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

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?!!


“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?



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


On Dasher! On Dancer! On Prancer! On Nipple!

FAIR WARNING: There is some NSFW information ahead – and NO it’s not my fault (I’m talking to you family members who think MY mind is always in the gutter).

First of all, a BIG shout out to one of our subscribers, Beth, who sent me an article and told me that she’d like to see me address this trend in an upcoming post.

The article comes from Woman’s Day – so we’re talking about a LEGIT publication.  Apparently people are no longer content in settling for ugly Christmas sweaters at the annual parties and they felt the need to up the ante a bit…okay they upped it a lot.  The name of this new trend is a bit on the nose (if you’ll pardon the pun) and it is called…*ahem*…”reindeer boob.”  Prepping for this new trend is pretty much what you think it would be:

  1. Get a festive top.
  2. Cut a hole in the festive top.
  3. Put boob through festive top hole.
  4. Make boob look like a reindeer.
  5. Wait for people to jettison eggnog nasally.

First of all, I have no problem with the “free the nipple” movement – the human body doesn’t make me uncomfortable and if you’re comfortable enough with yourself to pull something like this off, more power to you.  Second, I am not focusing on women because even the article shows examples of how this is a unisex trend (which also makes me think this trend would be way more awkward if Santa travelled via flying elephants – pause a moment and let that sink in).

I am awestruck and shaking my head for both genders of all body types and levels of self confidence.  Bottom line, this is just weird!  You are literally gluing things to some very sensitive skin – I mean it has to be something like a sticker, body tape, or spirit gum, or something like that, right?  I’ve used spirit gum many times ON MY FACE and that hurt like hell coming off.  I also don’t even like to wear a sweater without a t-shirt because it feels all chafey.  So I can’t even begin to imaging gluing things to the nippty-nips!

Some participants cited the convenience for breastfeeding.  Really?  Is it really that inconvenient?  Believe me, again, I support all mothers’ right to breastfeed their children.  I will gladly have words with anyone who shames a mother.  However, if you are already in a place where you are comfortable breastfeeding…do you really need to worry about the convenience of lifting your shirt versus popping off a crocheted nipple beanie?  Don’t use the excuse of feeding your baby to stick googly eyes on your tata.

Look, I get it – the holidays are frustrating and we all need some time to cut loose and go a bit wild.  But just because you’re sick of the Elf on the Shelf you Undressed the Breast?  I’m sure there are a few other steps between sinking into the holiday doldrums and turning one of your body parts into a woodland creature.

For those of you who are interested, here is a link to the Woman’s Day article.  And if anyone ever has something they find interesting that they would like to see brought up on Bobbing For Popcorn, PLEASE feel free to leave a comment on here, or Facebook, or Twitter, or in an email.  We love hearing from you and we’d love to hook you up if we can!

“Well, I’m sure Charles Dickens would have wanted to see her nipples.” ~ Scrooged


Christmas Cop-out Post

I am sicker than a dog (an expression I never understood until I found myself scooting my bottom across the rug – now I get it).  So please forgive my cheating on this post.  On December 24th, 2012, I very foolishly went on a trip to the grocery store.  The experience was horrendous and inspired me to write a poem a la Clement Clarke Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”  So, please enjoy, and excuse me while I go slather myself in Vick’s vapo-rub and try my hardest not to die of whatever plague my preschooler bestowed upon me.


