Friday, March 7, 2008

'80s Flashback: One Night in Bangkok

Another Friday '80s Flashback. First, the list of the recent flashbacks:

'80s Flashback: Adams Atoms
'80s Flashback: Don't you forget about me

Now on to this week's flashback, which is sponsored by New Coke.

It's your favorite cola with a great new taste. It's better than before. You'll love it!

So what are the most memorable songs of the '80s? Sometimes it's a one-hit wonder, as in the case of "One Night in Bangkok."

It's got to be among the most-played songs from the '80s. And it's a song you can recognize instantly:

Get Thai'd! You're talking to a tourist
Whose every move's among the purest
I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine

Here's the video:

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Paragliding chihuahua survives crash

The headline really says it all.

This is the kind of thing that can happen when you describe taking a chihuahua for a paragliding trip as "a routine flight."

Help, I make too much money

One of the weirdest Dear Abby letters I've seen.

DEAR ABBY: Most people complain about their jobs because they feel they don't make enough money. My problem is the opposite. I love my job, but I think I make too much money.

My job is mostly simple work that could be done by anybody -- yet I earn almost as much as my husband, who is a supervisor in a technical field. My boss always gives me excellent reviews and doesn't seem concerned.

It's nice to have the kind of job that isn't stressful. But I feel guilty that a lot of people with more difficult jobs make less than I do. Should I tell my boss to give me a pay cut, or take the money and run? -- CUT OR RUN IN WISCONSIN

DEAR CUT OR RUN: I won't reveal your exact location because many people would kill to have your job. The answer to your question is you should neither ask for a pay cut nor take the money and run. Feeling as you do, you should donate every cent you feel you are overpaid to a charity (or to a therapist who can help you overcome your sense of guilt).

You can certainly send it to me. I love to help people with these kinds of problems.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hope, change, leadership ... we're outta here

Tuesday was the big primary/caucus day in Texas for the candidates for President. So now, after three weeks of candidates visiting every part of the state and a steady dose of political ads on the radio, Texas will be ignored for the next few months.

If you're missing all the attention, I provide this political message to remind you of all the good times of the last three weeks. I think it pretty much summarizes what the candidates were trying to get across:

"Hope, change, experience, leadership, hope for change, the time is now, it's up to you, you can do it, it's our time, change, leadership, the war in Iraq, change in leadership, middle class, education is good, AMERICA!"

I'm Matt Wixon, and I approved this message.

No parking unless you have a spell-checker

Attention drivers:

Don't even try to park here on this day.

And not on Toosday or Mundae, either.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Snowball fight in Dallas

We got rare snowfall in the Dallas area last night, so before going to work this morning, I went out in the backyard and played in it with my sons.

There wasn't a lot of snow, but enough to attempt to slide on a little hill (with a boogie board ... it was pretty ridculous). Also, we were able to do what 5-year-old Ryan really wanted to do -- have a snowball fight.

He liked hitting me with the snowballs and liked getting hit with them just as much. He did, however, get hit in the head with one once, and he didn't like that as much.

That was my fault, of course, and it's no surprise. When I was a pitcher, I threw a lot of beanballs.

The gnome is to roam, not to be thrown

You've undoubtedly seen the Travelocity commercials with the roaming gnome. Have you seen the one with the guy who throws the gnome through a glass window at his stepdaughter?

Wait. That wasn't a commercial. It was just a guy who got out of control, and not surprisingly, alcohol was involved. He also punched some holes in the wall and cut the telephone lines in the house.

The man was jailed on $25,000 bond, charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, harassment, and I'm guessing, assault of a commercial icon.

Whiffle ball game gets physical

OK, so visiting a Chuck E. Cheese might not always be the best idea for a birthday party. At least if these people are there.

And what if one of the gifts was a whiffle ball set. You don't have to imagine the possibility of what could happen. This really did happen:

Chattanooga Police Juvenile Investigators are currently looking into an apparent fight over a whiffle ball game that seriously injured a McCallie School student.

It's an angry world.

Freakishly enhanced kids photos

I mentioned in yesterday's column that some of the photo enhancements on baby and kid photos truly are over the top.

