February 2011


My sister is going to kill me for this, but today is her 4oth birthday.  We went easy on her by sparing the gag gifts like black roses and balloons, opting instead to get her a gift she can actually use (a hearing aid and adult diapers). 

Now it’s time to be mean.  In honor of the beginning of her fifth decade (that’s right, Amy – do the math), I thought I’d make a list of things she is older than.  Those of you around 40 can also participate… to those of you over 50, you can feel older…to those of you over 60, what are you doing on a computer?

Things Amy Bryant is older than:

  • The microprocessor (those little things that make “the Internets” possible)
  • Bangladesh (yes, Amy, you’re older than a country)
  • A direct-dial phone connection between New York and London
  • Masterpiece Theater
  • CAT scans
  • Greenpeace
  • School House Rocks
  • Disney World
  • Amtrak
  • The Electric Company
  • The United Arab Emirates
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Nasdaq
  • HBO
  • Pong
  • Nike
  • FedEx
  • Watergate
  • The ERA Amendment
  • Barcodes
  • The Sears Tower
  • The Sydney Opera House
  • The Endangered Species Act
  • Tower Number Two of the World Trade Center

Sorry Amy, but I wouldn’t be a pesky little brother without being a little bit mean.

Happy Birthday and don’t worry, you don’t look a day older than the Sears Tower.

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Until someone writes a book entitled A Man’s Guide to Greeting Cards, I’m just going to keep messing up.  Come on, Hallmark… you’ve already tortured those of us possessing even trace amounts of testosterone with the Hallmark channel and then you came up with a completely unashamed effort to increase revenue called “Sweetest Day”.  Now it’s time to cut us some slack and post some kind of guidelines at the greeting card rack. 

No, I didn’t forget Valentine’s Day.  I bought my wife a card a week and a half early – complete with pictures of Edward and Jacob on the front and a recording of Edward’s voice when the card opens.  Nothing says “I love you” like a prerecorded message from an actor portraying the undead. 

I thought I was done, but before Valentine’s Day, Sara asked me if I got cards and gifts for the girls.  That’s when I learned that “I thought you did” was the inappropriate response.  I made another trip to Target where I picked up some stuffed animals and more cards.  As I was leaving, I heard a guy with his kids say, “Now let’s pick out a card for mommy from you kids.”

“Wow,” I thought, “this guy is good!”  Unfortunately, it was Saturday morning, I had consumed three cups of coffee, and I had already been in Target for about 45 minutes…  Sara didn’t get a card from the girls.  I’m still not sure if I broke a rule or not.  I think I’ll understand Lady Gaga before I understand all of the nuances of card-giving etiquette.

To be honest, I don’t really understand the concept of greeting cards at all.  It’s an entire industry based on the premise that paying complete strangers to express heartfelt sentiments so that you don’t have to is not only acceptable but expected.  Wouldn’t it be better if we wrote our own cards?  That’s right guys, you know you’ve done it.  You forgot to get a card and at the last moment decided to do a homemade one in a last ditch effort only to have a girl swoon over your “romantic” gesture.  I call that the “Leap Card” because you can only get away with it about once every four years.

Then there is the dilemma regarding what to do with cards you receive.  Throwing them away seems insensitive but renting a storage unit so you can keep every single card you ever get makes it seem like you should also own about forty cats.  

So here’s my plan to solve both problems.  I’m going to save up all of my cards and recycle them by giving them to others.  Sure they’ll have extra words and be signed by other people, but we’ve already established that people do not look down upon receiving words written by people they don’t’ know.  Plus, it’s green!  Ed Bagley Jr. will be so impressed!

Sara’s birthday is next month, so I’m going to give this thing a shot.  What could possibly go wrong?

I’ve had enough.  Call it what you want: global warming, climate change, El Nino, or Al Gore’s revenge… whatever, just let it end!  When we moved to Atlanta five years ago, I thought I was leaving behind the bitter cold and snow.  I think it’s snowed a pretty significant amount every year since we’ve been here.  I’ve lost count of the number of times it has snowed this year (one of which was seven inches – for Atlanta that’s the equivalent of 27 feet for you northerners).  During that storm, every state except Hawaii and Florida had snow on the ground!  Now there’s more snow in forecast.  Come on!

I’ve experienced pretty bad winters in Nebraska and the two winters I spent in Northern New York made Hoth and The Island of Misfit Toys look tropical, but this just isn’t supposed to happen in the South.  The next thing you know, we’ll all be eating bagels instead of biscuits and enunciating properly.

I guess I’m a little more bitter than most because our driveway is an eighth of a mile long and it drops very steeply before rising again very steeply.  Whenever there is a threat of snow or ice, we have to park our vehicles at the end of the driveway and walk to and from our house to our vehicles.  Of course, this only occurs when the weather is terrible and we have to make the walk in the dark while it’s either snowing or raining and very cold… and it really is uphill both ways.  Those of you who have seen our driveway know what I’m talking about.

The crazy thing is just a few months ago we complaining about what a long, extremely hot and humid summer we were experiencing.  OK, Mr. Gore, if we do a recount on Florida one more time and give you the 2000 election, will you create some kind of program in the Internet that you invented that will show some nice weather for my area on www.weather.com?

Maybe this is some ploy to encourage tourism to California in an attempt to invigorate their struggling economy.  That’s straight out a Michael Creighton novel:  Arnold Schwarzenegger crosses political lines and teams up with the remaining Kennedy’s to develop a technology that redirects the ocean’s currents and wreaks havoc on the weather patterns all over the world, while creating a perfect climate in Southern California… then he finds out Maria Shriver is a robot… then she finds out he is the Terminator, so their relationship kind of works.  Meanwhile, the US government teams up with China in a clandestine project to detonate a nuclear warhead on the ocean floor to redirect ocean currents and restore what was once known as “spring” and “fall”.

The mission fails when teams of super-intelligent dolphins discover the intentions of the project and fight back to save their waters.  A fierce battle ensues and the warhead erroneously detonates resulting in Canada becoming a tropical paradise… but nobody notices.

Yeah… I felt like posting something random today.