Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hey companies: I'd like to know...

I have spent the last hour sending short emails to companies that I need answers from.   Hopefully, I will get actual responses to all of them, but I will definitely post the responses I do get ASAP.

To Bed Bath & Beyond:

Do you carry any electronic back messagers?  My back has been killing me ever since Vietnam. (It was a long flight.)

To Calvin Klein:

 Do you guys carry men's capris with matching suspenders? I couldn't find anything online.

To Swiss Army Knives:

Do you guys carry a pocket knife with a pull-out vile that could carry water or blood in it?

To Stetson Cowboy Hats:

Do you guys carry a specialized hat made for a more "urban" cowboy like myself?

To Five Guys Burgers and Fries:

My son has a massive peanut allergy. Do you guys cook anything in peanut oil?

To Legos: 

Have you guys ever considered building a Lego themed amusement park featuring all things Lego?  My family would be totally into that.

To Toys"R"Us:

Does Toys"R"Us have those electric shopping carts?  I'd like to buy my nephew a nice new toy, but I am really not willing to do much walking.

To Belts.com

I just made yellow belt in karate and I would like to buy a regular belt to commemorate the event.  Do you have any belts in yellow?

To Tony Lama Boots:

 Do you guys carry a specialized boots made for a more "urban" cowboy like myself?

To SkyMall.com: 

I am looking for a place to hide the key to my front door.  I bought one of your fake rocks last year, but I stupidly hid it in my rock garden.  Do you have anything BESIDES fake rocks to hide keys in? (Probably not fake plants too.  I garden.)

To Ann Taylor (I actually answered email for them for a month):

Is the "faux fur" on your coats made from real faux?

To Crocs.com:

Which croc would you recommend for someone that does a lot of farming? (NOT farmville!!! Mostly pig, but some corn.)

To 7-11.com

How come I can't get my own hotdog?  Don't you trust me?

Monday, August 30, 2010

How I survive everyday life: Lessons I have learned from wilderness survival experts - Bear Grylls and Les Stroud.

There ain't nothing better than watching some dude in the woods pick the berries out of bear poop and then plop them in his mouth.

For a time in the mid to late 2000's, I was into survival shows: Man v. Wild, Survivorman, The View.  I was intrigued by the idea that there are still places in this world that require a twelve-inch Crocodile Dundee knife to eat dinner or cut open an old milk jug.  I'd watch every episode in hopes to see what our survival heroes would do and eat next.  I witnessed the digestion of reindeer eyeballs, rotten zebra corpse and human urine... and that was just Joy Behar's mid morning brunch. 

During my semi-brief stint of Survival-vision fandom, I gained a great knowledge base of survival techniques to ensure that my chiseled, stalwart and astute DNA live on for the rest humankind to enjoy and behold.

I feel confident that my extensive training would ensure my survival in any condition, in any circumstance, in any place.  The lessons I have endured by the wise, plump Les Stroud and the shirtless, tight-abbed Bear Grylls have prepped me for survival of the harshest climates.  I give you the five most important survival skills that I learned from survival television.

1. Always carry a sharpened stick.  You never know when you are going to need to spear something in self defense or for food.

Television application: Bear Grills used a series of sharp sticks to combat wild boar and hungry lions.  Stroud uses a sharp stick to spear fish.

Television backfire: The stick is no match for a charging rhino.

Real world application: Sharpened sticks are great for reaching your McDonald's bag when you parked a little too far away from the drive through window.  A series of sharp sticks on your porch will also keep rambunctious door-to-door salesmen at bay.

Real world backfire:The stick accidentally jabs me in the eardrum when I attempt to use it to clean out my ears.

2. If it's edible, eat it. You never know when your next meal will be.  It's better to eat something disgusting now than have an empty belly later.

Television application: Grills and Stroud ate just about anything they could manage to actually swallow.  From maggots to scorpions to skunk meat, if it is edible, it was eaten.

Television backfire: The bugs drizzle all over their chins. The meat is rancid.

Real world application: Is your wife's lasagna not up to par?  It's better to shut up and eat it than leave it on your plate or say something and never eat a home cooked meal again.

Real world backfire: Death by hot lasagna.

3. Always sleep somewhere dry, warm and away from bugs.   

Television application: The survival boys would make a shelter in a tree, under a rock or in a snow cave to stay away from the elements.

Television backfire:  The bugs still make their way into the tree, the rock drips water and the cave has an angry bear living in it.

Real world application: Always wait until they have changed the sheets at The Anniversary Inn before checking in.  

Real world backfire: Without my knowledge, my four year old son took a nap in MY bed during the day AFTER playing in the sandbox and now I am paying the price.

4. Nudity is sometimes required for survival. 

Television application: When Grills would cross a river, he would strip naked to keep his clothes warm and dry. (Ironically, this would also increase ratings, ensuring the survival of the show.)

Television backfire: The clothes still get wet.

Real world application: Sitting naked while waiting for your underwear to dry is okay as long as you are down to your last pair and as long as you dry your underwear in a drier. 

Real life backfire: My wife tells me there is clean underwear in my dresser and to "put some clothes on! You look like a grizzly bear going through chemo."

5. Use any means available to start a fire.

Television application: Survivalists used batteries, flint, wood, lenses and matches to start fires.

Television backfire: Rain soaked logs and insufficient fuel made it often impossible to start a fire.

Real world application: If the automatic lighter on your barbecue won't work, light a match, throw it  and run.

My real world backfire: Three or four times I have stunk up our house with the luscious odor of burnt arm hair. 

Incidentally, "burnt arm hair" is my special fragrance of Cheeseboy cologne.  Available at stores everywhere soon!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rabbit balls, mutated hamsters and giant rats. Oh my!

The Discovery Chanel has "Shark Week", the Blog O' Cheese has "Pet Week".  It's a lot like Shark Week, only there are no metal diving cages and no one has a limb that is bitten off.... yet.

You see, one pet post did not suffice.  I can hear the masses from my windowsill, screaming for MORE as if I were Madonna and they had mistaken me for Evita... and I was in a horrible 90's movie.

My last post got me thinking about the pets I had as a child: the ones I loved, the ones I despised, the ones that are now shoe-boxed and rotting.  While contemplating my pet history, I became increasingly amused by how truly bizarre my family's pet portfolio had become.  Let's take a brief stroll down memory lane...

WARNING: Do not read this if you are a rabbit lover.

1. Cats.
The very first pet I can ever remember owning as a child was a large gray oaf-of-a-cat named "Nickel". Nickel was an outside cat with big bones and a bad case of high cholesterol.  She spent her days roaming the backyard, looking aloof and hoping we would not try to pet her.  The mice she killed did not outnumber the hearts she captured (a zero to zero ratio).

Nickel died when I was 8.  We buried her in the back.  My parents bought another cat and allowed the kids to name it.  We went with "Nickel".  When Nickel 2 ran away, we bought another cat and named it "Nickel 3".  None of the Nickel's looked alike, but by naming each cat Nickel we were honoring the last cat's legacy; a legacy that we did not really give a hoot about to begin with.

Some people have their dead cats stuffed, put in a pet cemetery or bronzed and placed on their chimney to honor their memory.  We simply named them all "Nickel".