‘Twas the day before Christmas,
I had my family to feed,
But as I looked in the fridge
I saw we were in need.
I thought to myself,
“I must go to the store,
How bad could it be?
I had been there before!”
But my conscience chimed in,
As consciences do,
And it said, “Are you nuts?!
Whatsamatta wit you?!
It’s just milk, eggs, and juice.
Another day wouldn’t hurt!”
But I ignored him
Because I’m dumber than dirt.
So I took to the road
And the drive was not kind;
Mr. Magoo was in front of me,
And Jeff Gordon behind.
I took my life in my hands
As I pulled in the lot
And I parked my car
In the very last spot
As I trekked toward the store
I looked and I saw
So many drivers
With a parking faux pas.
Taking up two whole spots?!
How is that even fair?!
‘Cuz GOD FORBID anyone
Dings their crappy Corvair!
Then I passed by another
Who was breaking no laws
But their bumper sticker caught me
And made me give pause.
“Keep Calm and Go Shopping!”
Today, of all days,
I fantasized lighting
That dumb car ablaze.
I made it inside
And grabbed a small cart
Then through all the shoppers
I was beginning to dart.
I made my way back
To the dairy case quickly
But what I saw there
Had me feeling quite sickly
There was a lady with eggs
She was so deep in thought
Contemplating whether
These eggs should be bought
She stood there and pondered
For way, WAY too long!
I mean SERIOUSLY lady!
What could possibly be wrong?
They’re just basic eggs!
They came out a hen’s butt!
Toss them in your cart!
Snap out of this rut!!!
Are you reading ingredients?!
Pretty sure it says: Eggs.
I’m getting quite desperate
I’m ready to beg!
Finally she moves
And it’s my turn in line
But as soon as I grab some
I hear someone whine.
“Hurry up,” someone says
And I turned ‘round to see
A young, angry mother
Was ticked off at me!
She had two kids running,
Going nuts in that place
And a sleeping infant
That she held by the face
A toddler in the cart
Screamed above the fray
And, of course, in her belly
There was one on the way.
Her anger grew when I laughed
She must find me bizarre
But I thought, “She must own
The ‘Keep Calm/Shopping’ car.”
I got to the check out
Fifteen items or less
But then I realized
I just found a new mess.
Ahead in the line,
Much to my woe,
Was my friend the egg lady
And she’s still moving slow.
It took her a year
To empty her cart.
And she had something in foil
That smelled like a fart.
And of course she had coupons.
And of course paid by check.
And of course had no license.
What a pain in the neck!!!
After manager approval,
It was finally my turn,
My head started pounding
Feet beginning to burn.
I snaked my way out,
The end was in sight,
I was nearing the exit,
I had come out all right.
And I yelled as I realized,
In a very loud bark,
“I forgot to buy cheese!
And where the hell did I park?!!”

“You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!” ~ A Christmas Carol

It Definitely Makes It Harder To Say Christmas

It was a cold, crisp December afternoon.  I had just gotten out of school and I was walking  home – which was a rare thing.  Even though I lived so close to the school, I was rarely allowed to walk home on my own; mainly because my mother could be considered a “worrier” and, in her defense, I could be considered “mentally ill-equipped to successfully complete simple tasks.”  However, this day was one of those days.  The snow was up to my shins as I trudged home, the wind bit its way through my layers of winter attire, and my breath came out in puffs of white.  Christmas break was quickly approaching and it couldn’t get here soon enough.  The wonders of the holidays were all that were on my mind.  That and a strange odor which began wafting up my nose about half a block from my home.  Foreign…not entirely repulsive but far from pleasant.

As I crossed the street I saw that our front door was open…way too cold for that, so I was confused and starting to get concerned.  I became more alarmed when I realized the strange odor was originating from my home.  I walked in and made my presence known and my father greeted me from the kitchen.  My eyes and nose were burning from this incredibly strong smell – it was like Kool-Aid and rubbing alcohol.  I made my way through the house until I stood, bleary-eyed and coughing, in the epicenter of my father’s mad laboratory.  When I asked what he was doing, he simply answered:

“Making glögg.”

Fast forward umpteen years and now I get the honor and privilege of gassing my own kids in the comfort of our own home.  It has become an annual tradition of concocting my own variations of this Swedish brew.  There are a million ways to vary the final product but the basic base to this yuletide face-melter is simple and extremely healthy!

You start with the spice packet, wrapped in a cheesecloth, which has cinnamon (good for you), raisins (good for you), orange peels (covered something good for you), cloves (good for you), almonds (super food!), and cardamom (I don’t know what the hell these are).  Then you add a crap ton of Port Wine (more fruit – good for you).  Go to the liquor store and ask for a crap ton – these only come in two kinds of bottles: butt load and crap ton.  Don’t get the wrong one.

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Finally, you need Everclear…

Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 9.07.53 PMNow the amount of Everclear is up for debate.  It is, no joke, the strongest liquor you can get…it’s about 95% pure alcohol whereas rubbing alcohol is almost 100% pure.  Which means Everclear, which is made from corn (vegetable) can almost clean wounds as well as rubbing alcohol, ergo, doubly good for you.

