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Showing posts from 2008

Humor Me: Attention frantic shoppers

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By MATT WIXON

Just three days until Christmas, everyone. You know what that means?

You guessed it! We only have 12,000 more chances to hear “Last Christmas” by Wham! on the radio.

But wait a second. This is no time for Wham! bashing. It’s already Dec. 22, the annual day when, even without the aid of my psychic friends network, I can read the thoughts of my father from 1,000 miles away.

“Hmm … December 22,” he’s thinking. “Still a little early for Christmas shopping.”

He’s still got a couple days, after all. Plenty of time to operate his shopping version of football’s hurry-up offense: lots of running around, lots of trying to stop the clock and very, very few touchdowns.

I saw it up close for years. Every Dec. 23 -- sometimes Dec. 24 -- my dad and I would head to the mall in his truck to find gifts for my mom. Dad would puff on a cigar as he formulated a shopping plan.

It was the same plan every year. First, my dad would try to find a book without knowing the title or the author’s full name.…

Humor Me: Here come the carolers

By MATT WIXON

Before we start caroling, I want to thank everyone for coming out on this chilly night. It’s great to know that, even in the holiday rush, we can take time to share the spirit of the season with neighbors who are civilized enough to appreciate our music.

If you don’t know me, I’m Mrs. Mapleberry, and I’ll be leading the group again this year. That’s why I’m wearing this green sweater, and that's why I asked all of you to wear red sweaters. Some of you didn’t, but that’s fine because you can still spread holiday cheer while standing behind someone who is wearing the correct color.

I know everybody is cold, but I have a few announcements before we get started.

First of all, although I’m a music teacher at the local elementary school, please don’t be intimidated by my musical ability. It’s a combination of natural talent -- Praise God! -- and years of diligent training. My angelic voice might remind you of Celine Dion, or perhaps Whitney Houston before her terrible tragedy …

Santa isn't so nice

My kids watched Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer a few days ago. It always brings back memories because I watched this every year as a kid. There's the Abominable Snowman's crazy eyes, Rudolph's nasally "She thinks I'm cute" and Hermie the elf's swoosh of blond hair, which makes him look like an early-'80s skater/surfer.

There's also that painfully bad/long "There's Always Tomorrow" song. I think that's generally when my brother and I would fight for a few minutes before the show would regain our attention.

But the thing that stands out to me most is this:

Santa does not come off well.

Actually, he appears to be a jerk. He gives Mrs. Claus a hard time, he seems generally rude and he actually condones discrimination based on having a red nose. When he first sees Rudolph, he's aghast. "You should be ashamed of yourself," he tells Rudolph's father, Donner. Way to go, big guy. Scar Rudolph for life.

But then, on one foggy…

A Christmas Story is still golden

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The movie A Christmas Story has so many memorable lines and characters that I could write all day about them. Some friends and I were talking about the movie the other day and what parts were best.

I can't possibly rank them, but I love watching the Santa visit at the Higbee's store. I love the attitude of the elves.

It's hilarious to see how much the elves -- wearing those ridiculous hats -- enjoy sending the freaked-out kids down the big slide. Perhaps the most bitter elves ever, although I don't know many elves.

But, in my opinion, the greatest line in a movie of great lines is uttered by narrator Jean Shepherd (whose novel the movie is based on). It comes after Ralphie says the f-word and is asked by his mom where he heard that word: "Now, I had heard that word at least ten times a day from my old man. He worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium; a master." Shepherd wasn't a very nice guy, I've hear…

The boys talk about Santa and Christmas

As the countdown continues toward Christmas, I got some expert opinions on the holiday, and especially Santa, from my kids:

Humor Me: Christmas decorating tips

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By MATT WIXON

I know this might offend some people, but I just have to say it: The Christmas display in your front yard is terrible.

Of course, by “you” I don’t mean YOU, the much-appreciated person who faithfully reads this column or accidentally clicked on it while searching for something else. I’m talking about all those other people, who obviously don’t share our impeccable taste in Christmas displays.

Please pass this column on to them. I’m writing it because I think these tips could be helpful, while also serving as continuing penance for my actions during the Christmas season of 1985.

More on that later. But first, here are some ideas for creating a display that all of your neighbors will be talking about –- hopefully not in court.

First of all, DO NOT skimp on lights. It’s easy to think you’ll have enough when you’re jamming them in your cart at Super Target, but will you really have enough? A simple guideline is that, for every square foot of yard you are decorating, you should ha…

Speaking of Christmas lights ...

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If you live in the Dallas area, there is a pretty amazing display at the home of Jeff Trykoski in Frisco. Jeff is a very nice guy who also does the incredible computer-synchronized display at Frisco Square.

You can find out where to see Jeff’s house at Trykoski Christmas. If you go, you can also bring canned food to donate to the Frisco Food Bank and Frisco Family Services Center. The family collects it in front of the house.

