he's an excellent interviewer (great questions, good radio voice, respect for his guest). Trust me, you won't be disappointed. You can also find The Sound of Young America on iTunes, as well.

Happy listening.

The Greatest Cartoons Ever

In my Human Growth & Development class tonight, our teacher had us break into groups and brainstorm what we thought infants absolutely needed. Being funny, someone said television, and then off of that someone mentioned their favorite childhood cartoon. So that got all of us briefly talking about Saturday morning cartoons. Interestingly enough, we all kind of feel like the cartoons offered today fall short of the greatness cartoons once possessed. Well this got me thinking. I wonder if every generation feels like their cartoons are the best cartoons ever, or if one generation does have better cartoons than the others?

What do you think? Are the cartoons you grew up with superior to all others?

Foot Note: According to the Brookings Institute of Advanced Animation Studies, here are the top ten cartoons of all time, based on quality of animation, storyline, music, and kids response.

#1 Looney Tunes (oh what highs we'll hit... on with the show this is it!)
#2 Tom & Jerry
#3 G.I. Joe (Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.)
#4 Mighty Mouse
#5 Fat Albert
#6 Flintstones
#7 He Man and the Masters of the Universe (By the Power of Gray Skull... I have the POWER!)

#8 Thunder Katz
#9 Smurfs
#10 Scooby Doo


I don't know when I changed but I just don't get jazzed about Halloween any more. Now as a child, Halloween was hands-down the greatest Holiday only second to Christmas. My parents used to make us (my other brothers and sisters) put all of our candy in a big tupperware bowl. Then my mother would carefully disperse these goodies for what seemed like months. Yes, Halloween was good. Dressing up was also fun, but for some reason this just doesn't resonate with me anymore. Maybe it's because costumes are so expensive these days. I don't want to spend forty bucks to look like Captain Jack Sparrow for one night. And the kids costumes are not much cheaper themselves. At the same time though, I don't want my kids to look like I couldn't get them a good costume, i.e. dressing them up like hobo's or clowns (classic cheap costumes). So at this point, I'm not sure what my kids will be for Halloween this year... maybe Frankenstein?

The Scariest Movie That Still Affects Me Now.

I guess Halloween is almost here, at least that's the not-so-subtle cue I'm getting from Wal-Mart. They already have aisles stocked with Halloween Candy, Halloween decorations on the end-caps, and Halloween masks and costumes for sale. It's the time of year for all things scary and all of this is an unpleasant reminder of the scariest movie I ever saw as a child, Friday the 13th.

Why in the world did my parents ever let me see this movie!!!!

The whole premise of a psycho killer coming out of a murky lake to kill people, forever ruined my ability to go swimming in water where I cannot see the bottom. I know it's just a movie, but in my childhood subconsciousness, Jason may still be down there.

***A close second would be the movie "Halloween". I couldn't listen to the song, "Mr. Sandman", for years without getting creeped out.

What movie traumatized you as a child?

Freaky Tiki

Today my four year old son freaked me and his mother out! One of the activities he enjoys doing on the computer is looking at family pictures we have stored on Picasa (a google software program that stores and edits photos). It's kind of funny how much of a kick he gets out of it. He especially likes looking at all of the goofy faces he's made over the years. He often laughs out loud at his lunacy. So needless to say, he knows how to scroll around and look at pictures on Picasa.

Well, my wife was on Picasa and looking for the pictures we had uploaded from last month. There were a couple of pictures she especially wanted to find and see how they turned out. She found one of them and noticed that it was a great picture except for the red eyes on our youngest son. So she started to go to the edit function to remove the red eyes when my four year son says...

SON- "No mom let me do it!" (in an almost bossy tone)

ME- "What are you talking about?"

SON- "Here give me the mouse."

WIFE "How would he know how to do that?" (my wife and I looking at each other eerily)

ME- "I have no idea. I didn't teach him."

He then proceeds to go directly to where the redeye remove function is. Selects it. Then uses the mouse to outline the eyes (not an easy task, mind you, for a small four year olds shaky hands). Clicks "apply" and it's done. (cue theme song from the Twilight zOne)

O.K. So here is what I'm thinking. Either (a) my son is an idiot savant (b) he's taking computer night classes at the local community college when the rest of the family is sleeping or (c) he's the next Steve Jobs or Bill Gates (Please Lord let it be choice C!)