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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Elliens, be off with you!- Prodigal Dad saves the day

My grandchild -- whose name sounds like bug spray -- is afraid that the mother ship has locked onto his personal identity signature in the earths space-time continuum. He is convinced that if he continues to allow his lazy eye roll, those-not-of-this-world will zap him into uncharted space.
If we only had remembered our tinfoil hats

As a result, Buggy will not go outside to play unless he carries around a leafy tree branch or a turkey roster on his head to obscure his electrically monitored presence on the planet.

My grandchildren learn these “life lessons” from my wife, their grandmother. Wife-i-poo feels the need to exact revenge on our children by making parenting difficult for them. She gives our grandchildren all the messiest toys and gifts like paints, super slushy muck, and boogers in a box.  

She gives the grand-kids whistles and harmonicas and games with a million tiny pieces. She loads them up on sugar just before their parents come to pick them up after a weekend at grammas house. 

She lets them watch zombie movies and worse. PBS.

She tells our grand kids that clapping their hands and calling out for any lost object will make said lost object appear. Now instead of looking for stuff, our grand-kids (who already have genetic strikes against them) walk around the house yelling "Here shoe... (clapclapclap)  here shoe..."

No, not this kind

The current unrealistic fear perpetuated by Wife-I-Poo concerns Elliens that will get you if you don't eat your vegetables, your chicken nuggets, or fail to control your lazy eye.

Frankly, in my heart of hearts, I am OK with a startled grand kid or two because it allows me to come in to save the day. grammpa to the rescue. 

And grammpa should be the hero.  When a raccoon's puppet on grammas lap comes to life and screeches bloody murder, the grand kids should come to me for armor, amor, raccoon-be-gone juice and a hand made Hogwarts wand to protect themselves. 
Grammpa knows what to do.

When they don't want to fall asleep because of dwarfs who will sneak in and put beans in their nose (another Wife-I-Poo story), grammpa teaches them to be proactive by putting old earplugs in their nostrils before they go to bed so that the beans won't take root.

And when Buggy won't go outside and play because of the Elliens, grammpa shares this secret;  If you wash three dishes and put them away, the dish-washing soap will sink in and repel the Elliens child detectors so that grand kids may may freely roam the backyard.

Grampa needs some big guns 

Big guns require some kind of relationship established between parties — some kind of commitment, like “I will be there for you,” or “I will not let the bad guys ever get you.” Or more simply, “You can count on me.” Wife-I-Poo has always been able to establish that right off with kids
This kind.

Not me, however. Maybe that’s why my own kids didn't believe me when I tried to disarm the influence of their own Elliens ten or so years ago. I hadn't been there much to counter those attacks.

But I am here now.  I tell my grand kids, my second chance kids, the truth as I would like it to be — the truth I am trying to establish. And the truth is this — Elliens can’t get you at Grampa's house. When the Cracken was released, humankind countered by releasing grandparents — which is why there are a lot of grandparents left and no Cracken.

Ellians don’t like grandmas and grandpas because they know that grandparents have been around long enough to tan the hide of any space invader, zombie raccoon or nose dwarf.

Once we get this Elliens thing worked out, I am going to teach Buggy how to throw a solid defensive right to the chin — just in case he meets up with a real Elliens in an ally or at a Ute game.

It's about time I saved someone's day.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Daddy-perfect hair

How do we dads do hair for our kids?  Just take a look.  I, myself prefer a flow-bee,* but this works as well.  Also, to dry hair faster, keep a leaf-blower under the bathroom sink.

Put your headphones on an enjoy! Prodigal Dad's Christmas music review 2014

I started off this holiday season -- that began last season after back-to school (which means that we have lapped ourselves and are currently celebrating next years Christmas) looking for lovely holiday music on the radio. 

This year there are fewer stations than I remember that are devoting every square inch of air time to having a very Feliz Navidad.
Suddenly, in the St. Nick of time, I was bombarded at work with “All I want for Christmas is You," and a handful of other pro-holiday/non offensive Christmas songs. I use this description for the Christmas songs that don't mention Bethlehem, stars, or the reason for the season.

Truth be told, I would rather chew your leg off than listen to more "Santa Claus is having a-super-fun-and-nondescript-holiday-experience" music.

To each his own Christmas poison, however. I support anyone listening to anything that makes one happy and up-lifts ones spirit. It's like nature's Prozac sprinkled over humanity like so much snow riding on the radio air waves bringing peace and manageable emoticons to all.

And who couldn't use a shot of something, well, mood-altering at Christmas time.

This brings me to my fifth annual list of the worst songs of the holidays

It has been suggested by my wife that I focus on the positive this Christmas season. She is also the one who proposed that we decorate the house with twinkle lights that go higher than has ever been done before by anyone in our neighborhood and recommended that we rent a cell phone tower with that goal in mind.