Last year, I visited Jeff and put together a video on the setup of the display and its opening night. Here’s the link to Humor Me video: Amazing Christmas Lights.

Control Christmas lights on the Web

Christmas lights have come a long way since the days of “one bulb burns out, they all burn out.”

You can see how far displays have come by visiting www.komar.org, a Web site created by Alek Komarnitsky of Lafayette, Colo. Visitors can control the lights on the house and the inflatable decorations in his front yard and watch it on Web cams. The Web site is free, but he’s also raising money for a good cause: research for Celiac Disease. More information is on the Web site.

Humor Me: Holiday brag letter

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By MATT WIXON

Happy holidays, everyone, and welcome to the annual Wixon holiday letter.

The holiday season can be pretty hectic, but it’s nice to get this chance to reconnect with friends and family. I certainly think it’s worth taking a few minutes, especially during this joyous time of year, to pass along warm wishes while weaving in preposterous lies about my family to make you insanely jealous.

Hey, isn’t that what a holiday letter is supposed to be? You know, a brag letter?

That seems to be the goal of many of the letters I receive each year, which are loaded with words in ALL-CAPITALS and more exclamation points than a text message from BFFs. (Like, you know, BEST FRIENDS FOREVER!!!). Here’s the kind of thing you’ll find in brag letters:

Our 5-year-old continues to show UNBELIEVABLE ability in math, science, music and sports! Also, some of his paintings have been called GENIUS, so we’re not sure if he’ll be an INCREDIBLE artist, or a pro athlete, or a WORLD-FAMOUS musician who cures …

Black Friday Diary

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

I'm taking the day off, but for anyone planning to do some Christmas shopping tomorrow on "Black Friday," I decided to post my diary of the day from a couple years ago. I met lots of interesting people:

BLACK FRIDAY DIARY
By MATT WIXON
Tired, money-saving columnist for The Dallas Morning News

I never thought I would be a Black Friday doorbuster. Getting up before 5 a.m., battling for a parking spot, zipping through department stores for 50 percent off sweaters and a complimentary snow globe …

The early birds can have that. I’ll gladly be the sleeping rooster and pay full price later.

So what the heck am I doing in my car, heading toward the mall on the day after Thanksgiving? Being a dedicated humor columnist, that’s what. I’m determined to give all you sleepyheads, who would never sacrifice four hours of sleep for four bucks off a Chicken Dance Elmo, a feeling of the most frenzied shopping day of the year.

Also, Target has Candyland, Chutes and Ladd…

A Thanksgiving disaster story

A couple of years ago, Yahoo! asked readers to tell Martha Stewart their worst Thanksgiving disaster. Allegedly, Stewart would be reading these -- and probably laughing at our ineptitude. There was one that I thought was particularly funny.

It was posted by Kathleen K. (I cleaned up the grammar a bit):

My worst Thanksgiving disaster just came last year at my daughter’s. I was taking the turkey out of the oven when, unbeknownst to me, some grease had fallen on the floor of the oven. This caused a ball of flames to shoot out and caught my hair on fire.

Wow! That would be a great story as is, but there’s more:

Everyone came running into the kitchen and my son in law, who was standing next to me at the time, starts hitting my head to put the flames out. Well my dear husband decides that a bowl of water would do the trick and proceeds to pour it all over me. I ran upstairs in tears and with the help of my daughters was reassured it would be OK. After 40 minutes later, Thanksgiving dinner was s…

Jet pack and the Royal Gorge sounds dicey

A daredevil hopes to propel himself across a southern Colorado canyon using a jet pack powered by hydrogen peroxide. Sounds pretty daring, but here's the really scary part: Eric Scott tells the Rocky Mountain News he's never traveled as far as he wants to Monday - 457 meters. This seems like a good way to try it. If you run out of power, you're only about 300 meters above the ground.

Texas Stadium auction ... pee like a Cowboy!

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Are you a Dallas Cowboys fan?

Well, then you're in luck. Right now, you can find hundreds of items from the historic Texas Stadium up for bid at Bidspotter. Might any of these interest you?

*THE COMPLETE HOME LOCKER ROOM TOILET AND STALL. THRONE OF CHAMPIONS.

*TEXAS STADIUM HOME LOCKER ROOM URINAL.

*SIGN THAT SAYS "NO COOKING WITHIN 20 FEET OF CORRAL TENT."

*THREE SHOWER HEAD SECTION FROM THE HOME LOCKER ROOM SHOWERS. MEASURES 18.5"X11'.

*FIELD GOAL POSTS USED IN STADIUM.


I think I'm going to bid on a goalpost. But I have to check first with my homeowners association to see if I can put it in my backyard.

Flight attendant lands plane

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Welcome aboard!

This is your captain speaking. I think I'm the captain, anyway. I'm have some trouble focusing right now, but please don't panic. ... An Air Canada co-pilot having a mental breakdown had to be forcibly removed from the cockpit, restrained and sedated, and a stewardess with flying experience helped the pilot safely make an emergency landing, an Irish investigation concluded Wednesday.Having a pilot forcibly removed from the cockpit? Wow, that's even more frightening than seeing passed-put pilots dragged down the aisles during a flight. Even if one of the pilots is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The flight attend landed the plane. Surely, you can't be serious.

End of the Yugo, the car that was barely a car

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Remember the Yugo? From the 1987 commercial:

"I bought my Yugo because now I can afford a brand new car."

But could he afford the repairs? Soon after the Yugo hit American markets in 1986 for the price of $3,990, it started getting a bad reputation. From this story:U.S. owners complained of frequent engine failures and transmission problems — with the manual gear sticks sometimes detaching and ending up in their drivers’ hands. Wow. Switching gears and the gear shift pulls off into your hand. What a "pride of ownership" moment that would be.

Anyway, the last Yugo just rolled out of the factory. Yes, it was still in production all these years after it stopped selling in America. Apparently, it was much loved by others.

Maybe it's because those people have a very different view of the joy of driving. This is how one person described driving a Yugo: “This is driving in its most natural form. You feel every bump, squeak and jolt, and one can enjoy the sweet smell of g…

The first Thanksgiving had no cupcakes

Much is disputed about how the first Thanksgiving went down. Did the Pilgrims and Indians feast together? Did the Pilgrims provide food for the Indians? What was actually eaten?

Well, definitely not sliced turkey, cheese cubes, popcorn and juice. But that's what my son's kindergarten class was having today as part of their Thanksgiving feast. Maybe some cupcakes, too.

I know Ryan was really looking forward to dressing up in his costume (not sure if he is a Pilgrim or an Indian). But it would be interesting to see what he learns from his teachers about the history of Thanksgiving. If you want to learn about other not-so-truthful history lessons taught in classrooms, check out this book: Lies My Teacher Told Me.

Maybe it's better that we don't the food lineup of the original Thanksgiving. I don't think venison, wild fowl, nasaump—dried corn pounded and boiled into a thick porridge and mashed pumpkin would go over well with the kindergartners.

Acing your annual job evaluation

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You walk into the boss's office and feel the first beads of sweat
on your forehead. You heart begins to race, your mouth gets dry, and you feel like an 8-year-old facing interrogation over a broken lamp.

It's the annual employee evaluation, a time for paranoia, sweaty palms and painful silences that stretch out longer than the director's cut of Apocalypse Now. But relax. These answers to common evaluation questions will help you get through it.

Q. Where do you see yourself in five years?

A. Taking on bigger challenges, expanding my role with the company and helping the company strengthen its position for the future.

(Strategically vague, it's the perfect answer to an evaluation question because it says nothing.)

Q. How do you feel you benefit the company?

A. I'm a team-oriented person who works hard and wants the company to improve.

(Important note: Never say you are willing to do "whatever it takes" to help the company improve. "Whatever it takes"…

Pregnant Man is big news?

Did you watch Larry King's interview with the "pregnant man" last night. Or did you see when Barbara Walters interviewed him?

I didn't watch either because I think it's the dumbest story in the world. But I did see this great exchange from the transcript of the Larry King interview: Larry King: Are you surprised at all of this attention, or did you expect it?

Pregnant man: Honestly, we are quite surprised. We naively thought that we were going to be able to get away with me giving birth without anyone knowing.
Honestly, you are a liar. You've got a book out right now. Of course you knew you would get the attention. You crave it.

I still don't get, however, why we give this "guy" so much attention. He's not a guy. Which is why it's completely unamazing when the headlines say, "Pregnant man expecting a second child." Beatie was born a woman but underwent hormone therapy before he was legally declared a man. He had a mastectomy but k…

First Life, Second Life ... just get a life

I love modern technology and the Internet, but virtual worlds do not appeal to me. Maybe it would be fun for a while, but then you realize many of the other people who are playing it are like this: A British woman is divorcing her husband after discovering his online alter-ego was having an affair with a virtual woman in the fantasy world of Second Life.

Amy Taylor, 28, said her three-year marriage to David Pollard, 40, came to an end when she twice walked in on him watching his online character, Dave Barmy, having sex with other virtual women.
And here's more insight into their relationship: Taylor always had suspicions about Pollard's online loyalty. At one point she hired a virtual detective to test whether his avatar was cheating on her, after finding him at the computer watching his character having sex with a prostitute. She hired a virtual detective?

Seriously, get a life. A real one, not a virtual one.

Another dangerous pest control strategy

First, the frightening logic of using a blow torch to get rid of spider webs near the roof of a house. Now another dangerous way to get rid of pests that resulted in injury:

Setting an ants nest on fire.

If I can find a story on someone trying to shoot cockroaches with a bow and arrow, I'll be sure to post it.

Politics, Uncle Obama and a 3-year-old

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My 3-year-old son Cooper saw a picture of the White House this morning and excitedly told me, "DAD! That's where Uncle Obama and John McCain live!"

I'm not related to Barack Obama as far as I know, but Cooper somehow has heard "Barack" as "uncle." I've told him it's Barack Obama, but he prefers to say "Uncle Obama." I hope the President-Elect doesn't mind.

Cooper certainly likes Obama. He told me that's who he was voting for. That negated the vote of my 6-year-old, Ryan, who got to "vote" in his kindergarten class. Ryan voted for John McCain because, after weighing the issues heavily, he decided that McCain looked a lot like his Sunday School teacher. Sadly, I've heard adults give weaker reasoning for voting for a candidate.

I told Cooper that George Bush still lives in the White House for a couple months until Obama moves in. Cooper then told me McCain will get to live there after "Uncle Obama."

"…

Terrell Owens' tips for kids

Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens gives his tips for kids. Note that No. 5 would also be good for a guy going to the batting cage.

Pain down below nets one million bucks

For a guy, how much does it hurt to get hit, um ... down there?

Well, the pain could be worth a million bucks.

A man in Florida went to a batting cage, and when the light went off on the machine and the pitches were supposed to be done, out came another one. And it traveled, at 60 mph, toward THERE.

He was hit and injured. Then came the lawsuit which resulted in $160,000 for medical expenses and $1 million for pain and suffering. Even though he didn't go to the doctor for a couple of days.

Lots of pain, but that's also lots of money. I wonder what the statute of limitations is on a lawsuit such as this. Back in high school, a basketball teammate threw an unbelievably bad pass at an unbelieveably bad time and it resulted in pain I would still describe as "unbelievable."

At least for a few minutes, anyway. Shouldn't that be good enough for a few thousand bucks?

Toyota's Saved by Zero annoying a nation

You know that "Saved by Zero" ad campaign that Toyota is running right now? If you don't, then you probably don't watch much TV. It's hard to miss the ad because it's in such heavy rotation.

Also, it's very annoying. Even to the lead singer of The Fixx, Cy Curnin, whose song "Saved by Zero" is used in the ad, with new singers adding to the cheese factor. Also, Curnin said that it's strange to hear the song used to sell cars.

From The Las Vegas Sun: "The song was written from the point of view of the release you get when you have nothing left to lose. It clears your head of all fears and panics and illusions and you get back to the basics, which is a Buddhist mantra, which I practiced back then, and which I still do," he said. "The idea of the song is how great it is to get back to zero." Well, the car dealers do have very little to lose these days because sales are down. The song would probably be most appropriate for Gener…

City councilman won't live this down

A man was allegedly drunk when he was subdued at a nightclub recently after urinating on attendees of a Grateful Dead tribute concert.

Nice. Even better, the man is a city councilman and director of a charter school. Here's an interesting part of the story: A "source" told The Daily News that Lipski was "very drunk," and said it wasn't the first time he acted up at the nightspot.

"We've dealt with this man before," the source is quoted saying. "He's never peed on anybody, but he gets really belligerent and drunk."
I wonder if he ever used that as a campaign slogan. "I've never peed on anybody."

Burning cobwebs is not a good idea

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Any house fire is a sad story. It's even more sad when the homeowner is absolutely, 100 percent not at fault. That is not the case in the following story: A single-story home in Sargent was damaged by fire Wednesday morning after the homeowner accidentally set the fire while cleaning cobwebs from the eaves around the exterior of the residence with ... (Drumroll)

A blow torch.

Come on, stop laughing and shaking your head. It might seem strange to aim flames toward your home, but those cobwebs can be very pesky. Sticky, too. So who wouldn't be tempted to incinerate the cobwebs instead of sticking a broom or stick up near the exterior of a house?

I actually feel really bad for these people because their home is going to need a lot of repair. Especially after next week, when someone tries to kill a fly on the wall with a spear gun.

Some people need a better way to celebrate

I can only imagine the pride Barack Obama felt as he addressed more than 200,000 people in Grant Park in Chicago late Tuesday night. It was a fabulous speech, as was John McCain's earlier in the night.

Yes, a proud moment for Obama and for the country. But since we are a country of both shining lights and complete idiots ... West Sider Narada Thomas, 23, told police he shot a .22-caliber revolver in the air to “celebrate Obama becoming president." And 37-year-old Andre Murph, of Aurora, shot a 9mm into the ground several times in the 700 block of West 60th Place to express his joy. They might need to express their joy in a jail cell.

Also, there was this: Peer pressure seemed to get the better of 54-year-old Joseph Morgan, who allegedly was caught holding a .22-caliber gun in the air on his back porch in the 5700 block of South Lowe Avenue.

His excuse, according to prosecutors?

“Everybody else is shooting their guns, I figured, ‘Why not?’”
Why not? Think a little harder. Yes we c…

Humor Me: Dude, I'm getting old

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This is a column I wrote a year ago for The Dallas Morning News when I turned 36. But now that I've turned 37, I still feel about the same.

