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Dogs: Like Refrigerators, Almost

When I was eight, my family got a dog. It was a passive acquisition—a cocker spaniel puppy showed up in our back yard one day and then stuck around for thirteen years. His name was Randy.

There were numerous vacant lots scattered around our neighborhood. This was in Florida, which meant those lots were thick with trees and underbrush. They were perfect places to take Randy on his walks and let him nose around and do his biological duties. And we didn’t bother picking up after him. Poop in the woods seemed a pretty reasonable natural occurrence.

One of the lots he frequented, just down the street from us, was eventually cleared for a new house. So he started occasionally doing his business in the adjacent lot. This displeased the new homeowner, whose name was Hank. Hank was probably middle-aged; I was a preteen, so I only remember that he had gray hair and he was big. Hank didn’t like Randy using that lot (to which he had no claim of ownership) for defecatory purposes, and so he started turning his hose on me or my older brother if we ever ventured over there with Randy while he was outside. That action wasn’t preceded by a verbal warning, by the way; one day I was minding my own business, holding my dog’s leash while he sniffed around, and the next thing I knew, an old guy was wordlessly spraying me with his garden hose from about twenty feet away.

Needless to say, Hank died a few years later of a heart attack, and long after he was gone Randy was still shitting in the vacant lot next to his home.

Karma: 1

Hank: 0

 

My daughter has always displayed an ability to entertain herself with a variety of projects and interests. Give her some scissors, tape, glue, staples, paper, and maybe even some fabric she shouldn’t be cutting, and she can make a huge mess. But out of those messes are usually born clever creations focused on her latest obsession. These have included dragons, owls, yard sales, crocheting, Harry Potter, lizards, dogs, N’Sync (I know), and bake sales. She’s a Renaissance girl. Also a hoarder.

My son, on the other hand, worried me for the last few years with his reliance on electronics for stimulation. If he wasn’t on the computer or playing the Wii or DS, he was sooo booooooooored. Was I going to have a kid who didn’t like physical activity or imaginative play, who just sat around in front of a screen getting dumber every day? I listen to NPR and read literary fiction—this wasn’t supposed to happen to me.

Fortunately, that phase passed. Legos, basketball, and science kits are now a part of his arsenal, and I couldn’t be happier.

 

My own little family recently added a new member. He’s a German Shepherd/Labrador mix, our first dog. We call him Dexter.

I’m trying to be a responsible pet owner. I take him on daily walks. I brush his coat regularly and I give him baths. If it’s too early or too late and he’s barking outside, I bring him in and we have a frank discussion about the importance of courtesy.

I also pick up his crap. I’m thirty-three years old, and for the first time in my life I’m literally handling poop. This is far different from changing diapers; that was wiping, not picking up the stool with a thin plastic bag and carrying it for several blocks until I pass a dumpster.

It’s been a few months of this, so I mostly don’t dry heave anymore when performing this chore. Instead I just try to count the number of chewed up Lego pieces visible in his offering.

But my constitution was tested again the other day when he did his business at the dog park. Because what came out of his butt looked frighteningly like Jello. As in, there was normal poop, and then on top of that was about a cup’s worth of wobbly yellow gelatin. Fully set, like it were straight from the fridge. I did not enjoy being a responsible dog owner at that moment.

The mystery of the poop wasn’t explained until that evening when I was at work. I received this text from my wife:

So the jello poop was because Dex ate gelatin from Noah’s science experiment kit.

 

I’m thirty-three years old; I have a dog; and Legos, basketball, and science kits are now a part of my son’s arsenal. I think this is what it means to be a happy adult.

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More Hateful Than You: The Sad Candidacy of Rick Santorum

Straight men have always been able to agree about one thing when it comes to homosexuality: two attractive women kissing = awesome.

Beyond that, though, we haven’t historically been able to claim, as a community, the most open-minded stances about same-sex attraction.

Fortunately, our attitudes seem to be trending in the right direction. More and more of us understand that it’s not a choice. We believe everyone deserves to experience romantic love, no matter who it’s with. We realize that speaking of ‘sexual preference’ is as silly as saying “My preference is to breathe air instead of water.” And even if we’re not 100% comfortable with gay affection of the non-hot-lesbian variety, we can recognize that that’s our problem and not theirs.

But it’s not all peaches and designer sunglasses just yet.

Some rich white men have been in the news lately because they’re competing for the Republican nomination for the Presidency. Among them is Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania Senator and presently committed homophobe. When he’s not obsessing over gay sex, suggesting that women impregnated by rapists should “make the best out of a bad situation,” or warning of “the dangers of contraception in this country” (even for married couples), Mr. Santorum runs on a platform of, um… hmmmm.

He might have opinions about actual governance, but it doesn’t even matter what else he claims to stand for. His hateful and ignorant ideas about human sexuality are all you need to know about him. Even if he had a plan to end unemployment, reform our educational system, and fuel our vehicles with the Holy Spirit, those still don’t balance out his considerable negatives. Supporting him is akin to saying, “Yeah, I know he’s a horrible racist and he wants to outlaw vaccinations for children, but I really like his take on the deficit.”

Sadly, he does have his supporters. No, he doesn’t stand a chance of winning the nomination—Mitt “Metro Man” Romney and Newt “Newt” Gingrich are the only horses in that race—but the fact that he’s even sputtering a distant third suggests there’s still plenty of prejudice to go around.

That will continue to change, over time, but it’s going to require the voice of real men. So, for you the Patriot, I offer a briefly amended 2012 political goal:

1. Vote.

a. Don’t vote for Rick Santorum.

b. Do something “gay”—wear a bright color, buy some facial moisturizer, whatever—and if some Neanderthal makes a snide comment, call him on it. Tell him someone you love is gay (which is true, even if you don’t know who) and you don’t appreciate his ignorance.

c. If he seems unrepentant, invite him to have sex with himself. Or kill himself. Either works.

Michael McDonald: When Democracy Fails

In November, you’re going to be faced with a decision: will you vote for Barack Hussein Obama to serve a second Presidential term, or will you vote for Mitt D.A.R.Y.L Romney* to begin occupying the Oval Office in 2013?

*Reports suggest something called a “newt gingrich” might also be an option.

You might find that reality as appetizing as choosing between the hot dog or the taquito at a gas station. You might bemoan a political process that churns out candidates who only seem to represent special interests. You might, if you live in certain states, even resent that the Electoral College process makes you feel like you’re throwing away your vote.

Those are all reasonable gripes about the state of politics today.

But they are absolutely unacceptable reasons for refusing to vote.

There are in the neighborhood of 220 million eligible voters in the United States. In 2008, when the Obama/Palin dynamic was generating “historic” interest in the election—A black guy could be President! We did it; racism is solved! Or a woman could be Vice President! We did it; she’s way hotter than that lady in the 80s!—voter turnout only ended up around 62%. And those youth voters (ages 18-29) who were going to make a statement this time around? Only about 52% of their demographic showed up. In all, roughly 80-85 million Americans with voting eligibility decided they had better things to do on a Tuesday afternoon than exercise a right that millions of our forefathers gave their lives to preserve. No biggie, right?

Well, here’s what happens when a large segment of a voting population gives up its right to vote:

Let’s say you work in an office of 100 employees, all of you plugging away in your little cubicles. The boss is a tool, but he tries to promote employee morale with small gestures like the occasional gift cards or themed dress-up days. It’s not enough to make you not want staple your resignation letter to his forehead, but at least it occasionally breaks up the tedium.

One day the boss announces that management has decided to start playing music in the lunchroom, and will all employees please submit an email to HR indicating their musical preferences? Whatever, you think. I’ll get to it if I have time.

Twelve of your coworkers are very excited about this announcement, because they love Michael McDonald.

In fact, they love him so much that they meet up every Thursday at one of their homes to listen to his music and critically discuss his beard and leisure suits. They’re a weird group. But nobody else in the office shares their strange obsession, so you’re not worried about a future of ‘Yah Moh B There’ during your lunch breaks.

Then you see a company-wide email from the boss about a week later: The people have spoken and Michael McDonald it is! What the f***??!!

Turns out a lot of your peers did the same thing you did—they didn’t bother responding to the email because they were busy, and besides, they didn’t have real strong feelings about it anyway. In fact, out of 100 employees, only 25 sent their suggestions to HR. Thirteen of them sent a variety of lukewarm ideas; the other twelve not only sent their emails to HR, but they also created a PowerPoint presentation for the boss that passionately detailed the merits of Michael McDonald’s music.

And because of the apathy of many, the voice of a wacky few suddenly carried far more weight than it should have.

Vote. Or else:

YAH MOH B THERE!

YAH MOH B THERE!

YAH MOH BEEEEEEE THERE!

YAH MOH…..

9 Things A Man’s Soda Says About Him

I was stopped at a red light the other day, the first car in line. Crossing the street directly in front of me was a Hispanic man in his twenties. This is what he wore: black boots, black pants, black t-shirt, black leather jacket, black backpack, black sunglasses. His black hair was slicked back. He did not walk along the crosswalk; he sauntered. He was bad as mierda.

Now, if I told you that El Terminator was also swigging from a liter bottle of soda, and that soda immediately struck me as the most perfect choice for the image he was projecting, what would you think he was drinking?

A) Pepsi

B) Mountain Dew

C) Diet Coke

D) Fresca

Of course the answer is Mountain Dew! Because Mountain Dew says “When I build up a thirst from too much ass-kicking, I quench it with a motherf***ing Dew!” It says, “You can keep your fancy books and your fashion!” It also might say, “You ain’t a cop, are you?”

Everyone knows this.

But it got me thinking, what do other sodas say about a man? Let’s explore a few:

Coke – “I’m a traditionalist. I love America, guns, bald eagles, and car window decals of Calvin pissing on logos. Lee Greenwood’s God Bless the USA makes my eyeballs moist. I will shoot a bald eagle if provoked.”

Pepsi – “I also love America, but let’s not go overboard with it. I’m not sentimental; Grandpa, Princess Whiskers, and Michael Jackson had to go sometime, didn’t they? Aesthetic appeal is important to me. You’re not going to find any clusters of branches on my home’s walls posing as ‘decoration.’ It’s either tasteful wall art or the heads of things I shot.”

Diet Coke/Pepsi – “I’m secure in my masculinity. I’ll even wear a goddamn salmon-colored shirt if I want; what are you gonna do about it? Aspartame-fueled cancer cells are probably growing inside me? Sure, if you want to believe the liberal ‘medical field.’ By the way, I’m addicted to my diet beverage, and I will cut you for it.”

Dr. Pepper – “My palate is so refined that I can discern all 23 flavors in a Dr. Pepper. I find that it pairs well with a pan-seared corn dog and medley of Cool Ranch Pringles.”

Sprite – “I have a stomach ache.”

A&W – “What can I say? I’m a romantic. I love the 4th of July, neighborhood baseball games, and angry letters to the newspaper Op Ed page about immigration. My ex-wife got the house, but I kept the DVD box set of The Wonder Years. My idea of a great date involves a Ferris wheel and wine coolers.”

Fresca – “I wear skinny jeans and Toms. I have a beard. I loved The Tree of Life.”

Monster/Rockstar – “I’m an alcoholic.”

This is delicious! I give it two thumbs u– AAIIIEEEEEE!!!

I don’t understand the people who say that they can’t cook. I really don’t. It seems that you would have to have a learning disability to be unable to cook, and every person I’ve heard make that claim took regular classes in high school. I’m prepared to accept that a few of them may have slipped through the system undiagnosed, but in most cases ability is not the issue.

“I don’t cook” or “I don’t want to cook”—those are different stories. Those are understandable. Cooking means planning and shopping and concentrating and cleaning, none of which are inherently fun to do.

But a man should cook. He doesn’t have to love it so much that he buys the domain name daddysdeliciousdish.com and quits his job, but he should have a few winning meals up his sleeve. Beyond eggs or pancakes. Brinner is wonderful, but that alone won’t cut it.

So here’s a 2012 resolution for the culinarily challenged: Learn to cook five main dishes. Don’t worry about appetizers or breads or desserts; just crank out five entrees at some point this year, and I promise you that someone whose opinion you value will be impressed with your work. And don’t be intimidated by the word ‘cook.’ If you can follow instructions, then you can cook.

To get you started on the right foot with this goal, I offer 2 simple tips that will come in handy throughout the year:

1. Find good recipes. Not create good recipes; find them. And just copy them. Let the culinary artists be the ones who experiment with the right amounts of cumin or fennel; all you have to do is be the one who benefits from their hard work. I really like a cooking blog called OurBestBites.com. Easy-to-follow recipes, great food. Their Asian BBQ Chicken is the muthaflippin’ cat’s pajamas.

2. Respect the hand blender.

“Oh, I get it! ‘Come in handy throughout the year’? Nice pun!”

No. That wasn’t— Just pay attention.

This is great for blending up soups. It’s not that you’re going to use this tons, but if you use it improperly, it could set back your efforts a bit. Specifically, you shouldn’t ever put one of your fingers near the blade while the trigger is compressed. You may not remember this from high school, but on the periodic table of elements, metal is a lot harder than skin.

“Why would I ever do something that stupid?” you ask.

Why do you always have to be so freaking JUDGMENTAL? I respond. Even smart people make mistakes!

Hey, wanna see a picture of what it looks like if you forget this tip? Of course you do. This was sent to me, anonymously, by someone else, not me, who’s probably a nice guy, regardless of who he is.

(I’ll even include some extra buffer spaces to let you decide if you want to scroll down to it.)

 

 

 

 

 

Bon appetit!
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