Tag Archives: humor

Take that, Peyton Manning!

Palmer and Peyton Manning 10/29/2006

Peyton Manning is bringing his star power and charitable works to the Rocky Mountains. Hey, Peyton, how about a challenge run for Engineers Without Borders? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have to admit to being a bit upset by all the fuss being made over Peyton Manning’s move to Denver. When I moved west almost two years ago, there wasn’t near as much ruckus raised … and I came from Maryland, which is a heck of a lot farther than Indiana. It took us three trips to drive all our junk out here and there weren’t any TV cameras waiting for us at the end of any of them.

The thing I don’t get is why football players are put on such high pedestals. Yeah, they get a lot of money to play a game, but I don’t see why they are considered to be such great athletes. Oh, right … it’s because most of them could probably break my skinny 5′ 8″, 150 lb body in half.

But you know what? I’m 55 years old and I’m already nearing the average life expectancy of an NFL player (58). I’m also imitating Joe Namath (one of the guys who has beaten the life expectancy odds) while I GUARANTEE that I could run any one those great athletes currently on an NFL roster INTO THE GROUND! I’m not saying that I could’ve done it when I was in my prime. (Ha! As if I ever had a prime!) I’m saying that, even with arthritic ankles, Achilles tendonitis and two decades more under my belt than most of them, that I could do it today.

This is a short pause for a serious question or two. Why do we glorify a sport that pretty much assures that those who participate are cutting decades off their lives? Are they paid so much because we know what they’re doing is going to result in an earlier death?

Okay, back to it. On April 28, I’m doing the Run Josh Run event in Laramie, Wyoming—24 hours of running. My game plan is to make it 118 miles in that span of time, but I’ll be more than happy with an even 100. It is the off season for NFL players and I’m challenging them to join me for a few hundred laps around the track. I know they are all scared stiff of a 55-year-old leaving them broken and moaning on the infield, but it’s for charity!

Come on, Peyton! Since you are a newbie to the rarefied air of the Rocky Mountains, I’ll even give you a 20-mile handicap.

If you can’t make it, how about chipping in a few thou for a great cause? Engineers Without Borders helps poor communities around the world develop clean sources of drinking water, improve sanitation and many other critical engineering-related needs. These projects are vital for stabilizing the social and economic frameworks of the countries involved. The global economy benefits when third-world communities become self-sufficient. Put some of those NFL big bucks to good use.

Even if you aren’t an NFL star, you can make a big difference. Please click here to lend a hand!

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The Monitor Game

This is a semi-regular guest post from the point of view of my grandson,  C, for whom I am now the full-time nanny. The initial is not an indication that C is average—he’s far from average in this humble grandpa’s opinion. It’s just a way to grant him a little anonymity. When he runs for President in forty years, I don’t want his opponents using these infant ramblings against him. 🙂

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

Just because I’m almost five months old doesn’t mean I have a lot of free time on my hands. There are four adults in the house and keeping them all wrapped around my little finger takes some effort! But there is a game I like to play with Granddad when I have a few moments to spare. It is called The Monitor Game.

Mommy bought a Safety First Crystal Clear baby monitor so that everyone can hear me when I wake up from my naps. Not that my lungs aren’t plenty strong when needed. Anyway, the monitor is what makes this game possible. The basic rules are: 1) It must be nap time. 2)  Granddad must be trying to write.

That’s all there is to it. He walks around with me on his shoulder, singing (OMG! I’ll have to post about his frog voice someday soon) until I fall asleep … or so he thinks. Once he puts me down in my crib and takes the receiver, I wait until he’s had enough time to grab a snack and head for his computer. Then I let out a few fussies and the fun begins. When he comes in to check on me, I pretend to be asleep. He goes back to his writing, I fuss, he comes back, I pretend to be asleep, he goes back … can’t you see what awesome fun that is? I get tired of the game after a bit, but I keep at it until I hear the magic words “Oh, you little rascal!” By then I’m ready to zonk out for … oh a good twenty minutes or so.

But I think I’m starting to get too old for this game! Lately I’ve been working on a new one. It is called The Half and Half Nap. Granddad seems uncertain about it right now; but, once I get it perfected, I’ll be sure to share it with the rest of you.

Now it’s time get Granddad up and hopping again. Catch ya later!