Humor Me: Dude, I'm getting old

By MATT WIXON

My phone conversations with my dad usually follow the same pattern. There's weather talk, followed by sports, politics, updates on the grandkids and, finally, an awkward silence that ends with, "Hold on, I think your mother wants to talk to you."

Yep, it's a pretty strict routine. But there is one wild card that my dad can play at any time:

"I'll tell you what Matt ... it's hell to get old."

I never know when that's coming. But I can generally count on it, because my dad's been telling me that since the days when I thought third-graders were the big kids.

Fortunately, my dad left the hell of getting old out of our conversation last week. Either out of courtesy, or quite possibly, forgetfulness, he didn't mention it on my birthday.

And, you know, I thought…

Early election projections

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From very unofficial polls and observations, our news team is able to make these early projections on the day of this historic election:

** At least one potential voter will see the line to vote and ditch it to save 25 percent on selected merchandise at Dillard's.

** Somewhere in America, a person will trot out a joke from 2000 that ends with the punchline, "It was a hanging chad!"

** A person will ask their employer for time off to vote and then take a long lunch.

** One potential voter will show up at a voting location without any identification or a voter registration card and then storm out when told he cannot vote. It will be the most entertaining part of the wait in line for the other voters.

** A PTA at an elementary school where voting takes place will raise more than $500 by selling baked goods beyond the election lines.

** Late in the evening, or perhaps tomorrow morning, Barack Obama or John McCain will concede victory to his opponent and then congratulate him befor…

The healthier Twinkie

One of America's most iconic snack cakes, the Twinkie, is now available in a healthier version.

Well, not really healthier. Just smaller. But that won't stop its maker, Hostess, from trumpeting the 100-calorie Twinkie as an amazing breakthrough in snack-food technology. From the release: Hostess is introducing a great tasting, portion controlled option of the snack cake that has been a part of our popular culture for generations -- the Twinkie. The brand that makes America's most iconic snack cakes is now offering 100 Calorie Pack "Twinkie Bites". Available nationwide, each Hostess 100 Calorie Pack of Twinkie Bites contains three moist and delicious mini Twinkie cakes filled with the brand's signature creme filling. Given that a Twinkie is pretty much nothing but sugar, and perhaps some cut up Nerf balls, these new Twinkies must be seriously mini. But hey, it's still a Twinkie.

On a side note, nothing screams fun like "portion controlled option."

F…

Watch out Joaquin, Joe the Plumber sings, too

A lot of people were surprised when Joaquin Phoenix announced he is retiring from acting to pursue a music career. But can Phoenix, who was nominated for an Oscar in 2006 for his portrayal of singer Johnny Cash in "Walk the Line," really have a successful music career?

Why not? It appears that just about anyone has potential for the music biz. The latest example is Samuel Wurzelbacher -- better known as the everyman "Joe the Plumber" from the last Presidential debate -- is planning to record a country music album. According to this:On Tuesday, Wurzelbacher joined country music artist and producer Aaron Tippin to form a new partnership that includes booking-management firm Bobby Roberts and publicity-management concern The Press Office to field the multiple media offers he’s received over the past few weeks.

Among the requests: a possible record deal with a major label, personal appearances and corporate sponsorships. A longtime country music fan, Wurzelbacher can si…

Vanilla Ice is freezing my brain

A couple of days ago, I turned to a radio station and "Ice, Ice Baby" came on. My first thought was, "Wow, somebody would actually play that?"

But I admit that I didn't change the station until, as Vanilla "Robert Van Winkle" Ice suggested, I checked out the hook while the DJ revolved it. And then I remembered just how catchy that song was back in the early '90s. And if it comes back on the radio again, I might actually listen again. It's great nostalgia, even with lyrics as lame as "light up a stage and wax a chump like a candle."

Now the song is stuck in my head. Will it ever stop? Yo ... I don't know. But turn off the lights and I'll glow. Hearing the song also reminded me of the Vanilla Ice parody featuring Jim Carrey.

Too cold, too cold.

Humor Me: A life of trick-or-treating

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By MATT WIXON

A reader in Texas, picking out a set of vampire fangs while suffering from low-blood sugar, sends in this question:

“When is a person too old to trick or treat?”

For some reason, I get asked this every Halloween. Several times, actually, as I stand in front of people’s houses with my hand out, telling them I’d like something with chocolate AND peanuts.

OK, I’m kidding about that. But seriously, are you ever too old to trick or treat?

What’s important is that you’re young at heart -- and that you don’t mind if a wolfman mask highlights your receding hairline. You shouldn’t have to give up trick-or-treating simply because you’re taller than the people handing out the candy, or because you’re supposed to be “mature,” or because you need to get to sleep because your annual prostate exam is the next morning.