2. Turtle
My younger brother got a box turtle for his birthday when he was ten or so.  By the time he was ten and three months, the entire upper floor of our home smelled like rancid zoo diarrhea. My mom - who is also a teacher - then took the turtle to school and her classroom began to stink like rancid zoo diarrhea.  The turtle found a new, loving home with some unsuspecting child and parents who evidently like the smell of rancid zoo diarrhea.  (This scent is made mildly better by a well placed snowcone shack.)

3. The hamsters.
At the age of 12, my neighbors had hamsters that loved to mate.  I am not sure if they liked to mate more than other hamsters but I am sure that they always had baby hamsters.  I believe the massive mating the hamsters and the hamster babies were a cause and effect relationship.  (I am not sure about this though, because in 6th grade I did not attend the hamster maturation program.)

Upon begging for the 307th time, my mother finally relented and allowed me to get two hamsters.  As part of the deal,  I would have to buy my own cage and care for them myself.  Not a big deal.  I made a cage out of some old jagged wire and boards behind our shed, shredded some old newspaper, plopped a couple carrots in and then ignored the stupid rodents for a full week.

Apparently, in order for hamsters to remain friendly, fluffy and adorable, they need constant affection and human touch.  I gave them neither.

One Sunday morning, I looked in my homemade hamster torture chamber and realized one hamster was dead and the other was hovering over it's body - looking a lot like a Marc Anthony had shrunk to near nothingness and then been possessed by Satan.

The hamsters had mutated into little, fur-less ribcages of evil.   Honestly, I was just talking to my mom about these hamsters and she shuttered at the very thought of their red, soulless eyes radiating through your core.

I got rid of the other hamster. (I will not go into "how".)  To this day, I think it was plodding my death.

4. The chickens
I have always been a city kid.  Actually, I am not sure if where I grew up would qualify as "the city" or "the suburbs", but I believe it was much more city than suburb.

We lived within 8 minutes of downtown and no one I knew called driving to work "commuting".  For many in our neighborhood, getting to work involved rolling up one pant leg and tossing your tie over your shoulder.  While it was not a bad neighborhood, no one left their front door unlocked and the mailman actually walked from house to house.  It was the city and, for this reason, my siblings and I were shocked when my dad came home one day with five full grown chickens in the back seat of his Honda Accord.

Dad has always been much better than I at handiness and wood work.  He made a lovely coup out of boards and chicken wire and propped it against the inside window of our one car garage.

As is the case with many city boys, I was a spoiled kid.  I remember complaining when I was asked to go collect eggs in the dead of winter.  The 20 yards from the back door to the garage seemed like a mile of hell when you are a lazy 14-year-old and it is 12 degrees outside.  Meanwhile, country kids all over the world were getting up at 4:00 in the morning and fixing fences in snow drifts taller than my head.

Alas, the chicken food in the garage drew the attention of rats the size of our Nickel's and it wasn't long before our city chickens went the way of the nugget.

I shot the rats with my BB gun.

5. The rabbits
I know what you are thinking: How could owning rabbits be anything but fun and enchanting for you and your little brothers and sisters?

Have you ever seen a headless rabbit's body flop around your backyard while your dad holds an axe in his blood drenched hand?  The answer would only be yes if you are my sister or one of my brothers.  (Or, if you live in Kentucky.)

It's not that I cared much for our stupid rabbits anyway; they pretty much stayed to themselves in some old wooden crates that dad had converted into cages. Sometimes we would get them out and let them hop around the grass like it was their own little Easter parade of death.  Occasionally we would place them at the top of a slide and watch as they squirmed down the molten lava-hot metal.  Most of the time they stayed locked in their pens, relegated to a life of eating, pooping and staring at the ground through the ridged wires.

We did not raise rabbits for the fluffy, virtuous camaraderie they offered.  We raised them to be food. Food on our plates.  Food in our bellies.

Once dad's nightmarish flocculent massacres had ended, mom would clean the remaining meat and make her most famous recipe in all the land: rabbit balls. 

Once again, please remember that we did not live in Alabama.  We lived in the city.  Salt Lake City. 

Making rabbit balls involved rolling the backyard meat in a breaded crust the size of a snowball and then baking until juicy and warm.

It actually wasn't that bad.  In fact, it tasted A LOT like chicken.  The funny thing is that our chickens tasted A LOT like rabbit.

Now, despite their quirky tendency for harshly dealing with disobedient backyard rabbits and then feeding them to their children,  my parents are amazingly awesome.  Besides the turtles, cats and cat-sized rats, we also owned a dog, fish of every variety and a flocked Christmas tree with just over 11 fake turtle doves adorning it's branches. 

It wasn't that I didn't want to love the pets of my youth, it was just that it was so darned hard to love them.  It just seemed like they were always mutating, eating each other or urinating on my pillow.  It wasn't exactly "Old Yeller".

Certainly, your perspective changes towards your pets once you have eaten one of them.  Especially if the pet is tasty.  On second thought... maybe I SHOULD get my boys a couple of rabbits...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Help control the pet population: Have your pet spayed or just don't get one.

My boys desperately want a pet.  They actually beg for a pony but would settle for a hamster.  They are getting neither.

People are genuinely surprised when we tell them that we have a pet free home.  They ask if we have allergies.  No.  They ask if we hate animals.  No.  (Except dragons) Finally, they ask why we don't want to teach our children the value of having a responsibility. 

Of course, we think teaching them responsibility is important and that is why we only allow them to carry guns AFTER I have had a chance to teach them where the safety switch is.

It's not that I don't like animals.  I do.  So much in fact, that after my youngest son enthusiastically jumped on my crotch with his shoes on the other day for the third time, I considered trading him in for a German Shepherd. 

The reason we do not allow our kids to own pets is that we simply have not found the right pet.  For every animal they throw in our faces (not literally, except for the gopher), I throw eight reasons back at them why that animal will not be burrowing their nests into our furniture.   Let me give you a brief tour of my no's.  (Not a brief tour of my "nose", unless you want one, but I have to warn you: it is hairy and you may get tickled, and not in a good way.)

1. The Dog.
Dogs are loyal and perfectly admirable pets for dog owners.  Unfortunately they chew, poop, bark and shed.  No, the only way we are getting a dog is if I suddenly go blind, which worries me because my boys have been sharpening sticks in the backyard with their knives all summer. (Another "responsibility" parenting technique.)

2. The Cat.
Cat's are much beloved and certainly there is no shortage of cat lovers on the internet.   Cats, however, are not an option for our family because they can't be trained to bring me a Pepsi or give me a back massage. Also, a cat once did this to my leg while I was jogging around the park:

3. Gerbils, Mice, Rats, Guinea Pigs and Hamsters.
I am morally opposed to acquiring any animal that requires purchasing large quantities of sawdust. Trees simply should not be cut down for rodents to urinate on.  I am also opposed to cutting down trees simply so that llamas can spit in their remains.

4. The Fish.
I hate having to chase a fish around with a net every time I clean it's bowl.  That really has to freak the fish out a little.  What if every time we had to clean our house, a giant net fell from the sky, scoops us through some water and then places us in a tiny glass cell where we spin around in circles until we were plopped back into our home?  Actually, that sounds 10 times better than actually cleaning the house myself.

