Every year a group of us get together for a pot luck Super Bowl party. So far, people have volunteered to bring a wide assortment of treats.
Pig snout gruel
Deep fried diverticulum
Debeaked loon poppers
Spam con queso
Fried pine cones and bark on a nice bed of lead
Liver pot pie
These are my neighbors. There's a reason I'm the way I am.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Every year a group of us get together for a pot luck Super Bowl party. So far, people have volunteered to bring a wide assortment of treats.
Posted by Snag at 10:10 AM
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Sunday didn't start out well. A fight with my middle kid on the way to an early game.
"Hey, did you bring your phone?" my son asked his friend who was carpooling with us.
"No. Why would I need it at the game?" his friend asked.
"In case you have to call a play," I told him.
My son sneered at me. "Sometimes you're funny by accident," he said. "That was just stupid."
"Wrong. That was hilarious. A prime example of Algonquin Round Table style wit."
"Shut up," he said.
"You think I'm funny, don't you?" I implored his friend, who wisely chose to stay out of it.
"Shut up," my son repeated. "And put on some different music."
In response I turned up the radio.
Sunday night was better. We were having a rare family dinner when the conversation turned to colleges.
"I want to go to USC," said my oldest.
I tried to stifle the gag reflex triggered by the potential cost. "Good school," I told him. "My friend N. went there. He liked it a lot."
"I want to go to MIT," said my middle kid.
"Why?" asked the Lovely Bride.
"I like schools with 'Technology' in the name."
Great. Still, more thought than I put into my own college choice.
"I want to go to Duke," said my youngest. "I'm either going to be a major league baseball player or a hobo."
The rest of us turned to look at him.
"What the hell is wrong with you?" I finally asked. He grinned and shrugged.
"Are you really a doctor?" he asked me, randomly changing the subject.
"Yes," I said. "Says so right on the diploma."
"You're not a real doctor," said the older.
"Want to bet?" I asked. "Get me a knife and I'll show you."
"Don't be an idiot," said the Lovely Bride.
"He can't help it," said my oldest.
"You should all go to Grandma's alma mater," I them. "You could borrow her costume."
"What costume?" asked the youngest.
"The one with the ears and whiskers she likes to wear when her school's teams are playing on TV."
"Your grandmother does not have a costume," the Lovely Bride advised our children.
"Prove it," I said.
She glared at me in return.
"See, you can't," I said.
"I changed my mind," she said. "Get the knife."
Posted by Snag at 6:02 PM
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I would have attended the inauguration but I had more pressing matters.
"You're not really going to make Italian sausage in my kitchen?" my friend H.'s wife asked.
"Sure," H. replied. "Where else would we?"
"How about Snag's house?"
"We're not allowed to play there anymore," I said.
"You were singing "Ring of Fire" at 11:30 on a Sunday night," she said.
"I know. My wife's unreasonable," I said. "That's why we're doing it here."
Four hours later we were regrinding six pounds of pork for the third time. By hand.
"Mrs. H, will you finish the sausage for us?" I whined.
She pretended to ignore me.
"Why didn't you tell us how long it would take?" H. demanded.
"I long ago gave up being the voice of reason for you two," she said.
"You know what we should do next time?" I asked H. "We should slaughter our own pig. That would be extremely authentic."
H.'s wife shuddered. "Hurry up," she told her husband. "We have to get our kid to a hockey game."
Eventually the pork was ground, the seasonings added, and the mixture stuffed into casings. I had some tonight. It was beyond delicious.
"I bet H. and I are going to win a Nobel Prize in sausage making," I told my youngest and one of his friends.
My son's friend peered at me quizzically.
"Too bad we didn't make it last week," I said. "We could have used it as prizes on Bingo Night."
"That's stupid," said my son.
"You're talking to the King of Bingo," I told him. "Question me not."
Bingo Night was an unmitigated success again this year, even if the day didn't start that way. Leaving the house for a morning meeting, I hit the garage door button. There was a horrible grinding noise and the rollers popped out of their track.
Late as usual, I screamed in rage and pulled the door down as far as it would go, got back in my car, and called the Lovely Bride.
"The freaking garage door's broken, I'm late for my meeting, I've got to finish bingo shopping, I'll call the repair guy when I get home, why does God hate me so much, don't try to open the door," I shrieked into the phone.
"Okay, I won't," said the Lovely Bride. "Let me know when it's working again."
Two hours later, after my meeting, she sent me an email. "I bet I know what happened," it said. "I hit it with the car when I backed out this morning."
Yes, that would probably do it.
In any event, H. and I finished our shopping. I stopped at home to pick up my middle son and a friend of his, both of whom had offered to help us get set up for the evening.
"What are you going to be this year?" my kid asked.
"You'll find out soon enough," I told him.
Once at the school, we set out the prizes. Some donated, some purchased, all arranged with precision and elegance on the stage.
