Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Elgin Baylor & Voodoo Books!

Although, the topic of child-rearing will be part of this blog, it won't be the only thing addressed.  Hopefully, me and the kid will have a little something for everyone so that those of you without children won't get bored or feel alienated.  That being said, I'd like to discuss... literature and child rearing (see what I did there?) 

The kid (really should consider capitalizing the "K") has been working on this blog for over a week now.  Literature and fine South American coffee are staples of her life.  She believes that the written word is a crucial part of each child's development.  In her own words:

"You may question the usefulness of reading books to a kid that's only a month old; but, that means either you don't have a kid, or you're a lazy, horrible, horrible parent who probably can barely live with themselves.  Just sayin' is all...

Goodnight Moon was written, I have no doubt by a witch doctor.  I say this because if anyone has ever seen how a child reacts to this simplistic, boring as all get-out book, they would know without a shadow of a doubt that some sort of voodoo is at work here.  If you've never had the opportunity to read this book, let me give a brief description:  bunny in pajamas, kittens, rodent, mush, mittens, moon.  That pretty much sums everything up.  Yet... the first time the giant people read this to me --  I was  mesmerized*.  (Ya know how the giant people get when they come home from the hospital with a baby.  They get all excited and can't wait to read his/her first book -- it's ever so mind-bogglingly cutesy.)  I'm not kidding.  I could not pull my yet-to-focus-because-I-was-only-four-days-old-eyes away from this weird little scripture.  Voodoo...!"

As I'm typing this (she dictates to me -- oh, the Kid can type, but she's lazy), she's sitting on my lap and shaking her head in the affirmative (of course it could merely be  that she hasn't quite developed full neck muscle strength).  This book haunts her, she says, "It's evil, but I love it.  I imagine if I had any idea what narcotics were, then I would compare Goodnight Moon to that.  Also, don't listen to this Daddy guy about my neck muscles.  He's full of it.  I was holding my head up in the hospital.  The giant person we call Mom has pictures of me holding my bottle by myself on day three.  I rolled onto my side last week -- also by myself.  I'm practically the model for the next link of human evolution.  I'm a veritable marvel of nature.  I'm a badass." (More to come on badassery a little later.)  

The next tome on her reading list is a little peace of intrigue by the good doctor hisself, Mr. Theodore Geisel.  The Kid writes (dictates!) 

"Oh, The Thinks You Can Think! is typical Seuss.  At least, that's what I'm told, since it's the only Dr. Seuss book I have (hint, hint) I can't really comment on it's typicalness (hint, hint).  Anyway, the sentences are short and easy to read, the rhymes catchy.  The art is a bit strange.  In my limited experience, I've not quite seen houses, landscapes and "people" that look anything like what's in this book.  But as the Dad guy points out, I shouldn't look at things too literally, as this book is about imagination and it's supposed to teach me to use mine.  Whatever.  I think this Seuss guy was on those narcotics mentioned above.  And the Dad guy just said that, in fact, I may like the book more if I were a stoner.   (Will someone please check this dude's credentials.  I mean is someone who makes a stoner reference around his newborn equipped to be a father?  Hello!  Anybody???   And what is a stoner anyway?  Where's Mom?)  I do like the use of the word 'Schlopp' in this book.  That's a funny word.  It kinda sounds like what my butt does when I poop.  Funny, funny word..."

Now, onto Harry the Dirty Dog.

"This book bores me.  Drives me crazy every time they try and read it to me.  You'd think they'd get the hint by the way I either fall asleep or scream like a banshee the second they open it; but, they seem intent to make me like it.  Whatever!  I like what I like is all I'm saying.  It's the story of a dog who is white and he hates taking baths, so he steals the brush (see, aren't you bored with this crap already, too?), burying it in the backyard.  Then he does all this doggy Ferris Bueller stuff and ends up getting so dirty that his owners can't recognize him.  They want nothing to do with him.  It reeks of a racial subtext that I wonder if the author is even aware of.  Sure is plain to my four-week-old mind.  But, I digress.  In the end good 'ol Harry unearths the brush, gets a bath and lives happily ever after.  YAWN and YAAAAWWWWN.  Next!"

