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Monday, December 28, 2009

2009 D-Bag Award Finals

2009 has been an utterly strange year. The strangest this decade. We’ve had unprecedented events and the usual nonsense that goes along with D-Bags of all walks of life. Before us, we have six exceptional finalists who have gone above and beyond the normal amount of mischief to land them in this round.

6. Sarah Palin
She started off the year licking her wounds and getting blamed for the loss of the Presidency which wasn't exactly fair. After all, it wasn't her fault McCain didn't get elected. She really had no business being his running mate. But, she did not go gently into that good night. She resigned her post as governor with no real explanation as to why, although it became clear. She wanted to go on a book tour, toting young Trig around to boost her cred among conservative mothers. I'm sure she'll refuse to go away come 2012 and by then, if she can still find ways to be relevant, the GOP will probably take her in a back room somewhere and reprogram her to be their candidate. Of course, being 2012, the world will probably end if she were to win.

5. Richard Heene
Richard Heene wanted fame. He wanted it so bad, he was willing to stage one of the dumbest and improbable stunts ever. He launched a Mylar balloon and pretended to be worried that his son, Falcon, was aboard. The scientific evidence was against him from the start but that didn't matter. We believed it was as plausible as the idea that a cable technician could bring down an alien armada with a Mac and a computer virus in ID4. Apparently, aliens don't have Norton or McAfee. As the story...ballooned...and everybody got caught up in the mass hysteria, Heene probably realized that he was in over his head. His son was in the garage, his ass was on the line, and Falcon's lunch was all over his lap. Finally, the truth came out. Heene is going to jail and cannot profit from the incident in any way or he will violate his probation.

4. Kanye West
Between attacking paparazzi at the airport and interrupting Taylor Swift at the VMA's, Kanye managed to make a mockery of his celebrity. I knew he had it in him but I can't think of why he thought it would have been a good idea to grab the mic from Swift and declare Beyonce's video the best of all time. Unfortunately, I have to agree with him. I cannot fathom the appeal of Taylor Swift, who for all intents and purposes, cannot sing live. I've had the displeasure of listening to her on several occasions and she just doesn't have the vocal control that someone who is considered the entertainer of the year should have. She wouldn't even make it to the finals of American Idol and that's saying something about talent, or lack there of. But this is about Kanye. Ever since his off script ad lib during the Katrina benefit he was bound to become an even bigger D-Bag. I only wish I could have put money on it.

3. Tiger Woods
I am not even what you would consider an amateur golfer. I suck. I have a slice that is almost like a boomerang. But I liked Tiger Woods on the course. He was/is a tremendous athlete and was/is destined for history. Unfortunately, 2009 was more about Tiger's infidelity than his playing. As the world crumbled around him, he could have taken the high road and admitted to it, stopping the machine that is the gossip media online and on television. However, he chose to be secretive about it, thinking it would go away, and it did, after 10 plus mistresses came out, his wife moved out and his endorsements shied away. Dave Letterman played his own infidelity best by owning up to his mistakes and then continually bashing himself. Tiger chose to do the one thing a huge celebrity can't, retreat. Arnie Palmer said it best. "If you want to be normal, you should give the money back."

2. Bernie Madoff
He screwed a hell of a lot of people with a very high price tag. Granted, he went to jail for it but the damage is irreparable in some cases. He did to individuals what the entire gang of suits on Wall Street did the American Public. That’s saying a lot. But in the scheme of things, he’s nothing more than a petty thief. He’s getting his justice, I hope, repeatedly and very dry.

1. Death
It almost seems like an unfair fight, here. After all, how do you compete with Death unless you are Bill S. Preston, esquire and Ted Theodore Logan? Still, look back at the amount of people who have died this year because of this guy. My pop culture childhood is almost completely gone. Celebrity aside, Death is usually a ringer for a D-Bag award every year. He claims millions of lives every year and he managed to take three more famous lives while the tournament was going on. He nailed Brittany Murphy, Vic Chestnut and Arnold Stang. Once the lists have been counted and the years analyzed someone more reputable than me will look back at 2009 and see that the year was most known for how many famous people died.

So, there you have it Mongo faithful. The biggest douche bag of 2009 is the Grim Reaper himself, Death. Maybe next year someone can take the trophy from him but I highly doubt it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Childhood Christmas Commercial Memories

Last year I ran down my all time favorite shows on at Christmastime. But what about those gems of capitalism that come on in between your favorite shows? I've compiled [read: stole from YouTube] a few of my favorites for you.

First up, local fare from the SW PA and surrounding areas. It's for Eat'N Park.

Next up, who could forget this classic tear jerker from Folger's. The one from this year just isn't as sincere as the original from 1986.

This one wasn't hard to find. It's the Coca Cola commercial from the 70s with the hilltop singers.

And another from 1986. It's a Hills Stores Commercial with a...I'm not sure if he's an elf or a gnome or Willow but he knows where the toys are.

Hand bells and kisses. Hershey's yearly commercial with the kisses ringing out "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."

How about another one from Coca-Cola? Did anyone ever try burying a pine cone in the hopes that a fully grown and decorated tree would grow? Maybe Art Carney was truly magical. And maybe someone out there could also be magical and find me that commercial online. It's harder to find than a Cabbage Patch Kid, Tickle Me Elmo, and Zhu Zhu Hamster in the Christmas Shopping Time Warp.

UPDATE: 11/2013 - I found it!  It's from 1988 and features Art Carney and Brian Bonsall (the Cousin Oliver of Family Ties)


Another local one. The Pennsylvania Lottery has a yearly Christmas commercial where they parody "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Each year they manage to keep it relevant with rotating lyrics for the current offerings. This commercial has been playing since the early 90s, at least. Once again, I cannot find it online. Someone has to remember it. "Five....Cash...Five"

UPDATE 11/2010 Thanks to Narpin for finding and posting the Five Cash Five commercial on YouTube. Now my life is complete. Share your own memories from Christmas commercials. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2009 D-Bag Awards - Heat Six: Deadly D-Bags

For our last heat from the first round, I want you to imagine a high stakes poker game. Around the mahogany legged and green felt topped table, four D-Bags sit, sipping very old scotch. Each one has a set of chips on the table and they pass the time between hands chit chatting about their accomplishments. Here are your players.

  • H1N1
  • Salmonella
  • Death
  • Conrad Murray

As the dealer hands out the cards, Salmonella and H1N1 begin boasting their statistics over how many they have killed.

Salmonella: Why just this past week I caused a recall of Whole Foods Market hazelnuts in at least 7 states. I raise the pot to 600 for the year.

H1N1: II raise the bet to 10,582 deaths in more than 208 countries. In fact, the vaccine they’re giving to people doesn’t necessarily work and the ones they gave to kids aren’t that effective. The bet’s to you Conrad.

Conrad Murray: I bet one.

Others: ONE!?!?

Murray: Yes, but it was Michael Jackson. The biggest pop star in the world.

At this moment the H1N1, Salmonella and Death all look at Conrad and begin laughing. Soon, Conrad starts becoming sickened and looks down at the dish of peanuts he’s been eating. Salmonella chuckles and takes credit for the contaminated nuts. Then Murray develops a fever and becomes ill and looks at the cards which H1N1 dealt to him. H1N1 laughs as Murray realizes that H1N1 had gotten germs on the cards before dealing them to Murray. A few minutes go by as Murray sits there vomiting and sneezing, yet does not die. H1N1 and Salmonella sit and wait for hours, yet Murray does not die.

Suddenly, there is a crack in the air. The sound and glint of a blade slices through Murray’s chest, killing him instantly. H1N1 and Salmonella both look at Death who is now wiping his scythe on tie of the deceased doctor.

Death: You see boys. As much as you want to take credit for being the biggest cause of death this year, you have to realize that Murray, here, was in relatively good health when he sat down at the table. H1N1, you thought by giving him cold, he would die, and salmonella, you thought by poisoning his food you could accomplish the same. Now, you're both dangerous, but you guys are nothing compared to a real force of destruction. Murray may have contributed to the demise of Michael Jackson, but it was I that stood up and took the soul of the singer beyond this world. In fact, every time you want to pat yourselves on the back for causing a death, you fail to understand that I’m the one who shows up to collect.

This past year I’ve killed more people than the three of you combined. In 2009 I singlehandedly changed the face of pop culture with taking Michael Jackson, Natasha Richardson, Ricardo Montalban, Patrick McGoohan, Pat Hingle, John Hughes, Lou Albano, Soupy Sales, DJ AM, Farah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, Patrick Swayze, Mary Travers, Les Lye, David Carradine, two Kennedys, Henry Gibson, Dom DeLuise, Brittany Murphy, the ten o'clock hour of NBC's schedule and the last survivor of the Titanic. Now, if you boys want to talk relevancy, how about you go play with seasonal flu. I hear he averages at least 36,000 deaths a year.

Well, Death goes all in and wins the match, bony hands down. Stay tuned for round two.

This match is sponsored by soap. Preventing the transfer of germs for centuries. Also, sponsorship by the human race. Statistically speaking, human flu kills more per year than animal based flu. Humans; still the leading cause of death in everything.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2009 D-Bag Awards - Heat Five: Million Dollar D-Bags

In the game of Monopoly, he who owns everything is the winner. In the D-Bag Awards, those who do so by means which are considered shady and ridiculously low class are the winner. So, for this match up, the following contestants will compete in a “Biggest D-Bag Take All” Game of Monopoly.