5. The Reptiles.
I hate anything with scales because they remind me of those last ten pounds I need to lose.  When I was a kid, I would have nightmares about Kiss sneaking into my room at night, so things with long tongues are also out.

6. The Bunnies.
Bunnies are for girls, wussies, pansies and turd wads.  I refuse to let them become any of these things.   It is for their own protection.

7. The Pet Rock (and other fake pets).
I've tried this, but through years of schooling and experience, the elder of my two sons can now tell the difference between living and nonliving things and he prefers living.

8. The Sheep (and other farm animals).
I'd worry about SOME of the neighbors, if you know what I mean.

9. The Ponies and Asses (including: mules, miniature donkeys, donkeys and burros)
We've got .25 acres and they are not conducive to a lavish pony lifestyle. The pony would revolt and we'd probably eventually find it up in that Park City rehab center with Lindsay Lohan or Andy Dick or both.

10. The Birds.
There is a saying, could be a Chinese Proverb, it goes something like this: "A bird song in the morning heard from your kitchen window is a majestic sign of God's love.  A morning parrot squawk from inside your closed laundry room door will make you want to strangle a bird with your own bear hands."

It's a lovely little saying.

Clearly, every idea and suggestion has gone down in a blaze of Bon Jovi glory.

Heaven forbid that our boys actually play with each other. Certainly, they could just treat each other as pets. I know that the older one could throw a collar around the younger one and take him for a walk around the block.  The younger one is already housebroken - why I just watched him pee on a tree in the backyard yesterday.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

4 cliche blog things on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

I've learned that every so often bloggers have to take care of business items.  Such is the case today as things seem to keep piling up.

1. I was thrilled to have dinner with four fellow bloggers the other night and their spouses.  It was very strange to see the faces behind the blogs - that they were actually human, with real working brains.  I was especially nervous that they wouldn't find me in human form as funny as me in real life form.

I think I came off okay.  They didn't seem totally disgusted with me, but that is probably because I brought my lovely wife. My thanks to them all, especially Tiburon, the gracious host.  Here is a photo:

From left to right: M-Cat from "That's What She Said", Jason from "Adventures & Misadventures of Everyday Living", Tiburon from "Shark Bait" and me.  (I'm Abe, AKA Cheeseboy and my blog is this very one you are on.)

2. Awards.  I've received two lately.  My thanks to Claire at "Are Muffins Ugly Cupcakes" for the awesomely titled, "You Make Me Smile Blogger Award" and Holly at "Diamond Potential" for her terrifi-a-cool award, "A Daily Scoop of Chaos".

3. A meme.  My friend, Mami, over at "Unknown Mami" has been trying to get me to participate in her "Sundays in my City" meme for a while.  I have finally relented.  She informed me that the venture into your city didn't actually have to take place on a Sunday, which is great because mine is from Wednesday.

Another friend, Jesse,  invited me to an event he puts together called, "Ignite Salt Lake".  About 10 people sign up to give a five minute powerpoint presentation on ANYTHING they want.  Most of them are quite entertaining and/or funny and the best part is that the presenter never knows when the slide is going to change. 
Waiting in line.  I learned that this is a very nerd infested event.  I fit right in.

My ultra-hot wife in line, happy to be on a date with me, but wondering about the nerds surrounding us.  Also, she is grossed out by the prospect of the next picture...
The inside stall door at the five star resort that we stopped at just to use their bathrooms.  Nice, eh?
4. Giveaway!! Giveaway!!! Giveaway!!!

I tried to give this crap away once before, but for some odd reason, no one wanted it.  So, GIVEAWAY... AGAIN!  We have here a 12 pack, er 9 pack of pure nastiness.
Here is all you have to do to win!

Follow me on Facebook.
Leave a comment.
Follow me in real life.
Make a poster of my blog and hang it in your bedroom.
Blow up a picture of me and hang it in your cubicle at work.
Name your first born "Cheeseboy" (Or "Cheesegirl")
Promise to mention my blog in your wedding vows.
Follow me on Twitter.

That's it!  That's all!  Good luck to all the contestants!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The day I rescued that beaver costume from a certain dumpster death was the day my life changed forever.

Not actual costume, but it looked identical to this one.
In the year 1993, being called a "beaver" was no longer considered P.C.

Because of these changing times, in 1993 I also became a proud owner of a beaver mascot costume. 

Throughout high school, I worked as a sweeper boy at a local elementary school.  As innocent as most beavers may appear, the school I worked at became victim of increasing pressure from  local citizens to change the mascot to something less, uh, innuendo-istic.  These anti-beaver-ites thought they ruled the world with their sad beaver disdain.

Despite the presence of a protruding stinger, the administration decided upon a bumblebee.

The day I rescued that beaver costume from a certain dumpster death was the day my life changed forever.  (I doubt anyone has previously blogged the last sentence.  Ever.)

 ... 2 years later ...

My high school graduation was to be followed by an eventful trip to my grandparent's cabin near Yellowstone National Park with four of my best friends.

We took the beaver suit.

During our vacation, we went fishing, swam in the river and ate steaks that seemed to be filled with more steaks.  Much of our time was spent goofing around like normal 18-year-olds do.  My mom is still wondering how the shocks on her minivan wore out so quickly that summer. (Not related to teenage promiscuity of any kind.)

Alas, the day of reckoning arrived.  My buddies and I had given it much thought and we were going to take Yellowstone National Park by storm.  A storm of beaver so frightening, not even a Cobra Kai leg sweep could defeat it.

All five of us clamored into the minivan and drove straight for Old Faithful. Upon our arrival, one particularly zany pal immediately dawned the beaver suit, complete with a flappy tail and a goofy red heart on it's chest.   It was adorable.

He was adorable.  We could hardly contain our laughter.

We had no idea what the reaction would be from the throngs of people gathered round to watch white water shoot into the air.  Little did we know that folks from all across this great land would line up to have their pictures taken with an enormous, bucktoothed, semi-aquatic man-mal. My beaver friend spent at least two hours roving the hot pots, posing for pictures and pretty much laughing it up with bumbling tourists wearing over-sized fanny packs filled with granola.

Unfortunately, I did a thorough search of our home and I could not find a single picture of this marvelous beaver dam great day.  I know the pictures exist: the beaver trying to start the wave around Old Faithful, the beaver at the urinal, the beaver getting kissed by two female Rangers. (FYI: Female Rangers are just about as sexy as you'd imagine female Rangers to be.)  I'm hopeful one of my friends has photos that I could post.

I have never actually seen a real beaver in Yellowstone.  I am sure they are there, but even in Yellowstone they are pretty elusive.  Thus, I was confused if the tourists actually thought that the park's mascot was our beaver suit.  You would think a bear, buffalo or an van full of Asian people would make a much more suitable mascot.

As we piled back into the van, we high-fived  (cool at the time) and lauded our total beaver-ization of Old Faithful.   We then discussed and agreed upon one final prank.

Now, anyone that has visited Yellowstone knows that if you see an animal in your car - be it a moose, a fox, a squirrel or a unicorn - you must slam on your brakes, get out of the vehicle with your camera in tow and excitedly approach it.  It's a little bit like when a Los Angelan sees a 10 car pileup or a New Yorker sees a dead person in an alley - they see them all the time, but they can't NOT take photos.

