THE ALMIGHTY LIST

THE MOMENT HAS ARRIVED!  I received input from a number of readers, friends, family members, and even the official medical consultant for Bobbing for Popcorn (okay, so it’s my doctor, but it makes us both sound way cooler) and the list of the FORTY THINGS I am challenged to complete by my FORTIETH BIRTHDAY has been compiled.  It equally pumps me up and terrifies me!  There are some really fun things that are going to be SO COOL and others that are scary as hell!  But that was the point, I guess.  So without further ado, in no particular order, here it is:

1. Eat a carolina reaper pepper

I’ve done hot challenges before, but never anything THIS hot!

2. Polar bear swim

I hate swimming.  I hate the cold.  This sounds perfect.

3. lose 40 pounds

This is probably the biggest challenge on the list but probably the most important one too.  Phew…this one is going to take some work!

4. go camping/Hiking

Believe it or not, there are a number of normal things on this list that I have never done.  This being one of them.

5. visit a legitimately haunted location

I’m not talking about local lore, or somebody’s uncle said he saw the curtains move once.  I’m talking a place one of those ghost hunter shows would go investigate.

6. finish writing a novel

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  I know.  I started writing this a long time ago.  What better way to light a fire under me to get the job done?

7. run a 5k

Oh sweet baby Jesus give me strength.

8. flip & sell a house

My wife and I have had a rental property for quite a while.  Time to channel my inner Bob Villa and fix it up and sell it to another family.

9. try bulletproof coffee & “cat poop” coffee

I love coffee…these frighten me.

10.  paintball

What better way to shoot your friends without anyone pressing charges?!!

11.  target shooting

I have never fired a gun.  I don’t believe I’ve ever actually held a real one in my life.  Judging by the fact that I usually need supervision when using scissors and I whimper at loud noises, I can’t see how this could go wrong.

12.  hug a llama

This might be the greatest thing I do in my life.

13.  go caroling

Seems a bit easy.  Maybe we’ll sing 80s hip hop mash-ups instead.

14.  grill day

If it isn’t grilled, we don’t eat it.  All day long.

15.  take a painting class

This one should be a piece of cake – I can draw hand turkeys like there’s no tomorrow!

16.  ride a horse

The poor horse probably wants me to lose the 40 pounds first…

17.  sing karaoke

I was in choirs all my life and was lucky enough to be allowed to sing solos.  I was a vocal music major for a semester and performed numerous musical numbers on stage…but I’ve always been freaked out by karaoke!  I don’t know why!  Terrifies me!

18.  learn basic guitar

I’m not looking to be the next Prince, but I just always wanted to strum along to a Bob Dylan or Johnny Cash tune.

19.  milk a cow

Some days you have to grab the bull by the horns, other days you have to grab the cow by the teats.  This is one of those days.

20.  participate in a flash mob

One reader suggested a kazoo performance…it’s got potential.

21.  make a 1/2 court basketball shot

NOTE: I suck at basketball.  It is one thing I am the worst at!  This could take a long time!

22.  hold a tarantula

The person who suggested this is no longer a friend of mine.

23.  go skiing

Again, something most people have done.  Not me.  Not even once!  I’ve never even been to anywhere while other people skied while I watched from a chalet!

24.  beat the original “Super Mario bros.”

The game that started a revolution has always escaped my nimble thumbs.  It’s time I take down Bowser and save that princess once and for all.

25.  go ice skating

Nope.  I put on skates once, dragged myself along the wall for about 20 feet, threw a tantrum, quit, and went home…I was probably 17…not one of my prouder moments.

26.  Create an animated short film

This one was just too intriguing not to try!

27.  sing the national anthem at a public event

Dear God please let me remember the words.

28.  act like a professional announcer for a youth sports team

I think this one would be a riot if the kids didn’t know I was going to do it!

29.  hit a home run out of a local ball park

I never played sports as a kid (I was too busy trying to beat that damn Mario Bros. game) so this is one of those thrills I’ve never experienced.

30.  snow golf

Now THIS ONE I have participated in before a few times.  However, to keep it on my list I think we’re going to need to play a full 18 holes.

31.  do a police ride-along

I have already contacted the police and was given permission to ride shotgun (maybe literally this time).  I have also informed the officer who will be hosting me that I reserve the right to sing the theme to “Cops” as many times as I want.

