TOP TEN THINGS FOOTBALL NEEDS TO GET RID OF

If you missed it, B4P live tweeted (twoat?) Super Bowl LII – it was a trip!  Stuff was happening too fast for me to catch everything.  My mind was on overload – what did P!nk just spit out?  How can I make fun of Tom Brady worse than he’s doing to himself?  Does anyone realize that Bill Belichick looks like Zuul?

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But one thing that I kept thinking about the whole time was, the NFL has got too much stuff going on and it’s time to clean house.  So either because of technology, or necessity, or just because it’s plain lame, here are the Top 10 Things in Football That Just Have To GO!

10. Helmet Visors

Okay, this one comes with a bit of a stipulation.  It protects your eyes from UV rays and cuts down on players “losing” the ball in the sun.  Indeed, this is a very useful piece of equipment and has its place in the sport.  But dude…you’re in a dome.

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9. QB Finger Licking

Dear Quarterbacks – you are not what KFC had in mind with the whole “finger lickin’ good” thing.  The ball has been all over the field, touched by God-knows how many people.  You’ve high-fived your whole team and how can you be sure they all washed?  You’ve been sliding on turf that has been sprinkled with blood and sweat and lawn chemicals and feet.  For crying out loud, your hands keep going back to your Center’s butt.  Is licking your hands before you throw the ball your best plan?  This is how you get worms.

8. Pre/In/Post-Game Interviews

What are you going to tell us?  “Coach, what are your thoughts going into this game?”  “Well, we have to stay focused on our offense and keep our defense.”  “Coach, what will you be focusing on as you prepare for the second half?”  “Well, we had a pretty solid first half.  We just need to make sure our defense keeps shutting them down and we keep putting points up on the board with our offense.” “Coach how are you feeling after that upset?” “Well we came here to play and I think we had a solid effort, but they just came out ahead of us today.”

How many ways can you say you want to win and plan on doing that by scoring more points and make the other team score less?  And how many times have we heard “We came here to play”?  Oh, did you?  Well, since it’s the whole purpose of your job, it should probably appear somewhere on your to-do list.

7. Dial-A-Down

You’ve got GIGANTIC Jumbotrons.  You’ve got multiple smaller digital scoreboards surrounding the stadiums.  The quarterbacks have a freaking computers around their wrists.  Do they really need the stick on the sideline to help them count to four?!

6. Water Caddies

These guys play hard and they need to stay hydrated.  I can’t even imagine how much water these guys need to take in over the course of a single game.  I also acknowledge that time is of the essence, so having a staff member run a water bottle out on the field is also necessary.  But isn’t squirting the water into their mouths for them just a wee bit too far?!!  You just got sandwiched between five 300-pound men running at top speed and you got back up without even being winded, but your delicate little digits can’t handle a squeeze bottle?  Suck it up, buttercup, or I’ll kick you in your Turf Toe.

5. Butt Streamer

With all the hand licking and water squirting (this is starting to sound wrong), it’s no wonder players need a towel.  However, does it need to be a tail?!  We’ll look past the fact that they have grass/mud stained clothes (or at least insanely sweaty if they’re on astroturf) but they won’t be caught dead wiping their hands on their pants (Burger grease? Sure wipe it on your pants.  Moist hands?  Oh my land and stars!  What would the neighbors say?).  So, sure, have a towel.  But…

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THIS is not a towel!  This is what happens when you use the bathroom and tuck toilet paper into your pants!

4. Excessive Celebration Penalties

Let them dance!  Where would we be without the Icky Shuffle or the Funky Chicken?!  The end zone dance is a gridiron tradition and to penalize it is unAmerican!  I don’t care if the Bears want to do the entire Super Bowl shuffle when they score a touchdown!  Except dabbing – that should be illegal everywhere.

3. Chains

You can computer-generate a line anywhere on the field that we can see at home.  You have cameras that can zoom in on the last blade of grass the ball touched.  Every nearsighted armchair quarterback can tell the second someone gets a first down.  But there is no technology for the guys on the field to use to replace the dudes with two sticks and a chain?!  You have algorithms for anything and everything you need statistically – but to have a computer tell you, “Yup” or “Nope” on whether a guy passed a certain point is WAY outside the realm of possibility.  And if the chain guys can’t tell with absolute certainty, they call up to the control booth on two cans and a string.

2. Over Zealous Statistitians

1,151 total yards at Super Bowl LII – the most of ANY NFL game!  That’s amazing!  Most Super Bowl losses was a record set by New England (as a Bills fan I say, na-nana-boo-boo) at 5.  There are great stats to know.  However, every so often the announcers will come on with a “Lowest scoring third quarter in November with a left handed Capricorn as coach when it hasn’t been snowing since the new lunar cycle.”  Calm the hell down, Calvin Calculator, if you’re that bored, bring some cross stitching or something.

1. The College Shout-Outs

Every starting player is featured giving their name and telling you where they went to school.  If you’re in your rookie year, okay.  It’s cool to know where you came from.  If you’ve already celebrated your 20 reunion, just stop, you’d be the creepy old guy hanging around campus if you went back now.  And you’d wear your college sweatshirt if you went back there for a visit, wouldn’t you?  Admit it!  They painted over your bathroom stall poetry and none of the current students have a Pulp Fiction or Phish poster on their wall.  If you’re in your 30s, you are no longer “from” that university.  It’s like referring to your 12-year-old as your 144-month-old.  At some point, you need to move on.  You’re an NFL football player, you don’t need to reminisce about your glory days like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite.

**Hey – you can never have too many Idiots in your life so I’ve got one more for you!  Go check out the Blue Collar Idiot‘s new blog.  It’s sure to get you laughing and thinking!  If nothing else, it’s better than most newspapers!

“Hey, the offensive linemen are the biggest guys on the field, they’re bigger than everybody else, and that’s what makes them the biggest guys on the field.” ~ John Madden

Top Ten (Best of the Worst) SPAM Comments From 2017

One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to get this blog up and rolling more professionally (don’t tell the IRS, but I’ve already earned a whopping fifty cents by doing this).  Over the course of 2017 my blog posts received over 6,000 comments…71 of them from my readers.  This tells me two things: ONE – you guys have to make some more comments!  SHOW SOME LOVE, Y’ALL!  And TWO – I really need to take care of the SPAM mail much more frequently.

In cleaning out all of the junk from my comments, I came across some real doozies!  Anything from outward expressions of love and adoration to blatant hatred to invitations to join communities for hair loss medication pyramid schemes.  In any case, if these were sent to me by “real” people, there would be grounds for legal action – however, since these are just SPAM messages, they’re just fun to share with you guys.  I skipped the ones about “Hot Singles In Your Area” or “Male Enhancement Pills” because those are so cliché in the world of SPAM – to make this Top Ten list, they needed a little something special to leave me shaking my head.

WARNING: Some strong language ahead (mostly not my fault).

#10 – From Russia With (Paid) Love

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Most of my SPAM, you’d be proud to know, was created in good ol’ “Murica!”  But I also received quite a few messages from China and Trump’s home office in Russia (sorry, couldn’t resist).  For these posts, I needed to employ my dear friend, Google Translate, to help me see what they were saying to me.

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They collected ALL the prostitutes?  Kind of like Pokemon with the danger of STDs?  Watch out for her “Jigglypuff” you might end up with a “Bulbasaur.”

#9 – What Language Are You Trying to Use?

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Someone somewhere must have done what I did and used a translator which is how they ended up talking about Mr. Trump’s “chiffonier” and not his “cabinet.”  I am still not sure what kamagra is because the link was broken when I tried to get more information on it.  However, the way they just throw it randomly in the middle of the text, I like to imagine it being whispered by some sultry voice in the background like a Calvin Klein perfume advertisement.  Finally, I also wonder, as do most of you, I’m sure, whether or not “the bitch directed at law makers” was indeed “anecdotal” or perhaps something more (Insert dramatic organ stinger: dun dun duuuuuuuunnnn).

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#8 – The Victims Get Enough Help

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Aren’t you sick of all the anti-bullying campaigns?  At what point do the victims start bullying the bullies?  Poor bullies.  With all of this push to empower the targets of bullying, we are in need of more well-trained bullies.  Lucky for us there is the American Bully Training Program – just in case you need to re-up on your Wedgie Certification.

#7 – Why Have I Been Working So Hard?!!

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“Fed up of typing ‘who can write my essay’ in the search bar?”  Boy howdy, am I!  If I had a nickel for every time I had to type that out, I’d have…well…a nickel, because I just wrote it one sentence ago.  But I can tell you, I shall write that phrase NO MORE!!!  From now on I am just going to essayerudite and pay them to do all of my blog posts.  I know I said I wanted to make money doing this and this would require me to spend money instead of doing the writing myself…but think of the minutes of my life I would get back!

Okay, so I’m kidding, but it would be fun to contact them and see if they could handle my subject matter.  “Yes, I was wondering if you had a writer who could give me one thousand words about accidentally dropping a flaming Kleenex on my friend’s cat?  No?  Okay.  What can you guys give me on Reindeer Boobs?