Here's a good example. Here's another, featuring my favorite enhancement, mouth replacement.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Chuck E. Cheese moms duke it out

I was thinking of having my son's birthday at a Chuck E. Cheese this year. The fun! The games! The cardboardish pizza!

Oh yes, and the wonderful family environment:

Two Boston-area moms are being summoned to court after police say they got into a fistfight at Chuck E. Cheese Saturday when one woman's son "hogged" an arcade game from the other's 9-year-old birthday boy.

Great quote:

"Unfortunately, a birthday night out turned into a birthday melee," police Sgt. Paul Thompson said. "I don't even know if they finished their pizza."

Not finishing the pizza. Now that would be a tragedy.

Humor Me: Your baby needs an airbrush

The Dallas Morning News

So you think your baby is the cutest in the world. I don’t blame you. You’re a proud parent, after all, and the logic centers of your brain are muddled by sleep deprivation and the fumes from the baby spit-up on your shoulder.

Well, as the parent of a 1-month-old, I should probably say my son is numero uno. But hey, with millions of babies out there, I’m realistic.

Also, to be perfectly honest, the other day I noticed that Lil’ Nathan sometimes has drool hanging on his lip. His skin tone is also a little blotchy and his eyebrows are not perfectly shaped.

It’s tough to admit it, but he’s not perfect.

In photos, however, he can be. In fact, thanks to several baby-photo enhancement services I found on the Internet, we can have Nathan’s eyes brightened, skin tanned, change the color of his hair and have the frown lines around his mouth removed.

Baby airbrushing. Truly awesome!

Or truly weird. It probably depends on whether you currently have a photo of your baby with the "doll eyes" enhancement.

What are doll eyes?

Basically, it means taking a photo of your baby and replacing his or her eyes with eyes that are brighter, more open and genetically impossible. You know the kind of eyes you might find on a doll at the store? It’s just like that, but less human.

One photo retouching site shows a baby who looks as though she’s about to squeal with excitement — if her batteries are installed correctly. Below her photo it says, "from snapshot to low glamour," and the list of enhancements includes flesh tones boosted to peachy hues, eyes brightened and sharpened, lashes added and lip-line correction.

It also appears that they removed her soul, but I’m not sure if there was an extra charge for that.

Enhancements on other photos are even more bizarre. One has "irises replaced and moved for eye contact." Another child had her brows tilted and shaped and the corners of her mouth turned upward to create a slight smile. Perfect for preserving memories.

Remember how happy you were when we took that photo? You don’t? But look, you’re smiling!

If your child’s mouth just doesn’t look right, even with the smile enhancement, don’t fret. One of the sample "child to plastic resemblance of a human" photos includes complete mouth replacement. I’m not sure whose mouth the enhancers used, but it does seem to match the doll eyes and the added definition they gave the girl’s cheekbones.

If those really are her cheekbones, that is. Maybe they subbed in the cheekbones of a 2-year-old Angelina Jolie.

Photos are supposed to preserve memories, not alter them. But I guess we just don’t handle imperfections well. Even in babies and toddlers.

One photo-enhancement site refers to the kids in the photos as "natural beauties." Of course, some of the natural photos include digitally adding lipstick to a 2-year-old and giving her fake eyes that make her look like she’s from the planet Zork. You can probably also airbrush your toddler’s hips so she looks like she’s a Huggies size 4 instead of a 5.

Here’s a way to get a good laugh:

Type in "natural beauties contest" on an Internet search engine and check out the "age progression retouching" option. It includes a photo of a cute little girl whose photo has been retouched to make her look older. Changes include turning her baby hair more glamorous, adding a headband, growing in her teeth slightly, giving her a tan and reshaping her arm.

"For children who have outgrown their photos," the Web site says.

Of course! Why bother taking another photo when you’ve already got a good one?
I think I’ll send the enhancement experts a photo of Nathan -- a really good one with no spit-up on his lip -- and have them age-progress him to adulthood. If they send me a photo for each year, I won’t have to worry about taking pictures to preserve my memories of him.

And for Nathan’s photo as an 18-year-old, maybe they can give him Brad Pitt’s nose, Matt Damon’s smile and the chest of some Olympic weightlifter.

That way, he really will be the cutest in the world.