Friday, February 22, 2008

Southwest Airlines kicks two girls off flight

A pair of 18-year-old girls were kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight for disruptive behavior. That's the accusation, anyway. The girls say otherwise.

But this might give you an idea of what the flight attendants were dealing with. Below is one of the girl's comments about the incident (from this story).

“I think they were just discriminating against because we were young decent-looking girls. I mean, nobody else on the plane looked like us except us,” she said. “[The flight attendants] were like older ladies. We were younger. Who knows, they could have been just jealous of us because we were younger.”

She really comes off well with that statement.

Coconut milk and flagpoles

As I was driving my 5-year-old son, Ryan, to school this morning, he told me this:

"Dad, I've heard that you don't like coconut milk."

He said it as if word on the street is that I don't like coconut milk. As if he has sources that are revealing secrets about me. Well, I'm not sure I've ever had coconut milk, but Ryan has become interested in coconuts since he saw one at a store.

"Mom said you don't like coconut milk," he said. "I don't like it, either."

"Oh, you don't like it?" I asked him.

"No," he said. "It tastes like a flagpole."

Like a flagpole? I'm not sure how this got in Ryan's head. But I figured this would be a good follow-up question:

"How do you know? Have you ever tasted a flagpole?"

Ryan said no. So I asked him, "How do you know what a flagpole tastes like?"

"I just know," he said.

So, I asked, "what does a flagpole taste like?

"Like a flagpole," he said.

I guess that makes sense.

'80s Flashback: Don't You Forget About Me

Here's the weekly '80s flashback, which was part of the former Humor Me blog at The Dallas Morning News. Today's flashback is sponsored by ...

Ice Cream Cones Cereal. Why not start the kids off the healthy way with a cereal that looks like dessert? Very '80s.

On to the flashback. Identify this somewhat obscure quote from an '80s movie:

"I consider you guys my friends. I'm not wrong, am I?"

As I said, the line is a little obscure. But the movie certainly isn't. The line was spoken by Anthony Michael Hall's Brain character in The Breakfast Club. Didn't you think, "I'm definitely seeing that!" after seeing this trailer in the theater?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Humor Me: Baby, it's a world of wonders

Moving over to this blog, I figured I would post a few of my recent humor columns. (They're still archived at Here is one from Feb. 4.

Humor Me: Baby, it's a world of wonders

The Dallas Morning News

When my first son was born, it was like a magic act. I prepared for the big event, of course, and I knew it was going to happen. But when the moment came, it still felt like some kind of illusion.

Ta-dah! … It’s a baby.

Well, after last week, I’ve been through it three times. But previous experience didn’t change anything. It was still a surreal blend of excitement, joy and awe. And, once again, relief that I didn’t have to use shoelaces to tie off the umbilical cord during an emergency delivery on the Dallas North Tollway.

Fortunately, each of my sons entered the world in a hospital, with the big move directed by someone who knows more about childbirth than what can be learned in The Expectant Father. For that, I’m very thankful. Considering my medical training ended when I dropped AP Biology in high school, I’m guessing little Nathan is more thankful.

Nathan, I hope you like your name. Older brothers Ryan and Cooper suggested “Zuzoofoo,” but that was shelved because they couldn’t spell it the same way twice. Also, I think that’s already been claimed for the child of some goofball celebrity.

Everything went well at the hospital. Now you’re part of a world filled with great beauty, terrible conflict and people who want to be like Paris Hilton. But don’t worry, your mom will help you figure everything out. She’s an expert at nurturing, understanding and educating children. I’m good at reaching high things and giving piggyback rides. We’re a pretty good team.

Anyway, this is probably a good time for some sage fatherly advice. After all, you’re a very captive audience as we share a spot on the couch. If you want to suck on that pacifier while I talk, go for it. If you want to just kind of look around the living room or nod off, that’s no problem.

The problem, unfortunately, is that your dad is still trying to figure out this world, too. I’ve made mistakes, including purchasing two M.C. Hammer CDs in the ’80s. I never solved more than one side of the Rubik’s Cube, either, and the stock market is pretty much a jumble of letters to me. If I was still single, I would probably have cereal for dinner tonight.

But I am your dad. So I’ll try to sound fatherly as I offer a little advice for your new adventure:

Listen to your brothers. They will be sources of conflict, especially when the video game only has two controllers, but they can teach you a lot. For example, 5-year-old Ryan told me the other day that God is even more powerful than Santa and leprechauns. Very wise.

Give people the benefit of the doubt. The world is sometimes a harsh, cruel place, but people generally are not. Smile and you will see smiles. Help people, and others will help you. If you take yourself too seriously, people will not take you seriously.

When getting soda from a fountain, don’t fill the cup all the way to the top. If you do, when you place the lid on and put the straw in, the cup will overflow.

If you never know the meaning of life, that’s no big deal. It’s just as important to know what gives meaning to life. It’s eating a perfectly greasy slice of pizza. It’s seeing a dog wag its tail as it greets you. It’s feeling your child melt into you as he falls asleep on your shoulder.

Nathan, that’s about as deep as your dad gets. But I promise you this:

Nothing in this world will be deeper than my love for you. Nothing more powerful, either. Not even Santa or leprechauns.

