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Archive for July, 2010

So, this month we just celebrated the United States of America’s birthday and you know what I am going to buy the country? A Thigh Master (remember this?).  You know why?  We are too fat.  I know our First Lady is trying to get our kids in better shape, but it may be too late.  We have given up.  Yesterday, I went to a pizza buffet restaurant owned by a friend of mine.  I notice the same thing that I notice every time I go to an all-you-can-eat place, the people are huge.

Don’t get me wrong, I too am heavier than I should be.  I don’t exercise enough, I eat more than I should and my schedule can be extremely wacky.  To top things off, I am often seduced by the quickness and cheapness of McDonald’s.  A McDouble for a buck!  You can’t beat that!  I once posted on Facebook that I was going to rush down and eat the new Double Down at KFC  (http://www.kfc.com/doubledown/).  With pride I gave KFC credit for having an ad campaign as if to say “F#?k it, the country is fat, let’s ride the wave”.  And I went to KFC with the sole intention of ordering and eating a Double Down.  You know what happened?  I saw a big poster board of the sandwich and got to see it in all of its fatty heart clogging glory and couldn’t do it.  I chickened out (pun very much intended).  It just seemed wrong.  So, I lived vicariously through my buddy Corey, who said it is just god awful.  But the latest sandwich has inspired me to write this post.  What could be worse than a sandwich with chicken patties for buns?  How about grilled cheese sandwiches as buns?

That’s right, I give you the Grilled Cheese BurgerMelt (http://www.friendlys.com/whats-new/).  Really?  I mean really?  America, eat a piece of broccoli, grab some fruit, grill a breast of chicken, take a walk, go for a bike ride, GET OFF YOUR BUTT you big fat (insert expletive here!!!)  There, I said it, or at least implied it.  America, you are fat.  Now, I would never vote to make poor choices illegal, but at some point I just might have to walk over to the family of four with two kids under the age of 10 with a total combined family weight of 800 pounds making their fourth trip to the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, and slap the food out of their hands, slap the plates off the table, and then slap the parents.  I am sorry, but if your kid is 5 years old and weighs 100 pounds, you have done something wrong.  Am I blaming parents for childhood obesity?  You damn straight I am.

Now, to my friends, family, and myself, if you are overweight, I only ask one thing…

Don’t give up.  Yeah, it’s a struggle, but the buffets and midnight binges are not helping.  Seek help if necessary, not just a dietician, but maybe a therapist.  Be healthy.  Strive to live a life that is truly best for you and those around you.

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No, my daughter has NOT been born yet.  But the real question is why is everyone crazy when it comes to babies?  My wife looks 11 months pregnant and no one is more aware of that than her, but does that mean that every Teresa, Dina, and Harriet has the right to touch her, ask about her personal business, and retell their every known baby story on how Jane Schmoe also had a difficult pregnancy.  WE DON’T CARE!!!  I want the baby to be born because I am sick of everyone in the neighborhood asking me if the baby has been born yet.  See, this is what I get for talking to people.  I’m just sayin …

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So, for some bizarre reason I have had several conversations in the last few days regarding opinions on how to raise children.  I got into one “argument” with a woman at church because I said I did not think that allowing my son to watch a movie with violence was going to turn him into a serial killer.  This is also a hot topic between Leah and I as she is very very anti-violence.  She would argue that she is not over the top, and perhaps she isn’t, but she and I are definitely at different ends of the spectrum.  Now, don’t get me wrong, my son is 10 years old and he does have restrictions.  For example, he is not allowed to watch  Batman: The Dark Knight, which is probably a good indicator movie for where I draw the line for him.  On the other hand, I have no problem with him watching Iron Man 1 or 2, any of the X-Men movies, although after watching X-Men 3 he said “I think that was a little too violent.”  Which means he is probably able to discern among levels of violence (more of an influence of Leah, than me).  And isn’t that the ultimate goal?  Is our goal as parents to shield our children from “evil” or teach them how to discern and make intelligent choices?  I do NOT want to raise our children in a bubble.

I know parents that do not allow guns of any kind/type in their house.  The kids make guns from sticks found in the yard.  I know parents that do not allow their kids to watch movies or TV with any kind of violence.  The kids see these movies at their friend’s house and can’t wait to see more, and the more violent the better.  I know parents that do not allow their kids to watch TV or movies (except parent selected) at all.  You should see these kids when they are someplace with a television.  They are mesmerized.  They literally look like someone gave them crack cocaine.  I am not saying that their should not be rules or boundaries, quite the contrary, but I do believe that the tighter the box, the wilder they will be when released from parental chains, like a chained animal released for the first time.  The most important question in my mind is how to raise a child that when confronted with bad, will make the right choice?