#6 – SPAM Sweet SPAM

Sometimes the SPAM messages were so flattering – I almost accepted them and let them get published on my site.

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Even if sometimes, I didn’t always know what they were talking about…

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But then the lovefest started getting a wee bit creepy…

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I’m sleeping with one eye open from now on.

#5 – Ummm….What?

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#4 – There’s So Much Wrong Here

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Where to begin?!  The guy plunging to his doom?  The dead guy’s girlfriend admitting her apathy toward her late beau?  The hook up with his best friend?  The INSANELY gratuitous ending to that short story which, NO, I am not going to let you read?  Or how about the fact that these folks  are capitalizing on AUTISM!!!  Not cool, man, not cool at all.  Now, as a responsible adult, I can not tell you to contact this upstanding citizen.  But I also forgot to blur out the email address…

#3 – I Kinda Wish I Wasn’t A Man Right Now

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Wow.  Just wow.  Ladies, I officially apologize that people like this exist.  Oh darn it – I forgot to black out that email address too…

#2 – I Seem To Have Upset Him

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Someone REALLY took offense to my post about my “spirit salmon.”  I don’t know if he has a fish allergy or perhaps a popcorn intolerance or maybe it is an extremist branch of PETA who believes no animal should be forced to be a spirit animal.  In any case, this dude seems a wee bit peeved at me.  Now the most interesting part of the message, besides figuring out the seven hundred ways I could be killed by his bare hands (I could only figure out three hundred and eleven – I’d never suggest that a Navy Seal’s pants may or may not be on fire, but he may have exaggerated just a tad), was when I hovered over the link (because, no, I didn’t have the guts to actually click it being worried about his secret network of spies and all).  The preview that popped up was risqué to say the least (NO, I’m not going to show you).

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“This is NOT a dating site!”  Just in case you were unclear that the initial message was NOT a pick up line.

#1 – It Takes A Community

 

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What else is there to say?

 

***DON’T FORGET TO GET SUGGESTIONS FOR THE 40 BY 40 LIST TO US VIA COMMENT, EMAIL, FACEBOOK, OR TWITTER BY THURSDAY***

“The Internet is the most important single development in the history of human communication since the invention of call waiting.” ~ Dave Barry

 

TOP TEN MOST SANTA-ESQUE MOVIE SANTAS

First I have to apologize for my recent missed posts – I’ve been under the weather AND normal Christmassy stuff got in the way.  BUT, I said there would be posts for every day leading up to Christmas and I WILL deliver on that promise!  I plan on doubling up a couple days and giving you guys a couple doses of popcorny goodness between now and the time jolly ol’ St. Nicholas squeezes his rump down your chimneys.

Speaking of which, this is THE LAST Top Ten Tuesday before Christmas, so what better focus could there be than the top portrayals of Kris Kringle?  So here we go: the TOP TEN BEST PORTRAYALS OF SANTA.

#10 – Tom Hanks in “The Polar Express”

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Not gonna lie – this movie creeps me the hell out.  The characters are too real and not real enough at the same time.  Like those creepy Asian “service” dolls they’ve invented.  Just skeeves me out looking at the dead eyes and the mouths that are kind of moving to the words but seem to be a bit too fluid.  Yeesh – gonna have nightmares now.  HOWEVER, Tom Hanks lends his voice (and his actions via motion capture) to combine a portrayal of your favorite uncle’s warmth and a superhero’s majestic poise to bring about a Santa Claus that raises the hair on the back of the neck of your inner child.  That “star struck” feeling of your childhood when you got to that line at the mall and saw HIM sitting on his throne waiting for you to come sit on his lap.

#9 – Oliver Clark & #8 -Douglas Seale in “Ernest Saves Christmas”

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Ernest movies are a guilty pleasure of mine – along with Pauly Shore – and I have a soft spot for Jim Varney’s lovable doofus.  However, I could never ask you to take me seriously ever again if I were to include ANY Ernest movie on the top 10 list of cinematic masterpieces (“To Kill A Mockingbird,” “Citizen Kane,” and “Ernest: Scared Stupid” just doesn’t seem that credible).  However, it fits on this list not once BUT TWICE.  The Ernest storyline is garbage, the reindeer in the airport storyline is forgettable, the homeless kleptomaniac who sees the err of her ways is a barf-worthy redemption story that even the Hallmark Channel thinks is too cheesy.  BUT Douglas Seale plays an aging Santa Claus in search of his replacement and Oliver Clark plays an actor who is topping the list of Santa Claus successors.  Both Santas are human and flawed men and they let the chinks in their armor show, but they both know that children need Santa and no matter what hubris or missteps they have been guilty of, they never put the children’s beliefs in the Holiday Spirit in jeopardy.  “Y’know what I mean, Vern?”

#7 – Charles Durning in “Elmo Saves Christmas”

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What the hell is wrong with Christmas that it always needs to be saved?!  And why is it alway up to people like Ernest and Elmo to save it?  Why not Batman or Rambo?  What’s Elmo going to do – look how he saved Sesame Street – Ernie and Bert are all but on public assistance, all of Big Bird’s songs have been rerecorded with Elmo taking the lead; it’s basically Elmo Street.  And he’s too fuzzy and cute for you to realize he’s Napoleon!  That’s one reason I love Charles Durning’s Santa Claus; St. Nick doesn’t put up with Elmo’s crap!  He’s like the second Dumbledore – the first one was soft spoken and warm; the second isn’t afraid to lay the smackdown.  The movie is called “Elmo Saves Christmas” but in all actuality he’s the dumbass that puts it in jeopardy in the first place.  Here enters Santa who, without being mean and scary for the kids, tells Elmo, in no uncertain terms, “You done messed up, you furry little meal ticket, now man up and fix what you broke.”  Sometimes Santa needs to lay a healthy helping of tough love on you.

#6 – Andrew Hill Newman in “A Wish For Wings That Work”

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This little-known Christmas cartoon, featuring Opus and Bill and other Bloom County/Outland favorites, is a hidden treasure.  If you have never seen it, forget hunting down a streaming version or a rental option, just go to Amazon and treat yourself to a copy to keep.  Irreverent humor like the comic strip and true holiday warmth mixed together in equal helping.  As for Santa’s role, it is very small but Newman’s voice is what I’ve always thought Santa truly sounds like:

Also, he doesn’t give the protagonist what he wants for Christmas – in an original twist away from the perfect gift showing up at the last moment – he gives him a solution to his underlying problem thereby improving his life permanently.  Santa is better than any guidance counselor any of us has ever had.

#5 – Tim Allen in “The Santa Clause” Trilogy

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Okay, we’re going to skip over the whole part about how he only got the job because of the involuntary manslaughter that caused the original Père Noel to plummet to his death leaving his crumpled corpse at the feet of a small child who is already in need of counseling due to his parents’ ugly divorce EXCEPT that his stepfather IS a counselor who psychoanalyzes the kid at every turn.  DESPITE the grim premise, Tim Allen turns into one of the quintessential modern day Santa Clauses who adds the extra twist of balancing his duties of being Father Christmas and still being just Dad.  How can Santa play favorites among millions of children?  And how can a father neglect the needs of his only child for the needs of strangers?  Forget Tim “The Toolman” and Buzz Lightyear, this will be the role he will be remembered for.

#4 – Ed Asner in “Elf”

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This movie is just plain old Christmas fun and childlike silliness.  Ed Asner puts aside the usual teddy bear-like Santa character and just lets the jolliness show.  He is still warm and festive, but there is just an extra dash of fun and whimsy that feeds into Will Ferrell’s…well…Will Ferrellness.  Santa’s advice about “free candy” is absolute genius and should be added to all parenting books.

#3 – David Huddleston in “Santa Claus: The Movie”

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WARNING: This movie sucks like a Hoover vacuum.  It is an ungodly massacre of modern cinema.  The fact that you need to put “The Movie” in the title for a movie is a red flag.  “Hey audience, by the way, this is a movie…hence why you’re all sitting in a movie theater.  Don’t try to talk to, or touch, or in any way try to interact with the giant people who are about to show up on this big light up wall, because they aren’t real.  That’s why this is ‘Santa Claus: The Movie’ and not ‘Santa Claus: The Real Person You Can Talk To,’ or ‘Santa Claus: The Dancing Puppets Made Of Tropical Fruit Slam Poetry Extravaganza.'”  However, despite it being 99% unwatchable – that last remaining 1% shows us a portrayal of Santa that proves to children how magical he really is.  Not good enough to save this movie, but if you come across this movie somewhere, do yourself a favor and just fast forward to Huddleston’s scenes – he instantly sparks the Christmas Spirit no matter what time of year it might be.

#2 – Richard Attenborough in “A Miracle on 34th St.” (1994)

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The only downside to this performance was that he couldn’t find a way to work in the line “Welcome…to Jurassic Park.”  I usually balk at remakes, ESPECIALLY movies so well-done and classic they should be deemed untouchable.  There have been other versions of “The Wizard of Oz,” but no direct remakes.  No one would stand for a reboot of “The Godfather” or “Gone with the Wind” – so this one made me reeeeeeeeally skeptical.  But Richard Attenborough channelled the spirit of the jolly ol’ elf, stayed true enough to the original, and still made his performance unique enough to stand on its own.  Come to think of it, I’m not even really sure I remember anything else from this remake – just Santa.

