Captain Kangaroo

kangarooI think Rodney Dangerfield cemented the hilarity of a kangaroo when he exclaimed “that kangaroo just stole my ball!” in the multiple Oscar award winning flick Caddyshack. It’s funny because it was a ridiculous animatronic gopher that stole his ball and also because Rodney Dangerfield is like a boardwalk drawn caricature come to life. I also watched the movie a thousand times in college, laughing at it surrounded by like minded (and possibly inebriated) scholars.

Fast forward to the present in which I am now a very responsible adult raising 3 upstanding children in the ways of Victorian etiquette and the kangaroo theme persists. Whenever the question of “What should we name the <cat, dog, scarecrow, frog outside the window>?” comes up, my default response is Captain Kangaroo. I’ve never actually seen the TV show of the same name but it doesn’t matter. It’s just hilarious to think of referring to myself as Captain Kangaroo. Do I have bizarre L-shaped legs and wear a yachting cap? Am I an actual Captain of something important but think I’m a kangaroo?

Then in today’s Wall Street Journal, the resident wordsmith – Ben Zimmer – dove into the etymology of yet another great variation of the word, a Kangaroo Court. My immediate thought is of a courtroom where the judge is a kangaroo with a Colonial British wig on, ludicrous. But one possible origin story is that in the neighborhood of Kangaroo, Mississippi back in the 1800’s a gambler was tarred, feathered and dragged into the literal Kangaroo court to face his sins. It’s almost too much. I mean, I wish I lived in this town so I could tell people I’m a Kangaroo. Not to mention the fact that tarring and feathering is a real thing. The lunacy of it!

And apparently our illustrious President twitted that any testifying by other illustrious political types regarding his illustrious Presidency would be worthless as it would happen in a Kangaroo Court.

Now, I think it’s safe to say that these days America, in general, is one huge Kangaroo Court. I mean it’s a really not too much of a stretch to see our entire government as being a herd of actual wild kangaroos, jumping around, fake wigs and all. But that’s a post for another day. My point is only that kangaroos are funny animals and using the word in strange ways is funnier.

Advertisements

A Rotten Center Console

Driving the children to school today was wonderful. Sitting in traffic. Listening to the twins simultaneously beat each other and laugh. Basking in the humidity that is October in St. Louis. While I sat there at the wheel, fielding questions and pretending to break up fights, an aroma crossed the helm.

Not like the nice kind you get when entering Costco while they’re cooking those magical pumpkin pies. No, this aroma was disgusting. Not quite like the smell that emanates from the L’Oreal factory in Clark, NJ – that one is disgusting but somehow fruity. And also not quite like that of the dog food factory that apparently is connected to the James Madison University campus in VA. On a hot, rainy day that stench will melt your pupils.

This smell, friends, was rotten. As the stink laid itself over top of all my other senses, my sense of Parental Intuition That Your Kids Are Fucking Around was triggered by the conspiratorial tones and giggling coming from the middle row of our cupcake delivery van. So, at a red light (so many red lights), I turned around to see the twins pointing and laughing at SOMETHING inside the little known and seldom used center console storage compartment.

When I calmly inquired “Children, what are you examining”, they slammed it shut and looked at me wide eyed, replying “Why Father…nothing”. When I implored they show me, they seemed to take joy in presenting me with the fruits of their labor. It took me a minute of staring, and gagging, to see through the mold and garbage to determine the little shits had stored a leftover blueberry pancake in this tightly enclosed space…many days ago. So I took a DEEEEEP breath and asked them to refrain from such activities in the future.

I then had a fleeting thought of who would be laughing at who were I to give them each a nice swirlie before bed.

I HAmsterdam

Dave – my oldest friend – and I have had a lot of adventures over the years.

 

In high school we would drive around in my sweet Mitsubishi Starion for hours, gas being around $1/gallon back then. When it rained, the car would stall out, which was entertaining in a McDonald’s drive thru. Or if parked, the headlights would flip up and down whilst the horn blared incessantly leading to finger pointing and laughing.

 

In college, well, there’s really not enough room here for that chapter. But we both made the trip on more than one occasion to visit our respective higher learning institutions. He at James Madison in Virginia and me at University of New Hampshire in said state.

A favorite memory would be a visit of Dave’s to UNH, hanging out in the dormitory lounge I lived in (because emergency housing) late one evening. Suddenly, the door burst open and a neighbor stumbled around until he found our garbage can. Which he promptly picked up and dumped all over my roommates desk, then muttered some obscenities and disappeared. No explanation, no context. I’ve never laughed harder.

Continue reading

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas – An Ode To Good Beer

I wrote a little poem, in honor of Twas The Night Before Christmas, with a twist of beer. But since Google puts you on double secret probation for posting the same content in 2 places, I’ll just link back to where I originally posted it.

‘Twas The Night Before Christmas – An Ode To Good Beer

………He was merry and plump, a bizarre ballerina

And I laughed when I saw him, just like a hyena.

A Jack Nicholson eye and nod of his head,

Soon gave me to know the best was ahead………

twas-the-night-before-christmas

Erin and Tyler’s Wedding: A Tofino Adventure

Recently, Tyler and Erin got married (HOORAY!) in one of the coolest places I’ve ever visited – Tofino, British Columbia. It was such a great event all the way around with lots of fun memories. So I wanted to get a blog post written before all is forgotten in my goldfish style memory bank.