"Wasn't that bike in our basement?" asked my kid as his friend positioned it next to the other prizes.
"Your mother bought it but we've never used it," I said. "We might as well raffle it off."
"How much are we getting for it?" he asked.
"Nothing. It's a donation."
"That's why we can't afford a Wii," he said. Another teachable moment, wasted.
Other dads started showing up to help. "It's show time," said H.
"Costumes everyone," I said, clapping my hands.
H. and I retired to the changing area. Several minutes later we reappeared.
"Engineers?" my middle son asked.
"That's right," I said, plucking my suspenders and tugging at my kerchief. I turned on the CD player and "Love Train" began to play.
"Choo choo," said H., patting his overalls.
"Oh, Lord," said my mother, who'd just arrived with my youngest in tow.
H.'s wife was there too. "My husband's problem is he doesn't realize overalls are a costume," she said.
"They're formal ones," I said. "He can wear them to church."
"He will," she said.
Maybe. No more time for chit chat. Time to bingo.
"All aboard the Bingo Express," I said. "Now departing for Chicago, Bozeman, and all points west."
"B9," I said. "Burlington Northern niner."
"O72," said H. "The Orange Blossom Special is on track 72."
"Don't forget to yell 'Choo choo Bingo' if you're a winner," I reminded the crowd. "Let's practice."
"Choo choo Bingo!!" screamed a hundred grade schoolers. My mother winced and glared at me.
"I can't hear you!" I said.
"CHOO CHOO BINGO!!" they yelled, louder this time. My mother covered her ears this time, which didn't stop her from glaring at me even more fiercely.
After an hour, we took a break. "Eat candy until your teeth hurt," H. advised the crowd, pointing to the concession stand.
I turned up "Chatanooga Choo Choo," followed by "Rock Island Line" and "Midnight Train to Georgia." There's a lot of good train music.
When we reconvened, it was time to sing.
"Any birthdays today?" H. asked.
A hand went up.
"Come here," H. said.
We positioned the boy at center stage, a friend's kid, put our hands on his shoulders, and started singing a birthday song. He was mortified and pleased at the same time. We gave him a prize, a wooden train whistle, and sent him back to his seat.
"Now is the time at Bingo when we dance!" I yelled.
"Dance contest! We need contestants!" H. yelled, even louder.
Hands went up everywhere and we picked three.
"Who's your teacher?" H. asked one of them. Upon getting an answer, he pointed at the teacher, who was working concessions. "You," H. ordered.
"Who's your teacher?" H. asked him when he arrived on stage. The teacher pointed at one of his colleagues, who was also working concessions.
"Get up here," H. ordered the second one. He turned to me. "Let's do it."
I hit the play button and Little Eva's version of "The Loco-Motion" filled the air. The kids started dancing. The teachers started dancing. H. and I started dancing. I glanced at my mother. She was staring at me slack jawed. I waved to her.
The song ended and we let the crowd pick the winner. The youngest contestant won, which is the way it should be. He got a bigger prize, the others got train whistles.
"Time for another game," I said. "We've got a special bingo caller for this one. Mom, come on up!"
My mother closed her eyes for a moment. Slowly, she rose from her seat and climbed the steps to the top of the stage.
"Ladies and gentlemen, my mother," I announced. "She made me what I am."
"What a horrible thing to say," she muttered under her breath.
"Love you," I said, hugging her. "Let's bingo!"
She bravely called a game. It was, needless to say, the longest one of the night, twenty minutes of unadulterated bingo hell. Finally it ended and she left the stage, her grandchildren greeting her with a mixture of glee and sympathy.
Eventually the night ended. We gave away the grand prizes, held our raffle. Talked to the concession guys, figured out how much we'd made. A pretty good year, down a little, it's a tough economy.
The dad selling bingo cards and daubers told us, "If I thought someone couldn't afford it, I cut him a break. Two for one or something, so all the kids could play."
"Good," we told him.
Cleaning up, "Last Train to Clarksville" playing in the background, I ended up next to a guy I recognized but don't know very well.
"You and H. are done after this," he said.
"Probably," I said. "Our boys go to middle school next year."
"It won't be the same without you," he said.
"For better or worse," I said.
"For better," he said. "It's been a good couple years."
Thanks," I said. "It has."
Posted by Snag at 11:03 PM
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
My middle son had a basketball tournament last weekend. As usual, it was located in the spot selected to be least convenient for me. That left several hours between games.
So I started a crossword. Like flies to something unspeakable, my kid and his teammates swarmed to me.
"What are you doing?" one of them demanded.
I looked up. "Hoping you'll all go play in traffic."
"Is your dad a nerd?" another one asked.
"Kind of," my son replied. "I think he used to get beat up a lot in school."
I considered swearing at him. Too many other parents around. "I love you, son," I said instead.
