Saturday, August 29, 2009

Hardware store trauma

The other day something awful happened. Something that threatens the very lifeblood of my son's future masculinity.

There we were, browsing the aisles of Lowes. We had to get some painting supplies, and my wife wanted to look for a plant for the garden. But, truthfully, I like to wander in there every once in a while because I can't resist the smell of a big-box hardware store. A propane-fueled forklift, a stack of new 2x4's ... mmm.

Anyway, we were about to leave, and we were heading from the garden section to the checkout. On our way, we passed through one of the seasonal aisles near the front of the store where they are starting to get out their merchandise for Halloween. And that's when it happened.

Standing at the end of the aisle — looking harmless enough — was a little witch with a broom. Without regard to her presence, we continued past her. But she spotted us.

"Aah ha ha haa!" the witch let out a cruel cackle. Her eyes flashed red. She rocked back and forth. She stirred her sinister cauldren.

"AAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!" My son, terrified, let out a blood-curdling scream. And then another one. And another. The color drained from his face. Lowe's employees — certain that someone must have gotten sucked into the panel saw — came running. When the witch's evil display came to an end, my son stood there trembling.

My wife and I did our best to console him and assure him that the witch, a mere decoration, could harm him in no way. Still, the damage had been done. We paid for our supplies and left the store forthwith.

I only hope that the incident didn't ruin hardware stores for the boy forever

Monday, August 24, 2009

Pointless advertisements

If you've ever wondered what's discussed in a newsroom on a slow Sunday night (and I hope for your sake that you haven't), I'll give you a little taste of the conversation.

At one point in the evening, a commercial came on television advertising a feminine hygiene product. These commercials have long been a thorn in the side of male viewers, especially when they find their way into football games. The discussion flowed to the extremely pointless nature of tampon and pad advertising in general. I should point out that I was the lone man in the newsroom tonight, so it wasn't just a bunch of guys sitting around woman bashing.

Anyway, the ladies with whom I work agreed that there is really no reason for these ads to be shown on television. It's a necessary product. There aren't many women I know who are going to start making their own hygiene supplies as an alternative to what's available in stores. Women know they're out there. Their market is safe. And from what I know of it, most women are pretty much introduced to a brand or whatever by their mother when the time is right. They find what works for them and stick with it throughout adulthood. Again, there's no reason to advertise.

So, the general consensus is that a public outcry from women worldwide should be issued immediately for feminine hygiene companies to stop advertising on television. They can use their marketing budgets to give a boost to their shareholders, or even better, pass the savings along to the consumers. Just keep it out of my football games.

In other news:

— I was somewhat confused by Roger Federer's remarks after winning the tournament in Cincinnati tonight. When asked about how life has been since welcoming his baby into the world, he said something about changing a lot of diapers lately, because times have changed a lot in the past decade. What does that mean? Did fathers 10 years ago not change diapers? The only thing I could come up with is that maybe the No.1 men's tennis player in the world 10 years ago didn't change diapers. Take that Pete Sampras. Roger just called you out; stinking deadbeat.

— I think that Michael Andretti is kidding himself if he thinks that he can re-sign Danica Patrick to another contract when this season is over. There's no way he can compete with the type of money or exposure she'll get in NASCAR if the offers that are rumored to be out there for her are true. From what I've seen, she loves the spotlight, and racing IndyCars is a minor stage compared to the alternative.

— In my fantasy football world, I've pulled the trigger on a deal sending Peyton Manning and Reggie Bush to another team in exchange for Michael Turner and Donovan McNabb. Statistically, it seems like kind of a wash, but I was in desperate need of some help at the running back spot, so I felt compelled to make a move. Will it be a good decision? It's hard to say. There's been a lot of changes to the Colts' offense, including coaching moves, the departure of Marvin Harrison and what appears to be a shaky offensive line. So dealing Manning might be a good thing. On the other hand, statistics show that running backs coming off a season high in carries usually follow it up with a poor year. So Turner may not have been the best option. I guess I'll just have to wait and see. Any thoughts?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Food Flashback

As I was taking my dinner break at work tonight, I noticed something about the container I had used to transport my leftover casserole. It was a clear plastic Rubbermaid, and on the lid was a space labeled "DATE" and one labeled "CONTENTS".

Said I to myself, "'Date' I kind of understand if you're using these things for freezer storage. But 'contents'? If you can't pick up this transparent container and tell what's inside, you probably shouldn't eat it."

But then I recalled a repressed memory from my childhood.

