Friday, July 29, 2011

vInyl: The Portable Vinyl Record Player

I felt old today, but also had a brilliant idea based on my old fartiness.

One of Betty's cousins bought a new iPod Touch case that looks like a cassette tape. But she was born after the death of cassettes, and has never listened to anything on tape. In fact, she's never even had to buy CDs! All she knows is digital music.

(Here's a link to a picture of a cassette tape, for all you whipper-snappers too young to know what I'm talking about.

In a moment of "wow I'm old" I tried to explain how iPods are the new version of Walkmans, when all of a sudden she said this:

"A What-man?"


"Walkman!" I exclaimed. (See the exclamation point? That means I exclaimed it!) "You know, you could take music with you while you walked around. It was amazing!"

She just looked at me like I'm an idiot. (I know, I know, score one point for her.) She's always been able to do this. What's the big deal?

"Well," I said, "before MP3s you could buy CDs, and you could listen to them in Walkmans or other portable CD players. And before that you could listen to tapes on other types of Walkmans. And before that...."

And that's where I stopped. There was no portable music before that.

That's the end of my story about me feeling old. Now here's where I come up with a brilliant idea.

Music lovers will tell you that music sounds better on vinyl records than on anything else, even MP3s. But there was no way to carry around vinyl records and listen to them on the fly.


Introducing, the vInyl!

[Picture: The vInyl!]

By the way, I totally stole the picture of that guy holding his arm up in the air from this website. My apologies to that company for forever tainting their mascot. And I took the picture of a phonograph from Wikipedia. And all those white pixels between the phonograph and the guy means that I badly photoshopped this picture. But you get the point.

I named my new invention the vInyl. The "I" in vInyl is uppercase, and everything else is lowercase. It's sort of like an inverse of iPod, iPhone, iPood, etc.

Time to crank out your parents' old records and show the world how hip you are, vInyl-style!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

NFL Players Assocation Balks at Debt Ceiling Bill

With talks of both an unprecedented government default and a late start to the 2011 NFL season, the NFL Players Association reported on Sunday that they are still not ready to sign the debt ceiling bill sponsored by Tea Party members of the House of Representatives, which was recently passed on to the Senate.

Despite the fact that the NFL owners approved the bill to end the lock out of the debt ceiling, George Wilson, the player representative for the Buffalo Bills, called the owners' vote and subsequent news conference pathetic, adding, "Their unwillingness to compromise is pushing us to the brink of a default on the full faith and credit of the United States. We have run out of time for politics. Now is the time for cooperation."

Commissioner Roger Goodell, the NFL owners and congressional aides expressed hope that their vote would lead to a speedy resolution to the NFL's first work stoppage since 1987 while also immediately increasing the debt ceiling by about $1 trillion. They called it an equitable deal that improves player safety, allows the sport to prosper even more, and will keep stocks from declining sharply amid talks of a government default.

"It is time to get back to football," a weary Goodell said during an evening news conference at an Atlanta-area hotel. "Even if that means blitzing the Senate Democrats every down from here on out."

House Speaker John Boehner (pronounced by this blog as "Boner") told rank-and-file Republican National League players in a conference call he hoped to be able to announce a "viable framework for progress" by 4 p.m. EDT on Sunday, before the stock markets open in Japan and elsewhere in Asia, according to two participants. He also added that rookies shouldn't get paid $90 million like that a-hole Jamarcus Russel.

If the NFL players approve the deal, Congress would get back to work right away, with some House Republicans saying that they've been training in the off-season to film the rival Democrats' sidelines and go over the tape at halftime.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

In Quotes

Everything sounds dirty when you put quotes around it.

For example, last week I told my wife that I was going to go "trim the trees." I meant it - I was really going to "trim the trees." With my "pruning shears," if you know what I mean.

And just now I told my wife that I was going to the computer to "blog." When she asked what I was going to blog about, I said that I didn't know, but that she could be sure that I would be "blogging furiously" for the next 15 minutes.

When using finger quotes during a conversation, it's important to note that you should "use two fingers" instead of just one for maximum effect. Using one finger is considered unsightly, while using three or more is unheard of and would be considered extremely rude.