#1 – Edmund Gwenn in “A Miracle on 34th St.” (1948)

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Nothing compares to the original.  Gwenn won an Academy Award for this performance, but more than that he became what we think about when we think of Santa.  Whimsical, funny, warm, kind, the protector of children, and a moral compass (and Lord knows we need help in that department).  If you ask me (which you didn’t, but you don’t have a choice because it’s my blog and I say what I want) I wouldn’t be surprised if Santa used Edmund Gwenn as an alias and portrayed himself in this movie.  It’s fitting that in a movie where there is a fight to believe in Santa’s existence there is a performance that removes any doubt in your mind that he’s real.

“Whoow! Now I know there’s a Santa Claus. Oh, you may laugh, ladies and gentlemen. It’s not so easy to be certain, you know. He’s a most elusive little fellow. He turns up in all sorts of places under all sorts of names and disguises.” ~ Edmund Gwenn from his acceptance speech after receiving the Academy Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

TOP TEN HOTTEST TOYS OF 2017 (THAT MIGHT NOT BE ALL THEY’RE CRACKED UP TO BE)

Toys have changed from when my generation was writing letters to Santa. Video games were just getting started, Saturday morning cartoons made action figures and dolls rulers of kids’ Christmas lists.  Nowadays… well… kids are weird and the toys reflect the weirdness.  There used to be Barbies – now there are scrawny teen monster high school girls.  There used to be GI Joes – now there are little weird rubber pieces of trash (I’m not being cynical – the Trash Pack and Grossery Gang toys are literally characters modeled after garbage).  But one thing that never changes: every year there are toys parents rush to the stores for and channel their inner William Wallace as they battle for these hot holiday commodities.  Cabbage Patch Kids, Nintendo Entertainment Systems, Tickle Me Elmos, Furbies… but this year, I don’t know.  I don’t foresee myself risking life and limb for these things.

#10 – THUMB CHUCKS

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One excited reviewer said this could be the next fidget spinner.  Oh can it, please?  Because nothing calms a fidgety child like toys that never stop moving.  Fidget spinners and fidget cubes do nothing to calm a fidgety child – you might as well give them drumsticks and Jolt cola!  Now they create this little doodad, that looks like someone neutered Tigger, and connect two little clackers together with a piece of fabric thus making it easier for these little “zen masters” to whap each other in the head with their calming tool.  Next they’ll come out with air horns with strobe lights to help children with anxiety issues.

#9 – MARVEL LEGENDS SERIES “THOR” MJOLNIR ELECTRONIC HAMMER

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This impressive looking bit of Nordic weaponry has a retail price of $100.  Why?  Because it is a solid 5-pound plastic sledgehammer with a die cast metal handle.  If you are a parent, there is no way you should ever buy this for your child.  Can you imagine your insurance premiums skyrocketing by Valentine’s Day?!!  You’d have to have a concussion protocol at the dinner table!  However, if you are an aunt or an uncle of multiple children, buy it for just one and then just wait and watch the chaos you have created.

#8 – SKY VIPER V2400 HD STREAMING DRONE WITH FPV HEADSET

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This drone is top of the line with ease of control, stealth motors, and the capability of streaming live HD video from built in cameras.  Recommended for ages 12+.  Now, if you were buying this for me, I’d think you were awesome!  This is a cool gadget with all sorts of bells and whistles.  However, stealthy aircrafts with high definition spy cameras in the hands of a pubescent boy (or Alabama senate candidates) is probably not the most comforting thought for your neighbors.

#7 – OONIES MEGA STARTER PACK

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“Oonies are the coolest way to create! Take an Oonies pellet, place it in the inflator and watch it magically grow into an Oonie! No glue. No water, no mess. Just air filled balls of amazing fun!”  Seriously?  C’mon people, they’re called balloons!  You’re telling me you’re going to drop $65 on the starter kit for an air pump, mini balloons, and glue dots?!  Tell you what, just give me $65 and you won’t have to have this hunk of plastic and countless deflated oonie creatures laying around your house after your kids get tired of this toy after a day and a half.

#6 – SHOPKINS BUBBLEISHA

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For all your little girls who love shopkins, there is now Bubbleisha, the girl who shops for Shopkins.  A Shopkins shopper?!  Can we just call it a day and admit the toy companies are officially out of ideas?  First you bought thousands of these little rubbery do-nothings (how does one actually play with a minescule purse with a face?) and now you have to buy this doll, who in all actuality is the epitome of irony because you are essentially buying a version of yourself because this doll likes to buy thousands of these little rubbery do-nothings that you have already bought.  How meta is that?!!

#5 – L.O.L. SURPRISE FIZZ FACTORY

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Actual Product Description: Make Fizz balls again and again with the L.O.L. Surprise Fizz Factory! Mix ingredients, include any surprise, add glitter and then press into a surprise Fizz ball! Surprise your friends again and again with endless surprise Fizz balls! L.O.L. Surprise Fizz Factory includes everything you need to make your own Surprise Fizz!  Plus, you can make endless Surprise Fizz balls with household ingredients!

I’m going to ignore the fact that the description said “Fizz Balls” way too many times for me to be comfortable and just move on to my confusion.  Fizz Balls have charms in the middle of this dissolvable thingy.  The Fizz Factory gives you what you need to make your own Fizz Balls out of whatever you’d like.  So basically you’re buying a toy that will encapsulate things you already own and then you can dissolve the thing you spent money on this Christmas to retrieve the thingy you imprisoned – like Han Solo in carbonite (so pumped to see the new Star Wars) – that you chose to stick in there in the first place.  How is this fun?

#4 – WHEN I GROW UP, I WANT TO BE…: THE ANNUAL CAREER POSSIBILITY JOURNAL FOR KIDS

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What is wrong with you?  Did you really buy your child occupational counseling for Christmas?  Are you a guidance counselor?  I get it, you want to record everything your kid says every year so you can look back on it when he’s living in your basement at 45 years old and tell him, “Hey, look, remember when you were 6 and wanted to be an astronaut?”  Yeah, well, maybe if you had gotten him a bike instead you wouldn’t be spending your golden years delivering Hot Pockets down to his “command center” where he apathetically beats the high score of every adolescent he can find on his Playstation.  Way to go.  I hope you’re happy with your choices.

#3 – BELLE DISNEY FILM COLLECTION DOLL

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What the hell is that supposed to be?!  I know, we shouldn’t judge books by their covers, but come on, that thing is frightening!  Disney can make an actor look exactly like a living candlestick but that’s as close as they could get to Emma Watson?  That’s what Justin Bieber would look like if he dressed up as Belle for Halloween.  How could a room full of executives look at that doll and unanimously go, “Yup, that’s exactly the look we were going for”?

#2 –Plush Holiday Animated Dancing Farting Laughing Poop Emoji In Christmas Santa Claus Hat

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The name says it all.  I’m just gonna leave this here.

#1 – WOWWEE FINGERLINGS

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Actual product description: “Her name is Rose and, along with her funky hair, she loves to grab onto things. Your kids will love monkeying around with this interactive finger toy.  She responds to sound, motion, and touch. It’s like having a friend right at your fingertips. Oh, and if you blow her a kiss, she might just blow you one back!”  I’m not even mature enough to talk to you about this one.  And, if you’re one of my B4P regulars, I know your mind is just messed up enough to see where I’m going with this one.

“And they’ll shriek squeaks and squeals, racing ’round on their wheels.
They’ll dance with jingtinglers tied onto their heels.
They’ll blow their floofloovers. They’ll bang their tartookas.
They’ll blow their whohoopers. They’ll bang their gardookas.
They’ll spin their trumtookas. They’ll slam their slooslunkas.
They’ll beat their blumbloopas. They’ll wham their whowonkas.
And they’ll play noisy games like zoozittacarzay,
A roller-skate type of lacrosse and croquet!
And then they’ll make ear-splitting noises galooks
On their great big electro whocarnio flooks!” ~ How the Grinch Stole Christmas

TOP TEN WORST CHRISTMAS SONGS THAT HAUNT US EVERY YEAR

I LOVE Christmas and I LOVE Christmas music.  I also HATE bad Christmas music.  Just because you can throw “Santa” or “Jesus” into a pop tune and instantly make a new Christmas song, doesn’t mean you should.  And just because you’re a professional recording artist doesn’t mean you need to burden the world with yet ANOTHER album full of updated Christmas classics with your own twist on it just to prove you’re not yet another cookie cutter pop star.

Now this list was tricky because I gave myself guidelines to narrow it down from a Top 200 Tuesday – there is a ton of reindeer crap out there.

Rule 1: Nothing gimmicky – “Dominic the Italian Christmas Donkey,” “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth,” and “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” are all dreadful in their own ear gouging way…but they were never meant to be taken seriously.  Therefore, no matter how much it pained me, I gave them a pass.