It was this unbridled tourist thirst for roadblocks and nature photography of furry woodland creatures that gave us our plan...

We waited for the roads to clear for a few minutes and my friend - still dressed as a furious man-beaver - squirted into the field and ducked behind a log.  Meanwhile, my friends and I started to jump, point and take pictures.

Within 5 minutes we had created a roadblock of mammoth proportions.  Cars from every state in the union had backed up and a few brave souls started to venture out into the woods to see what the brown fur lurking behind the log might be.

With their cameras at the ready and shoulder bags swinging, the tourists crept upon my slouching friend who would occasionally huff and grunt - adding to the allure. A few came within a couple feet, tiptoeing as if they were sneaking up on a sleepy, baby giraffe. 

At that moment, my woolly costumed friend stood on his hind legs, waved his arms and proclaimed, "WELL HELLO EVERYBODY!"

The tourists, still unsure what mysterious animal was lurking behind the log, SCREAMED and DARTED!  The mayhem continued for about 3 seconds. 3 loooong seconds. My friend then darted back to the van and we peeled out like a couple of Dukes of Hazard bandits.  (The beaver boy may actually have attempted to jump through the van window - Dukes style - which I am sure was quite a site in and of itself.)

Once on the road again, we rolled with laughter at the thought of a giant beaver jumping out of the Yellowstone thicket at a bunch of unsuspecting tourists.

To this day, I still think about the story that some Chinese dude is telling his kid back home...

"And then, just as I was about to reach him, he stood up on two legs and yelled profanities at us and jumped into the getaway car."

We were such morons.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Bounce House: A gateway drug.

A bounce house is party heroine to my two boys.

"Guys, we are going to a party tonight."

[My boys: hands start shaking, sweat dripping off their miniaturized brows.]


"No.  It's just a barbecue in our friend's backyard."


"No, those are expensive."

"But Dad, we NEED, we NEED!  How are we supposed to LIVE Dad?  I mean... HAVE FUN?"

"Well, I'll have to call my dealer."

I am not sure what things are like in other parts of the country, but it seems that almost every outdoor summer party in Utah has to have three fifty-foot-tall rubber castles towering over the festivities like climbable fortresses of air.

When I was a kid, these bouncy things did not exist.  We had to make due with swings, teeter totters and metal whirl-e-go-rounds with sharp edges and metal head-bang-poles.  If we wanted to bounce, we had to visit the neighbor's 5 foot high, net-less trampoline.  Ultimately, this endeavor would end by someone getting catapulted into the clouds and then landing spread-eagle, with a jagged spring in their crotch.

Ah yes, the dreaded crotch spring.  It's why the professional trampoliners wear cast iron cups.

I loved bouncing and I once bounced on a Pogo Ball for five minutes, but thankfully, that is exactly how long it took for the Pogo Ball fad to end. 

The truth is that these bounce houses, giant slides and obstacle courses are actually quite fun.  Never mind the occasional head-to-head collision or the overbearing soccer mom that screams at the other children for jumping too close to her precious baby wearing the $200 Gymboree outfit.

Even I have attempted the "slide of death", resulting in a nasty rubber burn that ripped the hair right out of my legs.  From that point forward, I was known by my American Indian friend(s) as, "Clumps-Of-Hair-On-Slide-Pouty-Eyed-Dork".  Indians come up with the most clever names.

So perhaps you are wondering: How much of an impact have these insolent bags of 90 foot hot air had on my kids? Allow me to illustrate an example from our recent past...

Friday we were to attend a neighborhood party with a bunch of people that we mostly like. (I say "mostly" because that jerk Jack was there with wife again.  I once drove Jack to his yoga lesson and he didn't give me any gas money.)

At this party, tradition suggested that there would be three enormous bounce houses and countless crying toddlers. (Not to mention the obligatory Beach Boys cover band and their three ancient members.  Well, two by the end of the night.) Our boys were completely aware of this party and their excitement reached fever pitch when the day arrived.  The only problem was that they had bickered almost non stop that day.  I had used the party as verbal leverage to get them to stop.

It's just something good fathers do.

"OKAY, that does it!  We are NOT going to the party tonight."

"But... but... DAD! What about the bounce houses?"

"There will be no bouncing tonight.  No bouncing, no jumping, no falling on top of the rich kids, NO FUN!"

[The tears stream, both real and fake. Mostly fake.]

"Daaaaaaad.  Come on.  What can we do?  The bounce houses!"

"You can go if you cut off your thumbs."

[4 year old runs to get a knife]

"No Calder, I was just kidding.  Okay, you can go if you both wear a girl's dress."

[Contemplating] "No dad."

"Last chance.  If you want to go, you have to eat a tomato."


"Well, that's the deal, take it or leave it."

The boys the each gagged down a fresh tomato from the vine - seeds plummeting across their chins and onto their shirts as if they were Bear Grills eating a juicy maggot.

They have never jump-housed a jump house like they jump-housed that jump house on that night.  Tomato guts will have that affect on kids.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Guest posting on 'The Bipolar Diva' today.

Howdy everyone!  Today I am guest posting on "The Bipolar Diva".  I am honored to be invited.

The post is all about the time I had my nose hair waxed.   If you haven't read it, it is time you should.  If you have already read it, it's time you read it again.

”The Bipolar Diva”

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How to be the cool old guy at the concert.

Not me!
"Are we going to still be going to concerts for the newest bands when we are 50?" I brazenly asked my buddy as we waited in line outside the club last night.

"I hope so!" was his reply, an unexpected response that made me contemplate our self-perceived level of hipness.  I immediately pictured myself screaming at my wife through a cell phone to bring me my blood pressure meds and a new Depends diaper as the audience chanted for an encore.

Our ages are 34 and 35, and we were in line for a band known as The Temper Trap: an Australian group that has recently become slightly popular due to fact that during the last 6 months,  their single, "Sweet Disposition" has been featured in just about every chick flick, car commercial and episode of Chuck known to man.  I know this because I have seemingly watched every  chick flick, car commercial and episode of Chuck known to man.

As we entered the club, it became apparent that we were some of the elderest-est members of the audience. I had been relieved to hear it would be an "over 21 and only" show, but we still out-aged the mean age of the audience by a good 10 years.  I briefly considered calculating the median or mode to make myself feel better, but I realized that besides the blond girl that sat in front of me, I have no memories of my time in 7th grade math.

Alas, I was not unprepared to be an older member of the audience.  Quite the contrary: I came over-prepared, for I had attended such events before and I knew of the social awkwardness that can accompany being an old man in a young man's world.  I have developed my own set of ways - methods really - to be 34-years-old man and swank at a concert.

Now, before I fully divulge my many secrets, I need to un-muddy the waters a bit of what kind of concert I am actually referring to.  Of course, just about anyone can be cool at a Paul Simon or Paul McCartney concert.  Simply show up in a Hawaiian or pastel button-down and you're in.  If you go to a Neil Diamond concert, just being under the age of 50 qualifies you for the hippest person at the party.  Those folks lucky enough to attend a Clay Aiken will be considered chic by simply wearing a pink polo shirt.  A David Lee Roth fan simply needs to show up shirtless. (True for both men and women.)