32.  perform at an open mic comedy club

Again, it’s strange.  I write comedy.  I perform in front of audiences all the time.  But this scares the crap out of me!

33.  get ordained

Bonus points if someone wants me to marry them!

34.  donate blood

I have a terrible phobia of needles…this could get very entertaining for you guys.

35.  meet a childhood idol

Could be tricky since most of them were cartoons…

36.  catch a big fish

I used to go fishing with many different members of my family all the time growing up.  However, while the lake we fished out of is full of walleyes, muskies, and bass, I only ever walked away with a couple sunfish and perch.  I can’t even tell stories about “the one that got away” because he never gave me a chance.  I want to catch “the big one!”

37.  Get a reading from a psychic

I’m super skeptical.  It’s going to take quite the reading to convince me that I’m not wasting my time with this one.  But I promise to keep an open mind and not to get too snarky when the spirits are visiting.

38.  audition for a movie or television show

Oh, why not?  Find an open audition and send in a video.  Who knows, I might be Man In Hat 2 in the 18th Mission: Impossible movie.  Dare to dream!

39.  help a beekeeper

I’m guessing these little guys are harder to milk than cows, but I’ll do my best to get the honey out.

40.  take a whirlwind trip to anywhere new

I’ve never done a lot of traveling, so the whole spontaneous jet-setting lifestyle is foreign to me.  I’ve never been farther west than Indianapolis.  Florida once and very few places north of there until you hit Pennsylvania.  As far as other countries go, Canada is it and I haven’t even been back there in over a decade.  So where should I rush off to on a whim?  Vegas?  London?  Hollywood?  Nambia?!!!  I’m going to hop in a car or on a plane, plant my feet on new ground (for me), snap a couple photos, and then head back home.

* * * * * * *

So that’s it!  My challenges for this year.  I will try to give you updates as weekly as possible (I have 12 extra Fridays that I can play with).  I am also going to challenge myself to get you guys AT LEAST 40 new Top Ten Tuesdays AND 40 new posts that are not Top Ten or 40 By 40 list related.  At least 120 new posts in 2018 just cuz I like ya!

So PLEASE, like, share, retweet, comment, and invite your friends to join in all the popcorny goodness!  And buckle up, this is going to be a busy year!

“Who says nothing is impossible. I’ve been doing nothing for years.” ~ Henny Youngman

Spoiler Alert!!!

Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you anything about Star Wars or Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead or Max and Ruby.  This spoiler is TOTALLY about Bobbing for Popcorn!

TOMORROW is our ONE HUNDREDTH POST!!!  1 – 0 – freaking – 0!!!  I’m kind of pumped about it.  When I started this whole thing I thought I’d have a fun little Lenten challenge and tell some goofy stories about my childhood and some social commentary about subjects that wouldn’t necessarily polarize people.  I love talking about quirky things, I love writing, and, above all, I love making people laugh.  I never expected the response I’ve gotten from this little hobby.  I am humbled and psyched simultaneously.

However, TOMORROW will be very different.  And since it’s going to be different, I asked for some help from some very special people.  I’ve talked about the comedy troupe I perform with in past posts and I am fortunate that these fellow performers are in my life all the time.  Anyone who has performed on stage knows that your cast mates turn into a sort of theatre family.  Not these people…they ARE family – we complete each other’s thoughts, we bring out the best (and worst) in each other, and we are together more time offstage than we are onstage.  Unfortunately, we didn’t have all of our troupe involved, but we did gather a healthy helping for tomorrow’s celebratory post.  ALSO, unfortunately, at no time do we explain who these people are, so just to get you ready for tomorrow here’s a bit of a visual aid:

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So get ready for something new.  Be patient, we’re venturing out in unfamiliar territory for your entertainment.  And if you could have a few heavily loaded Tom and Jerrys before checking out tomorrow’s post it would be greatly appreciated.  It is scientifically proven that we get funnier the more you drink.  Mazel Tov!

“I don’t care if the turkey said the dog was a turkey! The dog is not the turkey! The turkey’s the turkey, you turkey!” ~ A Muppet Family Christmas

RETURN THESE SOCKS! I REFUSE TO GROW UP!

You know the biggest difference between kids and adults?  Adults have learned to fake happiness and appreciation when they receive lame gifts.  We’re supposed to be practical and responsible and blah, blah-blah, blah, blah blah-dee-blah.  “Yay!  Tongs!”  “Antifreeze?  How did you know I needed this?!”  “One of Oprah’s biographies because you remembered six months ago when I said I could tolerate her in small doses.  How thoughtful!”