Rule 2: Nothing that has disappeared into obscurity or never caught on as a mainstream holiday classic.  The New Kids on the Block’s “Funky, Funky Xmas” and Aqua’s “Spin Me a Christmas” have, fortunately, all but disappeared from society entirely and Justin Bieber’s “Little Drummer Boy” cover with Busta Rhymes doesn’t seem to be picking up much steam (for some unknown reason).  So if they aren’t popping up on the radios and holiday playlists on a regular basis, I gave them a pass.

That being said – everything else was fair game.  So, without further ado:

#10 – Do They Know It’s Christmas (Band Aid)

I put this one at the bottom of the list because the tune itself isn’t too bad and, like most pop tunes, if you don’t pay attention to the lyrics it could have continued its yuletide run without finding itself on my list…but, oh no, I listened carefully with a look on my face like I just smelled bad eggnog (or any eggnog…that stuff is twelve kinds of nasty).  First stanza: “It’s Christmas time; There’s no need to be afraid; At Christmas time; We let in light; And we banish shade.”  Dairy farms don’t have that much cheese.  Usually you get the pretentious word play toward the end of the songs when you’re starting to run out of ideas for lyrics and you bust out the thesaurus, but Band Aid busted out “banish shade” right out of the gate.

Then you get the guilt trip aspect of the whole song.  This is a song that should come out in summer time when there aren’t countless charities getting holiday donations.  Why start playing on people’s guilt at a time when people are more generous than usual?  And the Scrooge’s who don’t care to help the less fortunate probably won’t be swayed by a battalion of 80s mullet rockers.

Finally, just a bit of nitpickiness, but A) it DOES snow in Africa, B) Africans probably don’t appreciate being referred to as “The Others” (especially now that people have seen TVs “Lost”) and C) with a Christian population of about 40% of the continent, it is safe to say that, yes, they DO know it’s Christmas time.

#9 – The Chipmunk Song (David Seville)

Yeah, I know I said nothing gimmicky, bit this defies that rule.  These audio manipulated rodents turned their squeaky voice gimmick into a multimillion dollar industry!  Once you get records, books, television shows, and movies – you are no longer a gimmick.  So I feel perfectly content including these glorified rats on my list.

Somebody was playing with recording equipment, sped up their voices, and saw dollar signs.  If you’ve seen the “Alvin and the Chipmunk” movie with Jason Lee playing Dave Seville, there’s a scene where he writes this song and I believe they hit the nail on the head as to how ridiculous the real-life thought process was.  The dude rhymed “hula hoop” with “loop the loop,” wrote ONE VERSE (did you ever notice that? The song is ONE verse long), repeats it, and fills in the rest of the tune talking to and admonishing imaginary vermin.

#8 – Happy Holidays (Andy Williams)

Here’s a lyricist that decided to phone it in the day this song was written!  First of all Bing Crosby already had a song called “Happy Holidays” which you might recognize because they use part of one of those verses in THIS version of “Happy Holidays.”  The rest of the lyrics, I believe, were written in crayon by a drunk elf.

Can’t rhyme “stocking”?  Just call it a “sock.”

“Toy,” “boy,” and “joy” in the same verse?!  Three-for-one winner!

“He’ll be coming down the chimney…” hmmmm, we need one more syllable to fit the rhythm.  Eh, just say “down” again.  “He’ll be coming down the chimney, down.”  Yeah, that’s a masterpiece.

Oh crap, we have a couple blank lines and we wanted to finish writing this in 10 minutes or less.  Aw hell, just say “Whoop-de-do and hickory dock.”  Good to go.

#7 – Baby It’s Cold Outside (just about everyone…)

Okay, again, awesome tune.  So singable.  It’s just when you get to listening to the lyrics when you see what kind of predator the dude is!  “No” means “no,” man!  And I’m pretty sure this is the only Christmas song when there is the possibility that rufies are mentioned (“Say what’s in this drink?”).  If there’s nothing fishy in her drink, he’s at least making them extra strong to get her drunk which makes this song no less creepy.

#6 – Santa Baby (Ertha Kitt and others)

Well, at least in the world of Christmas tunes, the ladies get an equal opportunity to be creepy.  DUDE?!!!  ARE YOU SEDUCING SANTA CLAUS?!!  First of all, the sultry/Santa combo skeeves me out like few other things in the world of skeevy things do.  A) He’s married!  B) He’s the epitome of childhood innocence!  C) Could you be any more materialistic?!!  It’s better to give than receive and it seems like the focus of this song is receiving and the only thing being given probably requires a follow up with penicillin.

#5 – Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer (Elmo and Patsy)

Nothing says Christmas like not giving a crap about the death of a loved one.  Who even thought this was a good idea?!  “Hey, you know what would make a great Christmas carol?  Santa being involved in vehicular homicide of a family’s grandmother and the only concern the family has is how to return all the gifts they bought her!”  Even her husband sings along!  What kind of troll was this lady that her family is gathered around the tree fa-la-la-ing her demise?!  There should have been a follow up sung by the ghost of Grandma called “My Whole Family is Going to Hell.”

#4 – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (too many for me to be comfortable with – but let’s just use the Jackson 5 because it at least sounds good)

LADIES!  Seriously!  Leave Santa alone!!!  What’s not Christmassy?  Adultery!  At what point in our history did we run out of ideas for Christmas songs where Santa needs to run over your grandmother and break up your parents’ marriage?!  Holy crap – do you think it was the same family?!!  OH MY GOD – was “mommy” the one who sang “Santa Baby”?!!  Is Dad not home because he’s slipping mickeys into some lady’s drink that HE’S having an affair with?!  WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS FAMILY?!!  I need to go hit the glögg…

#3 – Wonderful Christmastime (Paul McCartney)

You have to remember, Sir Paul McCartney did a lot of drugs.  In his defense he might not even remember writing this festive little earworm.

#2 – The Christmas Shoes (Newsong)

Nothing gets people in a holiday mood quicker than a little boy buying a present for his dying mother…

There are songs that hit heartstrings because they remind you of loved ones or bittersweet times.  These are very special songs that transcend music and trigger memories.

Then there are songs who set out with such a gut-wrenching plot in their lyrics that they want to make people cry!  And mission accomplished!  Just like with “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” people are already thinking about lost loved ones at this time – you don’t need to sucker punch them while they’re already feeling nostalgic!  It’s so heart-wrenching and sappy that you’d think you were watching a straight to video Christmas movie starring Rob Lowe…oh wait, they DID turn the song into a straight to video movie starring Rob Lowe!!!

And what goes better with heartbreak than cheese – if you can make it through this song without calling your mother and apologizing for all of the wrong doings of your childhood and dropping another couple Benjamins on her Christmas presents, you’ll find out that he’s buying the shoes so his mother will look nice for Jesus.

Okay…that’s a bit much.  That was just thrown in there for an extra twist.  Do you think Jesus is worried about the shoes?  He wears sandals himself, not a big footwear kinda guy.

#1 – Santa’s Coming for Us – Sia

I’d like to say that this is breaking my Rule #2, but the way this shot up the charts and took over the airwaves, I’m afraid this one is here to stay.  Besides the chorus (which sounds like a North Pole slasher flick), I can’t understand what Sia is saying.  Every since Britney came onto the scene, every one of her pop princess successors got more and more nasally when they sang until we come to Sia who might as well have just shoved the microphone up her nose.  Ever since I heard Sia’s “Chandalier” I thought, “Now here is someone I hope to hear less of in the future” and here she is rocketing to the top of the charts at the most wonderful time of the year.  It’s painful to us; it’s like Shakira turned the “I Dream of Jeanie” theme song into a reggae Christmas tune.  It’s catchy, I’ll give you that, but so is pink eye.  And I LOVE Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell and Henry Winkler and Caleb McLaughlin, but I can’t, I just can’t.  Where’s the glögg?  I need more glögg.

“It’s too early. I never eat December snowflakes. I always wait until January.”
“They sure look ripe to me.” ~ A Charlie Brown Christmas

Top Ten Foods That Will Probably Kill You As Soon As You Eat Them

It’s been a couple weeks but Top Ten Tuesday is back!  The idea for this list popped into my head as I was driving around on my lunch break. Now, I’m very conscious about what I eat – I try to make good choices.  I still have my guilty pleasure meals once in a while, but for the most part I try to be healthy ever since I caught a mild case of near death experience.  However, I am far from a “food Nazi.”  If you want to eat something, I’m not going to guilt you by talking about fat content or sodium – everyone needs to make their own decisions.  If we’re ever out to eat together, you can order anything you want and I won’t judge you at all…

…unless you order these.  These are just stupid.  These are going to kill you as soon as you eat them.

10.  Candy Corn  Candy-Corn

Someone mixed sugar and wax and made a million dollars overnight. These little Halloween-themed bits of yuck lure you in with their pretty colors and novelty – they even try to trick you into thinking they’re an acceptable food with the whole “corn” ruse.  Candy corn is neither candy, nor corn – they are sugary crayon tips that never expire.  NEVER EXPIRE!!! Nothing immortal should be eaten!  Rocks.  Uranium.  Candy corn.  None should be eaten.

