last night: my power outage journal


The storm was approaching, the power went out, and my journal began...

3:07 p.m. The power's out and I kinda like it. Cutting off communication with the outside world is just what this family needs to focus on one another and enjoy each other's company. I'm going to snuggle with Ana and read her a book.

3:38 p.m. I've read 18 books, shoot me now. By the time I got to book #7, I was just making shit up. God help me if she tells anyone about the time Jessie gave Buzz a "Woody." I thought it was funny but I can see how it might look bad.

4:02 p.m. Collin just got home from school and Brian came down from his upstairs office. I'm going to suggest we all hang out in the family room and maybe play games.

4:15 p.m. Brian and I just argued over whether or not to order pizza. He's afraid the pizza guy will get stranded here during the storm, and we'll all be forced to put on pants and entertain him until it lets up.

4:18 p.m. Get dressed bitches, I just ordered pizza!

4:26 p.m. I can't take it! Between the yelling, the balls to the head, and the godawful farting (who's doing it?), I'm going to lose it! I'm starting to get a headache from clenching my jaw.

4:29 p.m. Turns out it's Mr. Bojangles who's been farting. But quite honestly, his timing couldn't be better. Every time he farts, I claim it was me and excuse myself to the bathroom. I've been using the alone-time to build a shrine, a memorial to my sanity. It sits next to the pedestal sink so everyone can pay their respects while they’re peeing.

Goodbye Sanity. You will be missed. Love, Me

4:32 p.m. I've decided I can't do this all night. I'm currently scouting out possible hiding locations for myself come nightfall. I'm leaning towards the pantry.

4:34 p.m. My god, all this family wants to do is eat. I scratched "pantry" off my list of hiding places.

4:36 p.m. Using only a paper clip and the dry skin on my arm, I've inconspicuously written a list of items that I'll need to survive through the night. It's pretty bare-bones. I imagine this is what my camping list would look like if I was ever crazy enough to go camping.

A bottle of Cabernet from the Napa region
A selection of cheeses (Gruyere, Stilton blue, an aged cheddar, and a herb Havarti)
My chocolate chip bag from Costco
Bucket to pee in

4:38 p.m. Ana keeps calling me "poopy stinkybutt." Whatever. I'll be gone soon enough. Come on darkness.

4:43 p.m. It's getting darker. Our pizza has arrived and I've eaten in preparation. I have a full belly and I'm feeling giddy.

4:46 p.m. I've decided on the coat closet as this saves me from dragging down a pillow and blankets.

4:52 p.m. All my supplies are in place. I realize it's crucial that I take the necessary precautions to thwart any attempts to find me. So far, I've hidden all the C and D batteries that could be used to power their flashlights in case they orchestrate a witch hunt. I've even sprayed myself with Febreze so the dog can't track me.

4:54 p.m. In six minutes, I'm going into the closet. My euphoria has inspired me to write:

Darkness has finally fallen
and my memorial burns bright
buried in the winter coats
hidden from all sight

I happily pour my Cabernet
with a snow boot up my ass
I can't hear your constant bitching
and to that I raise my glass.

-- K.S.

4:59 p.m. The power came back on. Godammit.

Kim Swed is a wife, stay-at-home mother of two kids, and a lover of all things Cabernet. Her lack of consistent adult interactions has created a warped sense of humor that will most likely leave you feeling like a superior parent and an all-around better person. You're welcome! Kim's blog is

dads on the couch


"Dads on the Couch" is an exciting new talk show featuring suburban dads Mike and George. They are engineers and they have all the answers. Their selective hearing is notorious for creating hilarious snafus. For instance, George has discovered and forgotten multiple times that his teenage daughter has her belly button pierced.

Mike's wife is hearing-impaired, but he does not take advantage of this by making sassy remarks under his breath -- he always repeats them louder so she can hear. Mike started out in Silicon Valley but, through a series of unforeseeable yet likely events, now owns a bike shop. If he were a lesser man, he would probably call it a Pro Cyclists Shop, but he is a good man, an engineer, and he calls it a bike shop.

George works at Intel and probably designed a very important component of the computer you are on right now. He would rather talk to you about the artichokes he is growing in his backyard. "Did you know?" he asks and you know this is either going to be about his daughter's belly button or the produce.

George likes to sit on the couch in front of his projector TV from the 80s. The coffee table is the TV itself, and it projects in RGB onto a giant screen that is just a piece of plastic on a stand. George does not like to pay for things he does not need, so, he does not have cable. Instead of updating his TV, he has hooked up a high-speed computer to it and surfs the web while lying on the couch, navigating with a wireless keyboard. He has had the same cell phone for eight years.

He is watching a YouTube video. An overweight man in overalls talks about his tomatoes. Last year, George grew a surplus of tomatoes and spicy peppers. He ate a lot of salsa.

Mike likes to sit on the couch with crisscrossed legs. He was a gymnast in his youth, but his knees are bad now, which is why he bikes. Or are his knees bad because he bikes? It would not be in his best interest to share, because of his profession, you know.

If you ask the Dads on the Couch anything, you will get more information than you bargained for. "Well it depends on the ratio of upload to download speeds," Mike will stipulate. "And you have to factor in the material in the alloys on the processor," adds George. They will most likely make a joke about circuit boards that no one understands, and you will assume that, yes, they would like some popcorn.

Occasionally, when the other members of the family are talking in the kitchen, a spike in noise will emanate from the couch. "What?" says George with equal emphasis on each letter. "You don't have a tattoo, do you?" he asks his daughter, the one with the belly button piercing, who just turned 18. "Don't be silly George," replies Mike, "They're too expensive."

But, it is too late. "Let me tell you something about people with tattoos," says George, not moving from the couch as he goes on to list his theories about how tattoos are the manifestation of some deep neurological disorder that stems from a cry for attention. Mike will daftly change the subject by asking his daughter, a college graduate, if she applied to any jobs today. She refrains from rolling her eyes.

