Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sweetie's Hunk of the Week, #2

Hunk of the Week #2: Martin Henderson.

You/Sweetie know him as:
That guy to the left.

I know him as: [Sweetie Hunk Spoiler Alert About a Plot That Serves Him Right And Proves Why Sweetie Shouldn't Like Him]: Isn't he that guy who died in The Ring, but before he died he was clearly going to try to get something going again with Naomi Watts, even though he also pretty clearly was involved with that assistant who walked in on them?

Reason I Tell Myself Is Why Sweetie Likes Him: He doesn't look like he washes his hair a lot, so Sweetie probably thinks of him as a fixer-upper. She probably likes guys that are a mess and who she can improve over time and make into something... wait a minute. I gotta give this some more thought.

Reason Sweetie Says She Actually Likes Him:
"You can get lost in his eyes."

Point I'd Like To Make About Sweetie's Reason For Liking Him:
I have lazy eye. And I wore an eye patch for it as a kid. Not a cool, pirate-y kind, either. 0-for-2, Sweetie. 0-for-2.

Hunk of the Week #1 Here.

I also do a mean "Parents Just Don't Understand." In a cockney accent.

I never told my brother, but last year when we went to Florida, our first option wasn't Tampa and Orlando, even though that's where we ended up going, and included a visit to him and his house. Our first option was Miami. We didn't go to Miami for vacation, though, because we thought it'd be expensive.

Just like when we went to Las Vegas for our last vacation before that -- we weren't going to go to Vegas, but we ended up picking that city because we thought Miami would be too ritzy for us.

As a result, I've always wanted to go to Miami, but have never been there. Instead, I'm just left looking at the snow that covers the ground 362 days a year here in Wisconsin and dreaming of the tropical paradise that sits on my own continent, so close and yet so untouchable, like the pie under the glass at the diner counter. Only with more palm trees.

Then I find out today that hotels in Miami Florida are not as expensive as I thought -- if I book them through Travel Today. Travel Today ( has deals on hotels all over the place, but who cares about those other, lesser cities in the US -- I can go to Miami, where I can stay in a 5-star hotel like The Sofitel Miami for the same price that I'd pay staying in any other hotel. Travel Today has rooms at that hotel for $145 per night. I paid way more than that for the hotel in Las Vegas, and that hotel wasn't very fancy. Plus it smelled like desperation and Ben-Gay.

There's none of that coming through in this photo:

And plus I'm in Miami-- home to Crockett & Tubbs, glamour, the celebrities, South Beach, the ocean, sun and swimming and maybe tidal pools. No more going to inferior cities for me. From here on out, I'm going to Miami. (Picture me rapping that like Will Smith.)

Friday, February 13, 2009

What we, as parents, are up against...

I took the boys to this playground at the Mall on Monday night. The playground, for some reason, is made up of soft-plastic displays that are loosely related to energy. Or not. There's a white electric company truck, an energy-saving lightbulb, a TV, and a light switch. But there's also a silver pipe, a hollow log, and a flower. Overall, the message conveyed is "Conserve energy. Or something. Plus nature."

Anyway. In this video, you will get a dramatic look at what Sweetie and I are up against as parents. This is Mr F and Mr Bunches playing. Mr F is in the foreground at the start, in blue overalls. You'll see Mr Bunches in the background playing behind him, in a striped shirt. Mr Bunches appears not to be paying any attention to me as I try to get some footage of Mr F. Keep an eye on what he does...

He not only did that that time, but four more times. Once he made it all the way over and I had to jump over and get him back.

Hey, I got some new shoes on and suddenly everything's right.

I don't know much about shoes, or how to buy them or when to buy them or why to buy them. So when I came across the Jildor website, I didn't really know what to make of it. Was it good? Was it bad? Was it a website that anyone would ever want to look at again? And why was I sitting at my computer questioning this myself when I instead could bring in three renowned shoe experts: Sweetie, Middle, and Oldest, to examine the site and let me know whether THEY liked it.

So I did that. "Hey, Sweetie, Middle, Oldest, come here. There's a website you might like," I told them. They responded enthusiastically:

Sweetie: "Is it another one of your dumb lists?"
"I'm doing homework."
Oldest: "Everything you say is boring except when you give me money. Which I could use some of. Does the website have money on it?"

Eventually, though, I got them over to look at it (by telling Oldest that the site did actually give out money.) When they got a look at it, here's what I got:

Middle: They have ugg boots and shoes for way cheap!

Did you see they have handbags for way below regular price? I could always use a new purse. Especially if I'm going to have money to put in it. I am going to get some money, right?

Sweetie: Where's the credit card?

So the verdict was in. This site, Jildor, makes shoe shopping easier -- a little too easy; my credit card is melting down-- and more fun by letting women compare shoes and get great prices on them and then order them online, so that shoes just get delivered to their door, like a little surprise every day. Or several times a day, in our house. Plus handbags. Plus they've got live chat to help out, and a phone number to call.

But mostly, I think, it's the shoes. The neverending display of shoes that look so great on the website, and are so easy to click on and order. They look a lot bigger in our house, where I think eventually they're going to crowd us out. But the girls are happy, I suppose. And isn't that really what counts?

Middle: No, what really counts is shoes.
Oldest: And I could still use a little money.
Sweetie: I'm just glad it wasn't one of your dumb lists.

Quote of the Day, 12:

Love is when you want the other person to be the first to hear what you have to say.
-- Me.

Sweetie and I were talking about what love really is yesterday, because that's what we do. (And we're not even a couple on an Aaron Sorkin TV show!) And she asked what I thought true love really was, and I came up with that.

I then gave her an example, pointing out that I had shown how much I loved her by emailing her a comic strip that I found funny. See, I said. I wanted you to read it before I told anyone else about it. The comic strip dealt with a monster destroying the universe with the help of a little girl and a hammer.

But "Love is when you want your wife to laugh about how a little girl with a hammer helped a monster destroy the universe" didn't have the same ring.

Quote of the day 11 here.

Jenkins Smedley: The Reboot.

Remember Jenkins Smedley? Of course you don't. But that's okay, because the old adventures of Jenkins Smedley and The Boss was hopelessly dated and out of touch with today's values and ideals.

But Jenkins Smedley: The New Series will do what other brave television shows and movies have done before: take old ideas, put a new shine on them, jazz up the special effects, and hope that nobody notices the bad writing. (Ellen the Cylon? You have got to be kidding me.) In the grand tradition of Land of the Lost: Anchorman On Location In Time and Battlestar Galactica 2.o: We're not really trying anymore, and in the same vein as how Heroes is now putting its characters on an island after a plane crash, I present to you:

Jenkins Smedley: 2009.
Scene: A network headquarters, for some reason placed on a mysterious mystical island, which for some reason is drifting through space. And also some Joss Whedon-type stuff.

Enter Jenkins Smedley, an iconoclastic (we can tell by the horn-rimmed glasses) noble and businesslike (we can tell by the short haircut and piercing eyes) and superpowered (we can tell because he tells us) businessman:

Jenkins: As a superpowered businessman in charge of this ragtag fleet of small businesses, I need information.

Crew member: I'm trying to get information, sir, but this fax machine is very very slow.

Jenkins: That's because it's not a fax machine, it's a pig. What's a pig doing on the bridge?

Crew member: I believe he's doing his nails.

(Audience laughter. Yes, there's a studio audience, too.)

Jenkins: Why are we trying to send faxes via a pig? Is this one of those awful Superbowl commercials where they drive the point home via ham-handed symbolism, instead of one of those cool Superbowl commercials where they use monkeys?

Crew member: I believe it's neither, sir. It's a blog.

Jenkins: Oh, for... Nevermind. Why don't we have a real fax machine?

Crew member: We're a little short on capital; customers are having trouble finding us in that our business is located on a deserted island drifting through space, and our wacky-but-intelligent-and-caring station manager is having some sort of troubles that nobody really cares about and hasn't gotten the advertising campaign going.

Jenkins: You can tell she's smart, though, by the glasses. Not smart enough to just wear contacts, but nevertheless...anyway, why are we located on a desert island? In space? And have I mentioned in the past few minutes that I have superpowers?

Crew Member: Your part almost went to William Shatner. We have to be located on a desert island and send our faxes via pig because we're low on money.

Jenkins: I thought I authorized borrowing money to fund us through these tight times while we try to find a new home and forge an alliance with... oh, with someone, or other, to prove that we can still do plot twists.

Crew member: You did. We filled out the paperwork for the bank. Several months ago.

Jenkins: So, where's our money?

Crew member: They wanted more paperwork. And background checks. And a business plan, which Elizabeth Elemon hasn't done yet. And fingerprints. And they need to meet the pig.

Jenkins: How long is that going to take?

Crew member: Hard to say. I can't get the pig to sign the application. I hope we get the money soon, though. I'm getting hungry.


Not getting enough money for your business?
Maybe your problems won't be as bad as Jenkins Smedley's-- what does he even sell? -- but not getting money, and not getting money quickly, are a problem for a business, and with the economy getting worse before it gets better, banks are tighter than ever.

What you need, as a small business owner, is a lender that's more like a business partner and helps you fast. Someone like does fast business loans with less paperwork than banks require and lower credit standards. So they can get you your money now, not six months from now. And they won't charge you closing costs or fees.

They can also help you with Check Processing and credit card processing -- so they can increase your ability to get paid by customers. Click over to now, and get the money you need to buy supplies, hire new help, relocate, cover invoices until the next shipment... or to replace the pig.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Question of the Day, 45:

If I take two slices of pizza, and put them together so that the crust is on the outside and the toppings are on the inside, does that mean it's now a sandwich?

Because that's what I did for lunch, when I ate pizza for the third consecutive meal. We had takeaway pizza last night (that's right -- I've decided to commit to just calling it takeaway pizza because the Brits' word for it is better than "carryout") and then I managed to save some from The Boy's depredations and have it for both Pocket Breakfast and for lunch.

At lunch, I put the two slices together, so did I make a sandwich? Would the answer be different if I used two pieces of french bread pizza?

Truth be told, the question of what is or is not a sandwich has bothered me now for about 10 years, ever since Sweetie and I had lunch at a fancy, hip bar with a friend of mine, and the bar served only open faced sandwiches, which in my book is not a sandwich at all. Unless you were to take the "sandwich," pick it up by the bottom slice of bread, and then fold it over, after which I guess it would be a sandwich.

Question of the day 44 here.

Also, if you like your philosophy liberally coated with mozzarella, check out the musings involved in The Best Pizza Topping.

I'm never very good at these riddles. I prefer knock-knock jokes.

Riddle me this: What kind of business needs money?

Answer: All kinds of businesses.

Now riddle me this: What kind of business needs money and has all the time in the world to fill out paperwork, meet with bankers, develop business plans and proposals, fill out more paperwork, meet with bankers more, develop more proposals, submit background checks, fill out more paperwork, meet with bankers more, and then maybe get approved and then wait months for the money.

Not many businesses I can think of meet that description -- but banks think they do, apparently, because that's what banks require in order to lend your business money. But you don't want to do all that: you want to pay your suppliers, get more inventory, hire new staff, upgrade your infrastructure, expand to a new location, give your employees health benefits now... in short, you want the money and you want to keep running your business.

The Small Business Loans from are here to help you. They'll let you run your business instead of making you kowtow to them. has their "Fast Business Loan," a loan with less strict requirements, and one that gets approved faster than traditional bank loans, plus doesn't have any closing costs or fees attached to it. So you get money you need faster and for less costs. Sounds good, doesn't it?

And couldn't you use a little credit to keep the cash flowing right now? This downturn won't last forever and you don't want to fire employees or close up shop just because things are tight for now. Instead, infuse some cash into your business and be ready to expand when the economy does. Make your small business a medium-, or large-sized business. can do that for you, and more. They can help you accept credit cards, for example, and you definitely need to do that. Definitely. Because that's how people pay these days. Cash is out.

So go to the lender that understands your business, and understands that you want to run your business, not spend your days in the bank. is ready to help you get through the recession and come out ahead. offers a "Fast Business Loan", unlike traditional bank loans, has less stringent requirements, faster approval, and no closing cost or fees.

Get the cash you need quickly without the paperwork hassle.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Quote of the Day: 11

You know who else wears vests? Han Solo.
-- Me.

Yeah, but not vests like that.
-- The Boy

That was the exchange The Boy and I had last night when I was making him stop watching TV in our room because I had to change out of my work clothes and into my pancake-making clothes. And while technically he's correct, I think the real point is this: It takes someone even cooler than Han Solo to pull off a sweater vest.

Quote of the Day 10 is here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Question of the Day: 44

Why are public restrooms not unisex?

Bathrooms in our house aren't unisex. But, people will say, in public, there are strangers around, requiring that we segregate the sexes into separate bathrooms.

If you think about that, though, it makes no sense: the other women in the restroom are still strangers, as are the other men in the men's room. So what you're saying, unisex bathroom supporters, is that it's perfectly acceptable to take care of natural functions in front of strangers if those strangers are the same sex as you.

But why is that? And why, in all the years we've had to hear complaints from people about how there are always lines at women's restrooms but never men's, has nobody ever said, simply, why are public restrooms not unisex?

See what I bring to the public debate? Me for President, 2012. Sorry, Mr. Obama. But unisex bathrooms is real change we can believe in.

Question of the Day 43 here
. (By the way: I did the experiment. It was less than overwhelming. But Sweetie still found it entertaining because she has exceedingly low expectations for our dates.)

It gets more confusing when I use French Bread To Make Texas Toast (A Great Ranking of Problems New Addition!)

Last night, Sweetie made lasagna and garlic bread. As I write this, though, I'm not sure if it was garlic bread, or if it was french bread. I used to call it French bread, I guess because it was made from those long loaves of bread that the French have adopted to replace the epee in Olympic fencing competitions... but it's probably supposed to be garlic bread because she puts garlic and butter on the French bread.

Which raises the question: why don't we just use Italian bread to make garlic bread? Our dinner table has a whole EU thing going on.

That's all not the point. The point is this: After putting my lasagna on my plate, and after helping Mr Bunches and Mr F into their chair, and after helping them back out of their chair to run around, and after saying Grace and after eating a piece of garlic bread, I then took my first forkful of lasagna and instantly boiled away the roof of my mouth.

Why do Italian foods retain heat so effectively for so long, and why are we not using pizza and lasagna as insulation in houses? All the builder would have to do is heat up the walls, then install them, and decades later the walls would still be radiating heat.

Anyway, that all prompts me to add another entry to

The Great Ranking Of Problems:

502: Having to wait forever, seemingly, for Italian food to cool down.

Prior entries:

173: Preshoveling & reshoveling snow.
721: Printer not holding a lot of paper at once.
5,000: Lopsided Nail Clipping.
7,399: Potato(E?)s?
. . .
15,451: Almost napping.
14,452: Worrying that there's too much peanut brittle leftover to eat before it goes bad.
22,372: Having hair which isn't quite a definable color.
22,373: Having too many songs on an iPod


Sunday, February 08, 2009

Love is things that have been said many times (Sunday's Poem Number 5)

It was raining in Delft

by Peter Gizzi

A cornerstone. Marble pilings. Curbstones and brick.
I saw rooftops. The sun after a rain shower.
Liz, there are children in clumsy jackets. Cobblestones
and the sun now in a curbside pool.
I will call in an hour where you are sleeping. I’ve been walking
for 7 hrs on yr name day.
Dead, I am calling you now.
There are colonnades. Yellow wrappers in the square.
Just what you’d suspect: a market with flowers and matrons,
Beauty walks this world. It ages everything.
I am far and I am an animal and I am just another I-am poem,
a we-see poem, a they-love poem.
The green. All the different windows.
There is so much stone here. And grass. So beautiful each
translucent electric blade.
And the noise. Cheers folding into traffic. These things.
Things that have been already said many times:
leaf, zipper, sparrow, lintel, scarf, window shade.


When they teach you poetry in high school, they focus on boring poems, poems that don't speak to anything these days and have no relevance. There is a feeling, perhaps, that something cannot be worth considering unless it is hundreds of years old, but is there any real reason to prefer Emily Dickinson over Peter Gizzi? I think not.

Plus, if schools were to teach Gizzi's poem, they could also mention
The Delft Thunderclap, an explosion of about 40 tons of gunpowder that had been stored in a former convent; when the door was opened the magazine exploded and over a hundred people were killed, with over a thousand wounded. All of which leads to one uneasy thought:

What were those Delft nuns planning?