All I want for Christmas is…

All I want for Christmas is a pair of Mariah Carey-cancelling headphones, so I don’t have to listen to that song roughly 28 billion times each year over the course of a mere 55 days.

Seriously, just make it stop!

It’s on the radio. It’s on the Muzak system at every retailer. It’s played in every “festive” public gathering spot. I cannot take it anymore.

“Take your saccharine song and move it away from me. Now!”

 

There’s only one real solution.

 

 

 

Welcome to adulthood. Be careful!

Our oldest kid, Gabriel, isn’t a kid anymore. He turns 18 today. It’s a Monday. It’s a school day. He has to work at the pizza parlor tonight. Yep, sounds like most adult birthdays – booorrrrrrinnnng!

Now that he’s officially an adult in the eyes of the law, there are a lot of risky things he can do, like bungee jumping or skydiving or buying lottery tickets. (Actually, that last one isn’t risky at all – the house always wins.)

He can buy cigarettes but I hope and pray he never does.

He can get a tattoo but I hope he realizes that everyone has a tattoo these days, and the rebellious thing to do is to NOT get one.

He can buy fireworks and go to jail… somehow those two are related in my head, in an if/then sort of way. If you are stupid enough to buy fireworks, you are probably going to wind up in jail.

He can vote, and I hope he does… can we fast-forward to 2020 please?

But most importantly of all, he can get his own credit card… but I don’t see that happening anytime soon, not when his old man’s credit card works just fine at the gas pump and fast food restaurants.

And here’s his song of the day, a dedication to his parents:

 

 

Don’t call it a comeback… unless you want to make us feel worse

I was checking out at the grocery store yesterday (“bloggers – they’re just like us!”) and saw this on the cover of Us Magazine:

TAYLOR SWIFT: MY AMAZING COMEBACK!

Comeback? Excuse me… did I miss something here? Because the last time I checked, Taylor Swift had released five studio albums prior to her latest release, each one coming roughly two years after the previous one (and perfected timed for the late-October/early-November holiday shopping season, might I add)… and the crappiest selling one of them is quadruple platinum.

Am I the new Rip Van Winkle? Have I been asleep for the 20 years when Taylor Swift fell out of the public eye?

            

Have I entered a Twilight Zone where her every dalliance isn’t documented on a daily basis?

Are we now living in an alternate reality where T-Swizzle lost her entire $250 million fortune on orange juice futures?

What exactly is Taylor Swift’s “amazing comeback”? Coming back from her own private island, perhaps. Her newest release just sold 1.2 million copies in a week… in a day and age when people don’t buy music anymore.

Can’t wait for next week’s issue of Us, maybe they’ll have another great feature like:

Scrooge McDuck: My Amazing Rags to Riches Story!

 

Dyin’ ain’t much of a living, boy

On Friday morning I saw a very life-affirming presentation… from an expert on dying. Cole Imperi is a designer, but she’s also a thanatologist… an expert in death, dying and bereavement. And she has a great hairstyle.

She spoke at the Creative Mornings monthly breakfast lecture, about Big Death vs. Little Death (the former is when someone passes away, but the latter can be any significant change in life – a divorce, losing a job, etc. – and we need to mourn those too) and Big Voice (your ego) vs. Little Voice (your passion/purpose). She has spent countless hours with folks who are dying, and she said you can see the regret on their face, and 99% of the time it’s about things they didn’t do but wished they had.

Cole also had us all write a quick obituary, following the standard form (name, age, city of residence, job, hobbies, etc.). Then she asked if any of us felt like our obituary was perfect – we had accomplished everything we wanted to in our lives. Of course no one in the audience felt that way. So the good news is, we’re not dead yet.

We still have time to do what truly drives us. After all, as Dylan said, “he not busy being born is busy dying.”