We forgive them of their trespasses –– they are engineers.

At this point, Mike likes to make himself a martini of vodka and two olives. George usually drinks beer, but you can tell he's being adventurous, or spent too much time thinking about his son's tattoo, when he attempts to finish a martini with Mike. If he finishes it, he may end up asleep in the corner of the couch. Which is really the majority of the show: dads sleeping on the couch after a long day of pretending that their daughters aren't growing up and that they will always be there to protect them from the permanent dangers of tattoos.

Anna Geannopoulos is a freelance writer who loves her dad. You can see more of her work at:

here comes honey boo boo: teachable moments for your children


Poverty is a grim reality in America, but especially in families with nicknames from the Looney Toons Dictionary.

If you have three chins, don't expect to be graciously welcomed in Europe.

Teenage pregnancy is a bad, bad, thing. Especially for a teenager having contractions on a couch covered in pig hair.

Even though Honey Boo Boo is a nickname, nicknames can stick with you forever and tarnish your career. Just ask your Dad, aka Donny Douchebag, why he didn't get the CFO position this year.

For the Miss America Pageant, you need a real talent to compete. Waving your finger and head in the air while saying a catch-phrase in a Southern accent will only work if you are a Tea Party member.

A Baby Momma or a Baby Daddy is a term we use for adults who are the Mom or Dad of a child but not legally married to the child's other parent. No, I don't think you can compare Mama and Sugar Bear to Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.

Just because we have the means to buy cheese ball jugs, doesn't mean we have to buy cheese ball jugs.

A teacup pig may look like a cute pet to have, but, well, it's a pig.

Yes, that's the Confederate flag, the same one Uncle Mitch has hanging in his house. That's why we never visit Uncle Mitch.

No, you may not have a mud pit or ride ATVs without helmets or hand out Red Bull mixed with Mountain Dew shots at your American Doll themed birthday party.

Next week we will be watching Dance Moms for lessons on bullying, proper eating habits, and how kids pressure for perfection can lead to inner demons, addiction, and psychotherapy.

Maria Escamilla blogged at Mommy on the Verge eight years ago, but the stress of bringing the funny everyday to her 15 readers proved to be too stressful. Her essay, "Let's Talk About Sex Baby," was chosen to be performed at Austin's Listen To Your Mother show and she is currently working on a YA Novel called The Misfit Club. Maria's blog is Postcards From Texas.

pardon me, would you mind not comparing my newborn daughter's stool to grey poupon?


Doctor Sheiman,

I was in your office just this morning -- with my wife and our 5-day-old daughter (your actual patient) -- and now that I have arrived at work, I feel compelled to write you this brief letter to memorialize my thoughts and concerns on a subject of some sensitivity.

When discussing my child's bowel movements in the course of her first proper pediatric visit, you remarked that healthy so-called "poop" should look "like Grey Poupon." It is this comparison specifically that I, as an employee of the multinational conglomerate that now manufactures and markets Grey Poupon® brand mustard, find objectionable, for the following reasons:

As an initial matter, as you are no doubt aware, "Grey Poupon" is a registered trademark, the exclusive property of Kraft Foods Inc. While general counsel for the company explained to me several times -- each time to my surprise, I confess -- that your reference to the company's product without acknowledgment of its status as a trademark is in no way legally actionable, nonetheless I believe you should treat the mark with the respect it has earned in the years since its introduction in 1777 by Maurice Grey and his associate, Auguste Poupon. Perhaps a conspicuously posted statement in your waiting room to the effect that all trademarks referred to are the property of their respective owners would be appropriate. Please consider such a measure.

Even with a general disclaimer, however, I maintain that your reference to Grey Poupon® as a benchmark for the color and consistency of neonatal fecal matter is unseemly, if not inaccurate. I have to wonder if you do not bear Kraft Foods some ill will! I noted that when you mentioned alternative presentations of solid waste, you did not compare any of them to a consumer product, and certainly not one sold by a competitor of Kraft. For instance, you did not suggest that we might find in our daughter's diaper something resembling French's mustard or anything made by Heinz. For that matter, neither did you refer to Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread (Ferrero), Campbell Soup Company’s turkey gravy, or Jif peanut butter (The J.M. Smucker Co.) in any of its eight styles.

Moreover still, having changed several of my daughter’s soiled diapers since bringing her home from the hospital, I can state from first-hand experience that in fact her output looks very little, if anything, like Grey Poupon® brand Dijon style kosher mustard, although a sense of discretion prevents me from cataloguing here the differences between my company's product and my daughter's. Suffice it to say I think the comparison is not actually a useful one for parents with discerning taste in condiments.

Finally, on a purely personal note, I fear that your casual comparison might have a long-reaching effect on my own digestive well-being, inasmuch as I have, each day for the past 23 years, enjoyed for lunch a sandwich of Grey Poupon® on rye (no meat; just mustard). I worry that now I will not be able to remove the white lid from a distinctively-shaped 8-ounce glass jar of award-winning mustard made with white wine without being reminded of removing the disposable diaper from my daughter's rear, to say nothing of what images actually spooning out the pungent paste might conjure in my mind. As it is still before noon as I write this, I can't yet say just how profoundly I will be affected by the forced juxtaposition, but I confess that I am not looking forward to finding out. I suppose, however, that I am now relieved that my wife gave birth to a baby girl, as I also enjoy eating cocktail wieners very much, and I can't even begin to imagine how upset I might have been to be unable to consume those as well.

Thanking you in advance for your anticipated consideration,
Matthew David Brozik

Matthew David Brozik is the author of Whimsy & Soda and co-author of The Government Manual for New Superheroes, The Government Manual for New Wizards, and The Government Manual for New Pirates. He has had humor pieces featured at Grin & Tonic, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and elsewhere. His quirky short fiction has appeared in/at/near various places in print and online. He and his wife created and maintain His website:

the 5 stages of watching a DVD with your children and coming upon an unanticipated love scene


Hmmm, this is getting pretty steamy. "It's okay, kids; they're panting because they're out of breath. Oh, and now they're getting undressed because it's so hot outside." I'm sure the camera will pan away and -- HOLY COW!
I told her to read the parental advisory on the back of the case, but no. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: "Gore okay; sex bad."
Okay, if they just stay in the missionary position, it'll be all right. Please stay in the missionary position, please stay in the missionary position, please stay in -- AAAAAGH!
I can't believe we're letting them watch this. We are the worst parents ever.
Well, they've seen most of it now. Might as well let it play out...Hmmm...I'll just store this scene in my head for later enjoyment.

Ross Murray's weekly column appears on Log Cabin Chronicles. His humor pieces have also appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency and The Big Jewel, among other publications. He lives in Stanstead, Quebec with four children and several pets he doesn't much care for. The pets, that is. Ross can be reached at: His collection of columns, You're Not Going to Eat That, Are You?, is available through His collection of columns, You're Not Going to Eat That, Are You?, is available through More at Drinking Tips for Teens.



"This is Lieutenant Nobbs of the San Diego Police Department. Are you all right? Ma'am, we have you in our visual field. Are you injured?"

"Go away."

"What did she say, Officer?"

"I think she yelled 'go away,' Lieutenant."

"She must be injured. Officer, how long till an ambulance and rescue team arrive?"

"Five minutes on paramedics. Fifteen for the rescue team."

"Ma'am, is there anyone else in the car? Anybody we can't see?"


"So, you are alone? There's nobody in the back seat?"

"Yes. I am alone. Now go away."

"Ma'am, your car has fallen into a sink hole. We have ambulance and rescue teams on the way. Please try to remain calm."

"How long?"

"She asked how long, Lieutenant."

"I understand that, Officer. They'll be here any minute, ma'am. Now again, try to stay still."

"Call my mother."

"What did she say?"

"I think she said to call her mother, Lieutenant."

"Officer, get a microphone down into that hole. Now! Ma'am, we've placed a microphone into the hole. Are you injured?"

"Have my mother pick up the kids from school. Tell Dan he'll have to do the shopping and make dinner. Tell him that Kate has a project due tomorrow. She'll need his help. Also tell him Emily has a 4:00 doctor's appointment. She needs one more vaccination. Tell him she'll expect ice cream afterwards. How much longer did you say until the rescue team arrives?"

"Fifteen minutes, ma'am."

"But I just started my book."

"Did she just say she just started a book?"

"Yes, Lieutenant."

"Ma'am, it's imperative you keep still. Do not turn the key ignition.The car could fall further into the hole. We'll have you out of there in no time. You'll be able to prepare dinner and help your daughter with her school project. Don't worry. Officer, what's that sound?"

"I think she started the engine, Lieutenant."

Sharon is a writer of fiction and humor pieces. She lives in Southern California with her wonderful husband of 22 years and two young girls, ages 9 and 5. The eldest is her number-one cheerleader, encouraging her with "You can do it!" shouts; the youngest is her personal editor, always making sure the characters are named either after her or someone else in her preschool class.

an open letter to pregnant ladies wearing "don't touch my bump or you pull back a stump" tees


Dear Pregnant Ladies Wearing "Don't Touch My Bump or You Pull Back a Stump" Tees,

I was like you once. All adorable and protective of my privacy. Insistent that I would not become a public commodity just because I was pregnant. Heed my words, my little chickadees -- those days are numbered. One day those "No Touchy the Belly" shirts will be at the back of your dresser drawer next to the "Soon to be Mrs. Whoever" shirt you wore to your bachelorette party. Childbirth, and everything that comes after it, will kill any sense of shame you currently possess. Right now, you don't want anyone to pat your belly. In a few months, a total stranger will be hosing off your vagina with a squeeze bottle while you sit on the toilet. Oh yeah. That's happening, girl.

You know what else is going to happen? You're gonna whip out your boobs at the airport. And the grocery store. And in front of your in-laws. Oh, yes. You will. And you're going to talk about all kinds of shit in public places -- your sex life, your child's bathroom habits and nose picking (and bathroom habits while nose picking), your boobs, your hideous 'dunlap' -- and you will discuss these things loudly, and with glee.

So, enjoy this pregnancy and the feeling that your body belongs to you. Because during your next pregnancy, when someone pats you on the belly, you will thank them and then raise a leg and ask if they can check your cervix and see if you're dilated. Because honestly, who gives a fuck.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go take a poop with two other people who are going to ask me questions about my pubic hair.


Mother of two (hey, while you're here, can you take a look at this thing on my back? Is that a mole or what?)

Meredith Bland is a mother of twins who blogs at: Pile Of Babies.

the care and maintenance of a 40-year-old woman


It all began at my 39-year physical:

"Your blood pressure's high. You've got to go off the pill."

"But I've been on the pill for…for…well, years? And my blood pressure's always low. Like really low."

"Well, now it's high. This happens."

"It just happens out of the blue?"

"Well, yes, at your age. You're older now. Things change."

"Can it change back?"

"Not usually. Don't forget to schedule your annual skin check. You have lots of moles."


Dermatologist of 10 years:

"Helllllo, it looks like you're here for The Aging Face program!"

"Wha? No. No. I'm here for my skin check. You check me every year."

"Well, yes. Yes. But now look. Look at your skin. Wow. It has aged. See the wrinkles and age spots? Hmmmm, yes. Do you want to come back for Botox? Perhaps collagen? Or laser. Although it'd take a lot of laser for these age spots."


(After going off the pill, I get migraines. My doctor refers me to eye doctor and dentist.)


Eye doctor:

"Hi, I need to get some more contacts. I'm all out."

"Well, let's just see what we have here. Make sure your headaches aren't caused by your eyes. You're at the age when people start needing reading glasses."

"I can read OK."

"Read this."


"Ok then, you don't need progressives yet, but get yourself a couple pairs of those drugstore glasses and just keep them around. See if they help your headaches."



"Wow, your bite has really changed. And I can tell how much you've been grinding your teeth. Try a mouthguard and see if that helps. Eventually, we're really going to have to work on this alignment though. How long did you say you had braces?"

"Eight years."

"Well, it might be time to think about getting those again. But first you'd have to have these gums repaired. I'm going to send you to someone."


Specialty Dentist:

After taking an hour of intricate jaw measurements, specialty dentist declares: "You have the jaw of Jay Leno. You know the angle of his mouth? That's you. We can't do anything unless you want to do facial reconstruction, which is a big undertaking."

Well, yes. It. Is. No, thank you.



I also snuck some back surgery in there, due to a herniated disc. I am getting older, you see.


I'm putting on nose strips, applying lotions, drinking potions, chewing on mouthguards, stretching my back, strengthening my core, going to PT, getting stalked by CVS, and occasionally trying to take care of my children.


Nail salon:
I had a pedicure once. I think it was six months ago. I still have Badass Brazilian on my big toes. The Vietnamese woman clucked at me, holding up my feet for the other women to see. "Phhh," she shook her head, clearly disgusted with how I'd let myself go to hell. "Look at these, A-meeee. You rea-leee need to take care of yoself."


When Amy's not taking care of her two children and her 40-year-old self, she writes a mini-blog on FB for people who only have time to read four sentences: Her longer work appears on get born, babble, and her website:

how parents talk dirty


"Where do you want me to stick this? In the fridge? Oh, yeah? Like this? You want me to stick this half empty bottle of formula in the fridge before it goes bad? Watch me do it."

"How do you like it? Huh? How do you like the chili mac? Not bad, is it? Tell me it's good. Tell me. Say, 'this chili mac is so good.'"

"I've got a surprise for you. Over here. That's right. Over here in my pants. It's a car wash coupon."

"Oh, shit. It's so big. It's so goddamned big. That's the biggest shit the dog has ever taken on the dining room rug."

"How about I bend over? In my panties. That way you can put this ThermaCare HeatWrap on my lumbar region."

"Say my name. No. Say MY NAME. That's what the kennel reservation is under."

"Somebody's been really bad. Reeeallllllly bad. I think he needs a spanking. He's upstairs in time-out. I took away all his Legos, too."

"You wanna screw? Oh, you do? You want a big screw? Six big screws? Jesus. How many screws does that baby gate take?"

"Tell me where you want it. Tell me! Tell me where you want it! Tell me now, bitch! I can't hold this curtain rod up all day."

conversations with an ill-tempered child


Me: Put on your shoes, please.
Him: I don't like the way they feel.

Me: Can you pick out a bedtime story?
Him: Why do I always have to pick it out?

Me (sing-songy): It's homework time!
Him: It's not fair. I'm the only kid in the whole, entire world who has to do homework.

Me: Here you go! I made you some hot chocolate while you were out playing in the snow.
Him (eye roll): It's too hot. And too chocolatey.

Me: Are you ready for me to rinse out your shampoo?
Him: Don't get it in my eyes. You always get it in my eyes and it makes them hurt and I don't like shampoo. Even the shampoo that they say doesn't hurt hurts. And make sure the water's not too warm. Because if it's too warm, it makes the shampoo feel like it's hurting me even when it isn't.

Me: How was your day?
Him: Fine, I guess. That is, if you like DAYS.

Me: Here's your grilled cheese.
Him: Did anything on this plate have to die for my lunch? I don't see anything dead.

Me: Check it out! Daddy got a mohawk! A BLUE MOHAWK!!
Him: Meh.

Me: Can you believe it? They say the world is going to be sucked into a black hole next December and that all of humanity is going to evaporate.
Him: They also say that that shampoo won't hurt. But it does. Because you rinse it all wrong.

Me: Whoa! I just ripped off my penis and now I'm holding my ripped-off penis in my hands.
Him: When can I get a DS? Everyone else has a DS.

Me: Look what your grandparents bought you! A real, live unicorn with a 14K gold horn and a saddle made of caramel.
Him: Does it poop real poop or sapphires?
Me: Um......sapphires?
Him: BO-ring.

Bill Newman is pretty convinced the world IS going to end. Because last week, he got to watch an entire half of a basketball game without someone cramming a Transformer up his ass. He can be reached at an email he no longer gives out.

new year's resolutions for mothers


Stop swearing.
Eat more vegetables.
Like quiche Lorraine. That has vegetables, right? No? It has ham? Dang.
Learn French.
Forget French. Like you'll ever go to Paris. Yeah, right. Still...Paris.
Dare to dream.
Oh, for fuck's sake, Little Joey! Tie your own goddamn shoes! Mommy's busy.
Teach little Joey to tie his own goddamn shoes.
Also, teach little Joey to save now for his college education, because -- on what you make -- there is no chance. No chance, buddy.
But, if the kid can't tie his shoes, you probably don't have a lot of higher education to worry about.
That was terribly mean. What kind of mother are you?
Answer the question through journaling: What Kind of Mother Are You?
Worry less.
Worry a lot less, goddamnit. There is nothing wrong with Velcro sneakers. Who cares what his **nty second grade teacher says.
Blog more.