Practice.  Kids need choices.  I have no idea who you are as a parent, but if your children do not have choices, then when they are released on their own, they will have no idea what to choose when confronted with horrible options, or they will be so depended on your guidance that they will never leave the house.

Kids need to be allowed to make mistakes.  How else do we learn?  Think of your biggest lessons in your life.  I almost guarantee they are from your past mistakes.  This is a tough one for me, because I want him to NOT make the same mistakes I made.  Don’t we all want this?  But why?  If our past mistakes made us who we are today, if we learned valuable lessons from our own mistakes, why would we want to deny this for our children?  With choices comes mistakes, from mistakes come learning and from learning comes independence.

Kids need to be parented.  I have worked with youth for a long time now, and this is the biggest problem I see with kids today, absentee parents.  Absentee parenting occurs regardless whether the one parent or two parents are in the picture.  As a matter fact, I see it more common in homes in which both parents are working.  The nice thing about raising your kids in a bubble is it releases you from parenting.  If you are not around, the bubble is a requirement.  Of course, if you are not around, then the bubble walls are easy to break.  The bottom line, I think it is more important to talk to your kids about the things they see and experience in the world: Parenting.  Talking to my son about his experiences is an area I wish to improve the most in my own life.

Finally, I want to share a parenting issue that I have found to be amazingly true and annoying.  And even if you do not have children, but hope one day to have children, consider this a warning.  The issues that your children face, the issues that will bother you the most, and the issues that will make you the angriest and the most frustrated, are the issues you face yourself.  Nothing will make you more angry than when your child does or experiences something that is a direct reflection of your own flaws.  I hate this and I am actively working to improve this aspect of my parenting life.

So, strive to raise independent children.  You want them to be OK without you.  And remember, they are NOT you.  Let them make mistakes, and their mistakes are not always yours even though it may feel like it sometimes.  Besides, if they don’t may make mistakes, they won’t learn nuthin’.

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All babies are cute.  You look at any animal and you will find that babies are cute.  I teach my students this fact of nature.  It is important that babies are cute because they often do things that make you want to kill them, but you see their sweet smile and it steadies your hand.  And just like in the animal kingdom, by the time babies stop being cute, they are too big to kill.  I’m just sayin …

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So, the other day I had to go to Kohl’s to buy shoes for myself and some shorts for my son, Brett. I had a 30% off coupon on top of the sale Kohl’s was already having (I love Kohl’s. Are they ever NOT having a sale?) And Brett Jr. came with me. On our way out, Leah, my wife asked me if I would buy her a bra. My wife is due to have a baby girl any day now, and she is preparing for her new milk-laden boobs. Too much information? Anyhoo, I said, sure, and was on my way. I was surprisingly comfortable with the idea of buying her a bra. I don’t know what that says about me, but I digress. Now, you might be asking the simple question, how could I possibly buy a bra for my wife? If you are a man, you are asking for “man” reasons. If you are woman, you are asking because you know how difficult it is to find a bra that fits properly. Well, the answer is simple; Leah gave me a bra to take with me. She said, “Here, find this bra, but in a different size.” And she told me the size, which I will not mention here just in case that is too personal. So, I walked into Kohl’s with bra in hand prepared to purchase Leah’s “milk” bra, again surprisingly comfortable with this. I asked for help immediately, and asked a Kohl’s employee “Help me find this bra, but in a different size, please.” She was very helpful, but unfortunately, after about 30 minutes of searching and checking the computer, it was discovered that they did not make this particular bra in the size requested. On to get my shoes and Brett’s shorts, this took about 10 minutes.

Now, I apologize for this long introduction to the real reason for this blog. Why aren’t more women upset about the clothing size system? I mean it is ridiculous. Based on my surprisingly vast experience with women’s clothing, here is a list of the things I think all women should strive to change:
1. The sizes that are easiest to find in a store are driven by the “ideal” body type. How many of you reading this blog are the “ideal” body type? Which means if you are smaller than average or bigger than average in any area of your body, you are hosed. How do you accept this? At least for guys there is a big and tall store. Where is your Plump and Beautiful store? Huh?
2. Size actually has no meaning. If I gave you 10 bras made by 10 companies and they were all 36C, I guarantee that each bra would fit differently. It forces women to try on hundreds of bras to find the one that fits. So, when you do find the brand and size that fits, you NEVER leave that brand/size. You are officially trapped by a company, hook, line and sinker. No one is upset by this? These companies are playing you. With relatively few exceptions, I can walk into a store, look for my waist size and my length and walk out with pants that fit, and that is without trying anything on, easy. Which brings me to my third point:
3. Women clothing in general do not use measurements to categorize. What’s up with this? What is a C cup? Does anyone know? What if cup size was actually related to the cup measurement?  Now, this would make sense.  So, let’s imagine the breast as a fillable cup.  If we could fill the breast up with one cup of water, then we could call you a 1-Cup.  Two cups, three cups, etc.   One could even imagine gallon size.  Yikes!  Now this is a good idea.  How come no one has thought of this?  Brilliant, I tells ya.  Brilliant!  “Honey, could you go get me a 36-Two cup?  A 36-2.5 cup would also work.  Thanks.”  Too easy.