  • Wall Street (The Wheelbarrow)
  • Auto Industry (The Racecar)
  • Fox (The Dog which we’ll call a Fox)
  • NBC (Thimble which represents Jay Leno’s chin)
  • Raj Rajaratnam (The Battleship or Galleon)
  • Bernie Madoff (The Sack of Money: Deluxe Editions)
Since anyone of these contestants could drop off the map, let’s do a quick play scenario. On the board we have our six contestants. Each one will take a Chance card which will decide their fate.
First up is The Auto Industry. Representing the Auto Industry is Ford, GM, and Chrysler. You may remember their CEOs made the trek to Washington in 2008, looking for money to bail them out in hopes that they could get more federal funds to stem the bleeding from the recession. They did. So, here’s their turn.

CHANCE: Elected Chairman of the Board. Give yourself a bonus, cut workforce production, go bankrupt and be replaced.

Next up, Wall Street. With the TARP funded bailout last year, one would hope that Wall Street would have learned their lesson and been a better boy this year. Not likely, After lavish retreats and continued bonuses, we realized that the bailout really didn’t trickle down all that much. Yeah, the country didn’t go under and the Earth continues to turn, but even in paying back TARP funds, some banks look to make a profit by cutting the interest and passing along the bill to you.

CHANCE: Your Xmas Fund Matures. Pay back loans early and deny the hand that feeds you with stock prices that cut the amount of money paid back leaving you a profit. Get out from under the thumb of the government so you can go back to paying bonuses for suits and cosmetic changes to your offices. Continue to bend public over a chair as mortgages continue to be foreclosed on in America.

Third in turn is Fox. Fox has gone on such a high this year thanks to the addition of the show glee. However, this is the same company that managed to shift good shows to Friday night’s graveyard while relying on American Idol to win them all the money in the world. That and they copyrighted the word “glee”, but that’s another story.

CHANCE: That’s right. Fox doesn’t take chances. They just cut and run when shows aren't performing that well. The fan club of Dollhouse thanks you.

Next up, NBC. NBC has long been considered one of the best networks. After all, with shows like Law & Order, The Cosby Show, Cheers, ER, Friends, and The Tonight Show in your stable, you must have been doing something right, right? FlashForward to September 2009 and you’ll see why they are in contention.

CHANCE: Advance token to nearest high roller cable company and offer to be bought while simultaneously killing your schedule by doing away with 10pm dramas in hopes that Jay Leno will bring everyone over to watch his new show. Honestly, if Comcast gets controlling stock of NBC, you will see tons of issues. Think about wanting to watch your favorite show and seeing the TV Guide list a four block of time when it might show up.

Raj Rajaratnam, you’re up. Raj has taken time out of his busy schedule today of pleading not guilty to 11 counts of insider trading and we thank him for that.

CHANCE: You’ve been given insider information. Now that’s not even remotely a real card, but then again, we are dealing with a hedge fund. Raj denies benefiting from insider information dealing with a merger between IBM and Sun Microsystems. That non information led to a non million dollar windfall for Raj’s funds. Being a relatively non player in the game of nonsense, Raj is no match for our final contestant.

Bernie Madoff, come on down. As you can see, Bernie is being led to the board in a wonderful orange jumpsuit. That’s because Bernie has already been convicted of running the biggest ponzi scheme this side of organized religion. He managed to ruin more people’s lives than the Internet.

CHANCE: Go Directly Back To Jail, You D-BAG!

The list of Madoff’s d-baggery is so extensive will be in jail for the next two lifetimes and that’s still not enough punishment. There is a special level of Hades for this d-bag and I hope he’s made friends with the sisters on the inside. I’d love to hear that voice over being done by Morgan Freeman.

Today’s match brought to you by Cash4Gold and other fine scam artists.

2009 D-Bag Awards - Heat Four: A to D List D-Bags

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends. We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside! There inside the house you look and you will see. The greatest d-bags since heat number three. Move along! Move along!

The contestant from this heat have all the makings of a great reality show so why go against that notion. We’ve taken our contestants and locked them in a house. Find out what happens when people stop being polite and start acting like a d-bag.

  • Lindsay Lohan
  • Megan Fox
  • Heidi and Spencer Pratt
  • Ryan Jenkins
  • Chris Brown
  • Kanye West
  • Chad Johnson
  • Manny Ramirez

As we lock all the contestants in the house we have our first forfeit. It seems both Heidi and Spencer are claiming that they are being tortured after riding up to the D-Bag house in a stretch limo. They have decided to leave before ever stepping foot inside the house. Once the door is closed, it will not be opened until we have crowned a winner… and Heidi and Spencer Pratt are now back, choosing to join the competition, again. Let’s hope that we have no more….and they’re gone again.

Now that everyone is in, we will begin our first competition for head of household. The task set before out hose mates is to stand perfectly still and not open their mouths. The one who can go the longest is the winner. As I’m saying this, Megan Fox is talking incessantly and is disqualified for this challenge. Even she walks away, she is still talking. She is continually putting the word uber in front of every word she says. It’s almost like D-bag Latin or something.

Now, Chad Johnson is out because he has violated the rules of the task and while not actually speaking, he is tweeting to his fans about how cool he is and how he is going to give me a dollar after he wins the challenge.

Ryan Jenkins looks a little unstable but is very still. I’ve asked the judges to do some background checking on him to see if there are any issues with his character. I’ve been assured that he is perfectly fine and is capable of enduring the test. I ask them to check again, because he has just taken a large butcher knife and hacked Lindsay Lohan to pieces.

Manny Ramirez has been suspended for two challenges because it was discovered that he took a performance enhancing drug that rendered him in a catatonic like state.

It is now, neck and neck between Kanye West and Chris Brown. Oh, there goes Kanye. The cameraman got too close and he attacked him. That leaves Chris Brown as head of household. There is some post challenge activity as two potential d-bag contestants, namely Tareq and Michaele Salahi, have crashed the competition looking to get into the reality show. Secret Service has been dispatched but they gave them slip with a "They went that-a-way" move while wearing lampshades. No worries, Ryan Jenkins is on it.

As we head back to the living room for our first elimination we find Heidi and Spencer sitting on the couch. We’re not even sure how they got back into the house, but it is of no matter because Ryan Jenkins has killed them as well. As we clean up the Pratt’s we get down to the elimination. Chris Brown is head of household and immune. The remaining members of the household each vote, unanimously, to remove Ryan Jenkins from the house. With Ryan being selected for elimination, he is removed from competition and subsequently eaten by Megan Fox who truly is a demon. Not wanting to go quietly, Ryan has stabbed Megan repeatedly causing her to bleed out. It’s a shame really, her performance was a bit robotic, but she really transformed herself into a total d-bag over the last year. The Vegas bookies are going to take a loss on this one.

The final challenge is set to go. The members of the household must go through the rest of the day without drawing attention to themselves. Now, there is a secret task that, if completed, will guarantee a win. The task has not been revealed to anyone in the house or the audience.

As the competition starts, Chad Johnson has already begun to cause a stir as he has decided to don a sombrero and poncho and insists on being called Ocho Cinco. He is doing that because he wants to be called by his jersey number of 85. What he fails to realize, and what could have been considered the coup d-bag, is that 85 in Spanish is ochenta y cinco. Ocho cinco is merely the number eight and five. Kanye has ripped down the blinds in the house and fashioned himself a pair of sunglasses. He’ll take a penalty for defacing property and drawing attention to himself. Manny Ramirez has a lock on the win but has decided to quit the competition and take a shower. Wow, that was a surprise move. I’m glad his team gave him all that money to compete. That leaves Chris Brown as the winner of the challenge a second time, and…and…what’s this? Kanye West has broken into the booth and is taking my micr…..

Kanye: Yo, Chris, I’m really happy for you, I’ma let you finish but Ocho Cinco is the biggest D-Bag of all time.

After that disruption, Kanye has handed me back the microphone and I’m getting word from the judges that Kanye West has completed the secret task and has automatically won the competition for biggest D-Bag in this heat. Apparently, unselfishly giving away the title of biggest D-Bag was the secret task.

Here’s the statistics
Chris Brown got his D-Bag status off to an early start by being arrested for domestic violence against singer Rihanna. Since then, he’s pretty much become irrelevant while Rihanna has used the experience to come back stronger. Heidi and Spencer Pratt, apart from being wastes of space, made themselves total D-Bags on the reality show I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here. If they would have just went away and stayed away, they could have saved us all a few brain cells. Manny Ramirez has had an eventful year in that he was suspended for performance enhancing drugs and decided to leave the most important Dodgers game of the year in the ninth inning because he thought he smelled funky.

Ryan Jenkins killed his wife after being allowed to exist on not one reality show, Megan Wants a Millionaire, but a second I Love Money 3. How this nut job made it past the censors and onto television is beyond me. Oh, wait a minute, that’s right, reality shows don’t give a crap about personal safety and ethics. They want a cheap train wreck to drive viewership up. Somewhere in a board room, I’m sure that the discussion of a person’s background comes up and then they roll the dice on what could happen. They also probably goad their contestants to get the best and craziest performance out of them.

Megan Fox and Lindsay Lohan are equal in talent as well as D-Baggery. But while Lindsay is heading towards total crash and burn, sex tape, overdose, Gary Buseyville, Megan Fox shows no sign of stopping and repeatedly opens her mouth letting insanity spew forth. She compares herself to other actresses with 10 times more talent and frankly, what she doesn’t realize is that most guys look at her while holding an athletic sock in one hand.