Elizabeth is a stay-at-home mother of two. Before having kids, she worked in corporate and foundation relations, and before that at the Museum of Science, Boston. She moonlights writing in the very early mornings before everyone gets up and wants things. In the little free time she has, Elizabeth makes complicated French patries to tempt her kids into doing what she asks. Her work has appeared in, The Delmarva Review, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Tar River Poetry, and the Baltimore City Paper. Visit her blog: Goody Bastos. Elizabeth can be reached at:

a letter to my 4-year-old son's imaginary friend


Dear Talking Hot Dog,
Listen up, you freak. Stay away from my kid. You got that? Stay the hell away. I don't care that you live in a hole in the ground near our swingset and prefer turkey over ham. I don't care that you like riding next to my son on his way to and from school. And I don't care how much you like it when he buckles your tiny seatbelt and gives you a loving pat on your antlers. You are a CYCLOPS for cryin' out loud! You're a weiner with a voice! You sound not unlike something a mustachioed 1980's high school custodian would have tried to "introduce" me to after cheerleading practice. I don't like you, Talking Hot Dog. Not one bit. So, before my son gets home, you better pack your acorn suitcase and get gone. Oh. I forgot. You're ALWAYS NAKED! You wouldn't HAVE any clothes to pack in a suitcase. YOU SICK, SAD, SORRY BASTARD. Get the hell out of my lawn before I call the goddamn cops! SCRAM!

Whitney Collins

how teenagers get the last word when they don't have a super big gulp to throw


Whatever, at least I don't have Taylor Momsen in my Top Artists list on Spotify.

You are so going to regret this when you see my Klout score, because if there is one thing I'm influential in it's knowing when it's time to quit you.

It seems like a good time to point out that I've been retweeted by Khloe Kardashian who added that she was ROFL so think about that when a 9-foot-tall black dude in a Lakers tracksuit shows up at your door.

Yeah, well you just cost yourself a Google+ invite. And if some whore gives you one, the only circle you'll be added to is the "Lamer than a Macchiato Without Caramel" one.

I maybe would care more if I weren't talking to someone with an active Hotmail account. And not just for American Eagle emails.

I have a screen shot of the email you sent to Jamster requesting a Jersey Shore nickname. So fist pump that, Tan Jovi.

Only one of us can say we have never sent a text to cast a vote on American Idol. And that same one of us knows it was for Clay Aiken.

Like you need to bother blocking me on BBM. Because, duh, I have an iPhone.

I'll be removing every location tag attached to your name from my Facebook so that when people ask me who I went to Panera with I can say Robert Pattinson and not you.

This mildly famous blogger responded to one of my comments by saying that you are codependent jerk who takes me for granted and probably still goes to Blockbuster. And she's right. You have $19 in late fees from a Zach Galifianakis movie that I'm not paying.

Erin writes the website I'm Gonna Kill Him, a humor place about marriage and husbands and life after family. Her mother says she has a sharp tongue; Erin says it's better than a sharp knife. She is a mother of three and just moved to the very bizarre state of Maine. Between her husband, her children, and the weirdness of Mainers, she has a lot of fodder. She can be reached at:

louis xiv reincarnated as a 3-year-old


The dude who rocked silk stockings on the cover of Fleur-De-Lis Quarterly 310 years ago has been reincarnated as a three-year-old boy.

The Sun King is back -- BOOYAH! -- and putting the smack-down on feudalism by pitting parental nobility against each other.

His mom: a rising star in the domestic ballet, earned lead role in "A Midsummer Night's Milk-And-Three-Books-Song-Potty-Song-Milk-And-Three-Books."

His father: preferred castle-builder, a powerful force at the grill, forgiven for lack of mutton.

Both have been demoted to vassals numerous times, earning back the status of courtier through baked goods and stickers. (Their motto: "Better vassals than chattel.")

While small and adorable, the pint-sized monarch ensures that he alone commands attention, often screaming, "L'ETAT C'EST MOI!"

And it's true. He is the State. Da State of Demands.

He demands only the best attire. Sorely disappointed to find the castle lacking in powdered wigs, breeches, and cravats, he's had to make do with interesting undergarments that he promptly urinates through because he wants to or because the Royal Bedpan-Bringer is late or because it's fun to watch the Royal-Bedpan-Bringer get angry.

He demands to be called "Le Roi Soleil" and makes Nobility #1 cry -- Wah, wah, wah! (Yes! pronounce it like that!) and makes Nobility #2 play the song "Bad Bad Leroy Soleil (The Meanest Man In The Whole Damn Bay)."

He then demands to be called "Louis Quatorze" or just "Quatorze" because it sounds more gangsta.

He demands the divine right of kings, claiming he is subject to no earthly authority. He plunders, refuses, stomps, screams, throws -- then raises his eyebrows, silently declaring: "Will of God, bitch. Will of God."

The King is a great patron of the arts, his enthusiasm for classic literature like "Curious George by Moliere" and "Babar In the Words of Racine" is legendary, as is his love of music -- "Here Comes the Sun (King)" and art --surely de Kooning's abstract work is a meditation on the beauty of a centralized state government.

Although a serious chap about legal matters (see les Grandes Ordonnances: "To Nap Is Sinful," "Cut Me My Mango," "I'll Poop In the Bedpan When I Damn Well Want To"), the King also has a delightful sense of humor.

His greatest enjoyment comes from a series of parlor games, like "I'm the Good Guy and You're Cardinal Richelieu," "Who Wore It Best: The Dauphin or That Other Kid," and "Get the Protestant, He Took My Truck!"

Since Louis XIV had one of the longest reigns of any European monarch, one can only assume he's here to stay in the Fisherprice Versailles Playroom for the foreseeable future.

Which is okay by the serfs who work for him.

"He's learning to use the bedpan more and more each day," the mother says smiling. "And I know once I find him that ostrich feather hat he's been demanding, I'll be in his good graces for at least an hour."

The father agrees, "And I'm not just saying this because he threw a dirt clod at me that he swears contains gold."

On such good terms are the King and his subjects at this very minute that they quickly sign the Peace of Suburban Westphalia.

Which is revoked 7 minutes later when the King discovers that Honey Fitzgerald III, a small stuffed bear residing in his kingdom, is in fact, a Huguenot.

Tarja Parssinen is a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom to a toddler who gives new meaning to the word "spirited." Once, long ago, she was a member of her college's sketch comedy group, which she continues to blame for public displays of ego. She blogs at The Flying Chalupa and is expecting her second bundle of terror in the fall. 



Halloween is one of the most exciting holidays of the year. It's the only day that you are given a license to go out and cause mischief without being punished. As an adult, I feel we have a duty to make this event as fun as possible for the children of the neighborhood. Not only should we be obligated to give candy to the trick-or-treaters, but we should also be obligated to go out of our way to make sure they have an excellent time.

When we talk about Halloween, we have to talk about pranks. After all, that's one of the major components of any memorable 31st of October. Kids go around toilet papering houses, throwing eggs at cars, and playing a million other tricks on unsuspecting victims. They love pranks. Furthermore, the last thing they want is to go through Halloween without getting pranked in return. They went out of their way to egg my car, so now I have an obligation to return the favor in any manner I see fit.

So, it's a dark Halloween night and the children are out trick-or-treating in force. In order to really give them what they want, I first have to decide what that is exactly -- beyond the basic prankings. This isn't too difficult. Kids really like candy. And being frightened, especially on a night such as this. With this in mind, all I need to do is wait for them to come knock on my door, give them some candy corn, and then take out a machete and act like I'm going to kill them. This works because children find murder scary. As they turn and run away, I always feel profound joy knowing I just gave them exactly what they wanted: a little candy mixed in with a little fright.

Usually, as a little added bonus, I'll shout things at the kids as they're running like, "AFTER I KILL YOU I'M COMING FOR YOUR PARENTS!" Then I'll shoot a rifle in the air or something. This way I can ensure that the fright won't wear off too early and they can really enjoy the rest of their night.

As it turns out, rifle shots are a really good way to scare not only the trick-or-treaters, but also everyone else in the neighborhood. I usually do such a good job, in fact, that I won't get anymore knocks on my door for the rest of the night. That's why I have to go out and search for more children to scare. And I know you're probably thinking, "Aren't you going pretty far out of your way?" Yes, I am, but it's for the children.

So, I'm out driving around looking for kids to startle. One of the first things I'll do is pull my van up next to a dark alley and tell any trick-or-treater I see that I have candy. What's great about this is, it may not scare the children all that much, but if they have a parent with them, the parent seems to get really freaked out. I just laugh to myself thinking how parents are even easier to scare than children in a lot of ways. Here I am, sitting in my van offering candy to only the children, and it's the parents that are all spooked. Go figure.

After everyone scurries away, I sit there and wonder what's so scary about a guy parked in a van on Halloween asking children if they want candy. But that's usually when I remember that I have a dark alley right behind me. No wonder they were so frightened.

Anyway, after the night is through, I can go home and feel great knowing that I gave everyone just what they were looking for. I gave the children candy and the prospect of being murdered, and I gave the parents the chilling sight of an alley. I just hope I can be as effective next year, when I try fake kidnapping a child only to return him or her in the morning. Boy, will everyone be relieved when they realize it was only a harmless Halloween prank and not a real kidnapping! They'll probably try giving me some kind of award, which will be embarrassing because I won't have anyone to thank but myself.

Richard Turck is a 29-year-old human being who enjoys certain things more than others. His humor writings have been found lurking in various places across the web. If you happen to spot one, proceed with extreme caution as they are considered armed and dangerous. Richard can be reached at:

welcome aboard honda odyssey airlines


Welcome aboard Honda Odyssey Flight 7875, bound for the Greater Orlando area. Our travel time is approximately 16 excruciating hours. At your convenience, please review the safety instructions located in the seat back in front of -- oh. That's right. Three out of four of you can't read. Never mind the safety instructions, then. Just keep your hands to yourself and your underpants on. On your bottom, that is, and not your head.

In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, please put on your Halloween masks and entertain yourself while Mommy and Daddy drive to the nearest Applebee's and begin drinking. Kindly note that this is a non-whining flight, or else Daddy may have to take up smoking again. Also take note, there are no lavatories on board, though we will allow you to pee in a cup if A) there is a ridiculously long traffic jam or B) we just stopped and we're not stopping again for at least 4 hours. There is no pooping on this flight. You must hold it until we get to our hotel, which is now 15 hours and 58 minutes away.

In the event of an emergency that does not involve bodily fluids, Daddy will yell "Brace! Brace!" This does not mean you should smack your sister on the head with an Etch-A-Sketch. But it probably means we need to stop for Starbucks.

No, we are not there yet.

No, we are still not there.

Remember: this van is equipped with two emergency exits. But they will not open unless the car is in "park." So, don't think of throwing yourself from the vehicle, unless you're a parent. In which case, have at it and why haven't you done so sooner?

During the flight, luggage may shift. Especially when someone vomits and Mommy has to climb back three rows of seats to find the suitcase on the bottom that has a clean shirt in it. While Mommy is bent over doing this, do not laugh at her ass crack. Yes, I said "ass crack," dammit.

Holy sweet baby of all things holy how are we not even out of our neighborhood?

Once we reach a comfortable cruising altitude, you absolutely are NOT free to move around the cabin. However, Honda Odyssey Airlines does pride itself on providing its passengers with thousands of dollars of complimentary electronic devices. Please put on your headphones now and begin listening to your music and your movies and your video games.

Here are some free pretzels, too.

Now. Please, leave Mommy and Daddy alone. Because if you don't, we are totally cancelling our character breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table.

Enjoy your flight.

Jason Rock sometimes writes, but mostly uses his spare moments for sleeping or watching Beyond Scared Straight. He can't believe he owns a minivan.

huffing gas to the j. geils band


Only a few things mattered when I was 7 years old. Avoiding soap and covering my hands in Elmer's glue were fairly high on my list of things to do. Performing well in the trailer park athletic events, such as kickball and whiffle ball, was also a priority. But more importantly, I wanted to befriend Gary.

Gary was nine years older than me and lived next door, which was a sandbox away. On the evenings that I'd hear his jambox blaring, I'd rush outside and do my best to get noticed. Occasionally, Gary would look over, twitch his head upward in acknowledgment, and immediately return to his activity. I'd twitch my head in the same fashion, but he'd already quit looking.

Gary was rock 'n' roll. I was more of the "One-Eyed, One-Horned, Flying Purple People Eater" material, but my juvenile blood was tainted with rebellion. And it would show in my stirring attempts to deserve Gary's attention. I would climb all the way to the top of the three-foot high doghouse and recklessly jump off. I would kick the side of our trailer. I would play air-guitar to the J. Geils Band's "Centerfold" because that's the only song I ever heard Gary listen to. I honestly believe that he had a 60-minute tape consisting of about 18 consecutive cuts of "Centerfold." Sometimes I would yell curse words. They weren't necessarily directed at anything or anybody, or always put into a proper context, but I didn't care -- I was wild. "Did you hear that, Gary? A wild sonuvabitch!"

Gary wore sleeveless shirts and huffed gasoline. I wore three-quarter length sleeved shirts and chugged Kool-Aid like it was water. He had dropped out of school. I disliked school. He had a knife attached to his belt. I had a "Dukes of Hazzard" belt buckle that weighed three ounces less than my head. He had a bad haircut. I had a bad haircut. The similarities were endless.

And then one Saturday afternoon, the confrontation finally happened. My dad was preoccupied with cutting the grass, and I was hanging out doing nothing in particular. I heard an unfamiliar voice pump its way between the lawnmower and the music. But this wasn't a diesel voice. This was unleaded all the way.

"Hey Joey," the gaseous orifice spoke.

I could not believe my ears. Gary knew my name. I got as close to his backyard as I'd ever been, though I kept my sandbox headquarters within diving distance. It was familiar and I was intimidated. And besides that, I wasn't supposed to associate with Gary. He was a bad kid. But I was convinced that he was no worse than me. I'd received my fair share of spankings.

"Hey Gary, watcha' doin'?" I asked with genuine interest.

"Ah, nothin' man. Come on over and hang out. We'll jam," Gary answered.

This was it! All of the jumping, kicking, air-instrumental mayhem, and cursing had earned me a pass into Gary's huff-haven. But I was afraid that he was going to ask me to partake in some gasoline. I'd heard it was bad for the brain. But even more pressing, I didn't know how to huff.

Luckily, Gary was stingy with the petro-inhalant. As I sat there uncomfortably while he fixed, I couldn't help but think of how his sister, Lorie, would steal my mom's cigarettes when nobody was home. And I thought about how Gary and Lorie looked nothing alike; and about how if Gary made a "vroom, vroom" noise he could easily be mistaken for an idiot; and also how "Centerfold" wasn't playing. Music that I'd never heard before provided the noise, but it still possessed that Geilsesque attitude.

My brain was in examinational overdrive, while the other half of the dyad's brain was in the process of being flooded. I struggled to think of something to talk about, but I wasn't a connoisseur of fine fuels. So, I asked what was in that refrigerator in their backyard.

Gary answered, "Nothin'."

I'd sat there for about 45 minutes when Gary stood up and said, "Well, see ya' man." And he walked inside.

So, I crossed back into lameland, where the gas was for vehicles and where people conversed, feeling a little more defiant, a little more crazy, and a little more rock 'n' roll. I knew it was going to take many more encounters to catapult me into Garydom, but I was young, I was eager, and I was prepared for the trip. All I needed was some fuel.

"My blood runs cold, my memory has just been sold..."

parenting without casualties


Children are a giant black hole of need. If you try to meet all their demands, your will to live will be sucked into their gravitational pull and never seen again. So, as a parent, it's important to keep your goals simple. All you have to do is get the child to adulthood. This means: (1) Keeping them alive when they're infants; (2) Keeping them from killing themselves when they're toddlers; and (3) Not killing them yourself once they reach adolescence.

Keeping your baby alive is miserable, thankless work that should prepare you for the miserable, thankless years ahead. This first stage of parenting is particularly difficult because infants are lazy. They are unwilling to perform even the simplest tasks, so the full burden of their survival is on you. At this point the new parent must develop a steely resolve. If the tiny helpless infant is too much for you, just wait until you meet the jerk that throws his food and refuses to aim his pee into the toilet.

The next stage of parenting, the toddler years, is marked by the child's increasing physical competency. Yet the toddler is strikingly stupid, and apparently determined to kill himself. No matter how many child safety devices you attach to various surfaces around your home, your toddler will find something to fall over or poke in his eye. While you must keep the toddler from killing himself, you should allow him to hurt himself all he wants. It's the only way he'll wise up and stop doing stupid things. Your duty, then, is to keep the child alive while letting him discover that the world is quite willing to let him kill himself.

Successful parenting during the early years results in a live adolescent. Ironically, you will then find yourself wanting to kill them. A desire to avoid felony charges may prevent you from actually harming the adolescent child, but you shouldn't depend on it. A 2-year-old with a death wish seems like a model of rational thought compared to a teenager. Vast amounts of anecdotal evidence indicate that it is impossible to make the adolescent child likable, so you must make him useful. One way to do this is to assign him household chores. You are less likely to lock your adolescent child out of the house, for example, if it means you have to do the dishes yourself.

Another way to keep from killing your adolescent child is to remember that he could do something that reflects well on you -- like win a contest or hit a home run. Living vicariously through your child is one of the great rewards of parenthood. Your child may resent your using his childhood to improve your status and self-esteem, but that's just selfish. One day you will die, and then your child can pursue his own needs. In the meantime, suggest that he write angry poems or otherwise vent his pent-up rage in a way that amuses you.

Requiring nothing more of the parent than to keep the child alive may seem to set the bar too low. But children are, by nature, parasites. They will use you for whatever resources you are willing to provide and then farm you out to some state-run nursing home. Trying to support their emotional, social, and intellectual development, therefore, is just asking for trouble. By focusing your efforts purely on his survival, you will raise a self-sufficient adult who is fully capable of finding a good therapist.

Beverly Petravicius is a freelance writer and mother of three living in Chicago. She can be reached at:

texting for married people


The local paper ran a piece that got me thinking. This is rare since their reporting is usually limited to fascinating announcements like the fudge shop is now offering a staggering 17 flavors or that five out of five polled residents would engage in sexual relations on the Fenway field if given the opportunity. This particular day, however, they printed a list of text acronyms that would appeal to the middle-aged cell phone user, such nuggets as ROFLCGU which means Rolling On The Floor Laughing, Can’t Get Up.

Reading the list got me thinking about my dreadful telephone relationship with my husband, G. I've written before about the many ways G and I are ill-suited to remote communication. Neither of us particularly enjoys speaking on the phone in ideal conditions, but introduce -- on my end -- three children trying to kill themselves in the bathroom the instant I bring the receiver to my ear and -- on his end -- a bunch of people in suits clamoring to get sign-off on budgets, and you've got a couple praying that a cell phone-induced brain tumor makes one of us drop dead immediately. As a result, we've taken to texting each other. Because nothing says romance like the red blink of a blackberry containing misspelled questions and commands.

Here is a list of handy text shorthand for your marriage.

HIM: HAK? (How are kids?)
YOU: CFV (Crying, fighting, vomiting)

HIM: SFC? (Stop for condoms?)
YOU: NSFIC (Nah, stop for ice cream)

HIM: RL (Running late)
YOU: REL (Running even later)

HIM: BGOT (Big game on tonight)
YOU: TWSBWC (That’s why sports bars were created)

HIM: AYSM? (Are you spending money?)
YOU: LTAWIS (Let's talk about what I'm saving)

HIM: WAYW? (What are you wearing?)
YOU: SWTFE? (Sweats, what the fuck else?)

HIM: WLT (Working late tonight)
YOU: SYBPOYJIYDLN (Sending your boss photos of your junk if you don't leave now)

YOU: ATNA? (At Target, need anything?)
HIM: NAEHTC (No, and empty half the cart)

HIM: AKA? (Are kids asleep?)
YOU: NTHSLAW2B (No, they have the stamina of Lance Armstrong with 2 balls)

HIM: WRU? (Where are you?)
YOU: SEWIGSPL (Stress-eating and weeping in the grocery store parking lot)

HIM: WFD? (What's for dinner?)
YOU: Pretend your phone died

Erin writes the website I'm Gonna Kill Him, a humor place about marriage and husbands and life after family. Her mother says she has a sharp tongue; Erin says it's better than a sharp knife. She is a mother of three and just moved to the very bizarre state of Maine. Between her husband, her children, and the weirdness of Mainers, she has a lot of fodder. She can be reached at:

the grandparental hand-off: proceed with caution


When dropping a child off with grandparents for a weekend, communication is key. Go over any instructions clearly. Should the generational gap expose some differences in childcare tactics, don't worry. Remain upbeat. Remember: If this goes well, you've got the weekend off.

Let's take an actual conversation as an educational sample. Here, I attempt to explain to my mother that my child has recently overcome a case of lice.

Mom: "What is that?"

Me: "That's your grandson."

Mom: "You shaved my grandbaby's head."

Me: "And now he's lice-free."

Mom: "Lice?"

Me: "Lice."

Mom: "LICE??"

Me: "You're hearing me say lice, right?"

Mom: "Who gave him lice?"

Me: "The second grade. But it was a month ago. It's over."

Mom: "You need to teach him how to use soap."

(Pause: This is where you may feel naturally inclined to defend your parenting practices. That's not the point. Stay cool. Think about how you should and should NOT respond to the following statements.)

Mom: "He looks like the Marines."

Do not salute and say: Semper Fi.

Do say: "Yes, ma'am."

Mom: "Better put some lice-killer on him."

Do not say: No shit.

Do say: "Why, we think alike! I already did."

Mom: "You should just put it on him every day, to be on the safe side."

Do not say: Daily application of insecticide to a child's scalp is THE SAFE SIDE?

Do say: "He'll be just fine now."

Mom: "Should we spritz him with the dog's flea spray?"

Do not grab your child and hide him behind your back.

Do say: "Well, since he doesn't have fleas, let's not."

Mom: "I might splash a little of that Clinique toner on his head."

Do not stop to wonder: Clinique still sells that?

Do say: "You know, his skin tone is pretty good already."

Mom: "Oh, I have some Raid Ant and Wasp Formula!"

Do not say: Oh, hell no.

Do say: "Oh, I don't think so."

Mom: "Windex?"

Do not arch an eyebrow and ask: Does he appear to be in need of a streak-free shine?

Do say, politely: "No, thank you."

Mom: "Well. I just don't want to have to set all my pillows on fire."

Do not say: I'm a little afraid that if I walk out of this room right now, you're going to set your grandson's head ablaze.

Do say: "Oh, there's no need to go to any trouble."

While continuing to exercise conversational restraint, you may begin to casually confiscate any substances from the home that may be harmful to your child.

In conclusion: Do not panic. Do make sure your child has cab fare and your cellphone number before you go.

Have a great weekend.

ML Philpott is a freelance writer and amateur parent. She writes sometimes for serious clients and sometimes for an audience of over 11 readers at Shooting The Breeze, a shared blog where she plays well with others and does not hit or bite.