Saturday, January 28, 2012

Chicken Update

Name: PipSqueak
Hatched: 1-20-12
Family: 1st of 6 to hatch (sibs: Black-Jack, Poppy, Leo, Baldy, Calimero)
Personality: Has "small chick" complex, acts tough in the brood
First Peep: Usually about 5:45am
Endearing Characteristics: Has fuzzy feet, thinks I'm his mother
Annoying Characteristic: Pecks my wedding ring, stands in the food dish

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


So if you throw a football straight up to an impressive height, it is deceptively difficult to catch on its way down. I'm no aerospace engineer and cannot explain why this is, but I have witnessed the phenomenon many times; the empirical evidence is strong.*

Last summer, I was horsing around with my kids in the yard and I nonchalantly mentioned that if they could catch my "high-ball" we could get a pet cow. Not realizing the difficulty of the task, they sensed an easy victory. I played along, told them they could take turns riding it to school. Their imaginations ignited and I could see wild dreams forming in their naive little brains.

Anyway, I chucked a wobbler straight up as high as I could, marveled momentarily at how weak my arm had become since I had last attempted such a feat, worried for an instant that the ball would smack one of my kids in the face when they tried to catch it, and then began to panic when I realized that my unimpressive throw was looking very catchable.

Sure enough, my 6-year old trapped it between his right shoulder and his ear, with his left hand on the ball, and the celebration was on. Absolute bedlam for about 30 minutes. I sat quietly in the grass and contemplated loop holes in my offer.  They categorically refused my "double-or-nothing" gambit.

Now, I always make a big deal to the little brats about the importance of keeping your word, so I knew I was in a tough spot. No way the wife was going to allow me to bring home a pet cow. I tried a few buy-out offers with ice cream and other treats, but the kids knew they had me over a barrel and they weren't about to go for anything less than a substantial pet.

I bided my time throughout the fall, tested the waters here and there to see if their resolve had weakened, and eventually, my opportunity came. Following a school project, they became very excited about the prospect of incubating eggs and hatching chicks. I feigned agreement, pretending to consider the idea until they were quivering with joy. Then, I changed my tone and informed them that I could only agree to such a project under one condition: the chicks would have to replace the cow-debt on the family balance sheet.

By this time, they had become too emotionally invested in the prospect of chicks to refuse my terms and we struck the deal. The wife was a good sport and did all of the research on incubators, found a source of fertilized eggs, and secured an arrangement at a local farm that would adopt the chicks after we brooded them for a few weeks.

They're supposed to hatch after 18-21 days in the incubator. Tomorrow is day 19. There have been reports of pecking sounds from a couple of the eggs, and the kids are positively giddy.

Guess they'll never know the joy of riding a cow to school.
* Imaginary Reader Dan can attest.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Holy Crap!

Contributed by Auggie
What do Tim Tebow and Kim Kardashian have in common? Not much really. They’re not exactly neighbors on the moral spectrum but they are members of the same club; the one where people are famous just for being famous. How else to explain the amount of publicity they each receive?

We all know about the power of the media; it can considerably influence public perception from politics, to news, to sports and entertainment, and it can create a story out of thin air and beat us over the head with it until we are begging for mercy. TT and KK simply represent two recent examples of said power. I defy anyone to correlate the magnitude of publicity these individuals receive with commensurate accomplishments. You can’t.

Not that any harm is being inflicted. These examples are relatively innocuous save for the extreme annoyance they cause curmudgeons like me. At least with Kardashian I can ignore the hyperbole - and believe me I do. Unless for example I’m casually flipping through a copy of US Weekly in the checkout line and inadvertently happen upon her Aruba beach pictures. Which has never happened by the way. No, really. Forget it, let’s move on. With Tebow on the other hand it’s difficult for me to ignore the hype. You see, as a sports fan I occasionally (some would say often) tune into sports programs with the sole intent of seeing what’s happening in the wide world of sports. Regrettably, to get a few nuggets of real sports news once must first endure an extended ceremony of grown men and women drooling on themselves as they wax poetic about the great Tim Tebow. It was cute for the first 600 hours but now it’s embarrassing. I wish I had a hot line to the producers responsible for this nauseating display of blabber so I could offer some customer feedback. I’ll have to settle for this blog.

Before anyone takes me up on the challenge of explaining Tebow’s popularity, let me first debunk a few notions you may be considering: A) Is it his religious views? Can’t be. Half the NFL players share his views and after every game there is a prayer circle at the center of the field with players from each team participating. B) Is it his unorthodox, run-first style of playing QB? Please. Many QB’s have relied on their legs more than their arms dating way back to Bobby Douglass and more recently Kordell Stewart. They couldn’t complete a forward pass either. C) Is it his charity work? Again, a majority of NFL players give back to communities and organizations around the world, and many don’t even seek publicity for it. D) It must be his spectacular comebacks right? Not so. The hype started long before his first comeback in Miami and has continued despite three straight losses.

As a final exercise, let’s compare Tebow to Cam Newton. For you casual fans who haven’t heard of Newton he is a rookie QB for the Carolina Panthers, and the reason you haven’t heard of him is that he receives a fraction of the attention Tebow gets. But like Tebow, Cam Newton lead his college team to a national championship, won the Heisman trophy, is an electrifying runner, and is a charismatic leader who connects with people. Where Newton differs is that he has already accomplished much more in his rookie season than Tebow has in 2 years; Cam set an all-time rushing record for QBs breaking Steve Grogan’s 30+ year old record (bummer), he has set a rookie record for passing yards and become the first rookie ever to throw for over 4,000 yards in a season. These are accomplishments the pundits thought impossible due to the lock-out which eliminated all rookie camps and opportunities to work with team coaches. Amazing. If Tebow had accomplished this he would already be running for president of the United States and would be the Pope to boot.

There is no plausible explanation other than the media has adopted him as the chosen one. The publicity tends to expand like a chain reaction: attention begets more attention which leads to more attention which leads to exclusives and profiles and documentaries and on and on. Eventually, any responsible media outlet has to talk about him because in their own words “he’s the biggest story”, even though no one knows why. Except that he’s the chosen one