"Ah, here we go, the next two reviews are on books sent to me by some character calling himself "Uncle John."  No idea who this guy is, but he's got good taste in literature. First up,  In The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak, who is most famous for Where the Wild Things Are (Yet another book I don't own.  Ahem...).  This book caused a little bit of consternation in our household the first time Dad guy read it.  Seems our plucky hero, Mickey is a bit of a nudist.  By the fifth drawing, ol' Maurice has got our boy Full Monty.  WELL, you can imagine how that opened up Dad guy's eyes!  But, we had a good talk and a few things were explained regarding the difference between little girl parts and little boy parts.  Dad guy handled it all pretty well, I must say, and I think he's probably better off now that I've explained these differences to him.   On with the story!  So, this Mickey guy is in some sort of dream where he meets a bunch of giant bakers.  The Mickster is pretty bossy and likes to yell a lot (I REALLY admire him for that, by the way) and before you know it he's rolling around nekkid in the cake batter.  Talk about unsanitary.  He then fashions an airplane out of the batter and begins terrorizing the giant bakers.  Wasn't really sure during my first reading (at age 3 weeks) what this book was supposed to be about.  But now, rereading it as an older 4-week-old it's all so much clearer.  Simply put, this book is about ANARCHY!!!!!   There's something I can sink my gums into.  I'm penciling on my Guy Fowlkes mustache as we speak. Attica!  Attica!  Attica!"

(Me and the Missus won't be reading In The Night Kitchen to our lil dearest anymore.)  OK, onto the next book on her reading list, Harold And The Purple Crayon.

"Harold And The Purple Crayon is the autobiographical tale of renowned street artist Banksy's early life.  Harold, as Banksy refers to himself here, has a purple crayon and he likes to draw on anything, anytime, anywhere.  That's pretty much it.  I was hoping for a bit more insight into what makes Banksy Banksy, but as usual, he keeps his inner self shrouded in mystery.  This book may only be recommendable to diehard Banksy fans."
Banksy why, WHY must you be so coy and aloof???

And lastly on the Little Miss reading list:

"Norman Mailer's An American Dream.  The grand master of masculine writing has often been labeled misogynistic and this book, published in 1965, in particular was called out for its treatment of women, most notably by Kate Millet in her classic feminist text Sexual Politics.  While neither agreeing nor disagreeing with Millet, I, as a young woman, found the book to be an honest commentary about a man, protagonist Stephen Rojack, who is horribly flawed and a prisoner of his own pseudo-masculine conditioning.  Lacking the insight that might have been provided by modern therapy, Rojack is a runaway train who cannot -- must not -- cease the maddening trek in which he is on.  I found this decorated war-hero, former congressman and sensationalist talk-show host kin to the great subjects of Greek tragedy.  Fate has cast his lot and he cannot escape his doom, when in an alcoholic rage, Rojack murders his estranged high-society wife, makes it look like a suicide and descends into a lurid underworld of Manhattan jazz clubs, bars and Mafia intrigue.  Rojack's violence gives him a feeling of liberation, constantly maintaining his innocence no matter how intense the scrutiny or severe the consequences.   Oh, and he thinks the moon is talking to him (who wouldn't want to read about a guy who thinks the moon is talking to him???).  Mom isn't too keen about me reading such violent, sexually charged material; but, then I say, she shouldn't have helped teach me to read!"   

That wraps up this segment.  If you, too, want your child to be able to read at the level of our child, then I suggest you check out "YOUR BABY CAN READ."  (This program may also be useful for the slower-reading adults out there, too.)  It's right there, to your left.  No.  Your other left.
One more thing before we go...

The Kid considers herself a bit of a badass (as you probably read in the masthead at the top of the blog) and is studying badass chicks in history, literature, film and the local Babys-R-Us.  Today, she would like to share with you, her dear readership, the badass chick she is digging on the most today.

BADASS CHICK OF THE DAY:  Meiko Kaji as Matsu, aka Sasori (Scorpion!) in the 1970s Japanese"Female Convict Scorpion" series of movies.  (The Kid is dying to get her hands on that long black coat and oversized hat and wreak some daycare havoc.)  You really want to witness Japanese 70s exploitation badassery... then check out these flicks from Amazon.  Not for everyone, only for badasses and baby badasses.


Peace out!

P.S. Don't forget you can follow this blog and get updates sent to your email by typing in your email address at the top of this page.  Also, check out the archives in case you missed or want to revisit any of the Kid's awesomeness.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Norm Nixon, The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh & Simia Belzebul

Story meeting: discussing the next blog post

The kid turns one-month-old in three days.  A lot has happened in her brief sojourn here on Terra: gay marriage in New York (somehow,  she believes her birth had something to do with moving this along -- really, she's got a healthy ego, that one), Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup, North Dakota is now the newest Great Lake (she didn't find the humor in my saying what with all the wet diapers, she probably did have something to do with moving that along...), first announcement of the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, the newest Pirates of the Caribbean movie, Pirates of the Caribbean, Collecting a Paycheck moved into the top 10 of highest grossing films ever, the whole Anthony Weiner thing (the kid was fascinated with that -- it was her first major news story) and well, I'm sure some other things have happened, but who the hell can remember what they are.  

So, I asked her what she wanted her almost her birthday blog to be about?  Books and literature?  She's been working on a literary blog entry since last week, so I thought that might be what today's post would be.  But, she said no that it wasn't quite up to her standards yet, and she would wait til later in the week to post that.  What she really wanted to write about -- in fact, what she felt was imperative that she write about -- was gas.    

