Rage against the machine

If you ever feel like your teacher has it out for you, and you’re up against it – I want you to be armed with the ability to humorously get your point across.  I suppose you could take a page out of the Arlo Guthrie playbook and sing a bar or two of Alice’s Restaurant and walk out of the room.  But the Grattan girls will have no truck with public statements that square against defense of our allies and the choice of freedom over communism, so our plan will be a tad more grassroots and much more democratic.

There will come a time when you’re right, and you know you’re right – and the teacher is wrong, and pretending she doesn’t know she is wrong.  You’ve reached a stalemate.  If this ever happens to you, simply respond softly, respectfully, and almost under your breath, “No Roger, no Rerun, no rent.”  To which the teacher will reply, “I’m sorry?” With a little more volume, and just a hint of additional emphasis you say again, “No Roger.    No Rerun.    No rent.”

The teacher, confused, will be speechless – left wondering how you would know of such monumental historical movements in American history.  You’ll go on to repeat, excitedly, “NO ROGER, NO RERUN, NO RENT.” Suckers for your enthusiasm, other students – namely the liberal youth in the room that will proudly jump on any protest bandwagon that has a catchy tagline – will join in support.  Together, you exclaim, “NO ROGER, NO RERUN, NO RENT!!!”




After-school detention is nothing to be ashamed of.  There are consequences to everything in life.  Just make sure those consequences are worthwhile.

How many Silver Alerts does a man need?

Don’t let previous blog posts or commentary about the in-laws fool you, I love old folks just as much as the next guy.  They’re like cute, lovable, excessively wrinkly babies – except they need a special lift to get into bed.

And just like kids, they wander.  I don’t mind looking for them either.  But every time I drive through New Jersey I see the same damn Silver Alert for this missing old fart.  How many times do we have to look for the same gray 1993 Pontiac before someone just hides the keys from this coffin-dodger?  I mean c’mon – it seems like each time they wrangle him and bring him back home he just jumps in his car again and heads for the Jersey Turnpike.  Stop putting out the all-points bulletin. The man likes to step out – who are we to stop him?

They have Amber Alerts for kids – no argument here.  But creepy men in vans are not scooping up geezers from playgrounds.  So can we please do without the state-wide manhunt?  I should think if this old bag made it to the century mark without incident that we could probably look the other way on his midnight joyrides.  If you must restrict him, just disconnect the battery to his car –  at least you’d find him napping with his head on the horn in the comfort of his own garage rather than in a Denny’s parking lot in Delaware.

I’ll tell you right now – if I see this guy out and about I’m pulling up next to him, rolling down the window, and shouting “rock on you old blue-hair you!”  I think four generations on God’s green earth earns you the right to take to the highway without looking back.

Glitter allergy

When contemplating fatherhood (read: when your wife tells you she’s pregnant), you expect certain hurdles. You hear things like “good luck getting any sleep” and “if I ever see another dirty diaper again…” These things are hardly surprising, but there are some things that sneak up on you.  They’re not in any book, and most parents don’t seem to put them on the priority list when griping about their own offspring.  So here’s one: the damn glitter is enough to drive you nuts.  I’m not kidding – it actually bothers me, and enough to write about it on an otherwise fine Saturday evening.

When it comes to parenting, most of the basics are summed up in any normal conversation with a parent or a what-to-expect-when-you’re-expecting book.  For example, it wasn’t a total surprise when, after bathing my oldest daughter and getting her all dry and laying out her jammies she stops, smiles, and proceeds to piss a stream clear across the room.  You go into it thinking you’re fairly well prepared for all the crazy things that children bring on.

Not glitter though.

Maybe it’s just my compulsiveness.  It’s bad enough I’m forced to have other people in my house – like the wife, kids, and water treatment system maintenance guy.  Not to mention they touch things and move stuff and even use the bathroom (not so much the water treatment fella – he comes and goes).

Little known fact: glitter is permanent.  It’s like the Sharpie marker of the confetti family.  You can barely see it – in fact I’m pretty sure it’s microscopic – I think the only thing you see is the reflection off of it.  Forget about sweeping it up – it laughs at brooms as it slithers its way through the bristles to remain where your little rug rat put it.  And any single bit of glitter (a glit?) that does get caught in the broom long enough to make its way toward the dust pan just slides right underneath it.  So go ahead and put your finger on the glit – think you can pick it up?  Nope.  Doesn’t stick.  Now lick your finger and try it.  I’m serious, you know that’s the next thing you want to try – go ahead – do it.  Still doesn’t work. Glitter only sticks to stuff you don’t want it to.  It’s in it’s DNA.