 

My trip began in Switzerland. We knew about the details of this trip far in advance and made the decision to have me go alone, without Sarah and the kids. Though we would have much preferred to all be in attendance, the planes, trains, automobiles and boats involved in getting there, along with the travel time made the decision easy.

 

And it was the right call. For one, we learned on our trip from the States to Switzerland that Maren, one of our 3 year old twins, gets air sick. The flight from Frankfurt to Vancouver was about 9 ½ hours. One can only bask in the aroma of vomit for so long. That being said, the flight was great. I flew Lufthansa which has now one-upped Delta, in my mind, for Economy Class Superiority. It helped that the seat next to me was empty. But where they really nailed it was the entertainment and food categories. I watched FOUR MOVIES and ate two reasonably tasty meals. It’s the little things.

Continue reading

Life Instructions?

Life InstructionsI had a hilarious conversation with my brother, Tyler, the other day about glossing over details. He’s moving into a new place and was relaying to me the lease process. There’s always those nitty gritty details – who cuts the grass, who pays for sewage, where should I dispose of my beard husks.  Once it’s all wrapped up, the question posed to Tyler “Do you have any questions?” is then met with a blank look and something like “Uhh, nope, looks good to me!” Now, bear in mind, Tyler HATES to read so there is no way in HELL he gave this paperwork even a cursory look.

 

I suddenly realized I do the exact same thing, which I shared with Tyler. I thought perhaps it was some sort of genetic defect but he corrected me.  We are genetically defective but he traced the birth of this trait back to our childhood video gaming days.  Our parents forbade TV of any sort, video games included, during the week (I may have that wrong but it sounds right). So playing video games as a child is what stuffing my face with a double cheeseburger and chocolate porter is today as a large child – HEAVEN.

 

Whenever we got a new video game, there were of course instructions on how to play. Tyler and I would hold them up in the air, look at each other, shrug our shoulders and FLING them across the room.  “Just press all the buttons!” was our mantra.  This method of throwing the instructions away and winging it has mysteriously followed us throughout life.  For example:

 

When spending a summer in Hermosa Beach, CA, Tyler and I signed a 1 year lease even though we were only going to be there for 3 months. Did we read the fine print. Nope. Did the dump we lived in being the size of my left foot matter? Nope. Did it all work out? YES. We spent the summer there in a haze of Pabst and then subletted the joint to a local weirdo we’d crossed paths with.

 

When I went to Budapest to study abroad in college, I arrived in Hungary with no paperwork to guide me.  And guess what.  Neither did my partner in Moron Affairs, Kevin Phinney.  We had just flown to the Eastern Bloc, disembarked like a couple of boobs and were utterly clueless as to how to proceed.  Did we speak the language.  Not even close. Did we have cell phones back then.  Uh uh. Did we somehow make it our destination, albeit with a bar stop?  Oh yeah!

 

One day, I suddenly had a wonderful daughter.  While her car seat came with instructions written by the CEO of NASA, she in fact, did not. To make matters worse, my wife, Sarah, and I were lulled into a sense of “this is pretty easy” during our 3 days in the hospital after her birth.  The nurses were so NICE.  They come in and check on you.  If you’re overwhelmed, they’ll just HANDLE it. Then it’s time to leave.  And you have to strap in your suddenly VERY dependent infant into her space shuttle captain’s chair and GO HOME.  Oh. Sh*t. How to manual? Yeah right. Clues on what to do? Few to none. Did we make it? You know it! We even had 2 more 18 months later!!  If that doesn’t prove you don’t need instructions on life, what does?

 

Where does this innate feeling of knowing it’s all going to work out come from? It must have come from our parents.  I’d say they imbued us with the kind of confidence required to handle situations such as these.  More than likely, they hoped it would serve us in important life decision ways – like having kids of our own. I doubt they connected the dots of this madness when we hopped in the old Suburban and drove 3,000 miles with 4 surfboards on the roof and NO plan.  But hey, it worked just the same!  I think the parentals get a point on their scoreboard for this one – maybe two.

photo credit: Navy Blue Stripes via photopin cc

Kids Win Every Time

This conversation, noted by my wife Sarah, pretty much sums up the ability of kids to be so outrageously persistent that your mind ends up in knots as you attempt to “win” the conversation.  Trust me, you never will.

  • Sarah:  Peanut, please don’t ask me to watch Dora again.
  • Milan:  Momma, want to watch Dora PLEASE.
  • Sarah:  Milan, since you asked me to watch Dora again after I asked you not to, it means that you won’t be able to watch it.
  • Milan:  Momma, you need to say sorry.  Momma, don’t tell me no.
  • Sarah:  Milan, I’m not going to apologize for asking you not to do something.
  • Milan:  Momma, you have to be nice to us kids.  We can’t be mean to the kids.  Momma you can’t say no because that’s mean.
  • Sarah:  OK Milan.  But you need to listen to mommy when I tell you no.
  • Milan:  Momma, you need to say sorry to me.

From Sarah to me: How is it that she wins all of the time?  She’s 2!!!!

Persistent Peanut

Persistent Peanut

Answer: When she puts on a snow suit that’s 12 months too small and butterfly wings on a 70 degree day while walking around licking a spoon, it’s pretty tough to keep a straight face and say no.