I'm not at all surprised that this has come up in the blog, as it's been pretty much the main topic of conversation in our house for a couple of weeks now.  It all started when we had an unforeseen and  sudden need to change her formula.*  The formula she'd been on had been working really well, but the new one...


Things got so bad with the gas-causing properties of this new formula that at one point I had the uneasy, sneaking 
suspicion that we had adopted not a human baby, but a shaved howler monkey.  Either that or Charles Manson has got some sort of Chucky thing going on with our daughter.  Results should be back next week...

After one fateful, fitful night of constant screaming (me and the kid) due to her inability to pass gas -- one in which I'd done all the text book suggestions: pat her on the back, rub her belly, change her position, gently twist her at the waist, call in an exorcist -- it became apparent that we were going to have to do whatever it took to get her back on the original formula.  

  *NOTE:  We started her on Organic Similac
(really people you need to read how horrible the ingredients in baby formulas can be.  I'm just sayin'.) which had been provided to us unexpectedly by a Similac rep whom we met at the pediatrician's office prior to the kid's birth.  The rep kindly gave us two cases and then promised more, since the organic formula can be hard to find in stores.  We were thankful.  The kid seemed to take to the formula immediately and all was well.  Except that promise of more formula (the repeated promise, as in, I'm getting it to you today -- which was falsely promised SEVERAL times) fell flat and we were in the lurch to find a back-up.  And, on a serious note, I'm not a big fan of baby formula in general.  Google the subject sometime and see for yourself how bad baby formula can be, or read the hubpage article to the left about the dangers of Soy in baby formula OR visit mercola.com and investigate the subject.  However, a baby's gots to eat!

Fortunately, my wife found some Organic Similac in a neighboring town, so we were able to avert a disaster of near epic proportions (those who successfully email in the number of cliches in each post will receive absolutely nothing).   So, I know, none of this is particularly interesting and/or entertaining, but here's where things get good!  You see -- wait a sec.  
Oh, sorry.  I've run out of time.  I have to go.  Well, needless to say, this story would've been extremely funny (a real knee-slapper) with lots of great descriptive phrasings, but as it would take another 1000 words or so to do it justice, it's best if we just leave it for another time.   


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

George Mikan & Five New Things I've Learned

Before you read this blog, you may want to check out the following link, which will sort of get you up to speed on what this is all about.

If you’ve already read “Thoughts and Tips For First Time Parents (From a First Time Parent)”  then you probably should read it again, only to refresh your memory on just how awesome it is.  If you need outside verification of its awesomeness then you can ask either me or my mother.

I received some pretty good feedback from that hubpage article and several people suggested that I and my beautiful newborn daughter should start a blog together.  (One of those people was, in fact, neither my mother nor my wife.  Nor was it me… It was Karen.  Thanks, Karen.)  It was implied that we had some critical insight that would be helpful, not just to new parents, but to society as a whole; and, that we had a moral duty (or maybe they said “a moral imperative”, I don’t quite recall) to imbue – not merely imbue, but imbue yarely!

Who am I to deny our public (especially the Amish contingency --  HOLLA Jebediah!)? So, without further ado, here is mine and my daughter’s first blog.*  (Oh, and if you like it, you can add your email to the left and get notifications every time we update.  And if you don't like it, you can still add your email and get updates.  You also can follow my young'un on Twitter, which you can also see and/or follow to the left.)

It’s been two weeks since I wrote “Thoughts and Tips…” and my daughter is now three weeks old.  Boy, they aren’t kidding when they say time flies when you get kids!  Seems like only yesterday my daughter was crapping her pants, unable to feed herself and crying for no apparent reason.  Now, she’s crapping her pants, unable to feed herself and crying even more for no apparent reason.  Ah, the lil’ dickens…

But, I have to say I am wiser than I was when she was only one week old.  Following are things I’ve learned in the past fourteen days, which I’ve titled “THINGS I’VE LEARNED IN THE LAST FOURTEEN DAYS.”