Well I’m here to say the world has severely failed its immature adult population!  How many of you out there have ever snapped some Legos together when the kids weren’t around?  How many of you have tiny little adventures with the action figures or dolls you are picking up off the living room floor – even just to make them walk a couple steps or yell in terror as you pitch them into the toy box?  How many of you mold PlayDoh with your little ones and you say you’re making a snake, but that devious little inner child knows you’re making a wiener?  If you can relate to any of these, there’s still that little bit of you that holds out hope that there is something “cool” for you under the tree on Christmas morning.

***On the other hand, if you answered “no” to all of these, you are officially lame and I am no longer your friend.***

When did we start getting weird looks for playing with stuff?  When were we supposed to be too old to ask for fun stuff on our lists?  And I’m not talking about things adults call toys: cars, televisions, gerbils (don’t ask).  I’m talking about being in your 30s and asking your family for a giant Nerf shotgun or the big ol’ $400 Lego Death Star or the Barbie Dream House that you always wanted as a kid!  You’re a grown-ass man and/or woman (B4P: for all your gender progressive blog reading needs) – you should be able to get all the stuff you never did as a kid!  Instead we settle for socks and undershirts and accept them like their long buried pirate booty.

***If you didn’t at least think about butts for a split second when I said “booty,” you are officially lame and I am no longer your friend.***

We can’t rely on OUR children because their toys suck!  How many of you are guilty of steering your children toward certain toys because YOU want to play with them?

***If you answered “no” to this, you are officially lame and I am no longer your friend AND YOU ARE A LIAR!***

But times have changed so drastically and toys just don’t seem fun any more.  They have to be either educational and creative, minuscule and featureless, or weirdly asinine.  I don’t always want to expand my mind and create things out of rubber bands or beads or at-home science experiments.  I don’t want little rubber toys that don’t move and that are so small I can’t even have them interact with each other without covering them with my hands while I play – these are extremely detailed (and expensive) pencil toppers, nothing more; we used to get something like a Shopkin or a Squinkie as a freebee with our Scholastic book order in elementary school. Finally, I don’t want a Hatchimal or a Fingerling – what the hell people?!  “Daddy, can I have a mutant animal in an egg?”  NO!  We will only buy cool toys in this house!

I say we need a resurgence of the good ol’ days.  If you are over the age of 20, you need to ask for one guilty pleasure toy as a gift at some point in the coming year.  And OF COURSE, if you get it, you need to share it here so we can all enjoy the victory for our inner children’s revolution.  Power to the Immature!  Viva le Fun!

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“That’s just for starters. Now this is what Christmas is all about.” ~ A Garfield Christmas Special

If I’m Tired Again, Am I Re-tired?

I already messed up my summertime blogging goal but I had an amazingly awesome reason – I was at my parents’ retirement party.  Yup, they both broke away from the workforce on the same day.  You’d think on their last day, they’d follow their usual schedule just to make it official and to have a countdown of the minutes like New Year’s Eve; but, of course, my parents couldn’t follow “the plan.”  Dad left work 3 hours early and Mom stayed 45 minutes late.  Of course, as far as my parents are concerned, they were both right on time.

My parents are some of the hardest working people I know – there were YEARS that I remember neither one of them taking a sick day.  I remember staying with my grandparents on nights and weekends when my parents had to work odd shifts.  My dad worked all sorts of jobs: metal factory, plumbing supplies, modular office manufacturing.  He had some really interesting jobs like making the big light up signs that businesses use on their storefronts and working in a factory that made those super cool self checkout stations (I LOVE those things).  My mom had the same career for forty years…she sold drugs.

They both were had to deal with– long hours, going to work and coming home in the worst weather, missing important…

She worked in a pharmacy!  She filled prescriptions!  Pharmacy tech. She wasn’t like a drug dealer…no, like the legal kind…oh God…

Anyway, they both paid their dues and I’m very proud of what they went through to make sure my sister and I wanted for nothing and never knew how hard they struggled until we were older.  So, after all the years they did everything for us, when they asked us for one simple request, of course we had to do it for them.  They simply asked to let this event go by without fanfare.  No party, no big acknowledgement, just let them punch out and go home…

…yeah, we totally ignored that and started planning a barbecue.

Yeah, yeah, yeah – respect their wishes, they ask nothing of us, yadda yadda yadda, we gots to get our party on.

My sister and wife took care of the food prep, my brother-in-law was going to run the grill, and I was in charge of the decorations…bwahahahaaaaa.  Game on!

We had to make sure both of them were equally represented – pharmaceuticals and plumbing supplies.  Piece of cake.  First thing I had to do was decorate my sister and brother-in-law’s deck.  Patio lights! Easy peasy, right?  Wrong!  Can you believe they don’t make pill bottle lights?! So, like they say, when life won’t give you pill bottles, buy them on Amazon!  Okay, so that might not be what they say but it’s what I did anyway.  Who loves his parents enough to order pill bottles in bulk off the internet and most likely land himself on an ATF watch list?  This guy!

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But how do we ensure equal decorative representation for the padré? Luckily my sister has the same twisted mentality as I do (no doubt we’re related) and suggested a toilet for the chips.  Of course the dip would be kept up in the toilet tank.  Who loves his parents enough to make a toilet they can eat out of?  This guy!

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My brother-in-law and I ran to the liquor store for some crappy wine (we’ll save that debacle for another night) and we were good to go.  The family showed up, the food was cooked (only one minor out-of-control grease fire), the cake was decorated, and we waited for the guests of honor.

The looks on their faces as they drove up made all the planning and work worth it.  Because after all the years of raising us, all the sacrifices they made, all the hours they worked, all the bills and paychecks they had to shuffle, all of those feelings of exhaustion they overlooked to play with us, all of the literal blood, sweat, and tears that were shed so we didn’t have to – my sister and I finally learned the greatest lesson from our parents: that same angry look they gave you when you didn’t listen that scared the hell out of you as a child is ABSOLUTELY hilarious and fulfilling to see when you’re an adult and ignore their one wish to not have a retirement party.  TOTALLY worth getting grounded in my 30s.

“The trouble with retirement is that you never get a day off.” ~ Abe Lemons

Top Ten Things Your Inner Child Can’t Resist

I’m a bad example of maturity.  I’m writing this while I wear socks with tacos on them for God’s sake!  I have recently been dealing with the internal struggle of adjusting my budget to accommodate Walking Dead collector figures (my wife asked me what their purpose was and, I admit, I didn’t understand her question at first).  My inner child gets my outer adult in trouble more often than most people BUT I believe there are certain things that exist in our world that act like a dog whistle to that mischievous little imp living in all of us and when you encounter these things you need to have a personal playdate with “little you”…dear Lord that last part come out sounding way dirtier than I planned…oh well, my inner child is giggling so I’ll leave it.  Moving on from the double entendre, here’s the list:

10.  Puddles

I know, I know – if you’re in your work clothes or with someone who you’re trying to impress, you are not going to indulge.  But, if you are in your grubby clothes or all by yourself and you see a big puddle in your driveway or while you’re out for your morning run – that little voice is going to urge you, Go for it.  And if you don’t have a tight grip on your inner child, you are going to make an epic splash in that glorious muddy crater and as you look down at your stained pant legs and sloshing shoes, you think about the laundry you’re going to have to do and that little voice reminds you, Totally worth it.

9. Flarp

The other day at work, one of my coworkers smuggled a can of Flarp (you may know it better as “Noise Putty” or “Fart Putty”) into our meeting.  He only needed to squish it one time and I was done.  Even if you find that noise vile and fart jokes the simplest form of lowbrow humor…sooner or later, that magical little plastic container of slime is going to emit a bubbly schqueeping sound that will make it impossible for you to fight off that little grin from curling up the corners of your mouth.  Disgusting, vile, immature, basal, lowbrow, sophomoric…I can’t argue with any of that – but sooner or later, this creator of an infinite variety of sounds will come up with the right wet, snappy, squeaky combination that would make even the strictest schoolmarm giggle.

8. Straw Wrappers

Maybe not on the first date…though it’s still a possibility…but certainly soon in the relationship and until you grow old and gray with your special someone you will never be able to resist the most classic form of restaurant weaponry.  If your drinks come and your server throws down wrapped straws…it’s on like the wild west.  And I don’t care who you’re with, once you’ve decided to rip off the end of the wrapper you are aiming for the forehead.  If you miss and peg the person behind them in the back of the head, you will feel embarrassed, but rest assured that they understand because they’ve done the same thing.