9.  Jello Salad  unnamed

You start with salad – lettuce, cucumbers, shredded carrots.  A good healthy choice.  You add lime jello – okay that’s a little weird, not the direction I would go in but people put fruit in jello so other produce isn’t too far fetched.  And you finish with a dollop of mayonnaise – what in the actual hell? No, just no.  How bad were your munchies when you decided to make this combination?  There are way too many contradicting elements in here. This plate of gross has an extra level of evil because you’re used to seeing jello with whipped cream.  Whipped cream looks like mayonnaise.  This is the work of Satan.

8. Fugu Fugu_sashimi

I love fish. Big seafood lover. But this stuff?  This is just stupid!  It’s pufferfish sushi.  Pufferfish are toxic.  Not like food poisoning toxic.  Not like allergic reaction toxic.  We’re talking, blood pressure dropping, paralysis inducing, heart stopping TOXIC!  It takes a sushi chef three years of training with this fish alone to know how to avoid the poisonous parts so you don’t drop $200 on a plate of “eat-me-and-die.”  Sure, they know what they’re doing.  Sure, I’d probably be fine.  But I’m almost 100% sure that my taco is not going to kill me.

7.  Mac n’ Cheetos mac-n-cheetos

This is what I saw as I drove around today and my only reaction was, “Why?”  First of all, don’t mess with Cheetos.  Whoever started their idea with, “You know what would make Cheetos even better?” should have had the lack of taste slapped out of their Cheeto hating Burger-hole before they could finish their thought. NOTHING.  The answer is NOTHING!  On the seventh day, God rested.  Then on the eighth he jumped right back into work and made Cheetos.  Who hollows out a Cheeto, stuffs it with macaroni and cheese (something else that needs no improvement), and then deep fries them?!!  Not since Burger King introduced that creepy king mascot have I cringed so hard as I drove by their “restaurant.”  Aw yeah, that’s right, this misstep has caused me to put quotes around the word restaurant.

6. Fried Beer tumblr_lifsiwN0w01qi2ijgo1_500

To the surprise of no one, these were born in Texas.  It’s like they thought, “How can we outdo George Dubya on our list of bad ideas?  I know let’s make some pretzel raviolis stuffed with some weird beer jelly crap!”  Fried beer.  FRIED.  BEER.  Deep fried beverage!  How bored do you need to be to figure out how to turn a drinkable liquid that’s bad for you into a chewable solid that’s worse for you?  Attention Charles Darwin: your theory has been disproved.  There is no way some of your “fittest” survived long enough to create these.

5. Grilled Cheese Burger  grilled_cheese_burger_friendlys

I love grilled cheese.  I love burgers.  But I love my arteries and I can almost hear their little Watership Down, terrified bunny screams that they would squeak out with every bite of this culinary bad idea.  Sandwiches are made WITH bread; sandwiches are not THE bread.  I can see how that can get confusing.

4.  Big n’ Cheesy MacAttack-746506

Total disclosure – this is not an actual picture of the McDonald’s Big n’ Cheesy.  It’s like McDonald’s wiped the memory of this atrocity from the world’s memory.  The actual burger came out near the turn of the century and consisted of a quadruple cheeseburger.  A new foam-lined, vaulted box needed to be created to accommodate this grease-ridden behemoth.  I admit that my coworkers and I were some of the first in line to grab these when they came out.  The bottom bun disintegrated, the first bite squished and a waterfall of grease poured out the back, most of us never took a second bite.  McBad McIdea.

3.  Luther Burger luther-burger-doughnut-burger-t.j.-mulligans

A reported favorite of legendary singer, Luther Vandross, it’s a simple bacon cheeseburger…with two Krispy Kreme donuts in lieu of a bun.  In some of its most basic forms it can still tip the scale at 1,500 calories.  You know what else is 1,500 calories?  The vast majority of what you’re supposed to consume in a given day.  You can’t use the “sum of its parts motto” with food.  Burger?  Yay.  Krispy Kremes?  Yay.  Together? Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep (that was the heart monitor). Unfortunately, Mr. Vandross passed away in a car accident before he could read my blog….Nah, just kidding.  It was complications from diabetes and hypertension.

2. Deep Fried Butter ht_fried_butter_jp_110811_wmain

Seriously?!!  SERIOUSLY?!!!  Sure, just about everyone likes butter.  But how many look at a stick of butter and think, “I’m just gonna chow down on this whole thing.”  That would taste ridiculously horrible.  But if we batter it and fry it in oil, all of a sudden it’s a fair ground delicacy!  You should NEVER eat a whole stick of butter.  Nor should you ever do anything to improve the taste of raw butter so that you CAN eat a whole stick of butter!

1.  Hot Brown hot-brown-tousey-house

I apologize to my family in Kentucky – I love you all dearly, I truly do, but this is the biggest pile of death inducing grossness ever compiled on one plate.  Do you know what it is?  It’s a turkey sandwich.  I kept this picture full sized so you can get a close look.  THAT is a turkey sandwich!  Can’t see it?  Move the tomato and the bacon and the BRICK OF CHEESE!  What kind of cheese?  DOESN’T MATTER!  IT’S A BRICK!  I’ve tried this – I hate tomatoes and I love cheese but I started eating the tomatoes just to kill the cheese flavor that was assaulting me!  There was so much cheese there was a layer of cheese grease floating to the surface and drowning everything.  It gets its name from its creation at the famous Brown Hotel but, if you’ve ever eaten it, you know the real reason why that is the perfect name for this innard-rotting concoction.

“Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.” ~ Mark Twain

Top Ten Job Opportunities We “Need” Filled Immediately

I just lost a filling.  I’m not surprised seeing as though my last trip to the dentist was far from enjoyable (even by trip-to-dentist standards). It’s going to be a little while before I can get to see my new dentist to fill this gaping hole in my molar, so I ran to the drug store and bought some temporary filling goop (pretty sure that’s the ADA approved term for this stuff). After two attempts that failed miserably, I squatted down and had my wife give it a shot (come to think of it, I don’t remember seeing her wash her hands). It feels okay, but she’s far from a professional. That’s when I got to thinking, THERE’S a job we need someone to come up with and, just like that, this week’s Top Ten Tuesday was born.

10.  In-Home Dentists

If you have a leaking pipe, do you bring it to the plumber?  No!  They come to your house and fix it!  Your dentist has all those crazy tools, but how many of them do they really use on you?  No more than can fit in a tool bag, I would bet.  So when I’m dealing with a lost filling, why do I have to take a day off, go to their office, sit for who knows how long, and then stare at the ceiling while they work?  I should be sitting on my couch waiting for a dentist to show up like the cable company.  Numb me, drill and fill, and charge me for parts and an hour of labor.  I can even watch a baseball game while you work…okay, I’d probably be watching Buffy or something, but baseball just sounded manlier.

9.  Shoe Exchange Stations

I HATE shopping for shoes.  I don’t care about brands.  I want something that 1) fits, 2) is inexpensive, and 3) doesn’t look too stupid. And I don’t want to deal with all the packaging OR the old ratty pair I’m replacing.  Seriously, why do I have to bring these home with me?! They’re the reason I’m buying new shoes to begin with.  So I think we need a place we go and hand them our old shoes and they give us a new pair that’s comparable to the old ones.  You try them on, you pay, you go home.  No left over shoebox or packing tissue.  No goofy “pre-lacing” shoelace patterns to undo and re-lace.  No “new pair” of yardwork shoes to add to the pile of other hole-riddled footwear you keep in the garage. Just a replacement.  Like at a bowling alley except you don’t trade back…and the shoes won’t look like the “franken-cars” that had pieces replaced with stuff from other cars of different colors, unless you’re into that sort of thing.  I don’t judge.  They’re your feet and I’m not Rex Ryan so I couldn’t care less.

8.  Veggie Chopper

You go to the deli counter and there is someone there to cut the cheese (*snicker, snicker*) just the way you like it.  You go to the meat counter and they’ll trim steaks just the way you want them or debone a chicken if you don’t like your chickens boney (*teeheehee*).  You can even go to the seafood department and have them take care of your crabs (I’m not mature enough to do the grocery shopping).  But there is no one in the produce section or farmers markets to prep your produce!  If you are trying to eat healthier, you need more fruits and vegetables.  But it is such a pain to wash and chop everything to cook!  We need someone you can hand things to and say, “I need three Xs and Ys washed and cubed and half a pound of peeled Zs, please.”  I’m sure there are dirty things about the produce section too, but I’m getting kind of tired.  Feel free to leave tasteless produce humor in the comments.

7.  Spam Cleaner

When I check my phone, rarely do I see my email inbox empty.  And when I go to check my messages, most of the time it’s garbage that my Spam filter doesn’t catch.  I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t have this problem!  NO, you don’t need to refinance your mortgage!  NO, signing that petition won’t force Walmart to implement a dress code!  NO, “hot local singles” are NOT looking to hook up with you (now, if you’re actually single and so desperate you’re looking for random email for a date you might want to gravitate toward subject lines like “local singles with dramatically lowered expectations would tolerate you”)!  What we need is someone trustworthy who would get a “ding” every time we get a message and would take care of deleting it unless it’s something we ACTUALLY needed to read.  Like the South African banker who will make you millions if you transfer him $1000.

