Friday, November 7, 2008

Burning cobwebs is not a good idea

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 ...

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.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

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 can.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Humor Me: Dude, I'm getting old

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


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 that was really nice. Because the pain of aging isn't something you want to hear when you're turning 30.

Which, uh was six years ago for me. I'm now 36.

But does that bother me?

Not at all. You know how a kid will say "I'm 5-and-three-quarters" because he doesn't want to be lumped in with the 5-and-one-quarters who still like Elmo and don't know how to tie their shoes?

Well that's me. I'm 36 years and one week. I'm proud of all of my age -- proud enough that I want to shout it from a rooftop. It's just that I can't get on the rooftop because my back is kind of sore, and my knees are getting creaky, and that charley horse in my leg is acting up, and my corns are killing me. Also, at my age, I shouldn't take the risk of falling down and breaking my hip.

See, I'm still young enough to kid around. And I really don't feel like I'm getting older. Make me 15 years younger for a day and I would feel a difference, but right now, I feel as though I can do all the things I did when I was 21. Other than date, because my wife forbids that.

I'm sure I'm naive about aging. I've probably gained weight in the last 15 years, and I've definitely lost hair. I might be a step slower, and not just when I have my two kids clinging to my leg. [Author note: I now have three kids. Nathan, I you have not been forgotten].

But the thing with aging is that it doesn't have the formal rites of passage that come with growing up.

As an adult, you don't take a first step, start kindergarten, hit puberty or hit a Taco Bell drive-thru speaker with the car you get on your Sweet 16. You just start seeing gray hairs, begin reading labels for fiber content and become a little obsessed with the price of gasoline.

Suddenly, just a few years after you were the world's hope for the future, you're part of the past. You're a sir or ma'am instead of a dude, bud or miss, and your demographic slides from Mountain Dew to Country Time Lemonade.

And then you get something like the "Healthy Lifestyles" packet of offers in your mailbox. I'm hoping it was a mistake, because here are some of the products selected especially for me:

-Walk-in bathtub to help "maintain my safety and independence."

-The Jitterbug cellphone, featuring large "simple yes and no buttons" and "no confusing icons."

-The Exerstrider: The World's #1 Fitness Walking Poles.

I also got a brochure that asked me, "Are You Dreaming of Retiring to Florida Soon?"

Actually, I am dreaming of retiring. But not to Florida, and not soon. My financial adviser tells me that outside of a lottery win or a financial strategy that involves a possible prison sentence, I need to keep working for some time.

And that's my plan. Because I'm hoping to live to a ripe old age, or at least old enough to attract stares by mowing my lawn while wearing Bermuda shorts, black dress socks and sandals.

Maybe then I'll start telling my kids how it's hell to get old. But for now, at age 36 and one week?

It's still OK, dude.

[Cake photo courtesy of Joey Gannon]

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Early election projections

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 before going home and cursing him repeatedly.

** Campaign signs will still clutter the sides of roads a week from now.

** Millions of Americans will breathe a sigh of relief that the election is over, allowing us to go back to our lives and focus on more important things, such as the continuing feud between Heidi and Lauren on MTV's "The Hills."

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."

For more info: