martes, noviembre 29, 2005

Godfather of the munchkin mafia

As a father of two, I have made several trips to that rockin’ rat’s pizza paradise, Charles E. Cheese’s. Today, we went again. As luck would have it, Alex’s school had a fund-raiser there tonight. The wascally wodent dazzled them at an assembly, then they were given stickers and a quick brainwashing and sent off to assault us parents with an endless barrage of “We want to go to Chuck E. Cheese! We want to go to Chuck E. Cheese! We want to go to Chuck E. Cheese! We want to go to Chuck E. Cheese! We want to go to Chuck E. Cheese!” (then repeated several times)

Emily was more than happy to go, as she has been saving her ticket receipts since shortly after conception. Now don’t get me wrong, little plastic lizards or sticker strips can be charming and all, but she realized a while back that the nicer prizes cost more than the number of tickets you can score in a single visit. Every time she goes, shes uses her tokens to score tickets, gets her receipt, and then skips the redemption booth (which sounds like something the Catholics could use to get people back) altogether. 40 tickets here, 50 there, and suddenly she winds up with 629 (oh, and lots of extra tokens).

Now, let me throw in a little aside here. There are times when, as a parent, you feel that certain lessons have to be taught. When your kid shows that they are ready to learn something, you go with it. Cleaning rooms, keeping organized, being punctual … (I’ll get to those eventually). In this case, Emily was on to something with the notion of saving. My dad instinct kicked in, and I decided that I was going to foster and encourage this.

Emily’s been saving, and today she wanted to cash in. She set her sights on a 1000 ticket prize – a spinning lighted disco ball. We ordered our food and some tokens, and then found a table. I got into Don Provolone mode, dishing out tokens and pizza slices and collecting tickets like a godfather collecting tributes and distributing favors, just without the pinky ring. Alex was all about the ticket collecting today as well, and before Emily had rustled up her first 90 tickets he already had a 100. Noting her goal – and his want of having the disco ball around, I mediated a deal that neither could refuse. Alex would sell Emily his tickets; she would agree to lend him the ball on occasion. With that, they were off.

By night’s end, they got their tickets and got the disco ball and were both very happy … until they had to live up to their end of the bargain I struck with them before we left. At least the disco ball provided interesting lighting for hamster-cage cleaning.

So afterwards, I got to thinking about my day. I got the kids to cooperate, have fun, learn a lesson about sharing and saving, and clean up the cages. All that was good. Then I realized that at 4.5 tickets per token and 5.33 tokens per dollar, that stupid disco ball cost me $41.67. Also, we spent two and a half hours at Charles E. Cheese’s. It was a very unrelaxing evening with 50 screaming kids and bad pizza. Earlier in the day I had to go to court and get a root canal (two separate errands – I didn’t get a root canal in the courtroom) (although that creates an interesting visual ... “Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? If so, say, ‘Aaaaah.’”).

I took the day off from work today. Now I’m left feeling like I need a day off.

viernes, noviembre 25, 2005


The city of Baltimore, Maryland, is in the news today. The Museum of Oddities is scheduled to close this year. They cite lack of funding, but I think part of the problem is that they picked the wrong city in which to open this particular attraction. After all, why pay to see oddities in a museum when you have oddities of this caliber available for free?

Law and disorder

Ripped from the headlines ...

All this chase was missing was a white Bronco ... and notice what the guy was wearing?

I truly doubt the judge can impose a sentence any worse than what this guy has already been through.

They've been building a case against this guy one little plastic brick at a time.

Talk about your commuting headaches ...

I've blamed my commute for many a headache in my time, but it's never been quite this bad for me.

martes, noviembre 15, 2005

Poetry Corner

Aiden, Alaska Jen's son, just turned 6 months old and is now ready to tackle some of the more complicated foods ... like mush. The weaning process can be difficult for both mother and baby (although it's much easier at six months than six years), and Alaska Jen did confess to some difficulty.

In the past I have turned one of her issues into a haiku. This time she asked me not to do that.

So, without further ado, here is the weaning limerick:

Weaning baby, said Jen, off the breast
Gives the girls a much needed rest.
But they hurt such like hell
That I just might as well
Staple cantaloupes onto my chest.

So her real line was "safety pin", but that doesn't fit well.

Happy Birthday Ms N!

Just think ... some day this just might be us:

(By which I mean that through the many, many years ahead we might always find ways to make each other happy; not that you might somehow turn into an old wrinkled waspy woman.)

(And don't take anything from the guy being on his knees - it's a gesture!)

I love you. Thank you for this wonderful year we've had, and thank you for the wonderful years we will have.

Happy Birthday

And congratulations on the Big Three-Eh!