1.     Babies are rotten at hide-and-seek.  (She always hides in one of two places:  her crib, her bouncy chair.  Really gets boring, and most of the time when she’s “it” I don’t feel as if she’s making any effort to actually seek me.  I should check the cable bill.  I wouldn’t be surprised if that spike in Pay Per View charges coincides with the times she is “it.”)
2.     Babies have GREAT poker faces (little turd has taken me for a fortune in Texas Hold 'Em!  But, I'll get the last laugh -- bye, bye college fund!)
3.     DO NOT GIVE ALCOHOL TO BABIES!!!!!!!!  Luckily, as I had no plan of giving her booze, I did not have to learn this the hard way.  But, what if I had wanted to have a refreshing cocktail with my Sweetums after a tough day of whatever tough thing she and I had been up to?  Let me tell you, buddy, I’d be up that proverbial creek ****, because giving alcohol to babies is apparently not only frowned upon in 21st century society, but possibly illegal! Like the not giving steak to newborns, this should probably be one of those things that more parenting books may want to cover.  I mean, really.
4.     You shouldn’t worry if no one seems, at first, interested in joining your Baby Fight Club.  Can’t tell you how much time I wasted hanging up flyers in Starbucks, libraries, and daycares across the area.   Even got a nasty email from someone claiming to be an administrator at Craig’s List saying my posting of Baby Fight Club was unacceptable (like since when does Craig’s List care what’s posted on Craig’s List?).  But, then I remembered the first rule of Fight Club.  Of course, that rule also pertains to Baby Fight Club.  That, and the second rule of Fight Club are imperishable truths in the Fight Club system.  My bad!   (But, let me just say that “theoretically,” if there were a Baby Fight Club, my bad-ass daughter would be probably something like 11-0 right now.  If there were… such… a… thing…).  Oh, what’s that you’re saying, “Ha, ha Rick, there’s no such thing as Baby Fight Club.”  Wanna bet?

5.     People tend to get upset when you have a screaming baby in public.  They smile kindly at first and say things like, “Oh, look at her.  She’s mad, isn’t she?  Ha, ha, poor thing.”  But after a couple minutes in the grocery line with Daddy’s dearest having a low-grade conniption fit of Olympian proportions, folks are willing to gnaw their own limbs off to get as far away from the caterwauling as possible.  Which leads me to a little side note:

SIDE NOTE:  So,this got me to thinking, when could someone actually use an infant’s meltdown to their advantage?  And, – I’m sure you’re already waaaaaaay ahead of me on this one – the most obvious way was to use it to get out of trouble with the cops.  Oh, I don’t mean literally using a crying baby as a human shield if you’re robbing a bank or something like that (that’s just stupid, not to mention dangerous to the child!); what I’m referring to is using one’s baby as a figurative human shield if one gets pulled over for, say, a traffic violation.  If one could somehow coordinate with one’s infant a code word, perhaps, to let the youngster know now would be a good time to raise holy hell; well, I can only imagine the benefits that may ensue as the police officer would, as any normal person would, be quite eager to rid him or herself of the crying child.  Here’s how I imagine things could play out:

ME:  “Evening officer, is there a problem?  (Zickenfoose!)” *****


OFFICER:  “You were going 35 in a 25 zone.”


ME:  “I’m sorry, what’s that?  I couldn’t hear you.”


OFFICER: (louder this time) “I said the car was going 35 miles per hour in a 25 miles per hour zone!  May I see your license and registration, please?”


ME:  “I’m sorry.  Ssshhh, hush now, baby.  It’s OK, I need to hear what the nice officer is saying.  Sorry, officer, she’s been real gassy all day.”


OFFICER:  “What?”


ME:  “What?”




ME:  “Sure, Officer.”

(Then the officer runs back to his car, breathing a sigh of relief.)


ME: “Zickenfoose!”

BABY:  “I gotta be tell ya, I didn’t think that would work.”

     Now, let’s be honest, we should be attentive to speeding, especially if a child is in the car, but these things do happen.  I only recommend the above for tiny offenses like minor speeding or burnt out taillights.  In no way, shape or form would this work with drunk driving!  DO NOT DRIVE DRUNK often ever, but especially with a baby in the car.  And, I would also state emphatically that using a baby as your designated driver, while on paper may seem like a good idea, in actual practice is only a good idea if your baby can actually drive.  Some babies cannot drive and under no circumstance should they be allowed to operate a motor vehicle that is beyond their personal ability.  Use discretion, is all I’m saying people.

That’s all for now, next time my daughter and I will discuss some handy childcare products.  Or maybe we’ll talk about children’s books.  Or there’s a chance she’ll insist on discussing the 1972 Los Angeles Lakers.   Maybe she'll just post some haiku (she's into haiku) or something she saw on Youtube.  It’s really hard to say where the winds of this blog will blow us.

*NOTE:  I do most of the typing, but she comes up with the bulwark of the ideas.  (She made me write this footnote.)**

**NOTE:  She’s much more persuasive than one would think a 21-day-old could be.***

***NOTE:  My wife and I are kinda scared of her, if you want to know the truth.

****NOTE: That would be shit creek.  But not Shitcreek Consulting, which you can find at http://shitcreekconsulting.com/

*****NOTE: Notice how I used “Zickenfoose” as my code word to let the baby know now was time to start screaming?  “Zickenfoose” is a good code word because you can disguise it as a sneeze.  Seriously, try it.

  What makes a robot happy???  Click to find out.