6.  List Marker

Do you know how many more things I could get done on my to-do list if I didn’t have to waste time making my to-do list?  Okay, probably only one…but I just really hate making to-do lists.

5.  Post Filter

We have become a culture of over-sharers.  Not everything we say needs to be said.  Now, I’m not one for all of the “Oh let’s be P.C. about this…” or “Someone might get offended…” – I totally agree that people need some thicker skin and if you see something you disagree with, but it really has no major influence on anyone’s life, just let it go.  However, if you’re starting a post with “I’ll probably lose friends over this, but…” or “I don’t care who gets mad…” or “To all you haters out there…” or “Imma do me an’ if you gotta problem wit dat…” you are about to say something very stupid (and you need serious grammatical help).  It would be money well spent for some people to hire a professional who would get all the posts, status updates, and photos before they get uploaded.  If you’re someone who posts things like “Happy birthday, Mom” or “TGIF” on a regular basis, you’re probably okay (except you probably shouldn’t wish your mother a happy birthday on a regular basis because that most likely means you’re not quite sure when the actual day is).  But if you’re someone who is prone to posting things like “Last night of freedom before I open my daycare.  Who wants to meet me for shots?” or “Me and my Aunt Gertrude.  Miss you, Auntie. #funeralselfie #didntwakeuplikethis” – you should probably hope someone starts a business like this PDQ.

4.  Dog Rental

I have a problem.  I REALLY love dogs but I have REALLY questionable responsibility.  I don’t have the time to devote to a dog, but I want to pet and hug EVERY dog I see going out for walks or sitting on porches.  I don’t want to volunteer at shelters because I also have REALLY bad impulse control issues and judgement, so I would fall in love and adopt EVERY cat and dog in the place.  So I just need someone who would raise dogs and care for them responsibly, but would also rent them out by the hour so I could just play and snuggle with the pooch for a while and then we go back to our separate routines.  I think I just described an escort service…

3.  Impartial Judge

Because I know I’m right and sometimes I just need to be able to call someone and prove it, that’s why!

2.  Common Sense Advisor

Much like the Post Filter, this is someone who would be placed in most places of business whose sole purpose is to look at people and tell them, “No, don’t do that.  That’s dumb.”  When you jam the copier and try to leave it, they stand in the door and say, “You break it, you fix it.”  When someone takes something out of the communal fridge that has someone else’s name on it this person would stare daggers at them until they put the food back.  When the boss has a super important meeting on a topic that is presented on a 5-slide PowerPoint, it is this person’s job to say, “Uh-uh.  That’s not a meeting, that’s an email.”  And if the boss actually DOES have a super important meeting and at the end asks if there any questions and someone raises their hand to ask about something that pertains to NO ONE but them, it is this person’s GOD-GIVEN DUTY to smack that person on the nose with a rolled up newspaper and say, “NO!”

1.  Coffee/Breakfast Delivery

If you’re home and you don’t want to cook or go out – you order pizza. If you’re at work and you want to order a Friday lunch – you order some subs.  But what if you want an omelette?  Or a donut?  Or how about just a midday pick-me-up cup o’ Joe?  Why can you get lunch and dinner delivered, but you have to go out for breakfast?  Why can pizza places and delis make you a milkshake or bring you a 2 liter, but Starbucks can’t run you over some cappuccino?  “But the coffee will get cold and the eggs will get all rubbery!”  Yeah, I know!  But what do you want me to do about it?!  I’m just a writer – you need to figure it out and bring me some over-easies, rye, and coffee!

Son, if you really want something in life, you have to work for it. Now quiet, they’re about to announce the lottery numbers.” ~ Homer Simpson

Top Ten Places Where You Rethink Having Children

I promise, promise, promise it is not my intention to only do Top Ten Tuesdays.  My schedule WILL loosen up a bit soon and I’ll go back to my normal ramblings.  Things have been SO CRAZY lately and, the bright side, I am gathering so much more ammunition for this blog once I get back into the swing of things.  One of the things that has caused such a disruption in the writing schedule is the fact that I am still a parent.  I am still a parent because, apparently, we aren’t allowed to sell them on eBay. BUT they are good inspiration for things such as this week’s list:

THE TOP TEN PLACES WHERE YOU RETHINK HAVING CHILDREN!

10.  Sporting Events

You’d think a place where things are supposed to be loud and obnoxious is the perfect location to bring your little minions without worrying.  You thought wrong, Hoss!  First of all, a hot dog costs a small fortune and I believe you need to give up a kidney if you want to feed the whole family and, let me tell you, the pickiest eaters end their hunger strikes as soon as they walk into the stadium.  You could be convinced that your child is the next Gandhi until the food venders walk by your seats and all of a sudden they’re as dangerously expensive as having a seizure at an auction!  Hot dogs, popcorn, peanuts, cotton candy, ice cream, drinks in a collectable spinning glow-in-the-dark wearable gallon jug with free refills to guaran-damn-tee that they will have to go to the bathroom during all of the best plays of the game forcing you to take them to the most vile bathrooms on the planet where you explain why everyone is peeing in the same metal bathtub while simultaneously playing a game of “don’t stare at that.”  When you finally give up and head for the car, your child will have an aching stomach, an armful of souvenirs you had to remortgage your house for, and a fresh set of vocabulary words courtesy of your seatmates whose only coherent bits of drunken ramblings contained four colorful letters.

9.  Disney World

I went to the Magic Kingdom when I was a senior in high school.  It was AWESOME!  My sister and brother-in-law went after they got married and didn’t want to leave.  What did we have in common?  We went without children.  It is certainly the happiest place on Earth…unless you’re a parent.  Then it’s expensive and hot and full of things that make children cry.  According to a survey that I’m completely making up, the things that make small children cry are being uncomfortable, being too hot, being hungry, waiting to do things, wanting things you won’t buy them, being tired from a hectic day, and hearing other children crying because of all the aforementioned reasons.  And, thus, we realize the magic of Disney is powered by children’s tears and parents’ broken souls.

8.  In Bed

Get your minds out of the gutter.  I’m talking about good ol’ comfy sleepy time goodness!  Bad dreams, bed wetting, strange noises, monsters in closets, thunderstorms, or no freaking reason at all and all of a sudden you have a mini-tyrant squeezing under the covers and taking up twice as much room as you do even though they’re a quarter of your size.  Now this little tyke with whom you’ve tried endlessly and unsuccessfully to perfect their aim and timing to kick a soccer ball or swing a baseball bat can catch you with a punch to the throat or a kick to the groin LITERALLY with their eyes closed!  I remember when I was little and sought refuge in my parents’ bed, it was the best sleep I had in my life…now I know why.  I might need to bunk with them again for a while.

7.  In the Car

No, we’re not there yet.  No, we’re not stopping for snacks again.  Of course we can listen to your music, especially that one annoying song and I wouldn’t dream of not putting it on repeat.  No, we’re not there yet.  We have three and a half hours to go.  No, I don’t know how many seconds that is.  Please don’t count until we get there.  Which one of you…oh God, roll down the window.  We just stopped for the bathroom and you didn’t have to go!  No, we’re not there yet!  About two minutes closer than the last time you asked.

6.  Work

There are few experiences more humbling than bringing your children to where you work.  This is the place where you get paid to come across as a person who has their act together.  You might even be the boss!  And then they come in.  Remember that vocabulary from the sporting event or the time you told them you weren’t pulling over at the rest stop and they had an accident or what your pajamas look like?  Now is their time to share all of this information with your coworkers.  Things you don’t even remember happening will all of a sudden come into light.  And, let’s face it, kids are cute and always have your coworkers’ attention – so they have a captive audience ready to absorb every excruciatingly embarrassing detail.

5.  Family Gatherings

You’d think you’d be safe with family…you’re not.  Even if you have awesome kids and you think your parenting game is strong – this is the place where your reality gets body checked into the boards!  Because, now, there are probably more than just your kids there and they’re related so their powers are amplified!  So.  Many.  Children.  All the parents are huddling in fear as this mini mob, hopped up on juice boxes start chucking frisbees and water balloons all over Pawpaw and Meemah’s backyard.  And they think they are just “so adorable” and “kids will be kids” and “you were a handful too.”  Well, that’s all well and good, but they have to come home with ME after YOU washed solid bricks of red dye #5 down their gullets with a bath of Jolt Cola!

4.  Church

I’m sorry Lord, it’s not you, it’s me.  Actually, no.  It’s not me, it’s them.  I can’t remember ever going to church when there wasn’t a screaming child testing the building’s amazing acoustics or yelling out that they have to go potty during a moment of silence (yes, I remember, this is a little pot calling the kettle black situation seeing as what I did during a moment of silence).  And there is so much for them to trip over and bump their head on which leads to a cringeworthy echoing thump which resonates for a moment of shocked silence from the child before the wailing starts.  There are also SO MANY people that your child can “tell the truth about.”  I know it’s a church and there’s the whole “thou shalt not lie” thing, but it’s not a lie if we just don’t talk about that man’s funny looking pretend hair or that lady’s wiggly arms. Churches need to make drive through blessing stations for parents…we need all the help we can get.