Try the vacuum you say?  You’re so silly.  You may as well play the dust pan game.  The vacuum wind at the heart of the vacuum suctioning process is not nearly enough to catch glitter and bring it along for the ride.  Glitter is immune to high wind speeds.  And don’t forget the microscopicity (new word) of glitter like I said – if the vacuum does catch it, it will just go through the filter and be shot across the room and land on the already glittery sofa.

I’m sure it’s impossible to ban the stuff too.  First of all, kids will be kids – and glitter is part of the program.  Secondly, it’s everywhere.  Forget about kids for a second – you buy an anniversary card for the missus and there’s glitter in there.  Hallmark has a piece of the action, so it’s not going anywhere.

So this rant really isn’t about solving this problem, it’s about petitioning to add glitter to the list of things-to-expect-when-you’re-expecting.  Give everyone a fair heads-up, that’s all I’m asking for.

Calling all old people

As you know, your aunt works with with the elderly.  It has never been fully explained to me what she does, but I do know she gives them sex education classes, shuttles them around in her Honda (to soccer games?), counts their nickles at bingo night, and helps place them into position during morning yoga.  I’m not really comfortable with any of it, but that’s why I went into law enforcement and not geriatric care.

So here is the problem – your aunt is quickly learning a very hard lesson.  You see, the group she takes care of is, well, dwindling in number.  Hell, you’re big girls – I’m here to tell it like it is:  They’re expiring.  Dying off.  Leaving your aunt’s bingo group for heavenly pastures.  Yup, old people die.  Not only that – and I don’t want to get too statistical here – but old people have a much greater chance than young people of leaving your aunt’s 95-and-over yoga class for Pilates with the Lord.

So here’s the lesson your aunt is learning: you have to recruit.  Fill in the ranks.  For every old geezer who dies in his sleep you should have two with the appropriate paperwork and waivers already filled out, waiting anxiously at a chance of folding their wheelchair into the back of an overcrowded SUV to go sit on the sideline of your cousin’s soccer practice.  This shouldn’t be taken lightly – if your aunt wants to have a robust program over at Shady Pines Home for the Aged then she needs to be prepared for the inevitable.  These old bitties fade fast – and often one after the other.  They’re like dominoes – once one goes down they take the others with them.

I know this well.  My mother, your grandmother, has been a geriatric nurse my entire life.  She enjoys it – and the fact that the residents at the nursing home are six feet under as soon as you turn around doesn’t spoil it.  It’s just the way it is.  You have to go into it knowing that for every one coming in the front door, there is another one going out the back.  If you can take part in making their life a little rosier, you’ve done well.

The life lesson here girls: always think ahead, and never rely on old people.  Especially when it comes to them continuing to live.


Writing to children

I was recently asked why I write to my daughters when they are not yet old enough to read.

First, I intend to raise children that will one day be able to read.  I’ll at least give it a shot.  So we’ll call it an archive for now.

Second, with toddlers as my audience I can spew bad writing at will for years before they are ever able to confront me about it.  Being a parent is SO AWESOME – I have so much power! I am like a king, and when they get old enough to defy their ruler I can just create more little minions to boss around.  I yell when I want to yell even when they did nothing wrong, and I write what I want to write before they are old enough to read it!  That’s how you feel powerful and successful when you are far from it!!!


Silly children.


Stupid wooded areas

When I was in shop class in school the teacher gave a lesson on power tool safety. To get his point across, he showed us photos of what happens when you don’t respect a jig saw. It wasn’t pretty but it kept us further from the business end of the thing. 

I like this teaching technique. It’s simple. So to prevent stupid, I will sometimes need to show you stupid. 

The first example (with so many more to follow, I’m sure):

Today at work we were discussing a colleague who had been bitten by a tick and ended up with a rash.  This caused one (stupid) coworker to remark “he got bit by a deer tick? He must have gone into the woods or something”. 

You see what I mean? There are so many problems here it hurts my head. For starters:

A. What does the woods even have to do with it at this point? He got bit. Try to keep up. 
B. If you end a statement with “or something” then silence was your best option.  You effed up. Apologize. 
C. Ticks are not exclusive to the woods. Fun fact. 

That’s like if you say Johnny has a cold and the response you get is “well Johnny must have been kissin’ up on a five-foot-three Hispanic girl with dark glasses and a ponytail who had a cold.”

I wish I could tell you people like this are priceless, but they’re a dime-a-dozen.