No, you shouldn’t have to give it up. But at some point, we all stop touring the neighborhood for freebies. At least legally.

When does that happen?

Well, it’s different for ever…

Congratulations, but not on your spelling

A beautifully decorated cake can be a great way to say "congratulations."

Unless, of course, you spell it "cangrtalation."

This is truly amazing.

Source: Cake Wrecks.

Incredible pumpkin carvings

Next week I will perform a very basic pumpkin carving that my kids will think is great because they have very low expectations. If I can even get the eyes centered right and the facial features to be balanced, it will be a small miracle.

To make sure my kids aren't disappointed, I'll make sure they don't see these carvings from Villafane Studios.

Another reason to end Disney on Ice

Tough luck for hockey fans in Huntsville, Ala. Last night's hockey game between the Hunstsville Havoc and the Columbus Cottonmouths was canceled because of ice conditions.

Who is to blame?

Disney on Ice. After this weekend's Disney on Ice show, the Von Braun Center staff was not able to prepare the ice for hockey and ensure the safety of the players, Havoc officials said. Just too much fast-paced skating by Goofy, Mickey and the other Disney skaters. Maybe Pluto attempted too many triple toe loops.

Reached for comment about the situation, Mickey said, in an annoyingly high voice, "Heh, heh, Sorry," while placing his huge mouse hands in front of his face to create the international mascot sign for "Oh no!"

Fans were able to receive refunds for the tickets, which I'm sure were quite expensive for a game featuring a team named the "Cottonmouths."

Backyard cremation, and it gets weirder

The daughter and grandson of an 84-year-old Tehama County woman who apparently died in December have been arrested on suspicion of cashing her retirement and Social Security checks after they allegedly cremated her body on a makeshift barbecue behind their Edith Avenue home.

Yes, that qualifies as bizarre. But if you read more here, you'll discover other details such as how the daughter had made a necklace out of her mother's remains and this: The culvert had been used by the family as a makeshift barbecue, he said, noting that the family had used it to cook their Thanksgiving turkey several weeks before Allmond's death.

It's not known if they used it after the alleged cremation.

"I hope not," Hosler said.

The Snuggie is a real product

This is not a Saturday Night Live commercial parody, it just looks like one. The Snuggie is a real product, and it gives you the freedom to stay warm while using your hands!

Also makes a great costume for anyone who wants to dress up as a monk for Halloween. I think my favorite part is when it says "similar products sell for up to sixty dollars."

So I guess there are similar products out there.

Humor Me: Where's the actual cat?

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By MATT WIXON

While walking my dogs around the neighborhood a while back, I saw a flyer for a lost cat. It looked like a typical flyer, looking for a typical cat with a typical name. I’ve changed the name to protect the innocent, but I’ll call the cat “Fluffy.”

I thought that Fluffy was part of a typical flyer. But as I looked closer, I noticed that under a huge photo of a cat, which I presumed to be Fluffy, were these words:

NOT ACTUAL CAT

The disturbing flyer brought up a couple of questions:

1. How dumb does Fluffy’s owner think we are? OK, so there wasn’t a photo of Fluffy available when he/she/it skedaddled out the door. But did Fluffy’s pursuer need to include a generic photo of such an exotic animal? (I would think not, but just in case, I included a photo of a cat. But it's not the actual cat that is "not actual cat" in the flyer.)

Anyway, how many people in the cat-fancied Dallas area, let alone planet Earth, are not familiar with a cat?

Cat? What’s a cat? If you w…

New Kids on the Block comeback

New Kids on the Block is/are making a comeback. How could this happen? Do people actually want to see this group nearly two decades after the NKOTB heyday?

Yes, apparently. Here is the first comment from a Dallas Morning News blog asking for New Kids' fans to share their memories of the boy band that either induced screams of excitement or terror years ago:

I understand now why people pay megabucks for concert ticks. I was too young at the time to see NKOTB, but I cried at the time when they came bcse my mom wouldn't take me and I had every poster, tee, cassette, and any thing else I could get. JOEY was always my fav and I thought we were meant to be together because we had the same b-day and year Dec 31 so I will definitely be any where in the arena just for a chance to gaze into his eyes and sing all of their songs back to them. I love you JOEY!! HANGIN TOUGH.

Watch out NKOTB. Could be a stalker. OMG!!!

Beware the football stadium handshake

During the fall, I usually write a column from a high school football game every Friday night. It's interesting to see how big football is here in Texas compared with my Arizona roots. Some of the high school stadiums seat close to 20,000 people, and when a stadium is full, it's a great atmosphere.

It's also an absolute germ-fest. One of the things I've noticed at most stadiums is that there is no soap in the bathrooms. I don't think it makes me a clean freak to be a little grossed out by this. Maybe providing soap is just too expensive for the school budgets, I don't know. Some stadiums have soap, but many, many do not.

I think it's a little gross, but it might not concern many people in the north of Britain.