Chad Johnson, yes I refuse to call him Eight Five, may have some modicum of talent on the field, he totally overshadows it with his antics in the end zone. The fact that the NFL continually just fines the guy for being a d-bag gives them an honorary award as he should be suspended, for the playoffs and possibly longer. But that won’t happen, not when he makes the league money in fines and merchandise. What is really great about Chad being a D-bag is that since 2003 he has only scored three touchdowns against the Steelers. Sorry, just a fan, here but stats don’t lie. The almost irrelevant rivalry between the Steelers and the Bengals comes down to the fact that they continue to be the bigger dogs yet end up screwing themselves in the end. This year is the exception as they lead the AFC North and have playoff dreams while Pittsburgh is doing the math.

Kanye West however takes the microphone of D-Baggery away from them all and comes out on top, moving to the next round. His interruption at the VMA awards this year was ridiculous. Regardless of how much talent Taylor Swift lacks, he lacks class.

Today’s match has been brought to you by the numbers 8 and 5 and the letter D. No real talent was harmed during this post as no real talent was present.

Monday, December 21, 2009

2009 D-Bag Awards - Heat Three: Political D-Bags

This is going to be a big match up. Due to economic hardships and attention deficit disorder, the IDC (International D-Bag Committee) has decided to merge the international competition into the United States Tournament. In an unprecedented event, D-bag delegates from Iran and North Korea are going to compete for a shot at the world title against American competitors early on in the tournament.

This heat will consist of a pageant of sorts. Each contestant will be judged on five areas of competition, Interview, Talent, Lifestyle & Fitness in Swimsuit, Evening Wear, and Onstage Question. Here are your contestants.

  • Rod Blagojevich (Former Governor of Illinois)
  • Sarah Palin (Former Governor of Alaska and Former Vice Presidential Nominee)
  • Kim Jong Il (Leader of North Korea)
  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Leader of Iran)
  • Mark Sanford (Governor of South Carolina)
  • John Edwards (Fmr. Senator from North Carolina, Fmr. Vice Presidential Nominee, Fmr. Presidential Nominee Hopeful)
Ok, let’s kick things off with the personal interview. Governor Mark Sanford, can you describe what makes you most proud to be in your role as leader? Um, Governor? Has anyone seen the Governor? We are getting word that Mark Sanford has taken an indefinite leave of absence to hike the Appalachian Trail. Oh, I’m sorry, I mean he’s in Argentina nailing some broad. I guess that opens our competition with a forfeit for the Governor. His wife has left the auditorium and is filing divorce proceedings as we speak.

Our next interview is with John Edwards. Mr. Edwards, tell us what it is like to have been in the running for the White House twice and come up short? Um, who are you? Ok, we are being told that Mr. Edwards is claiming that he isn’t a d-bag and that his former campaign aide, Andrew Young is the real d-bag and should be interviewed. Mr. Edwards has also initially claimed that it isn’t even his d-bag even though he promised to be the d-bag after his wife dies of cancer and he will make a solid commitment to being the d-bag in a roof top ceremony with The Dave Matthews Band giving a performance. Wow, that’s two contestants out in the first round. I was really looking forward to the evening wear round for a look at John Edwards’ flawless hair.

Next up, another helmet haired contestant, Rod Blagojevich.
Fmr. Governor, what do you think was your biggest mistake while in office?

Blago: Not getting the money up front.

Good answer. What has life been like for you in 2009?

Blago: Hold on a second. Where’s the football?

Ok, it appears we need to take a minute for Rod to comb his hair. One of his assistants is bringing him a brush in a briefcase. I think he’s done now.

Blago: Ok, where was I? Yes, 2009. I think the year has been hard. I mean I got kicked out of office, I couldn’t be on I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here and travel restrictions have prevented me from really taking advantage of my post scandal fame. It’s a bummer, man.

Thank you Rod.

Now onto North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Il Dear Leader can you describe what it means to the people of North Korea that you are here competing?

Kim Jong-Il (Through Interpreter) Competing? There is no competition. I am magical and the best there is. No matter where I go, I bring North Korea with me. In fact, you are in violation of trespassing onto North Korean soil. You will be seized and be forced to work 12 years of hard labor. Guards.

Apparently, Kim Jong-Il is talking to a light stand and I think he might be a little demented. Um, we really can’t tell but we think he believes that he is surrounded by guards and that they are going to take me into custody. I think we better take a break until we can figure this out. Oh, there he goes for the boom mic. Yep, he thinks it’s an American drone ship. It appears that he is attempting to toss his pen at the microphone, spouting something about long range missiles but his aim is terrible. We’ll be right back.

We have successfully managed to negotiate my release as well as convince Kim Jong-Il that our green room was one of his palaces. Unfortunately, he has annexed it along with the Craft Services table and has built a fort with the chairs and blanket inside.

Next up, we have Iranian Leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Mahmoud, can you tell us what you believe makes you the biggest d-bag of 2009?

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: (Inaudible response.)

I’m sorry Mr. President we couldn’t quite make that out. There seems to be a huge protest going on right next to us. It appears that numerous Iranian protesters are shouting something about fraud and scandal over your nomination. Hold on a second. Excuse me. You realize that this is an award for being the biggest D-bag of the year, right? Ok, the translator has relayed the message and now it appears that they are cheering Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on. I’m afraid we’ll have to skip the interview, however, due to continued disruptions.

Last, but certainly not.. well whatever, Sarah Palin.

Fmr. Governor Palin, that’s a lovely shade of red your pant suit has.

Sarah Palin: Why thank you. I picked up it at the RNC’s yard sale. It looks just like the one I wore on the campaign trail.

Um, Sarah, I believe that is the actual suit. I think the RNC is trying to recoup the costs of the campaign from last year. Now, you’ve had quite a busy year, your daughter, Bristol, gave birth just before 2009 started. Then her and Levi broke up, you gave up your office as Governor of Alaska and wrote a book. How do you find the time to stay so relevant?

Sarah: Oh well, you know, we Alaskans aren’t just up there on top of the world to keep the snow of the rest of, ya. We’re busy and we keep ourselves going on the notion that any day, some Russian could just show up unannounced on our beach. People always think that Red Dawn was a possibility. Youknow, that the Russians could move through Alaska and overthrow the United States. Well, I can tell you that would never happen. Alaskans are always vigil and could see a Russian attack coming because of the proximity. Those Ruskies would never make it out of the boats.

Ms. Palin, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

We’re just going to end this round and catch up later. After a long day of competition we bring you this update.

During the talent portion of the competition Rod Blagojevich was disqualified for trying to sell John Edwards vacant position to the highest bidder, in attempt to pay off his extensive Paul Mitchell bills. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad performed a stand up routine but most of his jokes about Jewish people fell flat due to him not being Jewish. Sarah Palin wowed the crowd with a display of marksmanship as she successfully wiped out an entire species of rare wolves without reloading her automatic rifle. But by far, the star of the talent competition was Kim Jong-Il who simultaneously wrote and performed an aria while sinking an impressive hole in one on a 560 yard par five hole, that was completely under water.

During the Swimsuit competition, Sarah Palin appeared in what looked like a swimsuit but the judges are investigating that it really wasn’t Palin, from today, but a version of Palin from another competition. Kim Jong-Il showed up in a lovely one piece swimsuit, circa 1924 and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wore a speedo that pretty much let us know he really wasn’t Jewish.

In evening wear competition, Sarah Palin busted out her old pageant dress and was nice enough to bring little Trig out with her. In fact, she spent more time showing off Trig than herself, much to the "oohs" and "awws" of the crowd. Kim Jong-Il forfeited when it was discovered that while he claimed to have designed and stitched his own tuxedo, in reality, sweat shop workers from North Korea were flown in to do the work. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad really didn’t impress us all that much as he came out in a tan suit, without a tie, and was unshaven.

In the end the all important event, the Onstage Question was ultimately thrown out. Quite frankly, we aren’t even exactly sure what happened, but Sarah Palin was asked a question and then she went into a three hour long rant that made absolutely no sense, and quite frankly I fell asleep during, only to wake up as she plugged her new book three times, brought Trig back out to get the crowd back into it and then she just stopped talking all together. She stood there for about three minutes and then walked off the stage. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had already left, thinking that the entire competition was a myth.

So, it looks like everyone else was either disqualified or quit making Sarah Palin the winner of this round. We’d like to congratulate her but it seems that she’s off on another book signing, with Trig in tow.

Here’s the breakdown.
If you had to compare John Edwards to Mark Sanford, you could say that Mark was the bigger d-bag for putting the line of leadership in South Carolina in jeopardy by going off the grid to get a little nookie. However, John Edwards is hands down the bigger d-bag because of his cheating, fathering, and ultimately denying the child and affair all while his wife battled cancer. However, when it comes to political d-baggery, Rod Blagojevich held his own auction for a senate seat and pretty much is just an ass hat beyond that. Out of the international stage, Kim Jong-Il is losing relevancy and his marbles. He’s living in his own version of Oz and he claims to be able to make it rain better than Pac-Man Jones at a strip club. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is truly a d-bag in his own right, and quite frankly, the holocaust was real but I think his presidency is the myth. So, that leaves you with Sarah Palin. She continues to keep kicking the dead fame horse and will do so for the next four years. Quite frankly, if she can maintain any sense of relevancy beyond 2010 I will be shocked. If she can do it, expect her to run for the GOP ticket. If the Republicans are dumb enough to think she can be their savior then they are really screwed. If they think like McCain did, they will try to use her to gain the popularity vote, hoping to influence the electoral college to vote for her but they will spend the next two years deprogramming and brainwashing her into a robot that will be able to follow the party line and not go rogue. The hollowed out shell of Sarahcuda will be nothing more than lipstick on an elephant.