Cole believes that better living comes from knowing dying. Jason Isbell covers that territory beautifully in a song from his new album, “If We Were Vampires.” Watch the interview after the song when they talk about the line “maybe time running out is a gift.” As Jason says, “maybe the best thing of all is death, because that’s the only reason any of us get up in the morning. It’s the only reason any of us fall in love. It’s the only reason any of us care about anything…. is because one day we’re gonna be dead.”

Happy Life Day! But not this Life Day:

 

 

 

Five-fidgety-finger discount

A couple of our kids deliver a weekly community newspaper… actually it’s just Gabriel now, Peter had to “retire” due to his work and sports schedules (pizza joint and bowling team, respectively, if you’re keeping score at home). Let’s just say the Forest Hills Journal will never be mistaken for the New York Times…. or the New York Post for that matter. Whereas the Times covers “all the news that’s fit to print,” the Forest Hills Journal‘s motto is “all the news that fits, we print.” But it’s great if you’re a Gladys Kravitz nosy neighbor type.

Each week they list all the home sales in the area, so you can find out exactly what that house down the street sold for. And they also have each municipality’s police report. This week, the Fairfax neighborhood was heavy on theft, especially in the 4000 block of Red Bank Road:

My favorite is Theft of figget spinner. I’ve heard of fidget spinners – they’re as ubiquitous as the Kardashians these days, and their popularity is just as inexplicable — but figget spinners must be extra fancy if they get their own category of theft. Maybe they are fidget spinners made out of gold nuggets.

Or better yet, fidget spinners covered in Fig Newtons.

I can see why someone might get sticky fingers (literally and figuratively) with those.

And why the major crime wave in the 4000 block of Red Bank Road? Need you even ask:

 

Monday I’ve got Friday on my mind

I’ve waxed poetic (OK, it was un-poetic… so sue me) about the death of Thanksgiving in previous years. It’s the only “pure” holiday left – a day set aside for gathering with friends and family to give thanks, with no (purse)strings attached. But since retailers can’t sell you something you don’t need on that day, they ignore it. As soon as the clock strikes midnight on All Hallows’ Eve (the “sell them candy and costumes and party supplies” holiday), retailers hit fast forward and skip right to Christmas (the “sell them everything that isn’t bolted down” holiday).

The day after Thanksgiving usually marked the starting point for the onslaught of the relentless retailing race. But every year, there are more retailers jumping the gun in an unceasing effort to get inside your pants (because your wallet is there, that’s all).

In the past couple of years, “Closed on Thanksgiving Day” has fallen by the wayside. This year it’s “Black Friday NOW!” mania, as witnessed by the ads in yesterday’s newspaper:

Believe it or not, I’m actually in favor of this trend. Because if “Black Friday” moves up to early November, maybe all the crass commercialism will be over before Thanksgiving, and we can actually enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas without the shopping hassles. Doesn’t that sound refreshing? So, without further ado, a couple of tunes for your shopping pleasure…

 

 

“You’ve got mail”

“Email can be fun!”… said no person ever. Actually, it can be fun. My old pal Steve Roemer runs a company in Greater Chicago that helps clients liquidate old machinery, equipment and inventory – not exactly the sexiest, most glamorous gig in the world, right? But his latest email to clients/potential clients shows that adding a little levity can get attention.

First he uses a fun subject line: Holy Sheet Metal Fabrication Facility Auction, Batman! If you’re a person of a certain age (and chances are most of his clients fit that demographic) that subject line is pure gold. Even if you didn’t grow up watching Adam West and Burt Ward in the campy Batman TV show, the “holy sheet” should grab you by the eyeballs and bring a smile to your face.

Subject lines are so important in marketing emails, and most marketers don’t give them any thought at all. They spend all their time on the body of the email – neglecting the fact that if you don’t have an intriguing subject line, the email might get deleted instantly, without the recipient even looking at the body copy. We’ve all done it: if you’re staring at an inbox with hundreds of emails, chances are you’re gonna click on the ones with engaging subject lines first.

Then Steve pays off the subject line with a fun visual, and some punchy (literally) body copy:

He throws in some compelling photos for eye candy:

And adds a few bullet points that highlight what his company offers:

In the words of the greatest TV sportscaster of all time:

 

In my day job, I send out a weekly all-company email, a digest of what’s happening around the company – HR reminders, meeting alerts, general “need to know” information, etc. In most companies, that’s an express ticket to Snoozeville. Most Boring Email Ever.

But I throw in goofy pictures, memes, links to obscure YouTube clips. I crack jokes, I poke fun at our executives. I put funny captions underneath photos of employees. Here’s are a couple of examples:

Movember is still growing strong… in some ways
Judging by the lip rugs we’ve seen around the office (and can never un-see…my eyes!), the 84.51° Movember teams are better at fundraising than hair-raising. Help them crush their goal with a quick contribution:
Image result for cheesy mustache

We have a section called “Celebrity Lookalikes” where we compare an employee to a famous person. And sometimes it morphs into “Celebrity Soundalikes”:

It’s always silly, it can sometimes be downright stupid… but the readership rate is off the charts. I can’t tell you how many folks have said “at my old jobs, I never used to read the corporate emails because they were so boring, but I really like reading yours.” That’s by design. A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. Or as one of my heroes Hugh MacLeod puts it:

Life’s too short to read boring emails.

 

 

Hey kids, Dad is on the Facegram and the Tweetbook!

A new dad-centric, humor-based website called The Dad launched yesterday.

And I’m happy to say that I’m a contributor to the hijinks. (Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter too!) The Executive Editor is a former co-worker of mine, and he was familiar with my irreverent all-company emails (there’s a phrase that doesn’t get tossed around too much), so he invited me to submit stuff for the new site.

Thus far, I’ve only contributed memes to the mix. Like this gem:

Heck yeah I ‘liked’ my own creation… vanity, thy name is dubbatrubba.

Yes, I realize I’m contributing to the dumbing down of America, nay, the world, by creating “content” that consists of goofy pictures and a caption. But it’s “shareable” and that’s how the world wide web works these days (or so I’m told). Eventually I hope to contribute a few Dave-Barry-style articles as well, maybe the random goofy video. 20 years removed from writing and performing comedy on The Gary Burbank Show on radio, it’s nice to be able to stretch those humor muscles once again. Now please hand me the Icy Hot… or better yet the Absorbine Jr.

Please check out The Dad online often, subscribe to the newsletter, and share it with your friends. Or your enemies if you don’t care for it. Thanks!

https://www.thedad.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thedadonline

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thedadonline

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thedadonline/ 

 

 

An Uber-relaxing weekend

This past weekend was Uber-relaxing for me… except I don’t find being an Uber driver (and an unpaid one at that) very relaxing.

  1. Friday afternoon: Pick up Peter from his class field trip at Northern Kentucky University, drive him home.
  2. Take Leah to the thrift shop so she could look for Halloween costumes, then drive her back home, just in time to…
  3. Take Peter to his job at the pizza parlor, and get home just in time to…
  4. Take Andrew and his friend to the junior high dance at school.
  5. Bring home Andrew, his friend and another friend (guess that kid’s parents found out about our complimentary ride policy), as well as Leah, who was attending the football game. Drop each kid off at their respective home.
  6. Saturday afternoon: drive Leah to a friend’s house so she could get ready for a classmate’s Halloween party
  7. Saturday evening: pick up Leah and 3 friends at the party, and drive them all back to their homes.

7 trips, a total of 14 different stops… $0 earned. I need more hustle in my side hustle.

Good thing these kids don’t know that I failed my taxi driver test:

 

It pays to eat healthy

Almonds have all sorts of health benefits. This week, the print ad from the grocery chain Fresh Thyme featured almonds for $5.99 a pound, which is a good deal.

But wait, there’s more… right above that featured item was chocolate-covered almonds… for a buck less a pound!

Yes, it truly is cheaper to eat less healthy. I’m surprised that deep-fried-Oreo-covered almonds aren’t on sale for $3.99 a pound.