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Teaching Granddad Nanny

Hello! My name is C and I’m five months old.  Last month Mommy and Daddy went back to work and I started spending my days with a nanny. Not just any nanny, but a HE nanny who is also my Granddad … Granddad Nanny. Teaching Granddad about this nanny business is hard work.

It's hard work taking care of Granddad!

He’s doing a pretty good job but he’s confused sometimes because he thinks the answer to anything is on the internet and boy-oh-boy is that wrong.

So, I thought I’d start doing these posts to help Granddad keep things straight. Besides, he thinks I’m funny when it’s really him that’s hilarious, so I wanted to set the record straight on that.

For example, lately I’ve started clocking myself in the head when I’m feeding. These aren’t little love taps, but full-bore, Mike Tyson knockout punches. Naturally, GN (Granddad Nanny) googled and came up with a bunch of stuff like it was a “manifestation of tantrum behavior” or that I was frustrated, or teething. For crying out loud! I’m five months old, besides I do it while I’m eating—nursing or taking a bottle, it doesn’t matter which— and eating is something I love to do almost as much as peeing on GN when he’s changing my diaper. Believe me, it isn’t a temper tantrum or frustration.

What I’m teaching GN is that, at my age, everything is about sensation; new experiences, new feelings are what I’m all about. Okay, I’ll admit it, a good punch in the cheek does take my mind off my gums, but that’s just a small part of it. The real reason I do almost everything is that everything is all so new! Not much bores me yet … oh, except those phony sneezes. They cracked me up a month ago—you looked so ridiculous!—but, seriously Granddad, you need to get a new shtick.

Anyway, giving myself a good whack on the noggin stimulates some different senses. Yeah, it hurts a little, especially now that I’m building some arm strength, but that’s all part of the learning process. Yes, I admit it. I don’t know it all … yet. That will take a few more years. In the meantime, I’m learning that if I hit myself smack-dab in the corner of my eye … IT … IS … PAINFUL! But, oh the rewards! The look on GN’s face was priceless! He didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I had to do it again just to see that goofy, wide-eyed shock and hear that strangled guffaw. And he thinks I’m funny.

So, there it is … my first post. I wonder if Mommy will try to put this in my baby book. I’ve got lots of stories to tell on Granddad—the triple poop, the dorkiest dance in the world, the monitor game,  how he sucks on my thumb and tells himself it is only because it makes me laugh—and he keeps doing new silly stuff everyday! I don’t know how I’ll keep up.

Now it’s time get Granddad up and hopping again. Catch ya later!

Oh, the other reason I like to duke it out with myself? I’m learning to be tough … I heard preschool is brutal!

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Filed under Granddad Nanny, Humor, Personal, Writing

Running With Scissors

So I’m running down Route 287 just before sunrise and there on the edge of the highway is a pair of nine-inch scissors with a red handle. They looked brand new, so I scooped them up, not thinking how I would look running down the road as all my neighbors were leaving for work. Once the steady stream of cars  started passing me on Spring Lakes Road, I could imagine the conversation inside the vehicles:

“Mommy look! That man is running with scissors!”

“This is too much!” Mommy says. “Running in the middle of the night–weird, but he’s from back east, what do you expect? Running when it’s minus 22 degrees–crazy, but he’s a writer, they’re all crazy. Running when the wind is 50 mph–insane, but it’s what that Selmer guy does. Now this! Running With Scissors! Totally unacceptable!”

I felt like I should send out an e-mail trying to explain, but I have a suspicion that my reputation is already set in cement and nothing I can say will change it.
I was pretty tired for this run but that was to be expected after the unplanned sort-of tempo run last night. Only nine hours, and no food, between the two runs. If I’d fallen from exhaustion onto the scissors, at least the neighbors could tell their kids, “See! That’s why you don’t run with scissors!”

While I was out on the run,  and before I found the scissors, I realized how incredibly busy I will be over the next four months … five months … oh geez, I’m not sure I’ll ever not be busy again. I think it was one thing that contributed to the tired feeling I had during the run.

“Avenging Angel”, the sequel to “Harvest of the Heart” is just screaming to get out of my head and onto paper. At some point, I have to get moving on the biography I want to write. Then there is the short story collection “Running Scared” that is in the editing phase and will require more work before it goes to the publisher. A book launch party next Thursday; a book tour and DC area launch on January 23; and, on top of it all, I have to train for Boston–I believe I may have bitten off more than I can chew.

This is starting to sound like a whole ‘nother post I need to write. I hope that camel has a strong back, because the straws are piling up.

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Filed under Personal, Running, Symbiotic, Writing

Our Silliest Christmas Tradition

Christmas lights pretending to be flowers.

‘Tis the season for tradition — eggnog, candy canes,  a wreath on the front door, a Christmas tree in the living room — these are touchstones of the season,  common constants that help subconsciously prepare us for other, sometimes absurd, customs that are revived every year at this time. In the meals we eat, the decorations we hang, and the clothes we wear, tradition rears its sometimes silly head and makes us do things that are somehow embarrassing and heart-warming at the same time.

I’ve heard of many, shall we say unusual, traditions that rival those in our family: pantyhose stockings hanging on the mantle, deer jerky left for Santa instead of cookies and milk, the Christmas steak and shrimp dinner, immediately putting on any gift that is wearable, watching Die Hard on Christmas Eve; I’m sure your family has at least one odd custom of its own. The comical variations of the “Santa Hat” alone are too numerous to mention. (For those unenlightened masses, a Santa Hat is what the person handing out the gifts must wear. This is often passed from one person to another throughout the process of digging the Christmas tree out from under a mountain of brightly wrapped gifts.)

I’m not exactly sure how all of our own family’s traditions came about, but there are several that I find downright comical.

The first has to do with Christmas stockings. (This came from my wife’s side of the family.) For us, Christmas stockings are used for replenishing all the personal hygiene items that we may have used up during the year. The stockings may be hung from the chimney with care, but we pack those red felt suckers chock-a-block full of toothbrushes, toothpaste, lip balm, tissue packets, soap, foot powder, deodorant, skin lotion, combs, and other assorted items that you usually pick up at the pharmacy when you’re getting low on them during the year. Instead, we use Christmas to stock up on all that stuff. Thrilling isn’t it?

Christmas gifts.

Image via Wikipedia

Of course, one of the neat things about this tradition is the rare occasion when some incredibly special gift is slipped in among the dross. Imagine you’ve opened everything under the tree and been secretly disappointed that your husband hadn’t delivered anything memorable. You go through your stocking gifts opening up all the standard stuff that you could have bought in fifteen minutes at CVS. Suddenly, Christmas is saved! (Along with the aforesaid husband.) When you get to the bottom, you find a ruby and diamond ring wrapped in a piece of tissue paper.

Our second silly tradition is of my own devious creation. Almost every year since we were married in 1976, I am usually involved in some home improvement project or another. That project was usually started long before Christmas and had been dragging on… and on… and on. In those years, I usually will work ridiculous hours trying to finish up some dramatic portion of the project in the wee hours of Christmas morning. Then my wife would wake up and be surprised that the kitchen cabinets finally had doors, or a new light fixture had been installed. This allowed me to get Christmas gift credit for something that I was obligated to do at some point anyway. Believe it or not, the same woman has remained married to me for almost 36 years despite such nonsense.

I get to our family’s final silly tradition with a mild sense of melancholy. Many years ago, when he was in his mid-teens, my eldest son gave my wife a piece paper that listed nine great golf gifts. That’s it, that was the gift. My wife has never played golf, except the miniature kind; neither has my son. It was just a silly joke on his part. The next year, my wife gave it back to him, packaged in a way that made him thing he was getting something special. He gave it back to her the year after, and a tradition was born. That little piece of paper went back and forth for years. One year, my wife stole it back from my son and gave it to him two years in a row. Another Christmas it went missing, only to turn up the next, providing an even bigger surprise for the recipient. For myself and my other children, this annual battle of the nine golf gifts provided an amusing undertone to the annual opening of Christmas gifts. But in recent years we’ve been disappointed, for this tradition has died.

It didn’t expire from any neglect or a lack of desire to continue said tradition. With all the changes and moving that has gone on in all our lives over the past several years, the list of nine great golf gifts has gone missing, apparently for good. We all mourn the loss of that silly piece of paper. It had become, like all good traditions, a bridge to the past, to times that we felt connected to more closely as a result of observing a seemingly ridiculous little custom.

So I want you to celebrate, and revel in, your silly family traditions. No matter what they are, you’ll miss them if they ever go away.

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Filed under Christmas, Personal, Writing