Today’s competition was brought to you by Lens Crafters and Brylcream. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s wardrobe by Botany 500.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

2009 D-Bag Awards Heat Two: D-Bag Dads

In this match up we have three dads and a dead guy competing for the chance to move on to round two.

  • Richard Heene
  • John Phillips
  • Jon Gosselin
  • Roman Polanski

The heat is a bit lopsided as we have three live contestants and a corpse. That shouldn’t be too much problem as Team Phillips has submitted a substitution for John in the form of his daughter, Mackenzie Phillips, carrying the urn containing her Dad's ashes. As we await the start of the match some of the contestants are doing some unusual pregame warm-ups. Richard Heene is conducting some weather experiments and Jon Gosselin is trying to get the digits of some coed in the stands with a Penn State sweatshirt. Apparently there’s a frat party immediately after the match and he’s offering to make a beer run. I tell ya, he better focus on this competition instead of her Levis or he’s not going to fare too well.

Ok, as all the contestants and ashes of contestants come up to the line we get set to go. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with this contest, we’ll explain. The playing field contains numerous structures in which children are hidden. The object is for the fathers to locate their actual children among the structures. Now this will be a hard task for Gosselin as he has to find all eight kids, while Polanski and Heene have only two and three to look for. Mackenzie, standing in for her dead father has to find her half siblings and that gives her the edge because she’s already found herself, so she comes in one up on the others.

There’s the whistle and they’re off like a shot. Roman Polanski sneaks from structure to structure to avoid detection. His work is amazing as the camera really follows him well. The shots we are getting in the booth are fantastic. Jon Gosselin manages to find the older twins right away but loses them in a bitter custody battle with his wife. He seems to be distracted by another coed in the stands. Oh, look out. His wife whisked the kids right out from under him. We’ll have to get a judge’s ruling on whether or not that counts towards his final goal.

Mackenzie is taking the course one day at a time and seems to be unsure on whether or not she should check out a particular garage. She opens the door and there’s Chynna. Wow, that was an "Impulsive" move to check out the garage. Now, there’s a fight over allegations that their father carried on the affair with Mackenzie, while high. Chynna is saying "Release Me." This could be a setback for Mackenzie.

And where is Richard Heene? He’s still at the starting line conducting some experiment. Now, he’s done and heading out into the field. There are a few places he could start looking. My bet is the tethered Mylar balloon immediately to his right. But the crowd seems to be shouting at Richard to check the garage where Mackenzie Phillips found her sister Chynna. Apparently, they are yelling about Falcon being in the rafters of the garage. Oh, and now we have a new development, the balloon that was tethered to the field has just snapped its line and is floating away. Boy, you have to hate when that happens. You go to a sporting event and someone loses a balloon that just stops all the action as everyone turns to watch it float away.

As attention focuses back on the field we now have our first disqualification. Roman Polanski stopped looking for his children and followed a 13 year old girl into a replica of Jack Nicholson’s house. That’s not even the half of it. Chris Hanson and a troop of Swiss officers were waiting inside to ambush Polanski and he has been taken into custody. Turns out that 13 year old girl was really an undercover cop who just looks young for her age. Still, I don’t see how this is a disqualification for Roman…Uh oh, they found Quaaludes on him. Yeah, that’s the reason. Performance Diminishing drugs are a no-no. As Polanski is hauled away we can see his children Morgane and Elvis sitting with Mother Emmanuelle Seigner in the stands. It was all a ruse.

The remaining contestants have continued to scatter about the field. Gossellin has managed to find all but one of his kids and is constantly complaining about the lack of coverage he’s getting from the cameras. He also seems to be yelling at the officials over his compensation for appearing in the games. Well, that will hinder his performance a bit. Meanwhile, Richard Heene has found Falcon. He was indeed hiding in the attic and we’re waiting from a ruling on the field over whether or not Heene had previous knowledge about Falcon’s whereabouts. The other two kids are nowhere to be found but there is a rap video playing on the jumbo tron in the center of the field which looks to be starring Heene’s other kids. I think the FCC will have something to say unless we go to a seven second delay, here.

Mackenzie has just stopped searching for siblings and is instead doing a bunch of talk shows, so I guess we can count her out, too. Looks like we are down to Jon Gossellin and Richard Heene. Oh, wait. Spike TV offered Jon a talk show for single guys and he immediately dropped all of his kids. That leaves Richard Heene, who enticed his other kids out of hiding with a combination of Mountain Dew, pixie sticks, and the DVD box set for Deadwood. He is the winner. What a surreal finish.

Here’s the final breakdown.

John Phillips is dead so we can only take his daughter’s ramblings to anyone who will listen as evidence of the actual abuse.

Roman Polanski was the coyote to the Swiss Police’s roadrunner and fell for the old "Come-accept-this-reward" ploy. He was arrested and is finally going to start the proceedings into the case. Now, whether it will be a "rape, rape" case or just a rape case remains to be seen. The fact that this happened 30 years ago puts him out of the running as he is only guilty of being an idiot for getting caught in 2009. He would have won the 1978 award hands down.

Jon Gossellin is just in it for the money, so I say we just make him go away and hopefully he will take his ex-wife with him. That whole train wreck of a divorce and custody battle shouldn’t even be talked about let alone put on camera.

Richard Heene rises above the competition. Jon Gosselin may be a cheating scumbag who wanted to cash in on his 15 minutes but Richard Heene tried to buy his time by reporting an incident that never happened, wasted taxpayer money on the wild goose chase, including diverting air traffic from DIA. Not to mention, his kids are YouTube rap stars that just shows how bad of a parent this guy is. He needs to be taken to D-Bag prison camp and water boarded. But instead, he floats away to round two while we go around and collect the rest of Gosselin’s wayward children.

Today’s match has been brought to you by the medical doctors of Holder, Roper and Nutter. Physicians who specialize in proactively performing castrations on potential d-bags before they can procreate. They save the tax payers money and the general public much needed brain cells by disallowing idiots to reproduce exponentially in order to get a reality show. They are medical insurance friendly. If only they would have been around to stop Kevin Federline and The Duggars after kid four. Honestly, does she just have a zipper on her abdomen, or what?

Friday, December 18, 2009

2009 D-Bag Awards - Heat One: D-Bag Dogs

In the race to be the biggest D-bag of 2009, a few contenders thought it would be good to carry on affairs or be a bit of a dog, otherwise. In this heat we have four men who, throughout the course of the year, were caught with their pants down or wound up being exposed later on by no choice of their own.
  • Tiger Woods (Pro Golfer)
  • Charles Barkley (Former Pro Basketball Player and Talk Show Host)
  • Steve Phillips (Former NY Mets Manager and ESPN Baseball Analyst)
  • Dave Letterman (Late Show host and comedian)
At the starting gate, everything looks normal. Everyone is in their car and ready. Wait a minute, what’s this? David Letterman is motioning for an official to come over to his car and look inside. Someone has apparently left a note of some sort. He’s leaving the track and heading for the press box. Ladies and gentlemen, this is unprecedented. Dave Letterman is actually coming into the press box and admitting to an affair with a member of his staff. The other racers are just stunned by this turn of events.

Oh, there goes Barkley. He’s decided to just start driving erratically around the track with his female passenger. Apparently, he has somewhere to be in a hurry. Steve Phillips is sitting there checking his voice mail and, OH MY, Elin Nordegren is now on the track chasing down Tiger Woods’ in his Escalade with a golf club. She’s shouting something in Swedish about porn stars and pancakes. Tiger has attempted to elude his angered wife but has crashed into Charles Barkley. What’s Steve Phillips waiting for? Apparently, he is unable to go anywhere because a 22 year old production assistant is blocking the way. She’s literally laying down in front of his vehicle, preventing him from moving.

Meanwhile, Dave Letterman is apologizing and making jokes at his own expense. Tiger has crawled out of the wrecked Escalade, bruised and battered. Uh, Oh. The Escalade’s back door has opened up and as if this was some kind of circus clown car, 12 women climb out and scatter about the track looking for an open camera. Steve Phillips is still sitting there, now reading a pink slip from ESPN and his mistress is still laying in the middle of the track. She appears to be on her phone updating her myspace mood and Facebook status while playing Scrabble with Phillips son, online. Barkley is admonishing Tiger for not coming clean about the affairs and Dave Letterman is doing a Top Ten List.

It’s a hell of a day at the races.

Here’s how it all stacks up.

Dave Letterman came clean about the affair in front of a Live Studio Audience and even though he did have an extensive affair with one of his employees he pretty much disqualifies himself from contention after he admitted to everything and took it on the chin.

Charles Barkley had a moment of blood rushing to the wrong brain and ran a stop sign on his way to get some you know what from a female passenger. He was driving under the influence and was arrested. His endorsements dried up but came back after they realized that no one really saw the relevance of Barkley as a personality anymore.

Steve Phillips did a huge disservice to his family by picking a nut job for a mistress but furthermore he brought his work home with him since Hundley decided to friend his son, write his wife and show up on their lawn. He lost his wife and his job.