Glögg is basically a health food.

However, since Everclear is so strong (like insanely strong…), the more you have to live for = the less of this you should add.

Throw these three components together and boil them until the neighbors complain.  Then it’s playtime!  Add sugar, or apples, or more Everclear, or lemons, or more Everclear, or watch it dissolve a handful of pennies, or add more Everclear.

Then wait for it to cool (or don’t – it will destroy your innards either way) and enjoy.  Serve warm or cold or room temperature – the first one should be the way you like it – the second won’t matter too much – and subsequent ones will probably be consumed straight from the jug, out of a shoe, or lapped off the floor where you dropped the jug (watch out for the glass shards).  The next morning will be kind of interesting – not “headache and nausea” interesting, but more like “regret most of your life choices” interesting.  But that’s just your body releasing the toxins from all of the produce you consumed.  You’ll be fine.

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“You’ve been drinking.”
“It’s cold outside.  A man’s got to do something to keep warm.” ~ Miracle on 34th Street

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

Fight Night

My son got in a fight the other night.  No, it’s okay, he was supposed to; he’s a fighter.  He wanted to play football, but my wife and I thought that was too dangerous, so we pointed him in the direction of getting punched and kicked in the face.

Anyway, he has done karate tournaments for a couple years, but this was way different.  He was kickboxing.  There was an actual ring with ropes and a bell and rounds and someone in his corner coaching him and holding a spit bucket.  It was so cool!  He even got to choose entrance music to come out to (he got pumped up to some Fall Out Boy)!

Being that he’s a minor, I had to fill out the forms for him and I saw that there was a space for his name and then a separate space for his “ring name.”  And that’s when temptation struck…

You can’t give me opportunities like that!  I have an undying struggle between my inner child and my outer adult – do I be a good father or do I giggle as the ring announcer introduces “The Flying Buttress” or “The Rabid Gerbil” or “Ginger McSugarbritches” to the crowd?!!  Eventually, I came to my senses and remembered my wife was with me and I’m afraid of her.  I left his “ring name” blank.

My son has been training for about three years and he has been sparring for the majority of that time as part of his routine.  In the school he attends, the sparring classes include people from all different levels and ages – it is not uncommon to see a 4-year-old training with someone in their 30s.  The adults enjoy teaching the younger ones almost as much as the kids like squaring off against the “old folks.”  My son has learned so much from the teens and adults and they have given him a lot of positive role models to look up to and, in turn, he has started to be that kind of role model for the little ones.  And, through it all, I’ve watched him grow up in this amazing environment with the other proud parents in the waiting room.  But, as was the case with his “ring name,” I have that undying little voice in the back of my head telling me to make bad decisions.  Most people have that little voice and it’s their conscience…mine’s defective.  Most of the parents that I sat with watch their children with pride and some concern about them being safe.  I sat there and kept thinking, I can do that.

My son and his sensei (who has been a friend of mine for many years) and a few other adults from his group who I had befriended over the years, kept trying to talk me into starting classes and I finally broke down and joined them about a year ago.  I haven’t done much sparring.  But, the night before my son’s fight, the ring was set up, I had a bunch of training hours under my belt, so I thought, What the hell?  Let’s do this!

The way these sparring classes work is everyone spars with everyone a few times throughout the 90-minute class.  So I looked around the room- it was a small class that night.  Remember the little kids I talked about? Yeah, they weren’t there.  Remember all those adults I talked about? Yeah, they weren’t there either.  The entire class was made up of six people ranging in age from 11-19…and me.  It was still an all-levels class which was made up of a couple orange belts, a couple getting ready to move up to orange belts, a purple belt, a black belt…and me.

Now, not to toot my own horn, but in the regular classes, I can do some good work on the pads and the heavy bags.  Those stationary targets beg for mercy!  But this sparring thing is totally unfair – did you know that your target is allowed to move AND hit back?!!  How the hell do I compete with that?!!

But at least I didn’t have to worry about the three 2-minute rounds my son had to endure during his fight.  Each sparring bout lasts about a minute.  A minute!  60 little seconds!  How bad could that be?  I can definitely handle a minute.