Clearly, there are different rules for different venues and performers, but what I am trying to tackle is how to be the OLD GUY at a concert full of YOUNG PEOPLE. 

Rule 1: Don't dress like a moron.  I'm sure you've all seen that guy: late 30's, "Great White" tee shirt, screaming, "ROCK AND ROLL!" while standing on top of a garbage can.  Sir, please keep the Jakal tee shirts from your glory years locked in the top shelf of your trailer and join us in 2010.

Rule 2: Grow some facial scruff. This will give you a bit of an edge. About three days growth gives me a dark, sardonic look and makes me look wise.  When the young folk see you with your older, wiser look, they will immediately respect you.  They'll think, "There goes a guy that has seen a thing or two in the music industry!"

And what I want to tell them is: Yes, darn straight I have seen a thing or two.  In '94 I was severely bruised while attempting to crowd surf at a Soundgarden show.  In '93, I was witness to Axl Rose standing on the end of a stage and calling every person in attendance a word so vile that it doesn't even exist anymore.

I want to tell them that at a '97 Stone Temple Pilots show, I felt someone grab my butt, only to turn around to see a 300 pound woman with a smile on her face winking at me. I want to tell them about every bit of nastiness my eyes witnessed at a 2002 Snoop Dogg show.

I want to tell them these things, but I have a feeling they already know - for they can see the hair on my chin and it is a true witness to them that I am the older, wiser music veteran.  Someday, if they are lucky, they too will have metaphorical musical hair on their chins - even some of the women, although it won't be metaphorical hair.

Rule 3: Get there late. Once you have reached the ripe old age of 30, the opening band is meaningless.  Get there too early and the kids will start asking you if YOU want to see THEIR IDs.

Rule 4: Work the back and sides of the venue and stay away from the front.  It is important for we more mature music lovers to look the part.  An old guy that is front row, center-stage looks like a moron.   Stick to the fringe, where you are out of sight of the young, mocking eyes.

Rule 5: Keep and maintain a low profile through the entire set.  Exuberant dancing is fine when you are 21.  Bouncing up and down is allowed until 27.  But for those of us over 30, proper and correct concert movement is a standard head-bob to the beat.  "Keep it simple, keep it low key", that's what pops always said. 

Remember, these young people see you as an old and wise (due to the facial hair) music vet. No need to give them a false impression by doing a sudden and uncalled for robot or running man.

During the Temper Trap concert, there was an older man standing in front of me (on the fringe, of course).  He made it through the entire show without nothing more than the head bob. During the last song, he freaked out and started shaking uncontrollably.  He was trembling his arms and slamming his head.  He looked like a 40 year old epileptic wearing a Cinderella tee shirt.

Entertaining? Sure, but I felt bad for the dude as 90 minutes of keeping-it-together went down the drain in 90 seconds... the last 90 seconds.  I'm sure the sound of the girls giggling behind us is still singeing his very lame soul.

Appreciative of the advice?  Well,  you're welcome. -

Now, for those (3?, maybe 5?) that are interested, here is The Temper Trap performing their smash hit "Sweet Disposition".  However, given that 90% of my readers are women that have probably seen the gosh-awful movie, 500 Days of Summer, I doubt that it will be new to most of you. Why do chick flicks have to ruin everything good in life?!

***UPDATE: I just saw a commercial for Julia Robert's movie Eat, Pray, Love and this song was on that commercial too.  Oh brother!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Welcome to Cloud 9. I will be your guide.

Comments from tourists in italics.

Welcome to Cloud 9 folks.  No need to take off your shoes.  We're not running some fancy-shmanzy operation here.  It's just a cloud.  You 're not going to hurt the carpet - it's washable shag. 

As you can see, there are no pearly gates on Cloud 9.  That is heaven.  Cloud 9 is not heaven.  If you are angry about this, the sign above the ticket counter clearly stated that Cloud 9 is not heaven.  Did you honestly think our $5.99 ticket price would have gotten you to heaven?  Take it up with the big man.

Now, a little background on Cloud 9 everybody: It's your basic alto-cumulus with a nice white hue and a playful hint of gray.  And can you smell that?  That's the new-cloud, rainy day scent. Nice, isn't it?  It's fading though, so if you wouldn't mind not using all the fragrance up in one breath?  That stuff is like 20 bucks at Target!  Fortunately, my wife loves the place.

Holy crap, is he high?

Yep, nine clouds high! Now, over here we have the kitchen... well kitchenette.  It has everything a man needs though: a mini-fridge, a cloud monkey trained to bring the drinks to you and the cloud-Regis that trained the monkey. 


Yeah, don't worry about Regis, he stays busy with the Cloud 9 paperwork and retraining the monkey. 

Alright, follow me into the den.  Watch your step - Regis tends to wander and I know it can get a little foggy in here. Are we all in?  Good.  That there is the eight-track-player for when I have company and over there is an old exercise bike. If you stand on your tip toes, you can kinda see the spot where I keep the litter box.

Dude, this place kinda sucks.  Are you playing Barry Manilow?

Only the best on Cloud 9. And you haven't even seen the bedroom yet.  Right this way...

Here we have the bed.  It is so comfortable, when I close my eyes at night it sort of feels like I am actually floating on a cloud. 

You ARE floating on a cloud!

Well, that would explain it then. 

If you push this button, the bed rotates, but it's broken right now.  My electrician is supposed to come up next Wednesday and look at it.  It takes him awhile - he has to come all the way up from Stratus 4.  But it's worth it - the work from down south is so much cheaper. 

Yeah, we're out of here.  Cloud 9 BLOWS! 

Yes, it does. Every day as a matter of fact.  Sometimes up to 720 miles.

Come on guys, let's go!

Wait, I haven't even shown you the hot tub yet!  It has jets.

[Cloud door slams]

Oh, what the hail.  That always happens.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cheeseboy interviews a real live celebrity!

- We interrupt my usual Cheeseboy shenanigans and blabbering to bring you the first ever Blog O' Cheese celebrity interview.  -

Have you ever been fortunate enough to get an email from one of your personal heroes?   I received an email from my musical hero last week and I am still floating on Cloud 9. (Clouds 1-8 were occupied by a fleet of renegade cloud riders.  Cloud 9 has better restroom facilities anyway.)

I emailed Ben Cooper, otherwise known as "Radical Face", on a whim - doubting that he would ever respond to some dude in Utah that teaches first grade.  His band, "Electric President" just released a new album entitled The Violet Blue in February.  In addition, he just barely released a  solo EP entitled Touch the Sky under the "Radical Face" name last month. Needless to say, he is a busy man.

When I received an actual reply from Ben, stating that he would be happy to answer a few questions, I rejoiced by cartoonishly whelping and dancing like a kooky moron. My wife, who for some reason likes country music, had no idea why I was so elated.  Had Mr. Cooper seen my reaction, I doubt he would have granted such a request. 

There is a pretty good chance that you may never have heard of Radical Face, Electric President or Ben Cooper, in which case, may I introduce you to the WORLD OF AWESOME?!  The man, only 24 years old, is a musical genius.  If you are a fan of The Postal Service, Freelance Whales or pretty much just good music in general, you will love anything and everything Ben Cooper.  If you do not like his music, there is either something wrong with your hearing or you are an idiot.  (I only call my readers "idiots" with the greatest amount of love and respect.)