And don’t get me started on dress sizes, or pants.  What does size 8 actually mean? Is there a mathematical formula to determine petite? Men would NEVER put up with this, but more importantly, it blows my mind that women put up with this. There is got to be a better system, one that actually makes sense. Now, I would forgive these arbitrary categories if they actually meant something, however, a size 8 is not an 8 is not an 8. It all depends on who makes the size 8. I’m sorry, but this is just stupid.  What is even worse, they are making the sizes bigger.  In other words, if you were a size 8 in 2007, you are probably a size 6 now, even though you weigh exactly the same.  Why?  Because the clothing company knows you will feel better buying a size 6, so if they make their size 6 bigger than company X’s size 6, you will buy from them so that you can tell all your friends that you are a size 6.  RIDICULOUS!!!
4. Finally, the cost. Women’s clothes in general are significantly more expensive than men’s clothes. Do women’s pants cost more to make than men’s? I don’t think so. I have never made clothes, but I would bet dimes to donuts that the process is not all that different. Maybe I am wrong.

So, let the revolution begin now. Women unite. I will be your leader, because I am surprisingly comfortable doing so (see above). No more. We will not be moved. We will no longer accept the changing sizes with manufacturers, we demand sizes that make sense, and we will not rest until we have clothing that are made for the common woman and not the supposed “ideal” super model physique that only exists on television and in movies. Our time is now. We have had all we can stand and we can’t stands no more!
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Seriously, cup size should be related to actual measurements?  What is the actual difference between B and C? Does anyone know? What is higher than D? How cool would it be to say your wife or girlfriend is pint, quart or freakish gallon?  Of course in Europe it would be a liter.  But letters for breast size?   It’s almost like a joke that people took seriously. I’m just sayin …

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So, in my latest post I called Walmart, or more specifically, the people of Walmart, “ghetto”.  My sister questioned the use of the word as a negative term.  She brought up an interesting point, and got me thinking about the power of words.  Warning! The following post has words that you may find offensive as well as quite a bit of education.  It is for adults only.  Ye Be Warned, Says I.

“What’s in a name?  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – A famous Shakespeare line from Romeo and Juliet and I could not have said it better myself. 

There are certain words that are highly offensive.  So, offensive, that if I write them here, you will cringe a little, maybe a lot.  How much you cringe will depend on who you are.  Let’s begin:

Nig#!#

Cu#%

As_-ole

Sh*t head

What the Fu*k?  Am I a member of some group that believes that if you take my picture you will steal my soul?  I couldn’t even write the words in their entirety.  No joke here.  I literally do not feel comfortable writing the words, despite my earlier disclaimer.  This is the power of words.  Why do words have such power?  The bottom line is Shakespeare said it best, we define what words mean, and that word could be anything as long as we all agree.  Words are as powerful as the power we give them.

If I am called the N-Word, which unfortunately I have been, I will be offended.  But let me break down the thought process when I am called this word.  I think “why?”  I think “Why do these people still exist?”  “You don’t know me!”  “Man! I hate the fact that racists still exist”, “You are not better than me, how dare you!”  I amazingly filled with sadness.  “FUCK YOU!!”

I wrote it that time.  Why?  To illustrate the response that I truly have when I am called that word.  Any word is offensive when it creates that kind of reaction.  If you know me, you know that I am not a fan of cussing.  I just don’t like the words that some people use on a regular basis to express their strong feelings.  However, when I am really upset, the occasional F-bomb can escape my mouth.  Interestingly, and I know you will agree with this, other words just won’t do when it comes to being upset.  For example, yelling “Shoot!” just doesn’t cut it.  We as a group of people have decided what these words mean, and replacing them does not convey the intent that we wish to express when using certain words.

It is the intention of the use of a word, and maybe that is where the power comes.  When we use certain words our intention is to do harm; to express feeling of deep anger or frustration.  I could use the word “Shoot!” but I know that anyone in ear shot will not truly understand my frustration, and I intend for them to understand.  When someone calls me the N-Word, they intend to offend, which is why, when a black friend says, “Nigga”, it is different, because I KNOW their intention.  But even that is changing.  Many have decided that the use of the word in any form is unnecessary and it reminds us of a time/situation to which we no longer belong.  Or more specifically, it is a word/reference that no longer has power over us.  This is an argument used for not using the word as well as using in, interesting.  Nonetheless, it is all about the intention when it comes to power of words.  This is why close friends of all races can call each other all kinds of names, the intention is known and the response is known. 

This is why the refs of the World Cup took classes on swear words of different languages (No joke).  They needed to know the intention of the words players used.  I wonder if this will ever be looked at by the FCC.  I watch a teeny-bop show,  iCarly (Yeah, you can make fun of me later, but I swear it is a funny show), and they often use the word “Chizz” in the place of where swear words would clearly go.  It is so obvious, it makes me wonder, if you use a replacement word long enough, when does it mean the same as the original word?

The response is also important in the power of words.  If I make a joke, or use a word that I do not think is offensive, but you are offended/hurt, does it really matter if I think you over-reacted?  This is a line you will have to draw for yourself, but for me it matters, especially for those I care about.  It is rarely my intention to offend, so yes, I think it matters a lot.  But, if you are easily offended, I would caution you to not GIVE power to so many things.  It is not a good life to lead.

So, words do have power.  Their power is often in the form of their intention, and other times, the power of the word is in the form of the reaction.  If you call me a C-word, I am not going to be affected, no power.  However, if you call a woman the C-word, I almost guarantee power.  So, is the word “ghetto” a negative term?  Yes, but of course that was my intention.

So, the real question is, where should my intentions lie?  I would rather be constructive with my words, rather than destructive, so I will certainly be careful in the future. 

Of course if it’s REALLY funny …

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In the evolution of words, meanings change.  For example, it is no longer acceptable to call something “gay”.  I get why, especially on high school campuses, but I want that word back.  Some things ARE gay and with zero intention of saying disparaging marks about homosexuals.  I’m sorry, but tandem bikes are gay.  Couples that match their outfits, gay.  Hugh Jackman, gay (Scrubs reference).  I want to be able to use the word gay again.  I’m just sayin …

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So, I was at Walmart the other day and had a recurring thought.  “Why is Walmart so ghetto?”  I mean it doesn’t matter where Walmart is located, I almost guarantee that the people who shop there on average will not look good.  If you have a disease, open sore, facial scar, bullet wound, two-year-old kid in a diaper at 3am in the morning, if it’s clearly laundry day, or if you are dressed for Halloween in June, then you are a Walmart shopper.  Don’t believe me?  Check out http://www.peopleofwalmart.com.

There could be a Walmart in Beverly Hills, and it would still be ghetto.  Now granted, I occasionally shop at Walmart, and I think every time, I have just raised the beauty level of this place a full point.  That’s I right, I just said that.  So, how do we rate beauty?  I love rating beauty.  It may sound cliché, but I almost always look at people and rate them on their looks.  Of course, mostly women, that’s how I roll.  Wrong? Maybe, but fun.  Now, when I rate, I am mostly interested in the global rating and I have discovered that beauty is highly dependent on location.  Beauty varies not only where in the country you are, but the specific place, for example, grocery store or discount store.  I could also talk about countries.  For example, I spent a month in Russia and was shocked how gorgeous the women were there.  I will save that topic for another blog.

As a result of this finding, it is crucial that when rating beauty we must use a handicap system.  I now present the Brett Beauty Handicapping System.  I am from LA, and I must say the most beautiful women in the world reside there, and therefore, they are the standard.  So, if a woman is an LA 10, she is a 10, period.  So, here is a list of beauty location categories (suggestions are always welcome):

Los Angeles/Hollywood :  0

Golf Course :  -1.5

Midwest :  -2.5

New York/East Coast :  -1

The Mall (It doesn’t matter where) :  -2

Walmart :  -3

Here is how this works.  If you play golf, you may have noticed that the cart girl is ALWAYS cute.  I am quite confident that it is a requirement for working at a golf course.  The interesting thing is they are never super cute, just cute enough to say “she was cute” and then move on.  Now, let’s say we saw the golf cart girl and we rated her as a 7.  Consider taking the same golf cart girl to a beach in LA.  Her new rating would be 5.5 in LA (golf course: -1.5).  So, when we see her, you must say she is a golf course 7.  You see how it works?  We could use this anywhere.  Feel free to modify as you see fit.