However, above all of this nothing can outshine the mess that was Tiger Woods’ affair(s). This whole business unraveled faster than Tiger’s game at the HSBC Champions match in November. The accident triggered the media frenzy speculating that his wife did not “rescue” him from his wrecked Cadillac but actually chased him after she found out he had an affair. Then Tiger started racking up more mistresses that almost rivaled his championship record. How he was able to keep this all going is still a mystery but I think we haven’t heard the last of this yet. More women, more secrets, more lost endorsements are in Tiger’s future and probably all before the Masters in 2010, if he even plays. Of these four dogs, Tiger is the biggest D-Bag of 2009. He moves onto the next round.

Today’s race has been brought to you by the new iPhone App Cheetah. Inspired by Tiger Woods’ intricately woven illusion of wholesome image and naughty night life, the Cheetah App allows you to plan, track, reschedule and juggle all your mistresses from your iPhone. You can set alerts and tasks to remind you of their names and what they like to do for fun. Hit the quick shot button and you’ll have an instant canned phrase that not only compliments your mistress on her looks but also serves to instill her with the confidence that she’s the only one for you. The Cheetah App also comes with a wife tracker. Constantly know where your wife is at all times with this GPS goodie that allows you to avoid capture while you are leaving voice mails for your vixens. The best feature of this app is that with the push of one button, all your indiscretions automatically switch off and are hidden from view. If your suspicious spouse gets a hold of your phone all she’ll find is a list of Christmas gifts you’ve been planning to buy her and a huge ass rock from the jeweler that you are eyeing up for her. The Cheetah app makes your smart pone smarter.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

2009 D-Bag Awards

It’s getting close to the end of the year and here at M.A.M.S. we’d thought we’d look back at 2009 and see who was the biggest d-bag of all. When I say “we” I mean “me” and the voices in my head. 2009 was quite the year for d-baggery. Usually, in case like this, I would do a straightforward list. But I wanted to be a little different and thought it would be fun to pit these folks against each other for my amusement. The worst part about it is having to only choose 32 competitors. There were a lot more that I wanted to include but felt that the field would be too diluted.

The remaining few weeks of 2009 are filled with retrospective lists of pop culture goodness. Unfortunately, to compete with everyone else, the demand for supremacy ultimately causes some list makers to miss out on crucial proponents of their topic that occur after press time. I have been planning a list of the biggest d-bags of 2009 and had hoped to publish them before the end of the year but had I done so I would have missed out on one of the biggest stories of the year. So, I waited and tried to gather more research in order to bring you a more complete list. Unfortunately, this project comes right at the busiest time, the holidays.

I had such hopes to do something exciting and different with this post. I had it all planned out as a March Madness style tournament that would bring matchups between nominees based on their area of d-baggery using bracketology. I just don’t have the time to be that creative and the scope of this project is way beyond me, so let’s just do this as simple as possible. So, here are the list of nominations in their matches. We’ll go from there.

D-Bag Dogs
  1. Tiger Woods
  2. Charles Barkley
  3. David Letterman
  4. Steve Phillips

D-Bag Dads

  1. Jon Gosselin
  2. Richard Heene
  3. John Phillips
  4. Roman Polanski
Deadly D-Bags
  1. H1N1
  2. Salmonella
  3. Death
  4. Conrad Murray
Political D-Bags
  1. Rod Blagojevich
  2. Sarah Palin
  3. Kim Jong Il
  4. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
  5. Mark Sanford
  6. John Edwards
A to D List D-Bags
  1. Lindsay Lohan
  2. Megan Fox
  3. Heidi and Spencer Pratt
  4. Ryan Jenkins
  5. Chris Brown
  6. Kanye West
  7. Chad Johnson
  8. Manny Ramirez

Million Dollar D-Bags

  1. Wall Street
  2. Auto Industry
  3. Fox
  4. NBC
  5. Raj Rajaratnam
  6. Bernie Madoff

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Merry Christmas To Me?

My issues with cars, good and bad, has nearly reached legendary status here on the blog. I’ve told you how I can pack nearly anything into a car, how much I loathe snow tires, how goofy electrical issues keep me up at night and how bad I have it with brakes, wheels and transmissions. I’ve also told you how Christmas can be very expensive to a car owner and that beings us up to date. Although, I expect each and every one of you to go back and read all those posts as a homework assignment. I’m kidding. You have far better things to read about, I’m sure. *sniff*

So, to summarily bring you up to speed, I used to drive a 97’ Chevy Cavalier, which I loved and then the head gasket blew in 2005. As my wife and I searched for a new car, I zeroed in on a 2005 Malibu Maxx. I drove it for two years until our daughter was born. I then handed over the keys [read: pried out of my hands] to her to have it as the Mom Mobile and began driving her 99’ Pontiac Sunfire. I drove that for two years in which time the transmission, gas gauge, air conditioning, brakes, rotors, exhaust and little volume knob on the radio broke or needed replaced. Each year instead of a car payment I put almost $500 into keeping it road worthy. Knowing full well that this car would not pass inspection at the end of the year I made the decision to start looking for a replacement.

Both my wife and I tend to differ on what is acceptable in price and features on most things including cars, vacation rentals and other things. Still, we work together well when it comes down to the important things like picking a color. I say that, lovingly, as my wife will be the enforcer and I can rely on her to help beat the sales person into submission, but she sometimes reveals too much when she walks in off the street. She’d make a great poker player, if the object was to show everyone your cards as soon as you get them. However, we did agree on one thing in our list of features we wanted in a new car, four cylinders.

That seems rather trivial but we have a V6 on the Maxx and it does eat a lot of gas, at least when she drives it. I can stretch a tank of gas on that thing to 300 miles and still have a quarter of a tank. She’s refilling at 220. But transmission speed aside, she kept telling me, “This is your car. You have to make the payment. It’s your decision.” Yet, every decision I made was met with criticism.

Let’s break down what I wanted on the new car.

Four Doors:
It’s nice to be able to get into the back seat of your own car without having to contort yourself into some weird position. There’s been a few times where I’ve had to grab the car seat from another car and put it into the back of the Pontiac and that is a pain in the ass. I’ve gone to pick my daughter up from being babysat with the Pontiac and she does most of the work getting into and out of the car seat because of how far it sits back from the door.

Four Cylinders:
I do a lot of back road driving on hills to get to work. A V6 is nice to have on those hills, but I only need 4 cylinders everywhere else. That being said, I shunned a lot of cheaper cars because of the size of the engine. 2.0 or better was what I wanted. This pissed me wife off as much as my insistence on 1080p vs. 720p when we shopped for an LCD HDTV. She doesn’t understand those things, she looks at the price.

I love having the Maxx because it’s a wagon/hatchback. Even though, I’ve managed to fit a 32” television set into the back seat of the a coupe, it’s nice to have that hatch and fold down seats. When we were shopping for the Maxx, I looked at Cobalts and besides being over priced I did not like that the back seat did not fold down flat. I was able to fit a 7’ Christmas tree, still in the box, into the trunk and back seat of my Cavalier. The opening between the trunk and back seat and the angle of which the back seat pitched up when laid down would make it impossible. Now, my wife says this is unnecessary since we have the hatch on the Maxx. I told her, “No, you have the Maxx. I may need it when you are out.”

When we began looking for the car, the auto industry was floundering. I figured it was a good time to buy. I knew I had a good six months to really make a final decision but getting the sales team to sweat it out with me and bring down the bottom line was intriguing. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t pull the trigger on buying a new car. My wife wanted me to get used but at the time, I told her that used car prices were bloated because of the profit margins on them. The brand new vehicles eat into the overhead the longer they sit on the lot. I’d be willing to get a previous year model, brand new, over used vehicle because of the inflated prices. They only way I’d consider a pre-owned vehicle is if it had less than 15,000 miles per year since its production and was less than $15,000. My wife went with $10,000 but I told her that was too much to hope for.

With all those variables in mind I narrowed my choice down to a Top Four List of cars.

I started with the Kia Soul. Regardless of what others thought, I believed it to be a good car.
It had exactly what I wanted in features and I was really ready to loosen my grip on owning a GM vehicle. The Maxx and Sunfire has been hard on brakes, rotors, and other maintenance items that I never had to worry about before on the Cavalier. Being a new model for 2010, there was no way I was going to be able to negotiate pricing.

I then checked out the Scion XD. Scion seemed like a reliable manufacture because of them being part of Toyota. The pure pricing thing irks me because there is no haggle room. I’m sorry, but when they promote that as being beneficial to the customer, it’s really not. They say that because they can’t budge on pricing, you don’t have to worry about the dealer raking you over the coals on pricing and you can go to any dealer and get the same price. I say that it’s crap because then you get screwed on all the additional charges that dealers pad the bottom line with not to mention, I don’t believe that pure pricing addresses the true cost of the vehicle. The bar was set too high from the beginning. Even the used models are maybe a hundred dollars cheaper. Sorry, but where’s that standard 20% depreciation on a car after being driven off the lot? The XD get left for the XB once I sat in one. I nearly clunked my head on the XD but the price on the XB made it impossible to consider.

Chevy HHR was my silver bullet to all this. It had all the features and it was still a GM car which meant I could haggle over brand loyalty, use my GM card rewards, and take advantage of the GM financial issues to bring a new car down into my price range. I could never find one at a dealer. They are either that popular or nobody wants one on their lot. I did find a few used ones that I would have considered but never made it out to a dealer to talk before it was already bought.

