Thursday, January 29, 2009
The masthead (ooooh, look how smart I am) above will make a lot more sense if you're familiar at all with the TV show House. If not, then I can only assume you haven't seen it because you're laid up with a case of paraneoplastic syndrome. Or necrosis of the liver. Or maybe vasculitis. Don't worry -- I'll figure it out in the last five minutes.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
“Good girl,” I grunted, picking up the pace as
In my haste upon reaching the kitchen and trying to swing the bag onto the counter, I knocked the plastic bin that holds Memphis’ food onto the floor, spraying dog chow in every direction and ripping the hole in the bag wide enough to create a situation that an oil man or a paramedic would probably have referred to as a “gusher.” By the time I was able to stem the flow, our kitchen had become
“Oh, boy, that’s an interesting development,” I said with my head on the counter, considering what length a proper string of obscenities would be for such an occasion.
Fortunately for us,
“Get your face outta my food!” I yell at her on a nightly basis as she sticks her snout into my plate on the coffee table.
“Did she get any of it?” Kara will ask.
“Just a lick. Get out of here, George Pup-a-dapolis,” I say, nudging
“Who?” Kara asks.
“George Pup-a-dapolis. Like George Papadapolis, the dad from Webster,” I say. Kara stares back at me blankly.
“The sitcom from the eighties. Emmanuel Lewis was Webster. He used a dumbwaiter to move between floors, so he’d just pop out of the kitchen cabinets. Remember?”
Silence ensues, and my favorite obscure puppy-nickname reference floats into the ether, unappreciated forevermore. Honestly, am I the only surviving Webster watcher left in the world?
You can slap Mike Todd’s hand off your leftovers at email@example.com.
Friday, January 23, 2009
On a completely unrelated note, check out how lucky Kara is that I warned her about this pterodactyl attack while she was feeding a toucan at Sam's Point in upstate New York.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Fortunately for us, one of the early vultures was my wife Kara, who scavenged an extremely choice piece of carrion: one of those arcade-style mini-basketball shooting machines, with two hoops, a digital scorer, sound effects, and pictures of ten-year-olds, my apparent peers, on the box having a blast.
I probably could have built an actual basketball court in the time it took me to put the machine together, armed with a tiny Allen wrench and a page of instructions on which the only clear thing was that it had been written by someone who hated people.
As a thirty-one year-old with a newly built basketball-shooting machine in the basement, though, I’m worried that maybe I’ve peaked too soon. Bettering my existence from here seems a dim possibility without the addition of something much more meaningful to care for, like a ski ball machine. But really, a ski ball machine in a basement could never duplicate the experience of a ski ball machine in a real-life arcade. Without the ability to trade in 10,000 tickets for a plastic frog whose butt breaks off when you press down on it to try to make it hop, what would be the point?
Since I’ve been spending the majority of my recent free time standing on the cold concrete in the basement, throwing miniature basketballs into a miniature hoop for hours on end in the sort of mindless, near-drooling trance that makes this column possible every week, it has been difficult not to think about where this machine came from and to get a little wistful about the passing of Linen n’ Things as it moves out of our lives and into the Great Bed, Bath and Beyond.
Our parents did without Linens n’ Things, so I guess we’ll learn to adjust. But it makes me cringe to think about how our moms and dads suffered for all those years, barely scraping by with their non-ergonomic spatulas and their slippers that didn’t feature memory foam technology designed by NASA.
Also, isn’t it about time NASA gave us something else? I think NASA’s been coasting by on Velcro for a little too long, which, by the way, as I’ve learned from the internet since I started typing this sentence, it didn’t even invent. Some Swiss guy did. NASA just popularized it. Saying NASA invented Velcro is like saying
Anyway, I’ll miss all the times Kara dragged me to Linens n’ Things on missions to find things we didn’t need. She was like a raccoon in a shiny object museum.
“Oooh, look, cinnamon-scented pine cones,” she’d say, stopping in the aisle.
“Babe, if you really wanted pine cones, you should have told me. I’ll get you a nice big bag of fresh ones,” I’d say.
“But these ones smell so good,” she’d reply, inhaling deeply and smiling.
“Mine will be seven bucks cheaper. And they’ll be scented with pine,” I’d reply hopefully.
People also don’t realize the sort of educational opportunities that disappear forever when a store like Linens n’ Things goes oven-mitts-up. Just before our wedding, I remember Kara explaining to me how the world worked in terms I’d never heard before.
“You mean, people keep track of how many threads their sheets have?” I asked in amazement. What a strange and fantastic world we live in. But I bet the people who have to count the threads in the first place are even angrier than the instruction manual guy.
You can send Mike Todd emails n’ things at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Th(os)e reader(s) will not be disappointed more than usual this week, as I have spotted a trend. This past New Year’s Eve, I watched
In the past few years, though, somebody figured out that, for some reason, guys would wear earmuffs if the connecting piece was rotated ninety degrees. Why this makes a difference is just one of those mysteries, like how they built Stonehenge or why they’re sticking pomegranate juice in everything now (different theys, probably, but we may never know for sure).
What other primarily female products could be sold to men by making trivial modifications? Surely, our nation’s top scrunchie engineers are already working on this.
I’ve been angry with the fashion industry ever since the time about ten years ago when it convinced the entire young male population that it needed hammer loops on its jeans. Carpenter jeans, they were called, as if carpentry was suddenly all the rage with the kids, when in fact the only nailing we were doing was to our opponents on “James Bond: GoldenEye” on the Nintendo 64 in that kid’s dorm room down the hall, an endeavor that notably required very few hammers. And even if we had all gotten hired at construction jobs, I’m pretty sure those loops weren’t meant to hold ten-pound air-powered nail guns. Carpenters didn’t even wear carpenter jeans anymore.
“Oh, no, I’m skipping that one,” I thought, after noticing the growing horde of pretend woodworkers at
Anyway, I spent two years of college shuffling around campus with my arms out in front of me, thirsting for brains and sporting a vestigial hammer loop on my pants just like everybody else. We all knew it was stupid but we did it anyway, which would incidentally be a great title for Donald Rumsfeld’s autobiography.
This past summer, my buddy Jered, the most fashionable of my guy friends, which is kind of like being the tallest Pygmy, met up with a group of our friends outside the
“You’re still wearing those shorts from college?” he asked. “Aren’t you a little too old for Abercrombie? Maybe you could have pulled that off a decade ago.”
My attempt to camouflage myself as a twenty-something had failed. Sensing my chance to get off on a technicality, I replied, “Dude, I bought these shorts a decade ago. Doesn’t that count?”
Apparently, it didn’t, but now that I’m old enough to be a nonconformist on purpose, I don’t need his fashion advice anymore. Besides, it would be hard to hear through my new earmuffs.
You can hang Mike Todd out to dry at email@example.com.
Monday, January 05, 2009
Until our own little family consists of members other than our dog and ourselves, Christmas is a time not only for making memories, but also for making the rounds. Fortunately for us, playing connect-the-families doesn’t require more than a four-hour drive on any of the legs of the trip; flying home is something we’re happy to leave to the geese and to our trans-American friends, Rob and Natalie, who insisted on moving to
The most indelible image of our whirlwind tour ‘round the horn this year happened when Kara and I were looking across the table at Rob and Natalie’s hands, her hand for the sparkling new engagement ring, his hand for the shiny new pinkie splint, two accessories that we initially assumed were unrelated.
After many years of relatively tumult-free dating and cohabitating, as of a few months ago, Rob still hadn’t proposed, leading many of his friends to conjecture about what possible data he could still be collecting.
Eight Seven years should be plenty of time to determine whether your partner is really a secret agent or a werewolf, but Rob has never been in much of a hurry about anything. He was always the friend we lied to about when the party started, bumping it forward a couple hours in hopes that he might get there before everybody left. But our continued predictions of their impending engagement proved to be less accurate than the predictions offered by your average doomsday cult.
Luckily, he popped the question before Natalie left the party.
“I had one foot out the door,” she told us with a wink over lunch a couple of days ago.
Rob’s eyes widened. “Wait. What door?” he asked.
Natalie drew a rectangle in the air with her fingers.
“THE door,” she replied, smiling.
We didn’t ask about the sleeping arrangements when they visited her family in
Just as we’d started to think that their engagement and his pinkie splint were quite the suspicious coincidence, Rob explained that he’d earned his own jewelry by sticking his fingers where they didn’t belong, namely between a rock and a bigger, falling rock.
As Rob stopped to take a few pictures of the temporary sculptures, he noticed one spire in particular that he later referred to as the “Mother Ship,” made up of three enormous rocks balanced end-to-end in what probably passes in
Ignoring the circles in the sand that, in retrospect, must have been meant as a barrier to protect the Darwinly challenged from themselves, Rob decided that the rocks were clearly being held up by some sort of support, a fraud that needed to be exposed. One gentle poke from his soon-to-be mangled finger proved otherwise.
It’s a shame that he was too busy fleeing the scene on his way to the hospital to yell, “Jenga!”
You can forget old acquaintances with Mike Todd at firstname.lastname@example.org.