So, the moral of the story?  Beauty is NOT in the eye of the beholder, beauty is relative.  If you want to look more attractive, make sure you hang out with people that look worse than you.  Maybe this is why I don’t have any friends.  Yeah, you damn straight, I just said that.

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When a blind person goes to the bathroom and needs to wipe their bottom, how do they know when they are done?  I’m just sayin …

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I walked into a store and I saw a couple and their very cute daughter.  The daughter could not have been more than two.  As I walked in the door, she said “Hi.”  I waved and gave her a smile.  The family of three were sitting at a table eating lunch.  While I walked around the store, I noticed, that every so often, the little girl would see something that caught her eye and wander off a little.  The mom, would run over, yank at her and yell “Will you STOP that and SIT DOWN!”  This happened more than once.

This event reminded me of eating lunch in Milwaukee with my friend Corey a few weeks ago.  Next to us was a mother and her child.  The child was a little squirrely.  The mom proclaimed, loud enough for Corey to hear, “and that is why I hate eating out with you.”  The little girls looked about a year and a half.

I often wonder why these people had kids in the first place.  Did they not remember what it was like to be a kid?  Did they think their life was going to be exactly the same, but with a little boy or girl to play dress up with?  While visiting with my family, my nephew stated that he never wanted to have kids.  He has seen the lives of his brother and others and how kids have effected their lives and these observations have led him to the conclusion that kids are not for him.  Good for him!  But here is the problem.  The families that I so often see, especially the ones yelling at their kids as if they ruined their lives, probably thought the exact same thing.

So, as I told my nephew, and I wish I could tell the world, if you don’t want to have kids, or you think your lifestyle is so important that you would never want to see it changed, then live your life accordingly.  If you don’t want kids, live your life according to this desire?  Confused?  My nephew was too?  Yes, you guessed it, this is a sex talk.

There is no guarantee that if you have sex you won’t have a kid.  I actually know people with kids because of a broken condom, a missed pill, a little too much to drink, or it just being late at night and they were in the mood.  It happens.  Am I preaching abstinence?  Maybe, but it really depends on the situation that you are in.  Bottom line, if you are not prepared to do the time, then don’t do the crime.  And if you think abortion is a viable , trust me, no one feels good after an abortion, NO ONE.  You can’t unring that bell.  So, be smart and live your life according to the desires you wish to come true.  Because at the end of the day, these kids deserve better.

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The truth of the matter is this, if I quit my job and devoted most of my time to golf, I truly believe I could make money on the PGA tour.  How sick am I?  I’m just sayin…

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The Tat is Back!

So, it is Saturday night and I am providing a post as promised in my first post. I thought this would be a weekly blog, but I am finding that I have more to say than I originally thought. I have created a digital blog notebook to record the ideas that pop into my head. I don’t think I will have writer’s block for some time.

Anyway, the time for a new blog is upon us. I’m at the Wisconsin Dells right now with my mom, nephew, cousin and her two grandsons, brother and his son, and my two sons. Nope, my wife is not here, she is relaxing in the cool silence of an empty house right now. I am sure she is loving it, as I am experiencing a weekend of water slides and pure chaos. However, the trip has inspired this week’s blog.

When did tattoos become the norm? For two days I have been surrounded by bathing suits and tats. Tats on the ankle, leg, chest (both men and women), neck, shoulders, and the ever popular tramp stamp. It is at a point now where it is rare to see someone without a tramp. I actually want a tattoo. I still have not gotten one, but one day. What do I want? A tattoo on my left shoulder of Dumbo. Yes, Dumbo, but I digress.

The real fascinating thing to me is that women seem to be more likely to have a tattoo than men. When did this happen? If you are reading this blog, and you are a woman, I bet you have a tat. Why do you have a tat? I would actually like to know? Am I against women having tattoos, of course not. The only exception is the tattoo on the breast. Why mess up a perfectly excellent God creation? It is like putting your kid’s preschool picture on the Mona Lisa, totally not necessary for my viewing pleasure. Anyhoo, I do not think tattoos are a male or female issue, I am just curious when did the tide turn. When did it become acceptable for not only everyone to have a tattoo, but for it to be seemingly more popular in the female population. Regardless, the tat is back. And one day I will have one too.

Share your tat stories, I want to know!

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My nephew is next to me on a computer looking at himself bare-chested and we are surrounded by people ordering ice cream and desserts.  My nephew wants to be a model.  The funny thing to me is that he finds this scene of surrounded by Wisconsin Dells tourists and his pictures of him without a shirt on the computer completely normal.  Looks like he is on his way to be a model already.  A kid just walked by and asked if that was him.  He said yes.  The kid said, “cool.”  What’s up with that? I’m just sayin…

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