Archive for October, 2011

Dear Bro. & Co.,

     As you know, we don’t celebrate Halloween, but I did get this bright idea to create “Monster Mash Potatoes” here awhile back; that said, some of the ghoulish gag wear did come in handy.  So in the spirit of having fun and messing with my kids, I created this:

     Just so ya know, it takes a sizable clump of potatoes to be able to hold those folding teeth in place.  My first attempt, the teeth kept expanding till reaching the full open position effectively looking like the smallest, dinkiest cheap neon plastic bear trap in a dirty snowball.  (I guess it’d be good for catching gummy bears or little red cinnamon bears – I love those!!)  🙂 The eyes?? – Apple Jacks set over smothering of root beer flavored ice cream syrup.  You should have seen the kids faces. 

     Of course, the best part came when Mathias eagerly stuffed a big ol’ bite of the Monster Mash Potatoes in his yap.  The poor kid must have the most sensitive gag reflex on the planet.  Thankfully he made it to the bathroom to spit it out – with my blessing of course.  I can’t have anyone hwarfing on my purple carpet ya know. 

     …..speaking of monsters, I’ve been fighting off a monster sinus infection this last week.  One thing I do is drink lots of liquids to purge my systems…. and it works.   Of course, this means several trips to “the facilities” during the course of the day…. and the night. 

     I’ve developed some habits the last few years: 

  1. I sit down at night to keep things clean – aim and coordination aren’t always best when dazed and sleepy.
  2. Living in a small house with a small bathroom, I tend to lean forward and rest my arm and head on the sink – this is good when either tired or doubled over in pain (or as Amanda might put it, “My stomach hates my guts!!”)

     … where is all this leading?  Strangely and sadly, I fell asleep on the toilet.  Not for a second, or a minute; not a doze or a nap – I’m talking out cold, dreaming asleep.  How do I know I was there a long time?  A couple of clues:  1.  A dream where I was driving an old truck with an uncomfortable seat and a flat tire.  2.  I remembered glancing at the clock on the way to the bathroom (0700 AM), it was 0741 AM by the time I made it back. 

     There are some definite drawbacks to sleeping on the toilet – I can’t honestly recommend it.  First, it’s not near as comfortable as the bed and apparently it doesn’t enhance or improve your dreams any; in fact, quite the opposite – I hate flat tires.  It gets worse; much worse…..

     After I had fallen asleep, apparently my behind, my legs, and the arm I was resting on decided to follow suit.  I couldn’t move!   I couldn’t have yelled or knocked loud enough to wake Amanda without waking the kids as well.  Not to mention, I wasn’t too sure I wanted Amanda, my beautiful Bride to see me in the state/position.  Have mercy!!  What to do??  I decided to get my dead arm awakened – then I would use my arms to pull up on the sink to lift myself off my dunce seat.  I found out another drawback to falling asleep on the commode.  Apparently, I had sat there long enough to have effectively suctioned and sealed myself to the seat.  I was still stuck.  I can only imagine ripping your back side off the commode is like getting a very sensitive wax job.  What I know for sure is that you’ll make a face like this:

in the mirror.  Thankfully I didn’t plunge the toilet or myself in the process.

     …..speaking of “getting up offa that thing”.  I was delighted to learn at our last visit that Hannah has the same passion and fervor for dance that I do.  I’ve never been very good, mind you, but I enjoy the thrill that comes with cutting a rug – hopefully Kiara and I didn’t warp your downstairs ceiling too bad.  My style of dance is derived from heirtage, lineage, and a love for funk fusion frop and bebop; which means that I use a mixture of clogging, rain dancing, and Bill Cosby-esque “Dance on yer face moves”.  The only one that has a good flow of rhythm is my Choctaw Tomahawk – chop pogo style bop.

     One of my favorite performers over the years has been James Brown – the Godfather of Soul and funk pioneer extraordinaire!!  R.I.P.  Not only did I enjoy his music – that dude could dance!  They called him the hardest working man in showbusiness, and by watching the guy move around the stage – I believe it. 

     I recently discovered part of the Funkmaster’s secret…… Corns!!  That’s right, James Brown had corns on his feet!!!  Actually only on one of them, hence the song, “On the Good Foot”.  Poor guy, he had more kernals than Sander’s has restaurants.

     Looking back, you can see the drastic change in style from the crooning and light rock ballads of the late 50’s and early 60’s such as “Try Me”, “Please, Please, Please”,  and “It’s a Man’s World” to “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” and “I feel Good”.  – Funk jive hits of the late sixties and early seventy’s.  The guy couldn’t stand still singing on those corns, he had to keep moving.  With all the grunts, moans, and screams – you can tell, this guy was in some real pain.  JB was a dynamic performer and a genius – he built a musical platform that allowed him to incorporate those exclamations of agony into groovy musical nuances.  His pain, our gain!!

     Not just “On the Good Foot”; many of Brown’s hits were inspired by the problems he had with his corns:  “Super Bad”, “Get Up Offa that Thing”, “Mother Popcorn” (originally “Mother *****!  I Popped a Corn!”), “I Got the Feelin'” (this is gonna hurt), and of course the one that gave the music genre its name – “Make it Funky” originally:

     A few years before he died, JB started having some of those corns removed – even though he was still the hardest working man in showbiz, he wasn’t touring as much as he used to.  Oddly enough, his last wife, Hanni, saved the shavings.   So…..Great news!!  I know Hannah is too young to grow corns of her own, so I bought her one of James Brown’s!!  Given my financial state, I wasn’t able to afford one of the bronzed or gold dipped ones.  Sorry 😦

     If  Hannah is already a great dancer, she can just frame it and display it on the wall.  If she is rhythmically challenged like me…..tell her to just drop this puppy in her shoe and feel the funk!!  It really works!

Safe at Home

Dear Bro and Co.,

     Recently, Amanda bought these new air fresheners.  They hang on the wall and dispense their potpourri magic every 26 minutes or by motion detection (i.e. if you get too close).  So, every work day for the last couple of weeks when I get up for work at 0400 and trudge down the hall in a zombie-like haze, I get assaulted by this blasted fragrance fogger.  Not only do I get covered with “fresh linen” residue; I get the wits scared out of me.  I’ve actually swung wildly a couple of times, forgetting what it is that’s attacking me.   One of these days – I won’t miss.

     …..Speaking of being safe at home – with the baseball playoffs going on (I actually pay attention during the postseason); I was recently reminded of one of my most vivid sports memories: the time that Pete Rose ran into and over the catcher at home plate, effectively dislodging the ball from the catcher’s hand and turning the catcher into a grease spot at the same time. The result, of course, was that Rose was SAFE at home!!!

      “Radical!!!” I thought. Baseball actually looked fun. Combining baseball with football……now we’re talking. I decided to try it the next time we played baseball in P.E. I wasn’t very good at baseball; for once I was looking forward to it.

       First at bat, I struck out…..too anxoiuos I guess. Second, I popped one up and they caught it. Third time at the plate was a charm…..CRACK….it was a hard grounder toward shortstop. I was running as fast as I could. On first base stood an obnoxious kid named Roger – he had this coming! 🙂

       Boy was he surprised! Didn’t know what hit him or why. Nevermind that I had just broken another pair of glasses – I WAS SAFE! I knocked the ball loose and the kid silly, just like Pete Rose had done! Awesome!!!!  ……..until Mrs. Penske got ahold of me that is. I went from beaming with pride to crying inside:

       ……maybe a little on the outside too. That P.E. teacher was livid. Turns out that you’re not allowed to run over the first baseman in baseball. Also, you’re not allowed to run over anyone in grade school P.E. class. The double whammy?!!!!  ……I got in trouble at home for breaking my glasses.  Baseball stinks!!!

      Home safety… I’ve devised a plan to put up signs in certain areas of the house to warn of potential hazards. Starting in Mathias’ room – my wonderful son has the not-so-wonderful habit of shedding his socks during the night, forgetting about them, leaving mounds of foot funk in the tornado of sheets at the foot of his bed. Of course he denies doing it; and of course he runs out of socks every two weeks. The other theory is a diabolical sock monkey.



      Kiara keeps a zoo full of critters in her bed to snuggle and play with at night. It usually requires a box for all the stuffed animals and plastic pets when changing her sheets. Of course the big fear is that one day you’ll reach down and find a real bear or rattler. HAVE MERCY! I think we’ll limit her to two bedtime buddies-no snakes, no diabolical monkeys.





       I’ve been told that when I’m really tired I snore loud enough to shake the roof off. Although it’s probably true, I’m still gonna deny it. I can’t pawn it off on Amanda; that would be  trouble. I’m gonna have to go with sock monkey on this one. 



           This one was unanimous – we all agreed. Sorry sock monkey. We feel bad dumping all the blame on you. : )

            Of course there is no place like Mom and Dad’s for an obstacle course of potential hazards. Aaaah nostalgia! It always takes me back – to a simpler time when Mom would tell us not to do stuff, you would immediately do it anyway – almost die; and I would be scared poopless.

            At times it was like living with Bobby Boucher’s mamma off  the Waterboy movie; but instead of, “It’s da Devil!” we usually heard, “Do this; or don’t do this and you’ll die!” And to a degree, on most everything Mama was right. Of course the big one was drinking – you did almost die a couple of times. Then there was, “Don’t go anywhere without calling me first!” Sure enough, you did it and fell into a pit of boiling water. I developed two things at an early age: 1) a strong prayer life – you were my brother and my best friend; I knew that God was the only one who could save you from yourself; 2) great respect for the things that Mama said, especially the ones that might kill me.

           For the most part Mom kept the menu simple – she stuck to the half-dozen or so dishes that she was good at cooking. That was always appreciated. On occasion though, she would break from the staples of mainstream foods and vegetables, deciding we needed some rare or exotic vitamin or nutrient, and fix some heinously disgusting vegetable in a heinously disgusting way. While other kids’ moms would have fed them some campy line about being strong like Popeye; our Mom gave us the cold harsh reality:

           Ultimately, she told the truth.  Me, being a kid, I thought in the short-term like overnight or next week – that was a long time back then. (In fairness and understanding to Mom – I think I’ve told our kids much worse to get them to eat certain foods.)

             The absolute worst was boiled okra in stewed tomatos – YUCK!!! I reluctantly gagged down the minimum portion, promptly excused myself, and went to my room to start praying for you and your colon.

            I could be wrong but I think you were still at the table when I got up for breakfast the next morning.

             … so when we took the kids over to Mom and Dad’s a couple weeks ago – Mom immediately started through the checklist of all the things that could be fatal. And, as the kids gazed up at her with eyes big and mouths gaped open in fear and wonder…. I couldn’t help but smile.

              There’s something safe and comforting in seeing our parents again. Even though we’re carving out our own lives with separate houses and such; there is a warm blessed feeling and sense of security and love when we go home – whether it be Mom and Dad’s or Troy and Janie’s. Even when a visit doesn’t go as smoothly or pleasant as we might want, it’s still good to go “home.”

                    …Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing.

                    Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him and bless His name.    -Psalm 100: 2, 4

              And so it is, all the more so, when entering into our Heavenly Home; whether by prayer and supplication before the throne of grace or our final destination when we have finished this race. Our Love, our Hope, our Strength, our Comfort, our Salvation, our Treasure is in Heaven.

                   For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

                    Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord.    – Romans 8: 38, 39

           Satan is a fool and a liar. He’s trying to keep us from going home and though he says he can, he can not.

                    …The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and He shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, “Destroy them.”                                                                                 – Deuteronomy 33:27

           So, as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 9:24 – don’t trot, jog, or gallop; run to win!





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