No.  No I can’t.

I was pretty awesome for a solid ten to fifteen seconds.  Or until I threw my first punch or kick, whichever came first.  After that I was just rotating in the middle of the ring sucking air and trying not to throw up.  The older ones moved lightning fast and I just kept swinging at open air where they were standing a second before.  The young ones just pounced on me like rabid little woodland creatures.  I’ve never laid a hand on a child in anger – but this was survival.  I was flailing at them like one of those funky dancing windsock guys outside a car wash!

And then came the black belt.  I stepped in the ring with him and for the first time in my life, that little voice in the back of my head – the one who thought it would be funny to ask my newly pregnant wife if the baby was mine, the one who thought it was a good idea to demolish the living room, the one that thought Kleenex and fire were friends, the one who said I can do this in the first place – whispered, Screw it!  This was a bad idea!  But that little guy was a wee bit too late because we had already bowed and touched gloves and now it was time to survive.  I tried my hardest (for ten to fifteen seconds) to take the offensive approach – didn’t work.  So I held back a bit (hoping to catch my breath and suppress the strong urge to cry for help) and waited for him to attack.  Then came the epiphany – I remembered all my training: step back, block, counter punch.  That little voice was wrong – this was NOT a bad idea, this is exactly what I’ve been training for, I just needed to trust my instincts.

He quickly slid toward me (step back).  He sent a kick toward my chest (block).  I saw a space on his torso where he wasn’t protecting (counter…) – FWAM!

For the life of me, I still have no idea how the same leg I had just blocked from my chest circled around and clocked me in the back of the head!  I was just about to ask him (yes, the thought crossed my mind, during the match, to ask him how he did that) when his fists started drumming on my forehead.

So I was definitely not an inspirational story like Karate Kid (more like the first half of Kung Fu Panda) but my opponent did manage to knock that little voice out cold for a while.

“If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.” ~ Muhammad Ali 

And Nothing But the Tooth


***I will stop there and let some of you shiver and cringe until you’re ready to move on***

Not going to lie – not my favorite person to visit even though most of the dentists I’ve had in my life have been awesome.  They were awesome people (one of them was one of the funniest guys I’ve ever met in my life) – but it doesn’t change the fact that they’re, well, dentists.

For the longest time, I had awesome teeth (I’ve always needed braces and never got them, but that’s besides the point) – I didn’t have my first cavity until college.  After that, I’ve had a few, but, for the most part (knock on wooden teeth) they’ve been awesome. Strangely enough, even though I was extremely phobic of doctors for most of my life (up until my little “almost dying” thing a couple years ago), I never really had a fear of dentists.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t hop around gaily strewing confetti and flower petals on dentist day, but I didn’t dread it either.  Of course, there is one thing that dentists find a little strange about me…

I don’t want Novocain.

Now before you get a picture in your head of Bill Murray from Little Shop of Horrors, no, I’m not some wacko masochist.  I just had a terrible fear of needles and I was more afraid of the needles than I was of the pain of having a cavity filled.  It’s a weird phenomenon – believe me, it sucks – but the pain doesn’t last nearly as long as the pain from the shot does after the Novocain wears off!  The drill gives you a cold, dull pain – but as soon as the drill comes off your tooth, the pain stops.  By the time I’m leaving the office, I feel like nothing happened.

Most of my dentists didn’t have a problem with this – or anything really – they were laid back, roll-with-it kind of folks.  I just had a bad habit of picking dentists that were nearing retirement so I never got to keep one for more than a couple years.  But there’s always one bad apple…

My dentist had recently retired and I needed to find another one fast – I had lost a filling.  I looked through the phonebook and found one that was taking new patients and I made an appointment.

I should have known I was going to have issues when I had to go around the back of another business and up the back stairs to an unmarked office to find this guy.  I checked in at the front desk; the receptionist handed me a clipboard and pointed to the chairs.  No warm fuzzies there!  I filled out the patient information and brought it back to the receptionist who then pointed at the door to the office.  I walked in and saw the dentist sitting at a little desk in the corner.  He turned around and looked at me as I entered and told me to have a seat in the chair.