Toyota Matrix was a pie in the sky dream that I could never have afforded, even used as most were only in my price range if they had close to 100,000 miles on them. People told me, “Well if you like the Matrix, buy a Pontiac Vibe. No chance. I don’t care how much crap you sling about the Vibe being built on a Matrix chassis. It’s still got Pontiac wiring and that transmission is suspect. In any case, the Vibe was way out of my price range as well. It was a fall back if all else failed.

I thought I’d never get a car at this rate and soon I began noticing that the Sunfire was leaking something. At first I thought the gas line had a hole in it because it always smelled like gas. Then, I noticed black puddles on the ground. I checked the oil and it was full. Someone suggested transmission fluid. Nope. Another suggested something from the head was leaking. The problems were mounting. Now, I couldn’t even start the car unless I turned the key, then stopped, pumped the gas pedal a couple of times and then tried the key again. And on top of all that, the muffler rusted out and the thing sounded awful.

My in-laws had just purchased a PT Cruiser and loved it. They got it used and relatively cheap with low mileage. I had not read anything good on the PT and it was just a little small in the front for my taste. That was another red x on the XD and Soul, the front ends were short and living in deer central, I didn’t want one to come through the dashboard by way of the grille. With only two weeks before the inspection was to run out I made a last ditch effort on searching for cars. It appeared as if the auto industry crisis was over since all the prices on cars were back up again and I missed out on the cash for clunkers deal because the Sunfire wasn’t eligible due to gas mileage. If I had tried to push back a decision and get the Pontiac inspected I would have ended up sinking a good $500 or more into it before the sticker could even go on the plate.

There was a used PT Cruiser at the same dealership my in-laws bought theirs. 2006 touring model with 37,000 miles on it for less than $11,000. I looked up the blue book value and it came back at $9700. I was ready to settle. I walked into the lot and started to make the deal. As we were walking back to the office my wife and I noticed a sharp white vehicle staring at us.

Buy Me

Now, I have no experience with brands outside of GM so I don’t know what is good and what is bad, but I’ve always thought that Mazda had a good reputation. Sitting here was a 2006, Mazda 5 Sport with 37,000 miles on it for a couple thousand more. We wanted to talk numbers before driving it. I managed to work the dealer down $1800 dollars with a trade on the Pontiac. Go figure. Who would have thought I could have gotten anything for that POS? Granted, I know I really got zero for the Pontiac and the dealer was being resistant about bringing down the price since my wife was willing to take the PT Cruiser one way or the other. Also, we came in looking for a small car and ended up being interested in a minivan. Actually, it made a lot of sense. With the Maxx only being a five door sedan we are limited in expanding the family anytime soon. Also, whenever we go anywhere with her parents, we have to take two vehicles to fit everyone. A minivan would solve the problem for awhile and then we could eventually replace the Malibu with a sedan.

After all was said and done we worked out the particulars and took the Mazda for a test drive. I liked it. It had plenty of room, being a six passenger vehicle. It was a four cylinder, hatch back, and both rear doors were sliding. The visibility in front was great. I didn’t like how low to ground it was as going over speed bumps was tense and I didn’t like how there was more wheel than tire on it. Still, it was acceptable and it only took my wife driving it to want it, too. We walked back in and made the deal. I was psyched. The weight of this decision had been bearing down on me for months. Having to drive that leaky, noisy, death trap around was almost unbearable. Finally, I was going to be able to tool around in a car less than ten years old that has a hatch back and four doors. Finally, my wife was on board with a car purchase and we agreed on everything. Finally, I was getting to drive what I want.

I am now the proud driver of a Malibu Maxx...again.

Yeah, I got played. Merry Christmas, honey. Enjoy it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Everything I Know About Exterior Illumination

It isn’t much. I can give you a few pointers about lighting the house for the holidays. Unlike Clark W. Griswold, I was never taught the finer points of exterior illumination. I was never shown how to hang lights. I did it all on the fly.

As a home owner, I find myself staring at the potential of yard while trying to shake off the reality of what I have to work with there. First of all, I have no real landscaping going on here. Around the front of the house between the garage and the front porch I have a bed of river rocks that have been picked through on occasion to put into the bottom of planters for drainage. There is a rose bush that has seen better days. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it a rose bush. It is more of the Charlie Brown Christmas Trees of rose bushes. On either side of the front porch are these god awful huge hedges that look like mullets. They are green on top and in on the front while the backs facing towards the porch are mostly branches with no leaves. My first year in the house I wanted to trim them down a hell of a lot. I trimmed the electrical more than the hedges in that case. Lastly, nestled in between both hedges is a row of those leafy looking ones that have enough bare spots that it looks like the making of a bad comb over.

So, this is what I have to work with. For the first four years I had to continually add more lights to the strands to cover the bushes as they grow out of control. First rule of thumb. You can never have enough lights. I’m not talking 25,000 imported Italian twinkle lights. I’m talking about having a healthy supply of unopened lights on hand to replace the ones you end up destroying when you take them down in the Spring. Yes, I said Spring.

Second rule of thumb. Have a lot of fuses on hand. I went through three sets of fuses before I realized I had too many strands plugged into each other. Don’t go above four per plug. Get yourself a hub of outlets that you can stick into the ground and plug your lights into it.

Third rule of thumb. Those notions that if one light goes out the rest stay lit is less believable than Santa Claus. One goes out and half the strand goes out. You know what those are good for? They take up a lot of space in the garbage can. Toss them. I have spent countless hours standing in the cold weather trying to check each and every bulb for the burned out one. That’s why you buy a lot of lights. They are pretty cheap and as long as you buy a good supply you can the same brand. I have also spent countless hours pulling the actual bulbs out of the base of the plug and threading them into another base on the affected strand to try and salvage a strand.

Fourth rule of thumb. Even though it sucks working in the dark, pick a cloudy day or one closer to evening. You can see what you are doing and have a better sense of the finished product. I’ve spent an entire afternoon hanging up the lights, feeling proud of myself, only to have my wife come out and say, “You need more lights” or “Why does it look like a Sudoku puzzle?”

Fifth rule of thumb. When you do actually take down the lights, wrap them up nicely. You will save so much time and aggravation if you remove a strand of lights, lay it out and make sure it still works. Then, take the female plug end, lay it in your palm and fold the lights back and forth with a bulb at either end of your palm until you reach the male plug end, wrap that around the bunch a few times and plug it into itself.

Now, I have no rules for running lights around the roof of the house. I don’t get up on a ladder unless I am cleaning out my gutters and in that case, I get up on the roof and work from there. I will say that I would avoid rope lights at all cost. If one of those things goes out, you have no chance of replacing the burned out bulbs.

Beyond that, I wrap the lamp post in my yard with a garland / light twist with a red bow at the top, put three spot lights in my yard and hang wreaths on all the windows. That’s it. Simplicity.

So, if you haven’t already put up those lights, then realize that there are only 11 days till Christmas. Might want to get out there, regardless of the weather.

I’m just saying.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

How ABC Stole Christmas

As a holiday purist, I feel the need to be entertained by the classics this of year. Traditionally, I have found it comforting to engage in YuleTube type cheer. Every year I sit on the edge of my seat hoping that little star can make his way to the top of the Christmas Tree and I tear up as the tree lends a branch to help its celestial friend. I go a wassailing, humming my favorite carol, The "12 Days of Christmas," PA Lottery style. “Five Cash Five!” I sniff and get a warm fuzzy when Peter makes it home for Christmas and makes Folgers coffee for his family.

And as that purist I feel it necessary to indoctrinate my daughter in the ways of winter watching and sat down with her last night to watch my annual favorite, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Now, I own the classic on DVD, along with The Great Pumpkin, but there is something about watching it when it comes on television, complete with commercials. Even though I recorded it and watched it later that night, it’s still holds the same effect.

So, there we are, the happy family, all snuggled up on the blanket spread out on the floor this December 8th, 2009. The lights in the house are all off, except for the tree. As we sit there, we all share in a little bit of eggnog to make the season bright. The opening comes on and I am six years old again. I am the kind of person that will sit and watch, intently. My eyes rarely blink or leave focus from the set. It’s hard to hold a conversation with me during this event and don’t ask me to take out the trash. I am in the zone.

Unfortunately, with parenthood comes inevitable and constant distraction. I have learned to leave the zone to take care of business, should it arise. The cats wrestling under the tree interrupts you or the child spills a bit of eggnog on her pajamas. In any case, even though I have seen the show hundreds of times, I can tell you what will happen next. Even with my distracted state I picked up on something strange. “Hey, how come Charlie Brown didn’t press Violet about not getting a Christmas card?” "Why aren't they eating snowflakes?" “Where was Sally’s letter to Santa, ‘10s and 20s’?” “Did Shermy not get repeatedly cast as a shepherd in every play? And where was the scene where Schroeder bangs out Jingle Bells, on his toy piano, one note at a time to a unconvinced Lucy?”

My wife wondered the same thing, ultimately revealing that she does in fact pay attention and can recall the show even though she thinks I am a dork for continually watching it. I backed up the DVR and reviewed key moments of the show and indeed those scenes were missing. WTF?* (mandatory quota for txt speak reached)

I then checked the wire for news about this atrocity. As I scour the Internet for clues I question the reasons for this meatball surgical approach to a holiday institution. Usually, when something is aired on television you have make exceptions for editing. It’s unavoidable. This is not however acceptable in the case of say G4 airing a butchered version of The Goonies or this particular childhood classic. You do not mess with Charlie Brown. Although, my wife and I both admit that we are somewhat jaded because we cannot help but remember an SNL skit where the TV Funhouse animated shorts lampooned A Charlie Brown Christmas. It was hysterical but has destroyed one of my childhood innocent childhood moments. IMDB highlighted the same discourse I had with the network over the airing. Wikipedia even called out the scenes in question, confirming my assessment of the travesty. What I didn’t realize was that even the tracks were screwed up as Charlie Brown mouths the words, “That’s it!” during the therapy session before the audio cue comes up. One could toss this recognition away at the limited animation quality of the 1965, but us geeks know our shit and we are pissed!