My dog eats her vegetables

Our family dog Maggie, a combination of Welsh Corgi and several other breeds, is truly one of the most special dogs I've ever met. And by "special" I mean emotionally unstable.

Her idea of giving affection is to jam her head into your neck. Seriously. For a while, I thought maybe she was trying to crawl inside my mouth. Now I just think she's a little wacko. Lovable, but wacko. She's probably scarred from the time she spent in the pound before we adopted her almost 10 years ago.

Anyway, this blog post isn't about Maggie, it's about the dog bones we give her as a treat. The other night I was looking at the bag of Ol' Roy treats -- from Wal-Mart, nothing but the best for our dog! -- and noticed the five flavors it listed.

The flavors dogs love:

Beef (Yes)
Chicken (Yes)
Bacon (Yes)
Peanut Butter (Uh maybe ... Maggie does like a bite of PB&J once in a while)


And this:

Vegetable

What dog craves the flavor of vegetables?

Well, maybe Maggie does. She has never turn…

Humor Me: The best gift for a kid is not this

I bought a gift for my 6-year-old son to take to a birthday party last week, and it reminded me of the worst birthday gift I ever presented to a friend. It was a gift my mother insisted would be a good one. Here's the story:

Humor Me: The best gift for a kid is not this
By MATT WIXON

Standing on the patio waiting for my turn to pin the tail on the
donkey, my 8-year-old mind counted down to disaster. Each second
ticked louder as I waited for the humiliation bomb to explode and
doom me to a life inside my bedroom.

They would all laugh, that I knew. But would the events of the
birthday party get back to my school? I cringed at the thought of
such delicate information making its way into the hands of the
third grade's Powers That Be. The powers that had the ability to
turn molehills into mountains, cooties into a devastating social
disease and one kid's upset stomach into a nickname he would never
escape: Barfy.

It all happened so fast, the birthday-party reversal of fortune.
One moment I wa…

NBC's lineup 30 years ago ... yeesh

NBC has been struggling to find hit shows the last few years. "30 Rock" and "The Office" get a lot of hype and are are actually very good, but they don't get great ratings.

But things had to be worse 30 years ago, when NBC was launching its fall season. The promo for it is below, and check out the new shows it was hyping:

Waverly Wonders
Lifeline
Grandpa Goes to Washington
W.E.B.
Sword of Justice
Dick Clark's Live Wednesday
Who's Watching the Kids
Capra

Wow ... those turned out to be classics!

Incorrect hair dye, correct verdict

The economy is in the tank, your 401(k) is looking like a 401(KO'd) and more businesses are expected to layoff employees in the coming months.

But let's look at the bright side. At least your social life hasn't been ruined like that of one Connecticut woman, who suffered through the devastation of having her blonde hair dyed brunette.

She was so traumatized that she needed anti-depressants. Also, she says she suffered "headaches and anxiety, missed the attention that blondes receive and had to stay home and wear hats most of the time."

And because we are in America, this leads to the obvious question:

How much is she suing for?

Actually, I don't know the amount. But a judge nixed her coif complaint.

10-year old drives, but at least he was sober

When a 10-year-old gets behind the wheel, you've got to expect that the car will be driven a little erratically. So when a 10-year-old was clocked doing 90 mph in Tennessee, that made it more frightening.

But hey, his parents were in the car with him. Maybe they were just trying to get a jump on his driving training. You know, so he'll be really ready to go when he gets his learner's permit in about five years.

Or maybe not. According to the story, the 10-year-old crashed the van after his dad had drank about 15 beers. Also, when police in Tennessee arrived, "a woman was trying to swallow as many pills as she could."

Cap it all off with this:

The dad was wearing a T-shirt that said "Buy this dad a beer." Looking at the mug shot, yeah ... I can see him wearing that shirt.

Man saves dog from shark

This is one of the most amazing stories you'll read about: A dog is recovering after its owner dove in to save his pet from a shark. Greg LeNoir said he took his 14-pound rat terrier Jake for a daily swim at a marina last Friday. The five-foot shark suddenly surfaced and grabbed nearly the entire dog in its mouth.

LeNoir said he yelled, then balled up his fists and dove headfirst into the water off a pier. He hit the shark in the back and the creature finally let go of the dog.
The result: Man and dog are safe and recovering. The owner said Jake (here's a photo of him) doesn't like swimming pools, but they'll have to find another place for him to swim.

After getting attacked by a shark, I think Jake might reconsider the charm of swimming in a pool.

Maybe these women need a federal bailout

This just in for about the fifth straight day: The bailout is about to pass or fail.

That's still the top story in the nation, overshadowing stories such as this: A Florida teenager claims he was attacked and robbed by four topless blonde women on his way to work. Olmer Morales, 18, told police the attack happened as he rode his bike to work. They stole $100, according to the police report. Maybe the women actually considered it a tip for a very unusual exotic dance.