7. Cartoons

I’m not talking about just any cartoons.  I’m a cartoon junkie but there are some even I can’t handle.  I’m talking about cartoons that you used to watch back in the days of footie pajamas and marshmallowy cereals. Everyone had something depending on their generation – Looney Tunes, Ninja Turtles, Hey Arnold, Spongebob – that whenever it’s on television, you have to sit and watch for a while.  I’ve recently started hunting down these old gems on Amazon and seeing which of my old favorites have been released in complete box sets in the hopes to rebuild my Saturday morning glory days!  No matter what your favorite was we can all agree on one thing: ours were way better than the garbage kids watch nowadays!

6. Comfort Foods

We all have certain foods that we remember from our childhood that we still can’t resist to this day.  Sometimes it’s as simple as cutting up a hot dog and mixing into some Mac & Cheese or a classic messy campfire s’more.  For others it might be something kooky they did like potato chips on a peanut butter sandwich or french fries dipped into a milkshake. Whatever it may be, there are times when you’re homesick, or have the house all to yourself, or hanging out in the place where you grew up when you just need those tasty treats that the health conscious adult you is appalled by but your inner child is squealing with glee!  Of course, you need to wash it down with chocolate milk.

5. PJ Days

No one wakes up on a cold winter weekend and says, “Golly gee, I just can’t wait to get into my khakis and cardigan and sit around my house all day.”  Okay, so there probably isn’t anyone who honestly uses the phrase “golly gee” at all – but the other part is probably true too.  Let’s face it, most of us wouldn’t get dressed if society didn’t make us do it.  There is just something awesome and childishly rebellious about staying in pajama pants and a ratty old hoodie all freaking day.  You probably rolled out of bed in this outfit, they probably smell a wee bit gamey, they probably have stains from godknowswhat all over them – so much so that if you spill something you might not even wipe it off – and there is nothing more comfortable to wear while binge watching Netflix or cracking into your ever growing “must read” pile.  You get bonus points if you can make it through multiple days without changing your nasty, stanky, pj-ed self!

4.  ReadyWhip

The sound alone is enough to make you giddy!  Fshhhhhhhhhhhoooooo! You heard it in your head when you read that, didn’t you?  I know you did because I heard it while I wrote it!  Whenever you get your hands on a can of this aerosol propelled goodness, your adulthood is NOT in charge.  You will most likely add WAY more than you need or draw something with it or, c’mon, elephant in the room, tip your head back and shoot that foamy culinary miracle directly into you gluttonously gaping maw!  And do you just shoot a little dollop on the dainty tip of your tongue?  Oh-hell-to-the-no!  You unleash that creamy condiment until you can see it protruding with your wide, downward crossed eyes!

3.  “Try Me” Buttons

Oh sure, Alice was a cautionary tale about drug abuse with the whole “Eat Me” and “Drink Me” things in Wonderland.  The responsible parent in all of us is sure to point that out to our children.  But, boy, aren’t you just a big ol’ pot calling the kettle “black” when you find your way into a toy section without kids with you. If it makes noise or dances or lights up or spins – you’re compelled to push every “Try Me” button you come across aren’t you?!!  And you try to get multiple things going at the same time don’t you?!!  And this is exactly the same thing you would tell your kids NOT to do if they were with you isn’t it?!!  If you answered “no” to any of those questions you are a filthy lying liar!

2. Bubble Wrap

Do we even need to discuss this one?

1. Christmas

Remember that movie where the guy loves Christmas more than anything and by the end he hates it and stops celebrating it?  No you don’t – because that movie doesn’t exist!  As adults we understand the “better to give” thing, but when you see a really cool looking package all wrapped up with your name on it, you can’t help but get excited (possibly even sneak to the tree and shake it a bit).  Do you drive around and groan in disgust at all these wretched lights?  No way (unless it’s April – c’mon, take the freaking things down you lazy bum).  Do you turn your nose up at Christmas cookies?  Not a chance!  If “Santa” comes up to you and asks you what you want for Christmas, do you answer him?  Of course you do! It’s Santa!  Do you sleep in until noon on Christmas morning?  You’d better not or else you have a stinky, wrinkly, blackened little soul and you need to watch Elf until you know the best way to spread Christmas cheer!

“If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.” ~ Tom Stoppard