So sleep easy, little guy. And, if possible, try to sleep a little more. Preferably when it’s dark outside and for stretches of more than one hour.

But if you want to close your eyes right now, go ahead. We’ll have plenty of time to talk later.

Is she wearing high heels or skates?

A model walking on the runway falls down. I've seen it several times, and I always think it's funny. I think it's just because they walk with so much attitude, and they lose all of that when they stumble.

So I always laugh when I see it. But this is one of the funniest I've seen, mainly because she works so hard to fight the fall the second time she's about to lose it.

Another machete attack

Over the last year, I've noticed a tremendous uptick in the use of machetes as weapons. Very, very interesting choice of weapon, I think. They're not just for the movies anymore.

But what are the kinds of things that can drive someone to attack someone with a machete? What can drive a person to attack a friend with a machete?

Fortunately, it's a very rare situation. Such as a case of Bud Ice.

Maybe the pilots were just resting their eyes

This is your pilot speaking. We've reached our cruising altitude, so sit back and relax. I plan to, along with my co-pilot.

By the way, does anyone have an alarm clock?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Tuning out the conversation

My 5-year-old son, Ryan, was talking to me earlier today while I was trying to get my 2-year-old son ready for a car ride, let the dog outside and take care of other things around the house. I tuned out for a while and then heard him say this:

"So I had the robot with the telescope, but the pig didn't have a tail."
He actually said it like it was a question, and then he waited for me to answer. Uh ...

It turns out it had something to do with putting together a puzzle. I said to him, Oh ... I don't know. Explain it to me again."

Fortunately, you can fake that you've been listening after you tune out a conversation with a kid. Not so easy with your wife.

Or so I've heard. I've never done that.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Humor Me: Celebs rule elections, too

The Dallas Morning News

In nine months, another presidential election will be over, and Americans will have made their choice. That choice, judging by the debates, straw polls and number of people who believe Condoleezza Rice is a side dish at Chili’s, will be this:

To not vote.

For a lot of people, anyway, because voter turnout isn’t a highlight of the greatest country in the world. Some of us just don’t appreciate our power to elect leaders who will be our voice in government and work tirelessly to create a proclamation honoring the Tilt-A-Whirl.

But maybe this year will be different. Maybe voter turnout will improve because, well, Oprah Winfrey is involved. She’s publicly supporting Democratic hopeful Barack Obama, who is expected to spend the next two weeks battling Hillary Clinton for most photo opportunities involving Texas barbecue.

Ms. Winfrey isn’t the only celebrity involved, of course. Sen. Clinton has support from Barbra Streisand, and Republican hopeful John McCain has muscle from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone. If Mike Huckabee somehow wins the Republican nomination, he’ll have Chuck Norris to lend a hand — and an icy stare and a roundhouse kick.

Those are just a few of the celebrities who made their endorsements public. And, as we all know, celebrities rule our culture. That’s why fans adore them, the paparazzi stalk them and an Internet news site had this headline:

“Pro wrestler Ric Flair endorses Huckabee”

Wow. But have we heard from Hulk Hogan? What about Randy “Macho Man” Savage?

Pretty ridiculous. Celebrities, whether they top the A-list or are begging to be on a cable network reality show, don’t know more about politics than we do. So can they really have any influence?

I would hope not. But then I think back to commercials featuring Donald Trump hawking Pizza Hut. To me, Donald Trump eating something from Pizza Hut is only slightly more believable than Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ dance moves in the commercials for Papa John’s Pizza.

But just being connected with a celebrity is valuable. That’s why Hanes signed up noted underwear expert Michael Jordan. That’s why Paris Hilton once ate a hamburger, which nearly weighed as much as she did, in a Carl’s Jr. ad. That’s why when Victoria’s Secret wanted to sell more lingerie, it reached out to a spooky-looking older guy who resembled Bob Dylan.

What? That really was Bob Dylan?

Yep. And years ago, that really was Joe Namath doing ads for pantyhose and Muhammad Ali talking about D-Con roach spray. And on that billboard next to the Dallas North Tollway, that really is Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens praising a local car dealership.

“My other team,” it says.

Well, I’m glad T.O. is such a team player. But I think car-buying advice from him is as valuable as hip-hop lessons from Jerry Jones or a Pamela Anderson guidebook to a lasting marriage.

Still, celebrities get paid a lot to endorse products, so celebrity branding must be worth something. Even if that product is a candidate for president.

Why not? Whether the product is a soft drink, sneakers or a person seeking to be leader of the free world, it’s the same. Whether the message is “yes we can,” “ready to lead” or “I just saved a bunch of money by switching to Geico,” it’s the same.

It’s all about packaging, positive branding and appealing to everyone. It’s not about saying the right thing, it’s about never saying the wrong thing. Never offending anyone.

With that in mind, I offer the candidates this idea for a commercial that features no words at all:

A picture of you, followed by a tight shot of children eating ice cream, followed by a wide shot of the Statue of Liberty and a flag waving, followed by puppies rolling down a hill into the arms of Oprah Winfrey, Barbra Streisand, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Chuck Norris.

Or maybe Bob Dylan, if he’s ready to move from endorsing lingerie to endorsing candidates.