Bizarre spa treatments

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The economy is struggling and people are trying to save money. That could mean that your planned trip to the fancy resort is off this year. You're probably a little bummed about that, but hey, at least you won't be wasting your money on these spa services:

Nightingale Excrement Facial
Bird droppings on your head might be a tragedy, but nightingale droppings on your face are a luxury. At least that’s how the Diamond Hawaii Resort and Spa in Maui feels. A cream with nightingale droppings is part of every facial there.

The Snake Massage
At a spa in Israel, you can have snakes placed on your back to slither away the aches in your muscles. Don’t worry, the spa says, the snakes are non-venomous. So it’s not creepy or anything.

Ear Candling
You might be surprised how many spas offer this service, in which a hollow candle is placed in a person’s ear and the top is lit. Why? Well, according to one of the spas, it improves mental clarity. Yeah, sure. And celebrities go to rehab centers to be …

Apache music video

A friend of mine sent me the link to this video.

All I can say is wow. These guys were so very cool. Or they thought so. If you thought the first MTV videos were pretty low-budget, you'll be amazed by this:

The bravest squirrel ever

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The bravest squirrel ever has made my front yard his home.

A couple of days ago while I was doing some yard work, I saw him climbing up and down our Oak tree and running around the front lawn, burying acorns in the yard. "Squirreling" them away I guess would be the best description.

At one point, he came within five feet of me, chewed on the outside of an acorn and then buried it in the grass. I needed to walk in his direction, but I didn't want to scare him, so I said, "Hello there." (Yes, I was talking to a squirrel, and no, I don't do drugs. If I did do drugs, he probably would've talked back.)

When the squirrel heard my voice, he got up on his hind legs into an alert position and swooshed his tail. But, although he was only a few feet away and was facing me, he actually looked off to the side a little. That's when I wondered if maybe he's a squirrel with impaired vision.

Whatever his situation, it was fun to watch the squirrel scurry around the …

Duck duck goose touchdown celebration

Next time, maybe the football players can get some kids out of the stands to help after the touchdown:

Assault with a smelly weapon

If someone passes gas next to you, it's not just an annoyance. According to the police in South Charleston, West Virginia, it's battery. When police were trying to get fingerprints, police say Cruz moved closer to the officer and passed gas on him. The investigating officer remarked in the criminal complaint that the odor was very strong. But not strong enough to be considered assault with a deadly weapon. The officer is expected to fully recover.

Skimpy outfits get cheerleaders in trouble

We've got trouble in Moscow. Well, Moscow, Idaho, anyway. It seems that some people have deemed the cheerleading outfits too skimpy. Less than a month into the football season, the Idaho Vandals are undergoing another makeover after spectators complained that cheerleaders' uniforms were flashing a little more than school spirit. Sorry, no photos available. But the Idaho football team has been outscored 163-45 this season, so the fans need something to look at.

Also, the story says that the football team's uniforms have been changed because the school logo didn't look right on the seat of the pants. Who would've thought that would happen?

Here's the quote from another story: Rob Spears, the school's athletic director, says nobody realized just how the logo placed in the center of the players' behinds would look before they tried their pants on.

Latawnya the horse says say no to drugs

There are many ways to warn kids about the dangers of drugs. One way that I don't recommend is to have them read this book:

Latawnya, the Naughty Horse, Learns to Say "No" to Drugs

I'm not sure why she's a naughty horse, but the book includes illustrations of horses drinking and smoking. It also spurred this funny user review on Amazon.com: On the surface, Sylvia S. Gibson's stirring account of equine tranche de vie is an eye-opening page-turner. When picked up for the fourth and fifth time, however, the story is far deeper than initially expected. These horses represent humanity, and they are smoking drugs. WE are smoking drugs. Gibson is a wordsmith, subconsciously compelling the reader to put oneself in Latawnya's hooves.

This brillant work is rated with 4 stars because the story is deceptively written for children, but it deals with heavy issues: horses smoking drugs, horses drinking alcohol, horses overdosing, and horses dying. Some of the illustration…

Humor Me: Welcome to autumn in Texas

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By MATT WIXON

It's the first day of fall, the season of crisp mornings, nippy evenings and colorful leaves crunching beneath your feet. The long, hot summer is over, and the change of seasons can be felt in every chilly breeze in North Texas.

But close the refrigerator door, would you? Even the excitement of autumn's arrival isn't worth the chilling reality of a whopping energy bill. It's better to wait for Mother Nature's frosty breeze, which should arrive in Texas any minute now.

Or in a day or two. Or a week. Or perhaps by early October, a month in which the Dallas temperature once reached 106.

It's hard to complain about this year's September temperatures, but autumn's
arrival here is much different than in Minneapolis, Chicago or Denver, which had more than an inch of snowfall on this day back in 2000. That same day in North Texas, the temperature hit 96.

That's 10 degrees warmer than normal, but 86 won't send anyone
scurrying for the long johns. …