Anyway, I asked Ben three questions.  This is how it went:

Q: As a first grade teacher, I fear that music education is not being taught to young kids.  How did you get into music as a kid and what where some of the musicians you listened to and had an influence on you?

A: The first group I got into as a kid was, of all things, The Doors. I heard it at a friend's house in the 2nd grade. We used to spend a lot of time just sitting in his room, drawing comic book characters and listening to The Doors "Greatest Hits" that he'd taped from his dad. And at the end of the tape was "Goodbye Blue Sky" from Pink Floyd, which I assumed for the next ten years or so was a Doors song until I picked up a copy of "The Wall". But that was the first band I really listened to. Later, in middle school, I was really smitten with Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, and The Beatles. This eventually led to The Pixies and Sonic Youth, which kind of opened the floodgates to all the independent bands out there. It was around then that I bought my first guitar, and I've been at it ever since.

Aside by Cheeseboy: So cool!  I was into all those bands as a kid too.  Especially Pink Floyd. 

Q: Much has been made of the shack behind your house in which you record your albums.  I have seen video and it is really just a shack.  So the question I have is why do you record there?  Is it because of convenience, necessity, or perhaps a more authentic sound?

A: I started recording there out of necessity. I didn't have anywhere else to work, and I wanted to learn to engineer my own music. So I just dealt with it. But in time I grew endeared to it, and now I love it, warts and all. I've recorded in proper studios a handful of times, but I always came back home and scrapped everything and went back to working in the shed. It's doesn't look like much, it's hot, the roof leaks, it doesn't sound too great, but I don't mind any of that. I think the important thing is to be somewhere you enjoy working, whatever shape it might come in. You can work around the rest.

Q: What advice would you give a young kid that is looking into music as a career? 

I'm not sure if I'm in a position to be giving anyone advice. I'm still just figuring it out as I go. But something I've always told my siblings, that works with music as well, is: "Most of the things around you -- your house, your furniture, the video games you play, the music you hear, the movies you see, the books you read, the food you eat -- is made by people. None of it is magic. You can make those things too, in your own style, if you decide to." I always used that thinking as a way to tackle big projects and not be intimidated by them, or think they were beyond me. I try to pass it on when I can.

Still don't believe me that Ben is ultra-cool (on account of his answers and the fact he took the time to actually email me back) and a great musician?  Check out this terrific video of the guy and hang on until the end in which he shows you the shack behind his house where the magic happens.

In addition, check out the video for the single "Welcome Home."  I defy any of you to listen to this song more than once and NOT be addicted.  Amazing stuff:

Finally, I told Ben that I was thinking about teaching the first graders in my class one of his songs and I promised that I would send him the video.  He thought that was pretty cool. 

You can find all of Ben's stuff on the iTunes store under "Radical Face" or "Electric President". 

I can finally come down from Cloud 9 now.  "Leave it better than you found it" is what my Scoutmaster always said.  What did he know anyway?  (I mean besides knot tying, Indian folk lore, basket weaving and how to take care of horses?)

Tomorrow we shall return to our normally scheduled Cheeseboy nonsense, where I go back to only semi-successfully being funny.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Have you heard the one about the Catholic Priest that goes into a 7-11? Actually, it's not a joke. I'd just like to know if you heard about it.

I often hear the phrase "You just can't make that stuff up!" and think, "You have no idea what my mind is capable of.  You're a judgmental jerk!"

That being said, not even I could make up the following story that happened to me on Friday.

My kids were with Grandma, my wife was still on her estrogen-cation and I had just finished my tutoring for the day.  I decided that before I picked up the boys, I'd pay a visit my Grammy in the hospital - she had just had her gallbladder out. 

The visit to Grandma was uneventful, other than my elevator ride up to her room.  I stepped in, alone for but a moment.  I was soon joined by a very tall Catholic Priest holding a bouquet of flowers.  I assumed they were for a sick patient and not his girlfriend/nurse.  I am not one to mess with a Holy Man, so I allowed him off the elevator first.  He thanked me kindly.

Nana and I had a nice, quick visit and I headed out to pick up the boys, but I soon realized that my tummy was rumbling. (On account of my hunger. Not 'truffle shuffle' related.)

I headed across the street to 7-11, where I would be taking a gander at one of their quarter-pound hot dogs. Upon my entrance, I made my way to the hot rollers with the hours-old dogs turning and becoming fully flavorful.  I spotted a juicy one in the back and made a special request to the employee. 

Mr. 7-11 looked rather bewildered at my request.  He then said, in his thickly Indian accent, "I will have to microwave it for you."

"Oh, not a problem", I replied.  "Which one is ready?"

Random Priest I found online.
The 7-11 shop-keep then looked at me and stated, "You wouldn't believe this, but NONE of them are ready.  This was just full of ready hot dogs, but this Catholic Priest came in a few minutes ago and bought all 27 of them!"

Well, that is confounding.

I told the man that a microwaved hot dog would be fine and left in confused state.  Could it have been the same Catholic Priest in my elevator?  And more importantly, why would a Catholic Priest need 27 cooked hot dogs at one time?

I left, feeling like I was living one of those bizarre dreams in which you wake up and say, "What the crap was that all about?!"  But it was not a dream.  A Catholic Priest really had taken my perfectly warmed hot dog joy and I was okay with it.  I would just like to know WHY?

I imagined the Priest leaving with his two plastic bags full of hot dogs, looking up at the sky and saying, "Oh thank heaven!"

Perhaps my readers could enlighten me?  What would a Catholic Priest want with 27 cooked hot dogs?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

It's a Family Feud themed weekend and dreaded blogger regret.

Dear fellow bloggers, blogesses, identity thieves and stalkers, 

Have you ever written a post that you were so embarrassed about that you hesitated to post it and even almost deleted it?  Such was the case for me last night.  An entire post regarding Richard Dawson and his kissing habits?!  Well, I suppose they can't all be Van Gogh's.

Actually, I guess all of Van Gogh's were Van Gogh's, but that is only because his last name happened to be Van Gogh.  If his last name was Michaelson, he probably would have only had one or two Van Goghs, the rest would have been considered crap.

The truth is that yesterday's kissing post was supposed to be just an introduction to another post.  It's just that I started writing about Richard and the the more I wrote, the more passionate I became and the more passionate I became, the longer the post became.  Soon it became a crappy post all it's own and in it's own crappy sphere.  And so, without further ado, here is the post that was supposed to become, surely to be even more craptackular.

One thing I am never quite sure about when I would watch The Family Feud was WHO they had hired to do the surveys and why I was NEVER asked my opinion.  Of course, they only ever surveyed 100 random people, which was likely everyone around the office and their spouses.  But MAYBE they actually did hire real surveyors, and MAYBE someday they really would just knock on our door and ask me, a goofy 12 year old boy, to answer a few random questions.  I imagined that it would go something like this:

Surveyor: Why hello son, is your mom or dad home?

12-year-old Me: Nope, just me.