He was all business.  Asked me a couple questions and then had me open my mouth and got to work.  During the exam, he started scolding me.  I knew he was scolding me because before he started he said, “Now that you can’t talk back I’m going to scold you a bit.”

Who says that?!  I chuckled a bit because there was no way this guy was serious.

He was.

He said my gums were angry.  Angry?  They always seemed pretty chipper to me.  They held my teeth pretty solid, I treated them to some Juicy Fruit now and then – we had a good relationship.  They never voiced their opinion to me; never once told me that they were unhappy in the least!  What hurt the most was that they wouldn’t tell me themselves, I had to find out through a stranger – one with psychic gum reading abilities, no less!

He said I needed a much stiffer brush (I chuckled again, not because I thought he was joking – just because I’m not mature enough to handle the word “stiffer” – he was not amused) and I needed to brush my gums until they bled.

Hold up…I’m SUPPOSED to have bleeding gums?!!  1) How would making them bleed help my gums with their anger issues?  If anything I was sure that would piss them off even more!  And 2) what kind of weird bizarro doctor wants you to cause yourself to bleed?!!  If I were to go to my general care physician and tell her that I exercise until I bleed, she might have an issue with it.  If I go to my optometrist and tell him I put my contacts in until I bleed, he might steer me in a different direction.  If I go to my proctologist…okay, never mind.

He went on to tell me if I keep neglecting my gums like I do my teeth would fall out by the time I was 35.  Um…just turned 37…still NOT making myself bleed…and still have all my choppers nice and secure!  BOOYAH!!!  If I wasn’t scared to death of that guy, I’d go back and give him a serious “I told you so!”

Then came the main event.  The drilling and filling.  He brought in the needle and I cringed.  I told him of my phobia and I told him I didn’t want the Novocain.  He looked at me like I just farted in his chair.  “What do you mean you don’t want it?”  Now what I wanted to say was how most people get a shot in their gums that numb the area before he starts to drill and I want the same thing except the exact opposite…but I figured my usual sarcasm and sass should not be used on this man.  I explained again politely and he slowly put the needle behind him, never taking his eyes off me and never changing his look of dumbfounded disgust.

I gripped the arms of the chair and took a deep breath and he started drilling.  At one point the drill hit the nerve and I winced.  He stopped and yelled – “Well, it’s not going to feel good!”  That’s when I snapped.

I pushed his hand away, stood up and got in his face.  I yelled, “Look, doc, I’ve had just about enough of your attitude. I didn’t complain, I didn’t even whimper, I think I’m being pretty badass here and I’m even saving you some time and medicine in the process.  So how about you do your damn job so I can get out of here and we can go our separate ways.  Or you can keep this crap up and I’ll report you to the ADA for harassing your patients!”

…okay, none of that happened.  I just nodded sheepishly and closed my eyes again.  Seriously, I think the dude was crazy – not even sure he was a real dentist – I wasn’t going to get lippy with the guy drilling into my face!

He finished drilling, put in the filling stuff, and asked me to bite down firmly.  Then he told me to open up and repeated that two more times.  Then he said, “Okay…” like you would before you said or did something else.  He went into the next room.

Ten minutes later the receptionist came in and yelled at me.  “Why are you still here?  He’s done.  He already went to lunch.”

Dude!  I still had cotton in my mouth!  I was still wearing the little bib thingy!  He just up and left!!!  So I cleaned up my little area and walked out.

I still don’t have a problem with dentists…but I did develop some slight abandonment issues thanks to that guy and, needless to say, my gums and I have been in counseling so that we are no longer afraid to share our true feelings with one another.  It has made all the difference.

“Happiness is your dentist telling you it won’t hurt and then having him catch his hand in the drill.” ~ Johnny Carson

Way to Go, Roy!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!  Top o’ the blog post to ya!

Today marks a very special anniversary for me and my good buddy, Roy.  It’s our 10th anniversary to be exact – oh how the time has flown.