If you want to sound extra randy, you can give a "wink and a smile" right after using the quotes. However, doing this will make all other uses of quotes less dramatic.

Now, go try out your new quoting skills on an innocent bystander. Good luck!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

That's "Mr." Basic ProSeller To You!

It's a sad day for the universe. Today I became a Basic ProSeller on the Zazzle site.

[Zazzle ProSeller logo]

There are various levels of ProSeller status, but to be a Basic ProSeller, you have to make more than $100 in lifetime earnings from the site. I've sold 109 shirts for a lifetime earning of over $200 - which isn't bad considering how awful my shirts are. But it does raise the question of why I haven't been a ProSeller before now. It also raises the question of: who would buy one of my shirts??? (Besides the 20 that I've bought, plus the friends and family who've I've guilt-tripped into buying shirts, of course.)

I say that it's a sad day because it means that somebody, somewhere, is buying shirts like this:

Baby Daddy shirt

or this:

My shirt speaks for me because... shirt

or, quite possibly, even this:

Suducku! shirt

And if the people who buy my shirts are anything like me, then my shirts are all that they're wearing... other than socks and a smile. Hey, I gotta be me!

In addition to shirts, Zazzle now allows people to design stamps, shoes, skateboards, ties, hats, bumper stickers... the possibilities are endless for a deranged mind such as myself. So who knows, maybe one day soon I'll be a Zazzle Diamond ProSeller with sales of over $500,000! (But hopefully, people will come to their senses way before that!)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Sweater Song

Every so often I hear an old song in a new way. And so it was that today I heard Weezer's "Undone" - aka, "The Sweater Song" - and it got my mind racing.

For those of you who haven't heard the song (ie, you're over 40 or under 2 years of age), here's the video.

Or, if you're at work and reading this blog post on your phone while on the toilet (don't lie, you know you do it), here are the lyrics to the chorus:

If you want to destroy my sweater (Woah-ah-woah-ah-woah)
Hold this thread as I walk away (As I walk away!)
Watch me unravel, I'll soon be naked.
Lying on the floor, lying on the floor
I've come undone

I used to think that this was a simple song about a person's sweater being slowly undone. I mean, it's Weezer, right? I love the band, but they don't seem overly deep.

But then I thought, "Is the sweater a metaphor for something?"

Like maybe the sweater is warm and comforting, and something that the lead singer would have gotten at Christmas or at a birthday. So unraveling the sweater is like unraveling the happy memories of his life, to leave him "naked" and depressed, ie, "lying on the floor." His mind goes as his "sweater" unravels because he loses touch with all of his old, happy family memories. In this way he's come "undone."

Also, I like to think of the sweater is a Christmas sweater with a bedazzled teddy bear dressed like Santa on it.

So, what event could cause this unraveling? Maybe the song's about a divorce or a breakup, because he basically dares the other person to hold onto the sweater's thread as he walks away. He's choosing to leave and walk away from a comforting, warm, happy existence, but he gives the other person a choice: hold the thread and destroy me, or don't hold the thread and let me keep my visually appealing sweater. Maybe the thread in question is a child which is being fought over in a custody battle, maybe it's all the friends that a couple shares together which would now probably side with just one of them, etc. It's something important and meaningful, although maybe you don't know how important it is until you lose it.

(I've been reading books about how to read literature and novels, if you couldn't tell. I'm looking for imagery everywhere I turn now.)

So that's my metaphysical answer. But then I thought, "Why would he be naked if his sweater is undone? Isn't he wearing a t-shirt, pants and/or underwear?!"

I researched the lyrics, and it just so happens that the last chorus goes like this:

If you want to destroy my sweater. (I don't want to destroy your tank-top.)
Hold this thread as I walk away. (Let's be friends and just walk away.)
Watch me unravel, I'll soon be naked. (Hate to see you lyin' there in your Superman skivvies.)
Lying on the floor, lying on the floor
I've come undone!.....