I found out that the reason for this butchering of my childhood was to make room for Disney’s new special Prep and Landing…of course we all know that Disney owns ABC and this was purely a business decision and mockery of that which A Charlie Brown Christmas tries to satirize, commercialism at Christmas. One need look further than the commercials aired throughout the special enticing children to go see Disney’s new animated movie, The Princess and the Frog. Disney is in that pantheon of evil alongside Walmart and other corporate demons. If the sale of NBC goes through, Comcast will join that table of sin and soon the ruination of television will be all but complete.

I feel personally slighted by this attack on my nostalgic memories of days when you could come in from playing in the cold snow, warm up with a cup of hot chocolate, with extra marshmallows, and watch the special. I know that in the past there has been several aired versions of the special, including ones that also mocked the show’s message on commercialism with ad placement by Coca Cola and Dolly Madison along with removing references to commercialism altogether. But in the past few years, I had hoped that we have gained a sense of preservation and have gone back to showing the classic in its entirety. I guess not. I guess ABC will have to forgo my viewership so that I can watch the special as it was intended, on a shiny disc in digital format.

What’s next for ABC? We all know they air The Ten Commandments right before Easter. This usually pisses off my wife who looks forward to watching the 11:00 news at, um 11:00. I don’t know it just seems right to watch it at the same time as it’s called. So, how about airing an edited version in 2010, cutting it down a few hours. Perhaps we can get rid of the more banal commandments like this whole coveting business and calling out God as our Lord. I think it’s and understood relationship. We pretty much know who he is without a formal announcement. This of course will still preempt the news because of the piggybacking of Disney’s new special on ABC, immediately following and called, Jesus Colors An Egg.

Really ABC, was it worth it? Do you feel good about this move? Of course you do. That’s what Christmas is all about. For shame.

Monday, December 7, 2009

You're Da Bomb, O Tannenbaum

For a two and a half year old there are certain things, in this world, that are not to be questioned. One is whether or not they want your help on something. My kid’s pre-programmed response to any question of that nature is, “I do it myself.” Another is if they want to help YOU do something. My kid wants to help me work on my laptop, banging away at the keys, popping out the plastic flash card insert or just plain ole yanking the wireless mouse USB receiver right out of the port on the side. But, sometimes her intentions are good. This weekend was the annual Griswold tree trimming event where yours truly makes the long arduous trek up into his attic to retrieve the big ole honking Christmas tree from its secured location in the back of the decorations and to the left of the dismantled futon. Needless to say, it does not fit through the door very well, either way, and tends to leave more paint chips and ripped off insulation in its wake than plastic needles. I accepted it from my in laws as a replacement for the $70 Ames special 6’ 5” Spruce that consists of a pole and 40 or so individual branches that must be fluffed and unfolded before inserting tab A into slot B on its respective tier. This is what we call fun, right?

After doing some light spackling, I’m ready to get the tree into place. The first thing that we have to do is make room. That involves moving the furniture around, flip flopping the entertainment center and the couch and then taking the recliner, AKA my shirt shop design studio, and putting it on the opposite wall, next to the tree. The love seat that was in that spot now gets put up my ass because I have no place for it whatsoever in the living room. Last year we put it in a spare bedroom right after we put on top of one of my cats… long story, go here. But, in order to put the couch into the spare bedroom, we had to slide it down the hall with very little clearance, taking into account door knobs. After that, I to pull the bedroom door off the hinges, remove the legs from the couch and then actually have an empty space to sit it on once in the room. We managed to forgo that geometrical math problem from hell and fit it nicely on the back porch. No, I don’t have an El Camino up on blocks in the driveway. The porch is enclosed and there is no washing machine out there.

OK, the tree is up and all I have to do is plug it in and decorate it. Prelit trees are cool, huh? Now, why the hell is half of the tree not lit? So, I dismantled Devastator, as I call it, and checked the plugs. This is the one thing I hate about prelit trees. If you lose a strand and the fuses are good, you have to check every bulb and it’s not like they are all clearly marked, and it’s not like I have a lot of light to work with, and it’s not like I have the greatest eyesight in the world. In this situation you have two options. Spend the next two hours checking every single bulb to make sure that it isn’t the problem, or be a Plugger, like I am and just add a string of lights in the darkened areas. My wife hates this method but the tree is one of the few places I win out in an argument. Now, instead of working hard, I like to work smart. Efficiency in the work place as I call it. Let’s wring out problems and have a well oiled machine. Anyway, instead of putting it all together, I started with Devastators bottom, added a string of lights to the darkened area and then added another section and then checked all those plugs.

What occurred next could only be described as hearing the internal thoughts of a referee reviewing a play on the field. “It’s out. No, it’s in. It’s out. It’s in. it’s blinking?” I looked at my wife and said, “Blinking?” The plug must be shot because you had to hold it a certain way to keep the string on and then of course you had two other strands plugged into that one all dependent on the first one’s ability to stay lit. At one point I must have been jiggling the plug, causing it to blink. I finally got it situated into a staying on position and then added two more strands of lights to what was still dark. This isn’t a fire hazard, no.

After getting Devastator’s head on and plugged in, I could begin decorating. Now, this is a point of contention between my wife and I. She wanted to listen to Christmas music while she cleaned and I decorated. The selection on the cable music channels was lacking, although I did enjoy Bob Seger’s “Little Drummer Boy,” so I opted to switch the channel and found ABC Family running Harry Potter movies. That’s Christmas-y right? The point of contention comes in because my wife thinks that I work better without the distraction. I think that commercials make me work faster and get more done while the movie allows me to take time and really get a good look at the tree, making sure all the ornaments are properly placed. They go on in this order. Strands of pearls first. Balls and other solid objects go on next, usually silver, gold, blue, and then burgundy, respectively. Next comes all the specialized ornaments like figurines. Then the ribbon goes around and finally, the bow. If all goes well I should be done in two hours.

Four hours later, my daughter was up and helping me put on the last ornaments. It was a good movie, what can I say? She even helped put on her own ornament and held the ribbon as I ran it around the tree. All the while saying “I help” and “I do it, myself.” I explained that the ornaments are glass and could break. She finally agreed to let me do it and then tried to put the empty cardboard ribbons spools on the tree. Well, they weren’t made of glass, so technically, she was allowed, I guess.

Having the tree up the first weekend of December is a feather in my cap as a holiday purist. Unfortunately, I spend the next three weekends criticizing my work and moving low hanging ornaments up out of the reach of cat and kid. I even found one of them snuggled under the tree skirt, hidden from view. The cat, not the kid. By the end of the month, the bottom of the tree is mostly just lights and the top is laden with all kinds of ornaments that have sought higher ground as if a flood threatened their lower living arrangements.

Usually, my wife has a lot to say about how the tree looks. It’s one of those things that as the decorator you can’t get a handle on because you are too close to it. She nods or asks me to move something, which is fine. At least the one person I can count on to like it is my daughter. After she woke up from her nap and wandered into the living room, the half decorated tree was dim in comparison to her bright eyes and smile. “Oooohh” she said. “That’s a pity Critmas Tree, Daddy-O”

“Thank you.” I reply. “Would you like to put your ornament on?”

“Yeah. That’s a good idea.” She said.

“Yep. It is.”

Thursday, December 3, 2009

$9.99 For the Toilet Parts $150 For the ER Stay and X-Ray

My issues with home ownership are strewn all over the blog. Just look up the label and you’ll see them. Recently, we had issues with a toilet in our upstairs bathroom. I am by no means a plumber and have very little desire to be on my hands and knees in a cramped space with no room to work. However, the water just stopped flowing one night. The tank will eventually fill up over time but you have to schedule time in the bathroom over the period of the day or grab a jug and fill up the tank. Needless to say, I needed to get to work on it.

We thought the problem was originally because of my daughter, who is becoming more and more obstinate and independent. She is in potty training boot camp which usually consists of her wanting to use the bathroom usually before bath and bedtime. It used to be that she would walk into the bathroom, drop her drawers, and rip off her diaper like it was a parachute ripcord. I imagine the puffed out diaper deploying like the chute of a Looney Tunes character after the hapless cartoon animal hits the ground. Once de-pants she would saddle up to her potty, finish up, ask for paper and then wait for my wife or I to empty the contents into the toilet and then she would flush and close the lid. That was the case for about the first week. Come week two, we are using the potty as a step stool to sit on the insert that goes on the toilet seat. She is now in the minor leagues. Same protocol as before for cleaning up. Now, she wants to do it all by herself, without the insert, and content to just sit over the edge of the seat, teetering like Humpty Dumpty. If you try to get the insert or move the stool, she gets very upset to the point that she will toss the insert aside and move the stool back to its spot across the floor and move it back, all by herself. It’s safe to say the terrible twos are in full swing.