It was my first year working at my new school.  Back then we worked on teams and I was told at my very first team meeting the most important thing about being on the team that I was on – parties were the most important order of business.  Every birthday would be celebrated, Christmas would be celebrated, and whenever someone felt like celebrating extra celebrations would be observed.  Basically, we used every excuse we could to bring food to meetings.  Everyone had a job they were expected to perform: someone would get the treat, someone would get the card, someone would get the drinks, someone would get the plates and stuff.  My job?  The birthday hat.  Now, what they meant was for me to get those cheap little cones with the elastic strap under the chin – but they didn’t say that.  In my mind I thought everyone was supposed to get a “special” hat to wear and, since it’s my mind, I figured it had to be big and gaudy (usually one or two neon posterboards were used in the construction of these ungodly masterpieces).

The history teacher got a 2-foot tall, neon yellow, Abraham Lincoln-esque stovepipe hat.  The Spanish teacher got a humongous sombrero.  One of the teachers had a Halloween birthday so a massive witch’s hat was a must.  At one point there was a need for a crown of ferrets…don’t ask.  So, when it came time for my birthday, I was bracing myself for what this team of creative individuals would come up with…

They forgot my birthday.

In their defense, my birthday falls on a day over our Christmas vacation and we had planned our Christmas party for the last day before break.  It slipped their minds until we were enjoying our holiday treats.  They apologized profusely and said that we would celebrate my birthday after we got back from vacation.  So, while we were on Christmas vacation, I was bracing myself for what this team of creative individuals would come up with…

They forgot my birthday again.

A couple more months passed and we found ourselves on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day.  I was told that we were going to celebrate my birthday on March 17th and since my birthday was forgotten twice AND because there was a half-day of school, we would skip the normal birthday treat at our meeting and we would go out for lunch instead.  It sounded awesome!

Until I woke up the next morning and I knew right away that something was terribly wrong with me.  Sweating, chills, light headed, nauseous, aches from head to toe…bad news. But, I was a first year teacher, I had a young child, my teammates had made big plans for me, and it was only a half-day – I wasn’t going to spend a sick day.  I could muscle through this.

As soon as I got to school I realized that this was not a good idea.  I went from bad to worse before the students even showed up for the day.  Fortunately, there was going to be a teachers vs. students basketball game that took up most of the half-day.  I brought my students down to the gym, excused myself for some lame excuse, and hoofed it back up to my empty wing of the building.  I certainly needed the privacy because I made a beeline to the men’s faculty room and threw up like I never had before.  And that is saying something, because I have violent vomiting sessions – I scare myself!  It’s like someone is trying to exorcise a demon out of a rabid gorilla!  There is much growling and wailing and thrashing and noises that were sampled for Jurassic Park…it’s ugly.  At one point, when I was trying to brace myself, I grabbed ahold of the toilet paper dispenser as another wave overcame me and I ripped it out of the concrete wall.  So, A) yup, confession time, it was me everybody – I broke the toilet paper dispenser 10 years ago and B) they replaced it with a much better, plastic encased, dual roll dispenser – you’re welcome.

I slowly regained my composure, cleaned up, popped some gum, and made my way back to the basketball game.  As soon as it ended, one of my teammates asked me if I was ready for the party.  I nodded and mumbled something incoherent.  I totally forgot about it to be honest, but I wasn’t backing out of this at this point.

Being that it was St. Patrick’s Day, we decided to go one of the best Irish bars and restaurants in our town.  However, being that’s where we went and that’s the day we chose to go – the place was absolutely jam-packed with people.  I staggered in, pale, blurry-eyed, foggy-headed, sport jacket and tie all discombobulated.  I found the table with my teammates and made my way over to them and that’s when I saw it.  My birthday hat.  It was an actual football helmet, but they had attached antennas to it on the tips of which were mounted little blinking lights.  The helmet was blank, so on the side they had written R.O.Y. – Rookie of the Year.

The vast majority of the St. Patrick’s Day revelers had let me pass through without so much as a glance in my direction – however, when a guy is wearing a helmet like The Great Gazoo with multicolored strobe lights on top starts having a table full of people belting out “Happy Birthday” at the tops of their lungs, folks start to take notice.

Looking like I did and acting in the manner that I was, the people at the bar (who had started pounding green beers at sunup) figured I was either a fellow drunkard or someone with some mental deficiencies – in either case, most were convinced my name was Roy. And the strangers rejoiced for today on this glorious emerald holiday, Roy joined this jolly bunch of honorary leprechauns to celebrate the day of his birth.  Strangers from all around the room cheered for him, “Happy birthday, Roy!”  “Congratulations, Roy!”  “Way to go, Roy!”  And all Roy really wanted for his birthday was to go home and puke.