It’s hard for Christmas music to get on my nerves, so kudos to the following for such an effort:

1- First is the most sensitive song of them all: “The Christmas Pumps,” or whatever it’s called. I lost a reliable discount on my Diet Coke from the very clerk at my neighborhood convenience store because I announced loudly that I found this song emotionally manipulative.

Why stop at little boys buying shoes for their dying mother? Add the gloves left on Mr. Kruger's Christmas tree and a few kittens and you can just kill me now.

2- There are two kinds of people in this world: people who like Neil Diamond and people who think he and his caffeinated chorale shouldn't be allowed near a microphone from just after Thanksgiving through, to, and including, Valentine’s Day.

3- While we are at it, someone ask Johnny Mathis to take a vacation during the same time period. Frankly, anytime I hear Johnny sing “Sleigh Ride” I am left with too many unanswered questions.

4 & 5- Two members of the Beatles were as equally off the mark. I understand their creative aversion to holiday staples -- artistic individuality and all — but “So This Is Christmas” and “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmas Time” are John Lennon's and Sir Paul's most iffy offerings. Coincidentally, depression is at a premium during the holidays. Do the math.

6- "Last Christmas, I gave you my heart,
The very next day I hurled on my slacks.
This year, To save me from tears...
I won’t listen to George Michael."

7- The other song Mr. Wham contributed to is just as bad. With all due respect to honorable causes, “Do They Know It's Christmas?” — alternative title “Pray for Another Song,” featuring Boy George and a few of his British buddies — makes me wish my ear wax would just seal me off from the outside world. Good intentions aside, it is a perfect song for drowning out the sound of the electric can openers or teeth being drilled.

8- The Trans-Siberian Orchestra's redundant, repetitive and redundant version of “Ring, Christmas Bells/Christmas Eve" makes the little voices in my head converse all at once on the topic of mortality, electro-shock therapy and wider freeways. Then the little voices start disco dancing and chanting for ELO.

9- Speaking of disco, of which I am generally in favor, Donna Summer’s "Rosy Posy Christmas" is only slightly better than "Disco Inferno on an Open Fire", or "Christmas Boogie Oogie Oogie". I would rather don my Angels Flight spray-on pants and do it the right way.

10- Belinda Carlisle of Go-Go's fame recreating Judy Garland's famous “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” sounds like she started the celebratory eggnog a little early -- like on Black Friday.

11 & 12- “Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree” wouldn’t be played if not for the charming Brenda Lee, and John Denver singing as a 7-year-old in “Daddy, Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas” leaves me remembering fingernails on a chalkboard. Anything else by the former Mr. Dusseldorf is Christmas gold, including his duets with the Muppets. Try those instead. (And here's looking forward no next years Muppet's and Mormons Christmas album recently recorded.)

13- “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” should not be sung by anyone. Ever. Michael Jackson (Jackson-Five) couldn't do it. He did do it, but he shouldn't have. Celion Dion can’t do it. I don’t think Beverly Sills or even the daring Carrie Underwood accompanied by the Happy Jerusalem Sound of Music Synthesized Ensemble with seven key changes could save it -- and I love me my Carrie Underwood.

14- Finally, I give you anything sung by Kathie Lee Gifford — especially “Mary, Did You Know?” Believe me, Mary, being great with knowledge, was better off not knowing. I applaud Kathie Lee on her contribution to world peace. If we want the scuffle in Afghanistan to be over we should ship her to Kabul for a series of humanitarian holiday freebies and those poor rebels will be crawling out of the hills. War over.

15- For those of you who need to feel better about their lives, try" Merry Christmas, I don't wanna fight tonight" by the Ramones. I am really on the fence about "God rest ye merry gentleman" by Bad religion. I wouldn't play it at a party, but its great for chopping wood or for an evening run.

And now the good stuff (and there's a lot of good stuff!)

My find this year is an A cappella group, Pentatonix.  T
hey are the hit of the season.  

Elvis? Elvis! And I am not talking about having a Blue Christmas. His version of “Here comes Santa Claus” is endearing and surprisingly un-mannered.

Last year I discovered Louis Armstrong and “Zat you, Santa Claus?” It's a Christmas song that makes me smile and doesn't make me feel guilty for not having more money to spend.

The best of the best? Josh Groban has a few, and James Taylor has a bunch. Try Christmas songs by Frank Sinatra, the Carpenters, Doris Day, Natalie and Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Amy Grant, Manhattan Transfer, Harry Connick Jr., The Vince Guaraldi Trio, Mel Torme, Ray Conniff, Gene Autry, and remember those Muppets and the soundtrack to A Muppet's Christmas Carol. While you are at it, download that DVD for a holiday treat

Christmas music that makes you feel that life is worth living is never wrong -- even if it is sung by Mariah Carey. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Just use your ear phones.

Merry Christmas, darling.