Showing posts from 2012

A grown-up Christmas magic

I remember little from age 5, but I can still see the basketball hoop waiting for me under the Christmas tree. It was a real basketball hoop, with a regulation rim, a shiny white net and a wooden backboard that my grandpa had made.

Clearly, Santa had looked past the “X” marks in my column on our family’s Santa Claus Behavior Chart. Sure, I had some gold stars on that poster board, but there were a lot of black marks under “getting along with brother and sister.” I think that was the year I tried to flush my sister’s Winnie the Pooh shirt down the toilet.

Accidentally, of course. Right, Santa?

Anyway, the image of that basketball hoop stays with me. Strangely, it’s one of the few Christmas gifts I still remember from my Santa years. What I do remember, vividly, is how I felt on Christmas Eve.

Lying in bed, my heart raced as I struggled to keep my legs still under the covers. My brother and I shared a room, and in a powerful display of Christmas spirit, we didn’t fight. Well, not much.

Humor Me: The worst holiday brag letters ever


How to avoid Thanksgiving disaster (not including awkward hugs with distant relatives)

This column, like many others, first appeared in The Dallas Morning News and on I usually let some time pass before posting them here.


Every year, millions of Americans sit around the table at Thanksgiving and enjoy a delicious meal with family and friends. And every year, someone is cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time.

So much pressure. So much to do. So much to mess up, even if you’re not trying to create the Martha Stewart-suggested spread that includes chilled oysters with apple-ginger mignonette and dumpling squash served with cream, sage and a condescending attitude.
But relax, first-time Thanksgiving cooks. While it’s true that my only experience preparing turkey dinner involves poking the plastic-wrap covering with a fork and heating it in a microwave, I know the biggest key to getting the Thanksgiving turkey right:
One hundred and sixty-five.
One hundred and sixty-five degrees, that is. The turkey’s internal temperature needs to reach…

Humor Me: Another lavishly weird Neiman Marcus Christmas Book

This column, like many others, first appeared in The Dallas Morning News and on I let some time pass before posting them here.


Even when the economy is sputtering, we can count on the Neiman Marcus Christmas Book to maintain its over-the-top, absurdly extravagant, “one percent and loving it!” mojo. Or at least I thought so.

Humor Me: How bumper stickers could decide the Presidential election

At this point, I’m sure everyone has seen a poll that shows the presidential election will be tighter than spandex. Even a Facebook poll I saw predicts the race as a dead heat, while also reporting that nearly 100 percent of those surveyed are tired of people posting photos of what they’re having for lunch.

Humor Me: When are you too old to trick or treat?

As another Halloween approaches, it's time to address a common question surrounding trick-or-treating:

"Does anyone really eat candy corn, or is it like a Christmas fruitcake that gets re-gifted each year?"

Actually, I don't have an answer for that. So let's move on to another common question, which is being asked this week by a large crop of potential trick-or-treaters who no longer fit into a Dora the Explorer costume.

"Am I too old to trick-or-treat?"

Relax, spooky mooches. You can never be too old.

You just need to be a kid at heart, have the right Halloween spirit and find a costume that completely covers you as you crouch down and say "trick or treat!" in a high voice. And, oh yeah, remember to take off your wedding ring. That's a dead giveaway.

Honestly, I don't know when a person is too old to trick-or-treat. And I would never turn away anyone willing to dress up and ring doorbells on the annual night of permissible panha…

Humor Me: At restaurants, self-serve soft-serve is quite a show

I’ve always known that my technique at the soft-serve ice cream dispenser could use improvement. Sometimes the ice cream swirls into the cone just right, but other times I end up with a lopsided blob that looks more amateurish than my childhood creations with the Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine.

Still, I never thought my sketchy soft-serve skills would get me fired. And, even worse, by my own kids.

I was once a giant in their eyes, depicted in stick-figure drawings featuring stilt-like legs, arms protruding from my neck and a big head with one strand of hair on top. Sometimes they added a line like “I luv you bab,” showing their love and inability to differentiate the letters b and d.

I might still be a giant to my three sons in some ways, but they’re now old enough to identify sizable problems with my work at the soft-serve machine. They rarely agree on anything, but when it’s time to get the free dessert at restaurants such as Jason’s Deli or Souper Salad or some buffet, they’re unanimou…

Humor Me: My aging dad's unintentionally alarming voice mails

I don’t like to think about how my dad is getting old. He’s 76 now, or in his words, “getting up there,” and it reminds me that I’m also getting older. I prefer to picture us years ago, when I still had my hair and I still had hope that my dad would figure out e-mail.

I’m still waiting for my first e-mail from him. My dad sends me lots of snail mail, often with articles clipped from the newspaper, but never an e-mail. I once e-mailed him photos of the grandkids, to the one e-mail address my parents share, and my dad’s head nearly exploded.

“The photos are attached,” I told him.


Fortunately, my mom is better at that high-tech stuff, although she probably won’t open any e-mail with an attachment. Viruses, you know. But she has now branched out into text messaging, which I discovered a couple months ago when she sent a message that said “test message, please let me know if you get this.”

I responded that, yes, I did receive it. I haven’t heard from her since.

At least no…

Humor Me: Getting to know your crazy roommate

I’m sure that more than one person reading is having a roommate crisis. After all, just about everyone has to share a living space at some point, and it can be pretty difficult.

Just ask the poor saps who had to live with me before I got married. They had a roommate who thought he knew everything about sports, was way too into ’80s music and liked to make sarcastic comments about commercials. What a nightmare.

Living with a roommate can be tough, which is what a lot of college freshmen are learning right now. But having a roommate teaches you a lot about life.

It starts with the importance of compromise and respecting different points of view. Having a roommate also helps you find creative ways to solve problems, such as how to convince your roommate that a burglar broke in and stole nothing but his “Exotic Rhythms of the Himalayas” CD.

“And they also stole your beginner’s guide to playing the sitar. I can’t believe it!”

One key to compatibility is getting to know your roommate. That’…