3.  Movies

First of all, you will have very few opportunities to see any movies that don’t contain singing woodland creatures.  But, once in a while, you’ll be interested in something your kids want to see.  Lego Movie?  Finding Nemo? AWESOME FLICKS!  But it’s almost better to force yourself to go to the awful movies, because you won’t be able to pay attention anyway.  You’ll also have issues seeing because NO CHILD ever says, “Hey let’s sit toward the center so that we have the best position.  No, it’s either front row or back row.  And, like the sports outings, they’ll want armloads of snacks, but they’ll use your arms as the snack caddy.  So you’ll be passing and taking back popcorn, candy, nachos, and slushies for the film’s entirety. You will also be questioned like a crime’s primary suspect about who someone is or why they’re doing what they’re doing or what’s happening. Haven’t they watched as much of the film as you have?!!  You didn’t direct it!  If they would just keep shoving popcorn in their mouth and paying attention they would know!  And, hopefully, there isn’t a surprise at the ending, because that’s when the inevitable potty break will occur.

2.  Restaurants

Your little one would probably eat a hot dog for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day if you let them.  But if you order them a hot dog at a restaurant it’s like you’re asking them to eat eels.  They only want to eat one thing…whatever it is you ordered.  And YOU KNOW they don’t like what you ordered but they insist it’s what they want, so you share and they hate it and you try to hold back a massive “No &$#*, Sherlock! That’s why we ordered you a hot dog!”  And I think restaurants challenge each other to see how many projectiles they can put on their tables – sugar packets, creamers, salt and pepper shakers, jellies, crayons, silverware, and on and on and on…and on the floor they all go.  They’re volume inexplicably goes up a few hundred decibels and you can feel the eyes from other tables turning your way.  You swallow your food so fast that you forget what you ate by the time you make it back to the car but you’ll be sure to remember what your little minion ate because they shoved some in their pants to be found later.

1.  Grocery Stores

To be honest, I don’t like going grocery shopping even WITHOUT kids. But having them with is a whole new challenge.  You put on cartoons and they turn into catatonic lumps on the couch.  You bring them to a grocery store and all of a sudden they have ninja-like reflexes and everything within their reach is coming off the shelves.  And everything is liquid in glass or millions of pieces of dried goods in easily opened boxes and the poor pimply-faced high schooler hasn’t finished your clean up on aisle 3 before aisles 4, 5, and 6 are in need of his attention.  And WHOEVER thought up the grocery cart with the car on it is the antichrist!  It’s irresistible to children and impossible to drive through the store!  And the checkout lane designer who loaded it with balloons and candy?  OH HOOOO – there is a special place in Hell for you, my friend!  Do you know who designed these things?  Grandparents!  Because they remember what we were like and they are silently adding obstacles to our daily lives as payback!  Very sneaky, Grams and Gramps, very sneaky indeed…but remember, when we ship you off to the retirement home, we’re sending the grandkids to spend time alone with you and there is nowhere for you to run!  Game on…

“Be nice to children, for they will choose your rest home.” ~ Phillis Diller

Top Ten Things You Can No Longer Do Because You’re an Adult

I’M BACK!!!  I know, I know, it’s been two whole weeks since my last post and BELIEVE ME, I would have much rather been here writing to you guys instead of all the garbage (in some cases, literally) that I was dealing with. It seems as though I have survived a whole week of Mondays and I found my way back to you (a whole week of Mondays sounds like a good future topic…hint, hint).

One of the things that found its way into my email inbox was an article a good friend sent me (which I encourage you ALL to do – email, tweet, or Facebook me if you have anything cool or have an idea on something you want me to write about – I’d love to hear from you).  In this article, a high school football player is in a ton of trouble for exposing his junk during the team photograph.  The photo was used in every program during the season but went unnoticed until the yearbooks came out.  Now, it should be punishment enough to know that no one noticed it in hundreds and hundreds of copies until almost a year later (now THAT’S a real shot to the ego) but on top of that he now has a slew of criminal charges pending – 69 to be exact…yeah…I noticed.

So it got me thinking – this is TOTALLY age-ist!  Most of us have baby pictures that our parents took of us in the bathtub or some other random fit of nudity when we were youngsters.  But, at some point, these photos ceased to be acceptable.  So – nearly 300 words later – that brings me to the topic of this week’s Top 10 Tuesday: things we are no longer allowed to do now that we’re no longer children.

10. Wear Velcro Shoes

Yes, there are some exceptions, if you’re going through some sort of physical therapy or when you’re too elderly to get your fingers to function properly.  But, on the whole, where are all the cool velcro shoes?!!  If I was a betting man (which I am, I’m just not very good at it – seriously, why would I bet on a horse whose name sounds like a codeine-laden cold medicine?!!  Whodathought THAT horse was fast?!!) I would wager that there are more adults who tie new shoes a few times and then just slip them on and off without worrying about the laces any more.  Just because our shoes have ties, doesn’t mean we tie them!  So give us back our velcro…and, while you’re at it, the cool cartoon characters…and the flashing lights.

9.  Go to Restaurant Playgrounds

Come on, when we were kids we never went to McDonald’s or Chuck E. Cheese for the fine culinary experience.  We went there to choke down their borderline edible food as fast as possible so we could swan dive into the disease-riddled ballpit!  You wanted to crawl through the oversized hamster tube maze and slide down the staticky slide and then release the charge by poking the first person who ran by you and your newly vertical wisps of hair.  But now look at you.  Sitting on the bench, holding onto hoodies and stinky velcro fastened sneakers…with the cool cartoon characters…and the flashing lights watching your kids have all the fun. You can’t join them because you “exceed the legal weight limit” or something stupid like that.  And GODFORBID you go by yourself or else you “scare the children” and become “the creepy guy.”  The man is keeping us down.

8.  Hang Out with Random Strangers

When we were allowed to go to these restaurants or to actual outdoorsy playgrounds and parks, we didn’t worry about other kids being there.  You went over to what you wanted to play with and started playing.  If the kid who was there was pretending to be a pirate, you turned into a pirate too. It was no big deal to walk over to the sandbox, plop down next to a total stranger, and ask them to be your friend.  Try that now, I dare you.  Go to a bar, walk up to a group of strangers sitting at a table, join in on their conversation, and say “wanna be friends?”  I TRIPLE DOG DARE YOU!  Uh oh…now you HAVE to do it!

7.  Sit on Santa’s Lap

Again with the “creepy guy.”  It’s either you or Santa.  If you’re male, it’s you.  If you’re female, all of a sudden Santa looks like the creeper. Christmas is still awesome and you still have a list of cool things you’d like to get but you now know the value of money and know that your family and friends probably won’t be able to give you the big ticket items. So it’s natural to get the urge to ask “the big guy.”  But, just for a moment, try to picture the look on the mall Santa’s face as he sees you standing in line, with you looking him dead in the eye with the smile of someone who wants to have a serious Christmas present talk, and he realizes that none of the children in line are with you.  For bonus points, pay one of his elves for the photo package.

6.  Run Naked Through Sprinklers

Nope.  The word naked has a whole different connotation once you’re all grown up.  Gone are the days when you could throw off your Pampers and run through the sprinkler in your backyard or skinny dip in your kiddy pool.  It starts out with your mother calling your father to get the camera, then one day it becomes your neighbors calling the cops.

5.  Have Someone Wipe Your Nose

My sons recently were simultaneously fighting nasty springtime colds. The eleven-year-old suffered pretty much independently.  But the three-year-old would yell “tissue” or “snots” and my wife and I would thoughtlessly grab the kleenex and take care of the gelatinous muck that was protruding from his face.  I’m pretty sure you’re not going to find many takers when you’re in your 30s and you’re yelling for a tissue while you stand in the middle of the room with “boog-boogs.”  I don’t remember when I gained this independence or even when I cut my older son loose from this privilege, but I’m guessing it comes as a real shock to the system the first time you are abandoned and expected to wipe your nose (or other areas for that matter) for the first time.  “You want me to do what?!!  No way, that’s gross, that’s why I have you do it!!”

4.  Formally Introduce Yourself as Informally as Possible

When we meet some one new now, it’s pretty basic.  There’s a handshake, steady eye contact, and the exchanging of names and possibly a “nice to meet you.”  That’s it.  No one gets to really know you, not like when you were a kid.  Next time you meet someone for the first time, don’t shake their hand.  Just look them in the eye and say, “I’m Jim.  I’m 40.  How old are you?”  Now you can either wait for them to answer or interject something about how you have a dog, or don’t like tomatoes, or what you got for your last birthday, or that your mom drinks from a hip flask whenever she thinks you’re not looking.