That sent them scattering. "If you want to see a nerd, be sure to join us at Bingo Night on Friday," I shouted at their backs.
Sure enough, it's that time of year again. Less than forty eight hours until Bingo. H. and I are once again in charge, having earned a nice pittance for the PTA last year. Our costumes are purchased and well ironed. My youngest, our family's sole remaining elementary school constituent, is desperate to know the theme.
"I'm not going to tell you," I said. "The surprise is half the fun. Actually, the drinks afterward are most of the fun, but it's bad parenting to tell you that. Make a note of that for the therapist you're going to see eventually."
"Please," he begged.
"At least tell me this," he said. "If you were going to be a dog, would H. be a dog too or would he be a cat?"
I stared at him. "Don't forget your bingo helmet," I finally said.
"Did you actually go to the costume store?" asked my middle son.
"Maybe," I replied coyly.
"Because that would be great," he said.
"That would be horrible," my oldest said.
"That's why it would be great," I said.
"Is Grandma really coming this year?" asked the youngest.
"Yes, she is," I said. "She's going to love it."
"Her son is going to be dancing around on stage in a costume making bad puns," said the Lovely Bride. "I'm not sure 'she's going to love it' properly covers her possible range of emotions."
"She's always believed in volunteering," I said.
"She's also believed in maintaining her dignity," said the Lovely Bride.
"Dignity's overrated," I said.
"There's your epitaph," she replied.
Posted by Snag at 10:10 PM
Posted by Snag at 12:08 AM
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Besides resolving to do away with my children, I have a full plate of New Year's resolutions this year. Nothing as morally complex or entertaining as Brando's, of course, but still important to me.
1. Achieve a cholesterol level higher than my credit score.
2. Vote for Blue Girl at every possible opportunity.
3. Invent a word that rhymes with "orange."
4. Rise from the ashes.
5. Strip mine Helsinki.
6. Direct "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" with Annie Lennox and Carrot Top in the lead roles.
7. Run Bingo Night again.
8. Construct a robot moose.
9. Emit gold.
10. Win the lottery without dying.
Posted by Snag at 11:51 PM
Monday, January 5, 2009
As a former resident of the Lone Star State, watching Texas beat "The" Ohio State University was painful enough on its own.
Oh look, what else is on TV? Wristcutters, a hilarious film about the purgatory awaiting those who commit suicide.
The result. Ten sad lyrics I can think of offhand without ending up in purgatory myself. Old guy version.
Love, love will tear us apart, again
Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own
I need another place
Will there be peace?
I need another world
This one's nearly gone
Closing time, you don't have to go home but you can't stay here
The powers that be
That force us to live like we do
Bring me to my knees
When I see what they've done to you
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
"Kathy, I'm lost," I said, though I knew she was sleeping
I'm empty and aching and I don't know why
When she came to the hospital, there wasn't much left
He was running out of road, he was running out of breath
Just yesterday morning they let me know you were gone
Susanne the plans they made put an end to you
I'm near the end, and I just ain't got the time
Oh, and I'm wasted, and I can't find my way home
Posted by Snag at 11:09 PM
Sunday, January 4, 2009
"My New Year's resolution is to kill all of you," I said.
Even my youngest son, who's pretty well accustomed to hearing strange things around our house, looked startled.
"Real nice, Dad," said my middle boy.
"Can you blame me?" I asked. "All I wanted was to watch the football game in peace. Instead I get kids yapping at me."
"We're watching the game too," the youngest protested.
"No, you're staring at the television while you talk. It's driving me nuts."
"Why?" he asked. "Do you care what Joe Buck is saying?"
"No. But I care even less about what you're saying."
"Thanks, Daddy," the middle boy said with as much sarcasm as he could muster. Which is quite a lot.
"I love you too, my precious angel," I told him. He clapped his hands and pretended to giggle with delight. His older brother sneered at both of us.
Our dog appeared at the top of the stairs, barking at nothing in particular.
I pointed at her and started singing. "One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong." The middle boy sang along.
"Can you tell me which dog is the one that I'll pummel, before I finish this song?" I finished.
"She's barking because she hates you," my oldest told me.
"Second verse, same as the first!" I shouted.
"Stop being stupid," the youngest said.
"Tough talk for a kid who crawled into a kennel last night with two friends and a puppy," I replied.
"We wanted to see what it was like," he countered.
"Smelly, dirty, and uncomfortable," I told him. "Like our house."
I looked back at the TV just in time to see the home team give up a touchdown. This prompted a new squabble between my middle boy, who's a fan, and my youngest, who supports their division rivals.
"Thank you, Lord," I muttered.
"When's Mom coming home?" asked the oldest boy.
"Never, if she's smart," I said. "I can't wait until you all go back to school tomorrow."
"And we can't wait for you to go back to work," said the youngest.
At least we're even.
Posted by Snag at 10:41 PM