“If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, you’re lucky enough.” ~ Irish Proverb


Aged to Perfection

Today I had the great honor and privilege to celebrate my grandmother’s 90th birthday.  I’ve written about her before and her feisty ways and it never ceases to amaze me how she is still living in a full, two-floor house, still driving, still dancing, still going out and raising a ruckus with her friends, still playing and helping raise her great grandsons, and still living life to the fullest!  She is truly an inspiration.

It’s mind-boggling to think about everything that she has experienced.  When she was born you could get a house for $7000; a car for less than $400.  Marilyn Monroe, Queen Elizabeth, and Mel Brooks were just born and Harry Houdini, Rudolph Valentino, and Annie Oakley just died.  She has seen 14 presidents get elected, 2 territories become states, and the Berlin Wall go up and come down.  Most impressively she has been around to see all 9 of Zsa Zsa Gabor’s marriages and all 17 of Michael Jackson’s noses!

When she was my age there were no personal computers or cell phones, so today really got me thinking about what things are going to be like when I’m 90.  The year will be 2069 and it will be a wondrous place, my friends.  I will wake up early and grab a mug of fresh hot coffee from the Tim Horton’s attached to my garage – after having developed a location in all of the free business areas and still not being able to keep up with the demand of people’s addictions they just started building a franchise on everyone’s property.

I’ll turn on my television wall to see what is happening on the news.  President Trump, finishing up his 12th consecutive term in office, will be tearing down the wall along the Canadian border to solve the maple syrup shortage.  The wall along the Mexican border remains strong and intact ever since the day Mexico built it to keep us from fleeing into their country after Trump’s first election.

The people mourn the loss of Taylor Swift, however her funeral is interrupted by Kanye West who wanted the world to know that his wife, Kim Kardashian, had the best funeral of the year.  Her final wishes were to have an open casket and to be completely nude.  All of the West children: North, South, North-by-North, AFC, Go, and Wild were the pallbearers.

I’ll try to keep my day low key – I’m sure my family will have a party for me later, but I would really just like to go see a movie.  Most likely it will be the 50th installment of the Fast and Furious series.  I’ll be standing in line for my ticket behind a bunch of people chain smoking unfiltered cigarettes in an attempt to quit their addiction to vapor inhalers.  I’ll use the thumbprint pad to remortgage my home to purchase my ticket and a Venti (Starbucks has made the use of the word “large” illegal) tub of crunchy Organic Bulgar Wheat Germ and naturally unsweetened Acai berry slushy (since snack food is no longer allowed to be purchased anywhere…thanks Obama!)

I’ll get into my self-driving, electronic, zero emissions car and cruise on over to one of my kid’s houses and try to act surprised that they threw me a party.

***For the record my grandmother didn’t even try to act surprised.  In her mind I’m sure she was thinking, “I’m freakin’ 90 – you’d BETTER have thrown me an epic shindig!”***

I’ll demand the cake first – I’m 90, try and stop me – and then whatever else they made that’s supposed to be good for me…if anyone even hints that I’m not eating right, I’m grabbing another fistful of cake and shoving it into my gaping maw!  I will continue sitting in the corner eating cake hunks like apples until I bellow out a crumb-spewing “PRESENTS!”  I will have dropped hints to strategic family members, so I’ll have a pretty good idea of what I’m getting.  My two sons (who will both be very well off since I forced them into medical schools so that they can share the financial burdens of my retirement years) will be sending me on a trip to Disney World (not the park, the Walt Disney Corporation actually bought the lower east quadrant of the country and renamed it) so that I can see the Rolling Stones in concert (Mick and Keith, still going strong).  My less financially sound friends and family I will expect Bills and Sabres tickets from because, after about 6 losing decades, those tickets should be pretty cheap.

I’ll thank them for the party and go home to curl up in my Snuggie and binge watch Netflix.  They will most likely wait until I’m gone to sigh and roll their eyes because they know, with all of the advancements in medicine and technology, they are going to have to put up with me for many, many more birthdays.

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” ~ Satchel Paige