3.  Randomly Dress Up

Why do you dress up now?  Halloween?  Costume party?  Theme night at the ballpark?  Random, stupid, office team building blahdy-blah?  Why did you dress up as a child?  BECAUSE YOU FOUND THE COSTUME!  You’re digging through your toy box and voila!  There’s your cape and you decide that for the rest of the day, you’re Batman.  We totally need more costumes in our regular wardrobe rotation!  How cool would it be to just see some dude walking down the sidewalk wearing goggles, a Spongebob t-shirt, and a clip on tie that barely passes his collarbone?!  And, ladies, c’mon, you know you want to randomly pair a fairy princess gown and a lightsaber with your froggy rain boots before heading into work.

2.  Ordering from the Kids’ Menu

Our food has the calorie counts and fat content listed on the menus now, but, let’s get down to the important issues.  Where’s the toy?!!  Is there any way we could have a turkey club with the crust cut off?!!  It’s awesome that we have so many more choices when we go out to eat, but c’mon! Would it kill someone to arrange the food on our plate like a smiley face? We’re the ones who tip, people, not the youngsters!  Maybe I want my food cut into stick form; maybe I want pudding as a side dish; maybe I want to help the dolphin find his way through the coral maze on my placemat!  Did ya ever think about that?!!

1.  Making People Happy by Napping

I feel like a schmuck for never appreciating my naps.  It’s so true that you never know what you’ve got until it’s gone.  Furthermore, back in the day, other people were brought joy by your napping!  Your parents would tiptoe our of your room with smiles on their faces.  Now blaring alarms and vibrating phones violently yank us out of our dreamland.  Back then your loved ones would peek in on you and whisper to themselves how you looked like an angel while you slept.  Now your significant other lies awake as you snore, staring in disgust at the drool faucet coming out of your slacked jaw and wondering about the insurance money and the pillow in their clenched hands. Back then you were encouraged to get your rest so you could grow big and strong.  Now when you tell them you took a nap, they either wonder if you’re sick or why your lazy ass wasn’t busy working.

Enjoy it while you can, kiddos, the ugly double standard sneaks up on you.

“If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.” ~ Katharine Hepburn

Top Ten Unexpected Things That Make Your Day Epic

First of all – I’ve been pretty slovenly with my blog as of late – but no worries, I have no intention of stopping or even slowing down to just a weekly Top Ten list entry.  I’ve just had a bunch of real world, “adulting” issues taking up a bunch of my time – stupid responsibilities and stuff. Needless to say, when all of these everyday challenges pop up, it’s not uncommon to have “one of those days.”  You know, a typical Monday…all week long.  BUT that brings me to the topic of this week’s TOP TEN TUESDAY (segues are cool) – tiny, unexpected, mundane events that can make you give your day the Breakfast Club fist pump!

10.  Awesome Odors

So often your nose is assaulted with a double-barreled load of hot, nasty funk – garbage, moldy food, skunk spray, dirty diaper, kids (c’mon – I don’t care how much you love children, they smell).  But what about when your nostrils are hit with an unexpectedly awesome odor?  Maybe your neighbor just mowed the lawn.  Maybe a warm spring rain shower just ended (the fresh clean kind, not the dead worm kind).  How about a chicken barbecue pit sizzling away while you drive by with your windows down?  Or getting to work and finding out one of your coworkers made popcorn and DIDN’T burn it!  Sometimes all you need to bring a little smile to your face is to have a happy little sniff of something awesome.

9.  Stopping the Gas Pump on the Exact Dollar

This is more than just an epic moment – this is a freakin’ super power! Back when gas was down around the $1/gallon level, it was a pretty regular occurrence – but now that we’re floating around the $3 range – those pennies fly by at the speed of light!  If you can get that pump to stop with double zeros after the decimal point, you have accomplished a major feat!  Even if you stop short by a few cents and need to ka-chunk, ka-chunk the pump handle a couple times but still land on that coveted target, it’s still impressive.  Go ahead, spread your arms wide and let out a victorious “Booyah” on your way back to the driver seat – you’ve earned it.

8.  Hitting All Green Lights

If you’re like me, you don’t go many places out of the ordinary on a daily basis, so the mind just goes on autopilot.  Then, when you reach your destination, you look at the clock and see that you made really good time. How is that possible?  Then it dawns on you…all the lights were GREEN! You didn’t need to stop once!  This is so rare and so epic you actually share this accomplishment with anyone who will listen to you.  How often do traffic lights make their way into your conversations?  Hardly ever.  But when you make it through a dozen intersections without having to hit your breaks, it is just too awesome not to brag about a little.  Anyone who has had this experience, will share in your revelry and if they don’t, get new friends- these people don’t deserve your awesomeness.

7.  Laughing

Whether something unexpected makes you laugh or you are lucky enough to find yourself with someone who has a knack for making you laugh – it always makes the day better if you find yourself laughing until your sides ache and you’re wiping tears from your eyes.  It’s even a day brightener if you could make this amusing person laugh – or better yet, getting a notoriously stone-faced grump to crack a smile.  There’s just something about having a good laugh or causing a good laugh that will give you a little more oomph to get you through some of the less amusing parts of your day.  Plus, if it was a really good chuckle, it will creep back up on you throughout the day.

6.  Epic.  Road.  Tunes.

Awwwwwww yeeeeeeahhhhh!!!!  Your iTunes either has a good random shuffle or the radio station you’re listening to turns on that song.  You know that song.  All conversations in the car stop mid-sentence, the volume gets cranked, and the concert is about to begin.  We’re talking steering wheel drum solos, air guitars, belting out the lyrics at the top of your lungs EVEN if you don’t know them all AND you even sing out the instrumental parts!  We all have that song – Bohemian Rhapsody, Purple Rain, Rapper’s Delight, Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)…don’t hate…you know you rocked that song AND Hit Me Baby One More Time back in the day.  You didn’t?!  Liar.

5.  Something Simple Made Perfectly

There is nothing extraordinary about a piece of toast or a grilled cheese sandwich.  Even a notorious java addict like me will admit 99 times out of 100, it’s just a cup of coffee.  But once in a while – you might not even know why – but something so ordinary just becomes mind-blowingly AMAZING!  You slip on the butter when you’re making the toast, your grilled cheese has those little burnt cheese bits around the edge, you just cleaned the coffee pot and ground fresh beans – SOMETHING happens and you find yourself thinking about that little, insignificant tasty treat for the rest of your day.

4.  Last Minute Cancellations of Unwanted Plans

You’ve had that dreaded meeting or obligatory dinner party appearance on your calendar for months.  The day arrives and you look at it and sigh – today is the day you are going to have to deal with it.  You muddle through your day hoping that for once the clock slows down and prolongs the inevitable.  Then it happens.  You get the message – it’s cancelled!  Not only do you get out of that unwanted event but you also find yourself with no plans to take its place!  You can get more things checked off your to-do list or go home early, slip on the grungy jammy pants and veg out to your favorite show on Netflix (bonus if they unexpectedly added new episodes – but let’s not get greedy).

3.  Random Compliments

Now, there is a limit here.  We’ve all had the sexual harassment trainings. Small compliments in passing are awesome.  If you are told you smell amazing and the person just keeps grinning at you, call the cops.  But if you’re just going about your daily routine and someone just offers you a little ego boost, it could really fuel the rest of your day.  They may say that they like your shirt or your hair or ask you if you’ve lost weight – but in your mind all you hear is:  You’re.  A.  Sexy.  Beast.  Go ahead, stop by the bathroom to give yourself a little wink and nod because, they’re right, you look fantastic.

2.  Finding Money

Whether it’s a penny in the parking lot or finding twenty bucks in the pocket of an old pair of your jeans – you get a boost!  Finding you overpaid a bill and now you have a credit on your account is like winning the lottery!  It’s weird, most of the time when you find money, or have an account credit, or get a nice tax return, you’re thrilled – but it’s all your money anyway!  But it was money you didn’t count on and that’s what makes it magical – extra money!  So, check the coin returns in the vending machines and pull off your couch cushions and see what treasures you can find.  It might just be a nickel and a stale, linty Cheeto, but it’s five cents you didn’t have a second ago…and, yeah, I won’t judge you if you eat the Cheeto.

1.  FREE FOOD!

There are very few bad days at work that can’t be turned into good days (or at least less awful) when you just add snacks!  It comes in all forms: someone brought in an office birthday cake, the person ahead of you in the drive-thru pays for your order, the vending machine drops two bags of chips.  But whatever the vehicle, nothing pumps you up on a mundane day like unexpected vittles that cost you nothing!  Even the pickiest eaters lower their standards when they are in the middle of a bad day and someone approaches them with a plate of free happiness – you can probably brighten a French chef’s bad day with a free McNugget!  I work in a school and we just got through our big state exams and some people came up with the awesome idea of giving us little “thank you” treats and you instantly had a bunch of grown adults huddled in the corner acting like Gollum petting and caressing a donut.  Oh yeah, the way to our hearts – and to an epic day – is definitely through our stomach.

I’d love to hear your additions to my list- comment away on what unexpected little thing makes your day an epic one!

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“I hope everyone that is reading this is having a really good day. And if you are not, just know that in every new minute that passes you have an opportunity to change that.” ~ Gillian Anderson