So, this week, after much debate and raised voices, she sat there and waved off my wife from trying to steady her and kerplunk she went into the bowl. That’s not why the toilet won’t flush but it occurred the same night. Turns out the fill valve in the tank is probably shot and needs replaced. Off to the evil blue store I go. I have no problem in admitting that I hate that big blue beacon of corporate retail. I lost some very good stores in my area thanks to it. It’s also creeping into my neighborhood in its attempt at global domination which will most likely increase traffic in an already burgeoning area, which is already congested and beyond road load capacity. Still, I was in need of parts and we were already near one.

My daughter, being little miss independent, doesn’t want to ride in a cart or hold your hand. We insist on it because, quite frankly, if my kid was going to get snatched up by some sicko, it would be here. However, she loves to go shopping and gets very haughty if we don’t all go in, if only for one item. My wife, on the other hand, can’t help but look at everything in the store, even though I have a specific item in mind and only plan on spending five minutes in the store. Can you tell I really did not want to be here? But, it was early in the evening and the thought of finishing up dinner, nightly chores and bath time before 9 PM was enticing enough to me to make the trip out. That’s usually when you find out that your night is going to turn out completely different.

Everything was pretty good up until checkout time. Yes, there was the embarrassing moment when walking through the bra isle, my daughter looked up and yelled “Booby Traps” loud enough that the couple in front of me turned to look and laugh at the comment and my blushing face. Still, for the most part she was being a pretty good girl. After switching guard detail a few times, it was my turn to hold her hand and my wife’s turn to push the cart. I informed my daughter that she had to hold my hand and could not let go. “Someone could take you,” I said. In my mind I remembered why they called the code for missing child Code*Adam. I remember growing up and watching the movie Adam on television. Mostly, I wanted to see it because at the age of seven, I watched Hill Street Blues and knew that Captain Furillo was playing John Walsh. Not knowing that this movie was based on a real story and after the fact, I kept waiting for them to find little Adam Walsh alive. It was the first time in my life I realized that kids were not indestructible and could be hurt and even killed. I suddenly realized that I am mortal and have an expiration date. As my thoughts from little Adam Walsh turned back to the little girl holding my hand, it happened.

It was all so fast. Her independence got the better of her and she tried to pull her hand away from mine. When she couldn’t succeed and started to spin around I knew that I was going to have to pick her up and carry her, cries for freedom be damned. Before I could bend down to pick her up she decided that her best course of action was to drop to the floor like a sack of potatoes. That’s when I felt the pop. She started to cry. Usually, when she doesn’t get her way, she cries. But it’s the cry without tears, the one for effect. The drama queen takes center stage and wants her way, announcing, “I do it myself.” But that didn’t happen here. After the pop, she immediately cried with real tears and grabbed her arm. At first, I didn’t think anything of it and picked her up. But the fact that she didn’t calm down made me wonder. Was she really putting on the act or was there something else. I set her down and she continued to cry, clutching her arm. Soon, my heart sank. She was wearing a coat and sweatshirt so I couldn’t a good look at her arm. It didn’t feel like anything was wrong and I kept squeezing little bits up and down to see if I could notice anything. Then I thought I was making it worse.

I tried to soothe her and get her arm out of the coat and sweatshirt to make sure my fears were unfounded. There was no sign of anything wrong, yet she continued to cry and clutch at it. That’s when it became worse. I asked her what happened and she looked at me, with those big puffy, teary and reddened eyes and said, “Daddy hurt me.” I wanted to throw up right there. I’m standing in the middle of the store with my kid, clutching her arm, declaring that her father hurt her. Immediately I felt my ears burn and the daggers of a hundred eyes piercing my body. I was that guy. I was the guy that beat his kid. It didn’t matter that I didn’t do it. I was merely holding her hand and she dropped to the ground. Perception is reality and in this day and age, when it comes to kids I am guilty until proven culpable.

Think of this. Twenty years ago, if you were to get on a plane and sit next to a passenger wearing a head wrap, what would you think? Nothing. But sit next to that same person after 9/11 and what do you think? I don’t care if you are the most objective and unbiased person in the world. You will ultimately profile that person as a terrorist, if only for a second. This is what we have become as a society and sometimes we need to be that observant. Other times we jump to conclusions and assume the worst of a person. Remember Henry Louis Gates, Jr.? Exactly. Here I was, a grown man, standing in the store holding his crying kid who just declared that her Daddy hurt her. I felt guilty. I informed my wife and headed to the car as she finished up in the checkout. She was livid. The first thing she said was, “What did you do?” I felt ashamed, sickened, and responsible. I explained what happened as we drove to the ER.

We checked her in and those stares, albeit in my mind, persisted. We headed back to a cubicle and the doctor came in to look at her. My daughter, crying more than I had ever heard her cry was being poked and prodded. My looked at me and this same grown man was reduced to a quivering ball of goo. My eyes, beet red and swelled up, dripped profusely. The sight of my little girl being in pain is hard enough, but to think that I broke her arm made me lose it, completely. I was waiting for a police officer to come in and separate me from my family. I was thinking that I was going to be in so much trouble. I felt guilty.

I stayed towards the back of the cubicle, trying to compose myself. I realize that my daughter’s fears and pain were exacerbated by my appearance and I needed to pull myself together. My wife was in charge of her at this point. I could hear the various voices through the ones in my head. “All better now. It’s fixed.” If it was, why is she still crying and not using her arm. The staff asked me repeatedly what had happened and in every instance I was told the following things, “It’s common”, “It’s nothing serious” and “It’s easy to fix” Ok, then why is she still crying. Why am I?

Soon, the crying stopped and she was clutching a Popsicle, the purple juice flowing down her tear streaked chin and onto her shirt. She still didn’t move her arm and touching it set her off on another cry. The doctor brought stickers and asked her to grab them. She was holding the Popsicle with her good arm and wouldn’t relinquish it. “It’s like a big ice cube,” she said. When asked to use her other arm to take the stickers she said, “No, thank you.” Another member of the staff asked her how old she was, hoping she would use her affected arm to indicate the peace sign that also meant two. “I’m a big girl,” she said. My kid is way too smart for you people, I thought. My wife even stuck the stickers on her unaffected shoulder, thinking she would use the other hand to grab them. She loves stickers, but would not budge, instead using her same hand to reach up onto that shoulder to grab the sticker, letting her hurt one dangle. In a last ditch effort we put the stickers on the bed and expected her to use both hands to peel them off the sheet. Nope, after she did not get any help from us, she used her teeth to hold the sheet and peeled away.

The doctor said he heard the pop and said it should be OK. He said that she would forget that it was hurt and use it again, but after an hour of being touchy about it, he suggested an X-Ray. The X-Ray technician was a friendly face. She was the parents of two of my wife’s piano students and knew us enough to know that we would never do anything to hurt our kid. Finally, I could relax a little because she looked at me and knew how I felt and reassured me that I did nothing wrong. Coming from her, I believed it.

The pictures came back fine, but they wouldn’t release her until she used that arm, much to her resistance. The doctor took one last look, bending and turning the arm, causing my daughter to write in pain and tears. Then, almost instantly, she rolled over on the bed, pulling the hurt arm away from him and supported her weight on it. He looked at me, smiling in a sarcastic way, “It’s a miracle.” Usually, an attitude like that was uncalled for, but I knew he was referring to her being alright and only crying for effect. Once again, perception is reality. We were cleared to take her home.

The official word was a new one for my vocabulary. Radial head subluxation or nurse maid’s elbow. Basically, all those times your parents said they were going to pull your arm out of its socket for being bad was not just an urban legend. I still felt like such an asshat for letting it happen. By the time we got home, the little one was laughing and playing and using her arm like nothing happened. We got ready for bed and she sat on the edge of the toilet, teetering again, but letting me steady her. I told her I loved her and that I was sorry. She said, “It’s OK. Sometimes, I get a boo boo.” At last, my heart went back into my chest. I no longer felt like some monster. She wasn’t crying at me and saying I hurt her, anymore. I understand that I have a temper. I see it in my kid. On her good days, she is the best of what make up myself and my wife. On her bad days, she’s the worst of us. So, I see how I am when it comes to temper. My wife used to say I was the most patient person in the world. Parenthood wiped that out and it fluctuates. I need to learn to calm down and relax and this whole incident was proof. I am, what the name implies, Mongo. I have all the dexterity of an oven mitt and am clumsy to boot. I break shovels and rakes just but doing basic yard work. Ask my family, my brother had no good toys left because I broke them all.

So, to think that Mongo broke his kid’s arm, accidental or otherwise is a bit of a wakeup call. I need to relearn that bit of patience my wife used to think I had. Now, in this case, it was totally a fluke but my wife knows how I am. Even with all the medical professionals around telling us that this was a common thing and that I didn’t hurt her, she still had that look in her eye. “Mongo strikes again.” Of course, I didn’t help with my breakdown. But at least my kid is OK and she loves her Daddy again. After she said that , I told her, “That’s why you have to hold Mommy and Daddy’s hand and not let go. And even if you want to, you can’t just drop to the floor like that because you can get hurt.” She looked at me and said, “Yeah, that’s a good idea.” She then finished brushing her teeth and we were off to bed. Then I went back into the bathroom and used a gallon jug to flush the toilet. Perhaps tomorrow, I can get that fixed, without another trip to the hospital.

I told her, “That’s why you have to hold Mommy and Daddy’s hand and not let go. And even if you want to, you can’t just drop to the floor like that because you can get hurt.” She looked at me and said, “Yeah, that’s a good idea.” She then finished brushing her teeth and we were off to bed. Then I went back into the bathroom and used a gallon jug to flush the toilet. Perhaps tomorrow, I can get that fixed, without another trip to the hospital.

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