Mom was away at a meeting or something one evening, so Dad was responsible for getting dinner ready for my sister and I. After assessing the fridge, he settled on a container of leftover mashed potatoes. He plopped some on a couple of plates, smothered them in turkey gravy and microwaved them until piping hot.

My sister and I — famished as we were — simultaneously dug in. Unfortunately, we both quickly discovered that the mashed potatoes we had anticipated were actually white frosting. Hot white frosting with gravy.

Ordinarily, I believe everything is better with gravy, but I think it's safe to assume that this marked a low point in my father's culinary journey.

So, I guess that's the value of labeling the contents of your food storage containers. If anyone else has a Tupperware horror story, feel free to share.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Lifetime of bad television choices

Last night as I was watching a little "Sex and the City" after work, I found myself kind of appalled that I had already seen the episode. This led to a larger realization that I know way more about films and television geared toward women than I should and that the women in my life have greatly influenced the kinds of entertainment that have entered my life through the years.

Growing up with a sister a few years older than me, I've taken in many episodes of "Little House on the Prairie" and watched too many times to count movies such as "Footloose" and "Flashdance". I can blame my mother for wasting my mental capacity on "General Hospital". Trust me, I know everything there is to know about the ongoing feud between Luke Spencer and the Cassadine family. This continued into my marriage where "You've Got Mail" and the aforementioned New York socialite drama joined my viewing rotation. How did this happen?

It started becoming clear when I scored better than most of my friends on the "Dirty Dancing" quiz on facebook. Why?! I could care less if Baby never comes out of the corner. Isn't this brain capacity I should be using to memorize baseball statistics or learning how to dismantle a combustion engine? Have the viewing habits taken on during my formative years permanently revoked my man card?

Oh well, I guess I can just use this to say that I'm in touch with my feminine side. Or, a better option, maybe I should use this recent realization as motivation to get off my butt and leave the room when these kinds of programs come on. Or maybe I should just watch them and claim that it earns me the right to watch football all day on Sundays. I guess I should be thankful that none of the women in my life have been obsessed with "Grease".

P.S. After Tennessee's 21-18 defeat of the Bills last night, I have an unblemished record in my football predictions so far this year.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Me? A star?

So, my wife is convinced that I would make a good blogger. She says that I write well, and I have amusing stories to share. I suppose that given my profession as a journalist, she should, in theory, be right. (And after nearly seven years of marriage, I've found that she usually is.) Still, I question whether anyone would actually give a hoot about what I have to say. That, combined with the fact I've historically been able to string together only a few good blog posts in a row before losing interest, gives me kind of dim outlook on this endeavor. But what the heck; I'll humor her and indulge my narcissism by giving this another try. I suppose it couldn't hurt. After all, there are enough fascinating things going on in the world that I'm sure to have an opinion about something, even if nothing all that exciting actually happens in my life.

For those of you who don't know, my aforementioned wife is the wildy successful blogger Not So Glamorous Housewife. She entertains the masses with tales of homemaking, child-rearing, cooking, crafting and husband tolerating. And her growing number of loyal fans seem to adore her. Whether or not this Internet stardom will translate to any sort of following for my own rants remains to be seen, but I might as well try it and see.

My daily whatnot

-- Today marks the day that every football fanatic looks forward to each year: the NFL's first preseason game. The annual Hall of Fame game in Ohio ends the long offseason drought that's existed since the Pro Bowl and, while it's generally poorly played and consists of mainly rookies and backup players trying to make the squad, it satisfies the pigskin craving. This year's game features Tennessee vs. Buffalo. The Titans had one of the best records in the league last season while Buffalo (may have) upgraded their talent during the offseason with the addition of Terrell Owens. My pick in this one: Tennessee. I think that if Buffalo's backup players were good enough to win games, the Bills' management and coaching staff would have used them to replace their mediocre starters a long time ago.

-- After eight days and six baths, the dog still smells like he got sprayed in the face by a skunk.

-- We found an outdoor fireplace that someone had set out for the garbage this morning. It's kind of rusty and flimsy, but so long as it holds what I want to burn, it seems like it should be okay. My wife is outside spray painting it right now.

-- I return to work this afternoon after an entire week of laziness and overindulging in fatty foods and beer. The first day is always the toughest it seems, and I don't anticipate this one being any easier. Tune in tomorrow to see if anything interesting developed.

-- On the kid front, while we were at the zoo yesterday, my daughter asked me if the baboons had red butts because they hurt themselves. I told her they were supposed to be that way, but still, you have to appreciate these young inquiring minds.

That's about all I've got for now. Feel free to visit often and see if I've followed through with my writings. Who knows, maybe you'll even enjoy it.