Surveyor: Well, we are at 99. You will have to do.  Can you answer just a few questions for me?  It's for the TV show The Family Feud.  Have you heard of it?

Me: YEAH!  I love that show!  The host guy kisses a lot of girls.

Surveyor: Kid, you have no idea.  He's the Wilt Chamberlain of game shows. Okay, are you ready?

Me: Yes sir! I've been waiting for this all my life.

Surveyor: Okay, put thirty seconds on the clock. - Ding -

Me: Where did that sound come from?  Where is the clock?  What the heck?

Surveyor: Never mind that.  Let's begin....

Me: Okay.

Surveyor: Tell me something women do to get ready for a date.

Me: Wash their hands.

Surveyor: Name someone that might be on the roof.

Me: The janitor... to get the balls down.

Surveyor: How much money does the average person make in a year?

Me: Like a million dollars?

Surveyor: Name something you might collect.

Me: Garbage Pail Kids

Surveyor: Name a movie that is universally regarded as the greatest of all time.

Me: Goonies.  No, The Last Starfighter.  No, I'll go with Goonies.

- Ding, ding, ding -

Surveyor: Time's up!  Thanks for participating.

Me: You're welcome. That was fun. Please come back!

Surveyor: Thanks kid, but I doubt it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Ode to the ultimate kissing champion, Richard Dawson

I learned how to kiss ugly girls by watching Richard Dawson.

It was a skill I was only required to use once or twice. Well twice - depending on if your definition of "ugly" includes viewable nostril hair and what appeared to be an aggressive forehead shingles rash that lasted her entire Sophomore year.

Where was I?  Oh yes, Richard was a wizard with the ladies.  He could make them swoon by the way he worked his ultra-extended microphone and the way he wore those brown striped, large-knobbed ties.  He had power over the ladies not seen since the days that Samwise Gangee loved Frodo.

It had always been my understanding that the women on the show HAD to kiss Richard; that when they were chosen for the show, they entered into a binding contract stating that they would joyfully mouth wrestle Richard on a moments notice.  So when a neighborhood family was chosen as contestants for the show, the question everyone wanted to know was not if they were going to win the ten grand, but if the women would suck face with the great Dicky Dawson.

I was only ten at the time, but I imagine that the real housewives of Salt Lake County were abuzz as to the potential Ricky-Kissies that would or would not be going down in Hollywood. 

My memory of the the actual show is fuzzy.  I believe that the family lost (except for the home game consolation prize and possible microwave oven) and I have no recollection as to if the women actually osculated with Richard. I'll have to check with my mother, a real former real housewife of Salt Lake County and Richard Dawson cynic.

After researching a little about Richard, I now know why he had such impeccable dexterity with women.   Apparently, he was born in England - where kissing ugly queens is considered a national pastime - as is evident by the the long history of promiscuous queens and the life story of Elton John.

Richard then ran away from home at age 14, joined the army and pursued a boxing career.  Undoubtedly during this time, Richard trained in the art of kissing and performed millions of lip curls.

In the later stages of his career, Richard ultimately decided that kissing was something that he would reserve for his wife only.   Nevertheless, in the course of fifteen years, he had kissed thousands of women of all shapes, sizes and colors. He is the legend that cold sores are made of. His lifelong struggle with mononucleosis is not to be discounted. Richard Dawson is a great American hero and kissing virtuoso.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The end of days are near. Rewards for everyone!

My wife is on her annual "Freedom from the Boys" vaca (as you hipster women call it) and I am home, allowing my sons to spend their day pestering the neighbors and wandering the streets unattended.  Life is good, so you can imagine my surprise when this little cherry-on-top landed in my lap... 
The End of Days Award

I received this award/warning from God from Sir Alex J. Cavanaugh: published Sci-Fi author and all around good guy.

Granted, I am not one to accept every trophy of pomp or endowment of circumstance, but this one is pretty cool.  It does comes with strings attached: dark, somber strings that end with the world exploding - unless, of course, Justin Beiber saves us all with his pre-pubescent magical powers and fluffy helmet hair.

Justin, to you, our lives, are in your hands.  Or something like that...

Poster of me because I support blog reading.
ANYWAY, as part of receiving this award, I am required to share how I would spend my last days before December 21, 2012.  Of course, I would spend these precious days laughing and enjoying time with my family.  Nevertheless, if my wife would have seen what I did today, it would be the end of my days this very hour.  So, I am therefore going to spin it: I am going to tell you the things that I would do while my wife is not around:

1. Leave lights on throughout the house and turn down the AC two degrees. She HATES this.*
2. Take the boys to McDonald's and get BOTH a value meal AND ice cream.* (I now feel like my stomach is using my internal organs like punching balloons; the kind with the long rubber band that  break and leave a welt on your arm.)
3. Blog, watch ESPN and listen to the new Arcade Fire album at the same time.*
4. Play two straight hours of Playstation NCAA Football.
5. Place the dirty dishes in the dishwasher in WHATEVER ORDER I DEEM APPROPRIATE.*

*Things I actually did today.  Shhh!  Don't tell her.

Finally, I would like to send a special SHOUT OUT to Ernesta at the McDonalds on 11th East and 3900 South!  (I know she probably reads my blog. I mean, who isn't reading the Blog O' Cheese nowadays?)  Not only does she speak English, she happily went into the back room, dug through a box of toys and returned triumphantly with a smile on her face while holding a Wolverine figurine above her head.  This small gesture meant the world to my four year old, who is an absolute Wolverine FREAK!

Sometimes, we focus so much on the bad customer service that we forget to acknowledge the good.

Ernesta, by the way, completely impressed me further when she very patiently waited on a deaf couple after me that had to write out their entire order and took at least 10 minutes.  Bravo Ernesta!  They should promote you to manager or the person that yells at the fry cooks.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My theory: Women LOVE Target.

I ran register 6 once.
When it comes to the topic of Target, I like to think that am a bit of an expert.

I spent six months in the hole.  Six months hard labor in the rat infested factory/back-stock room will teach a man a thing or two.  For instance: how to correctly shelve personal lubricants or the fastest way to hang a line of C-cupped bras without looking too much like a pervert. (A task that proved impossible for a man with soft, sensual hands and a knack for handling the delicates, such as I.)

Ah yes, working the Target front lines will put hair on a man's chest. Long, twirly hairs with red ribbons attached to the ends. In my case, I already had plenty hair on my chest, but it did put hair in other bodily crannies, including long two-inchers between my toes.  In fact, I believe it was the Black Friday of '97 that I discovered my first official knuckle hair - a phenomenon that I attributed to hours of stocking leaky bottles of Rogaine (with Minoxidil).

For those out of the pearly white, linoleum loop that goes around the bathing suits -  there are regular Targets and then there are SUPER DUPER Targets.  My inclination at the time was to only work for the best and reach for the stars.  In the interview, I told the Target boss lady that if I were to be hired by a regular Target, I'd become depressed in disengaged; both Target and my psyche would suffer.  She hired me on the spot and thankfully, it was for the Super mode.  It's where I belonged.

While working at Target, I developed a new, shockingly groundbreaking theory. A theory that would shake you to your very retail-lovin', paper-or-plasticky core.  A theory so stupefying, so dumbfounding, so mind blowingly fantastic, a movie is being made about it staring Samuel L. Jackson and Wilford Brimly (He plays the craggy old Pharmacist). 