Undergarments are referenced - tank tops and Superman skivvies. But still, no pants. Kind of weird, although again, this is Weezer, so it's possible that they are just a couple of dudes who like to walk around with just sweaters, tank tops and underoos.

And so... maybe it is just a song about a sweater after all.

Or maybe the Superman skivvies is a metaphor itself! But that's a blog for another day.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hot or Not?

There is one question that has plagued human society ever since the first humanoid stepped foot out of its alien spacecraft:

Am I hot or not?

Today, we learn the answer, and it might surprise you. But before we begin, it's important that we cleanse our minds of the garbage that society tells us is "hot" or "not."

So, just for the moment, forget the commercials for skin cream, foaming face wash and herbal shampoo. Forget about what clothes you wear. Forget about makeup. Forget about the site Hot Or Not. Forget the Victoria's Secret catalog and their famished models. (Actually, let's keep the Victoria's Secret catalog for just a while longer.)

All that you need to determine if you are hot or not is this:

A thermal imaging camera.

We found a thermal imaging camera in the Houston Museum of Natural Science, which we visited this weekend with my brother. The Houston Museum of Natural Science is really great. It has exhibits about space, oil and animals. There are several play areas for the kids - even one that looks like a giant beehive. It even has a beautiful butterfly garden, which our daughter especially loved. But best of all, it has a thermal imaging camera.

Don't know what a thermal imaging camera is? If you've seen the movie Predator then you've seen a thermal imaging camera. It's basically the equivalent of heat vision.

So, back to Hot or Not. My brother walked up to the thermal imaging monitor first, and it registered some blue, green and red areas on him. The red was mostly around his face, and red - as you can guess - indicates hotness. So, according to world class science, my brother is apparently somewhat hot in the nasal / sinus areas.

Betty walked up to it next, and the thermal imaging monitor picked up lots of red areas. Betty, as we already know, is hot.

As for me, I walked up to it several times without registering a single red blip. At first I thought I wasn't standing close enough, so I pulled my brother alongside me to get a comparison reading. Sure enough, his image still showed red, whereas mine was mostly green and blue.

Apparently, according to that judgmental bitch Science, I am not hot.

It may be that the blubber that encapsulates my organs is insulating my inner heat, which makes the thermal imaging monitor show me as cool. Or it may be my cool demeanor. Or it may be the diaper filled with ice that I wear when I'm out and about on a hot summer day, just to cool my loins. Either way, I will have to test out my hotness again the next time I'm around a thermal imaging monitor, which will either be the next time I'm in Houston or the next time I'm being chased by a Predator from out of space.

The Blip Cone

I love Dairy Queen, which for some reason is now called DQ. I suspect that it's for the same reason that Kentucky Fried Chicken is now called KFC. (KFC had to change their name after they were found to no longer be using "chicken." So either DQ no longer uses dairy, or they're not really a queen. You decide!)

So it might be debatable now if Dairy Queen still uses dairy, but one thing is not debatable:

The DQ Blizzard is the greatest human invention, ever. Second to the Blizzard, though, is the dip cone.

And that's where this blog comes in.

We stopped at a DQ right outside of Harris County, TX, on our way to see my brother and sister and their families in Houston. It was there that I started an innocent conversation with a young waitress which blossomed into a metaphysical debate about ice cream with the DQ's manager and assistant manager.

I said they should make a Blizzard Dip Cone. I call it "The Blip Cone." The dip cone part would be optional, but at a minimum they could make it into an ice cream shape and plop it on a cone.

The reason for the Blip Cone, as I explained, is that I think it's easier to eat an ice cream instead of a Blizzard while driving, because I can hold the cone in one hand while holding the steering wheel with the other. If I had the Blizzard in this form then I could enjoy it more.

Their eyes lighted up for a split second, then drooped.

"Can't be done," the assistant manager said. "It wouldn't keep it's shape. We'd have to make them in advance and then freeze them."

"BULLSHIT!" I screamed in my head. I managed to control my actual verbal communication, and instead said, "Have you tried it?" I was hoping they'd make one for me. They looked a little frightened that someone would take their product so seriously, so I added, "The Blizzard maintains its shape when you tilt the cup. Surely it would stay in shape if you made it into an ice cream cone."

The manager shrugged and said, "No, but it can't be done. It's not physically possible. But we could crush up a cone and blend it into a Blizzard for you." I've never wanted to punch a person in the face more than at this moment.

Just kidding. Actually, these guys were pretty cool. I have to hand it to them: they took a suggestion from a customer, actually considered it along with its physical and chemical properties, and explained to me in detail why it wouldn't work. These guys are much too smart to be working at DQ.

Of course, everything that they explained could be complete horse crap, and it's very possible that you could see a "Blip Cone" in the near future. After all, they did say that they would contact their corporate headquarters about the idea. So if comes into fruition, I will be rich after suing the bejeezus out of DQ - unless they name it after me: Bob's Blip Cone.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Cow Appreciation Day

Friday is Cow Appreciation Day at Chic-fil-a, or what I refer to as "Dress Like a Cow Day." If you dress up like a cow, you get a free meal. If you "chicken out" (see what I did there???) and just wear some cow-rific accessories, they'll give you a free entree.

Betty took the kids to Lafayette for the day so when I got home I had a long To Do list and all afternoon to finish it. It wasn't all bad - one of the items was "Find cow outfit for Dress Like a Cow Day." Easy enough!

Except, it wasn't. I can't find my cow outfit. I'm seriously like a bull in a China shop right now. I'm going berserk, and tearing the house up looking for it. My cow outfit is not just any $15 Halloween outfit that I got at Wal-mart - it's an extension of myself. I've worn that thing everywhere: to DZ sorority parties back in my glorious college days, to New Orleans where I wear another shirt over my cow outfit and flash my udders at old people and foreigners for laughs... I've even worn it to work a few times.

In college I took an animal psychology class. Don't laugh, it was one of the most interesting classes I've ever taken. And on Halloween, I wore my cow outfit to class. It was hilarious. Then I walked around campus for another three hours until someone from the Reveille (LSU's daily newspaper) noticed me and took a picture.

I'm an attention whore. And the cow outfit is my pimp.

I've done everything else on my To Do list: I've child-proofed the entertainment center, got the present for my nephew's birthday party, finished my book (it was #5 on my To Do list), took care of some bills, unloaded the dishwasher, took out the trash, ate dinner (that was #10 on my list), picked up the Slip N Slide from the back yard, pulled weeds...

(Funny side story about pulling weeds. I was wearing some old soccer shorts from ten years ago, and the elastic is just completely gone from them. So every time I bent over to pick weeds, my shorts fell to my ankles. No lie! Thankfully we have a fence, as otherwise my neighbors would have seen me in my undies, and I usually reserve that for the morning when I walk out to get the newspaper in just my tighty whities and my open, flowing robe.)

All that's left is to find my cow outfit!

Wait - that's not true! I still have to do item #8: Play Fable III for Xbox in my underwear.

I guess I'll just have to print out one of Chic-fil-a's Cow Parts documents, cut it out, and tape it to myself tomorrow. The Great Search for the Cow Outfit will have to wait another day.

The Disney Dilemma

I recently got a comment on one of my earlier blogs about Disney movies, and it got me thinking about similarities between movies - in terms of theme, plot, etc. I was going to categorize them and make a chart out of them, but I got lazy, so instead I'll just list them out.

Mothers, Beware!

Moms get a bad rap in Disney films. They usually die off pretty quickly or are never in the film. If there are mothers, they are usually stepmothers, and they are usually evil, vain bitches who turn their stepdaughters into slaves.

Maybe what makes many Disney characters so endearing is that they manage to do OK in life even without a biological mother. Here is a list of the following characters who have lost their mothers. I'm only listing movies that I've recently seen, so I'm sure that there are more.

Snow White - Lives with her wicked, vain stepmother who dresses her in rags and who tries to have her killed twice (once by the huntsman, and once by eating a poisoned apple and then hoping the dwarfs would bury her). Side note: I'm convinced that the "slave in the mirror" knew that telling the Queen that Snow White was the most beautiful girl in the land would result in the Queen's death.

Cinderella - Lives with her wicked stepmother who dresses her in rags and tries to stop her from marrying the prince by excluding her from going to the ball, locking her in her room when the king's men came to try on glass slippers, and by tripping the king's helper who then breaks the glass slipper.

Belle - Her mother is never mentioned, as far as I know.

Nemo - Nemo's mom, Coral, gets eaten by a barracuda. She at least showed her maternal instincts by fighting to the death for her offspring.

Ariel - I don't remember Ariel's mom ever being mentioned in the Little Mermaid, but her mom, Athena, is crushed by a pirate ship in Little Mermaid III: Ariel's Beginning. Sorry to ruin the surprise for all of you who were about to rush out to rent that movie.

Jasmine - Her mom is never mentioned, as far as I know. But I like to picture her in the same kind of hot outfit that Jasmine wears, only with saggy ta-tas.

Bambi - Bambi's mom gets shot and killed by a hunter. She was probably later eaten, and was probably delicious.

Pinocchio - He doesn't have a mom, although I guess you could call his Fairy Godmother his mom. To me, he characterizes Adam, where Gepetto is God.

Tarzan's mom is found dead along with his dad.

Daddy Dearest?

So, Moms and Disney don't really see eye to eye. That's cool... I'm a dad, so that means that I'm taken care of, right? Not necessarily. Dad's don't really make out too well, either. Here we go again!

Snow White - Her father married the Queen, then died. He was probably killed by the Queen.

Cinderella's dad married a vain, wicked woman whose hair looks like a giant butt. Seriously, her hair looks eerily similar to that Dracula movie that came out in 2000 or so. He also died, and was probably also killed by his wife.

Tiana's dad dies. They show a picture of him in his military uniform, so I'm not sure if he died in battle.

Simba's dad, Mufasa, dies in a stampede.

Tarzan's dad is found dead along with his mom.

There But Not There

Then there are the parents who are alive and well, but are kept separate from their kids.

Sleeping Beauty lives away from her parents for 16 years in an effort to hide her, so that the evil witch's spell (of Aurora's death by spindle) won't come true. But seriously, if you were a witch and could kill someone with a spell, wouldn't you just use your "Level 3 Fire" or "Cholera" spell and end it right then and there?

In Tangled, Rapunzel is taken from her parents (who have no lines in the movie, but still show a lot of emotion - the power of CGI!) for 16 years. Rapunzel thinks that her wicked, vain woman who captures her and locks her away is really her mother.

Peter Pan opts to leave his parents at an early age, then encourages other kids - like Wendy and co - to leave theirs as well. If he's not able to lure kids away by telling them that they won't have to take orders from their parents anymore, he can just show off Tinkerbell in her hot little leaf-dress... I think most boys would be swayed with a little fairy tang.

Only Children

The main character in Disney films generally doesn't have brothers or sisters, unless they're step-siblings. I could name them, but this blog has gotten long enough already. But think about how much fun they could have with a character who is a middle child, like me, who sits around all day thinking of how Disney movies are similar in theme, plot, and characterization?

Who's to Blame?

Do I blame Disney for the lack of strong parental characters in their movies? Not really. Disney bases their movies on stories and fairy tales, and compared to those other stories, Disney movies are heavily sanitized. Instead, I blame the Brothers Grimm and other folk tale writers / historians, for writing down such memorable stories and sharing them with the world.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

An American Trilogy

Elvis had his American Trilogy...

and I have my own. You see, seven years ago, Betty and I got married.

That's right: we celebrated our country's Independence Day by becoming codependent.

So in honor of the Fourth of July and also to my beautiful wife on our anniversary, I'm writing this blog to the structure of Elvis's "An American Trilogy."


Look away, Dixieland... look away. Because right around the time that our story begins, I'm wearing an Hawaiian shirt, a big grass hat I got at Carlos and Charlie's in Cozumel on my senior trip, a grass skirt, flip flops and the Union Jack underwear from the movie Austin Powers. And for some reason, one of the girls at a party I'm hosting at my apartment on the south gates of LSU's campus accepts my offer to go on the Slip N Slide.

It was a fraternity / sorority exchange with my fraternity (FIJI) and Betty's sorority (DZ). This particular exchange was themed "Wet and Wild," so naturally we had a Slip N Slide. And not just any Slip N Slide - a big one that fits two people. I now know the difference, having recently bought a Slid N Slide to recreate this particular festivus night, and having it only be big enough for one person to slide down at a time.

Anyway, it was a 3.5 hour party, but my brother - who was also my roommate - took the first 30 minute shift at the party. (We decided to take shifts in order for someone to watch our apartment. Wet and Wild parties are known to destroy couches, beds, carpets, rugs and relationships.) My brother's "30 minute" shift actually lasted 3 hours, which gave me hardly any time to enjoy the party, throw water balloons at my fraternity brothers who were trying to hook up, and find a date to the LSU football game that weekend.

We lived on the second floor of our apartment, and I met Betty on the way down the stairs. She was talking with another girl, but I only had eyes for her. At this point in the story, I like to say that she was staring at my Austin Powers undies, which fit like Speedos, but she would prefer me to say that she had locked eyes with me and that I was entrapped by her beauty (which I was). I, having no game whatsoever, simply said, "Hey baby, wanna go on the Slip N Slide?" And since she had been drinking our punch, which I had made that night (the contents of which I will never divulge, except to say that we put gummy worms in it), she said, "Yes!"

We slid down the Slip N Slide together. When we reached the end of our watery slide down my back yard, I promptly sat on her, held her head to the wet ground, and said that I wouldn't let her up unless she agreed to go to the upcoming LSU football game with me. Because she was either tipsy or needed air, she agreed.

It was love at first slide.

All My Trials

The lyrics to the song "All My Trials" are pretty grim, and I find no convergence with those lyrics and my life except for "Hush little baby, don't you cry." I've sung those lyrics to my kids, going from Mockingbird to Diamond Ring, then I always have to make something up because I don't know what comes after Diamond Ring. I mean, who buys a baby a diamond ring, anyway?

Since this section is called "All My Trials," I'll tell you about the hardest part of being a dad.

Our daughter, Anne, was born in 2008. She's the light of my life. I can't imagine what life was like before her. And my son, Peter, is a stud.

With Anne, it was hard to leave her after she was born that first day that I went back to work. I remember standing over her bed, looking at her, and just welling up with tears. She was so beautiful, and I was so sad to leave her. Every day after that got a little easier, but that first day was very tough. I was in a bad mood all day. People at work came by to congratulate me and I accepted with a gruff demeanor. I missed my baby!

The hardest part with Peter was when he was in the NICU for a very high fever. That was last year on mine and Betty's anniversary. The doctors and nurses were wonderful, and we're thankful that Peter was OK. But being around the other families in the NICU made me so thankful to have two healthy children.

The Battle Hymn of the Republic

Betty and I dated for three years before we got engaged. We were engaged for the better part of a year. And we've been married for seven. So that's 11 years together. The fact that she hasn't killed me yet either means that she really loves me or that she's waiting for me to get better life insurance coverage.

I was originally going to propose in Brazil. We were planning a trip down there to see Betty's uncle for New Year's, and in Brazil they celebrate the new year by wearing all white and running into the ocean. I had planned on proposing on the beach, although I had no idea how I was going to get the ring down there without her knowing. (Plus I didn't have a ring at that time.) The brilliant part of this plan was that we could then go back to Brazil every few years to relive our engagement.

Our Brazil plans fell apart, so I did the next best thing: I forced Betty to say yes by proposing to her in front of my family during Thanksgiving. I led the Thanksgiving prayer, and in the middle of it, said that I was thankful for Betty, got down on one knee, and asked her to marry me. And when she said yes, I yelled, "Amen!"

Glory, Glory, Hallelujah!

Happy anniversary, Betty! I love you!

Happy 4th of July, everyone! Thank you to everyone who has fought for our freedom. We do not take it for granted.