The theory of which I speak is thus: Women... they LOVE Target.

I knew it would blow your mind.

The list of reasons why women love Target is almost assuredly longer than Schindler's but likely not as long as Santa's.  I will not bore you with every tedious reason why women love Target, but I will provide the most paramount and enthralling.

1. Women love Target because it is not Walmart.  I cannot underscore this reason enough; this should be reason #1 and #1a. Women loathe being seen at Walmart and brag about going to Target.  There is not peopleoftarget.com; no one scoffs when you tell them you went to Target today and you are not deemed an eternal redneck of love.   

I once met a woman that despised Walmart like I despise Toby Keith. She told me that she hated the place because, "I hate big box stores and everything they stand for!" 

I replied, "Well, what about Target?" 

Her response was quick and telling, "Yeah, Target's okay." 


2. Everything in Target is so shiny, clean and clever.  This is the brilliance of the place: it is almost the anti-Walmart. Target is what Walmart would dress up like if it wanted to be popular and hang out with prissy anorexic models and their yappy dogs in a abhorrently pastel, 60's themed bowling alley.

I was once in a team leader's meeting (Although I was not a leader, I was a pee-on. I have no idea why I was there.) and the powers-that-be told us that keeping the isles clear and the piped-in music off was a corporate choice that signified a new, clutter-free choice for the consumer.  The overload of pastel pillows and bright lighting was a hip look that the other stores ("Other" meaning "Walmart") could not duplicate.

Translation: We don't want those rednecks, their belly-shirts, buttless jeans and cashless pockets muddling up our refined panache.  Unless, of course, they pay for the panache, but that's not likely. 

3. Women that shop at Target look like other women that shop at Target. They are generally attractive, or pretending to be attractive, busy looking and wearing pleated pants or classy mom shorts.  They are almost always holding a cell phone and acting busier than they really are.  Actually, come to think of it,  these women usually look exactly like this:

Secretly wishing the prices were like Walmart's.

Of course, while Target is superior to Walmart (at least in the eyes of it's stylish Soccer-Mom fans), there is, on occasion, a homely, hair-feathered Walmarter that sneaks through the prosaic sliding doors.  I had the misfortune of helping such a lovely, not young, BeDazzled yokel my first week on the job.  Our conversation went a little something like this:

Red Vested Abe:  Can I help you?

A cape for clothing lady: Yeah.  You can.  I am looking for the tin foil area.

Abe: It's on row 9.

The best representation of what this woman looked like.
The Walmart Princess of Hope: Thank you, son.  How many boxes do you have? 

Abe: I don't know. Shall we go see?

The Un-muscley Slobberface: Gonna need a lot.  Need those and those zipper freezer bags.  We have A LOT of uncooked meat coming our way.

Abe: Of course you do.  Of course you do.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Stupid bloggists and the hate they spew.

In my wife's eyes, my reading habits are rueful and downright embarrassing. I should be ashamed.

Evidently, when I read, I am much like the mime pretending to be in a barbershop quartet: sad, pointless and loathsome to the point of wanting to strangulate me until my neck oozes a smooth, cream filling.

Before I continue, you should know that my wife is an extreme reader.  When I say this, I don't mean that she reads while bungee jumping off frozen bridges or while diving with malaria infested octopuses.  I simply mean that she reads an extreme amount, which is to say, almost nonstop.  I do not doubt that she is reading in her sleep; instead of dreams, words flash down her mind like the opening credits of a Star Wars movie.

Generally speaking, my wife loves books of the classiest nature; she only reads romance novels in which the man on the cover has buttoned at least three buttons of his shirt.  She despises a cover with any sign of a nipple or a book with the word "highlands" or "scoundrel" in the title.

Check out the title of this baby!
Of course, I tease. The truth is that my wife has no interest in romance novels at all.  She likes mysteries and dramas: tense, overwrought yarns that almost always involve a bloody murder scene and a grizzled, bearded cop.  Occasionally she will get her hands on a fictional comedy or a forlorn novel and be somewhat satisfied.  But her favorites are the murder mysteries and she reads close to 15 of them per month.

While my wife reads, my "reading" consists of both blogging and reading blogs.  In fact, I read blogs at such an incredible rate, I have reached the professional ranks of blog hopping, a feat that only the late, great Maria Shriver and Kristina Pulsipher can claim.  I have become so good, in fact, that I have been awarded one of those giant, luxurious, golden champion belts, like the steroid wrestlers wear.  I will sometimes sling it over my shoulder and pounce around my living room while wearing some orange bicycle unitards. 

I can spend up to three hours blog hopping and still not catch up on all the blogs I follow.  It's like The Neverending Story, but without the flying dog dragon or the racing snail.  I take that back.  I should rephrase: It's like The Neverending Story, but with only the occasional flying dog dragon and the racing snail.  I read blogs while my wife reads her books and while our kids are... who the heck knows or cares, we are READING HERE! 

Now, I know what you are thinking: all of this reading, it is liberating for the mind and soul, right?  Well, yes and no.  Yes for my wife, no for me.  You see, our arguments on this matter usually evolve like this:

(Beloved) Wife: Will you get off the computer?  You have been on there for hours!

(Unbeloved) Me: I'm just writing my blog post. 

(Slightly agitated, but still beloved) Wife: Well, you should get off the computer.

(The dumbest thing a husband could say) Me: Well, you read all day.  Why don't you put down your book? What is the difference?

(More than slightly agitated) Wife: It's not the same and you know it.

(Continually bone-headedly making things worse) Me: What do you mean?  You turn pages and I read off a screen.  Reading is reading.

(Now beyond furious) Wife: Whatever.  Would you just put the STUPID computer away?

I put the computer away.  I believe that it was the right thing to do at the time.  Looking back, I think it was a wise move.

ANYWAY, apparently there is an unspoken, unwritten hierarchy of reading material.  Just off the top of my head, I believe it looks something like this:

Books rooted in the sciences
Text books
Books about making money
Murder mysteries

Harry Potter books
Printed newspapers
Women's magazines

Those "for Dummies" books.
Sports magazines

Don't be offended folks, for I - your brave blogging hero - shall not stand for such injustice.  Reading blogs counts as reading - REAL READING!  Writing blogs should give me MORE credit than reading books.  Writing one blog post is like reading three books. (Albeit, not good books if you are writing the Blog O' Cheese.)

Of course, I know I am preaching to the choir here; the choir that blogs instead of sings.  I'm sure that if I were to go into the library and yell to all my wife's uppity, conceited book friends, "COME ON PEOPLE, PUT DOWN YOUR BOOKS AND PICK UP A BLOG!", they would boo me out of the place and it would be the third time I would have to be physically removed from a pubic library.

My best friends.
I guess what I am trying to say is that you and I (blogging buddies) both know that blogging COUNTS!  It's just that there are just some bloggist folks out there that try and keep bloggers and their readers down by banging us over the head with their hardbounds and paperbacks. (Preferably paperbacks.)  To these folks (including my wife) I say, "Come, join us in the blogosphere and... ride the high places!"

Can I get an AMEN?!

Now where my kids at?!