Monday, December 31, 2007

Mr. Megnorium Munger Penorium

That's what Kate called the movie I took the kids to the other day. Her re-titling was the best thing about the experience.

The holidays this year were a time of melancholy to some extent in our family, the kids knowing that Uncle Rick wouldn't be around for this or any future Christmas. But they're holding up pretty well. On a recent rainy afternoon, I took them to the Admiral Theater for a matinee of what we had hoped would be a fun movie. A few minutes in, Dustin Hoffman With Ridiculous Accent (DHWRA) reveals he's dying. That's the premise of the film. DHWRA is giving up his stupid store which is full of crap-ass old-fashioned toys and a few Hot Wheels there because of paid product placement that all come to life and move very slowly for no real reason at all.

CHARLIE: Oh no, he's not really going to die, is he?
ME: Well, I think he might. He's saying something about going to heaven.
CHARLIE: Is heaven where you go when you die and you see your mom and dad again?

Mr. Megnorium apparently has been alive and bothering people for 240 years and runs this magical Penorium. DHWRA employs Natalie Portman Resembling Audrey Hepburn On Quaaludes (NPRAHOQ) to help him. She used to play piano when she was younger, a fact we are reminded of constantly even though it does not ever matter. As DHWRA gets ready to die and my poor son gets ready to weep, DHWRA decides to give NPRAHAOQ the store so apparently she can be cursed to 215 or so more years of annoying people. There is also a kid who makes mournful expressions and owns many hats. And Jason Bateman who helpfully grits his teeth along with the rest of us.

Apparently the broader message of the film is "toys are magical and we all should be more like kids". Yeah, that would be great if all adults acted like kids and played with toys. Why doesn't anyone make a positive uplifting movie about how kids need to discover the magic of dressing sensibly and taking on responsibilities? That would be fantastic.

As the apotheosis of DHRWA approached, my son went to the back of the auditorium and covered his eyes and ears. He did not want to see DHRWA die. By this point in the film, however, I was completely okay with this development. The sooner DHRWA goes to heaven, the sooner he gets off my screen. Kate, meanwhile, happily watched the whole thing and enjoyed some popcorn. Should have gone to Bee Movie in the theater next door.

JILL: How was Mr. Megorium's wonder whatever?
ME: You mean Mr. Megnorium Munger Penorium? It was chock full of death.
JILL: Ooh. Should have gone to Bee Movie.
ME: This is what I'm saying.
JILL: Who was in it?
ME: Excruciating Dustin Hoffman, bored Natalie Portman, and Jason Bateman picking up a check.
JILL: They should just show the actors literally picking up a check in movies like that.
ME: That would be great! Like in the closing credits, just do a whole montage of the actors out of costume and makeup picking up actual checks and driving off the lot.
JILL: Happily whistling to themselves as they stop by the bank.
ME: Maybe an animation of the numbers in their bank account rolling up.

KATE: I want to get some toys from Mr. Megnorium Munger Penorium!

Goodbye 2007

and don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. Because that's my job. I will remove the door from its hinges and hit you with it myself. Repeatedly.
But oh 2008, you sexy minx. We're going to have a great 12 months together.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Excuse Me? Lady at Starbucks this morning?

Hi. Look, I know you had some terrible news to tell your 10-year-old daughter this morning. I think it was about a dog that had died. Could have been a divorce. Could have been something else. Whatever it was, it made her burst into tears and sobs. It devastated her. You held her close and let her just cry and cry and cry.

My question is this: did you really have to relate this news to her AT A STARBUCKS?!

My follow-up question is this: like, what the fuck is wrong with you?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Maybe there IS a beatific scheme

So I used to write book reviews for I know, I know, so does everyone but I got paid and didn't use stars and mine were under the "editorial review" section. One of the more popular ones I did was Freakanomics. Since I wrote that review, and subscribed to a Google alert for my own name (haven't you? you should), I see it pop up on loads of small sites trying to sell the book as Amazon affiliates.

My original review can be found here.

But today, I ran across this one, which apparently translated into some other language and then re-translated back to English. And it's got my name on it. So if you ever wondered what it would sound like if I reviewed books after a fairly traumatic head injury, or was Borat, I suspect it would read like this:

Economics is not widely thoughtful to be digit of the sexier sciences. The period philanthropist Prize succeeder in that earth never receives as much message as his or her compatriots in peace, literature, or physics. But if much slights are supported on the idea that economics is dull, or that economists are afraid exclusive with direction itself, Steven D. Levitt module modify whatever minds. In Freakonomics (written with author J. Dubner), Levitt argues that whatever manifest mysteries of routine chronicle don’t requirement to be so mysterious: they could be light and prefabricated modify more fascinating by asking the correct questions and art connections. For example, Levitt traces the modify in ferocious evildoing rates to a modify in ferocious criminals and, dig further, to the Roe v. Wade selection that preempted the cosmos of whatever grouping who would be dropped to impoverishment and hardship. Elsewhere, by analyzing accumulation concentrated from inner-city metropolis drug-dealing gangs, Levitt outlines a joint scheme much same McDonald’s, where the crowning bosses attain enthusiastic money patch scores of underlings attain something beneath peak wage. And in a country that haw signal or assuage worried parents, Levitt argues that parenting methods don’t rattling concern much and that a backyard tearful bet is much more chanceful than a gun. These instructive chapters are distributed by demonstrative passages from Dubner’s 2003 strikingness of Levitt in The New royalty Times Magazine, which led to the aggregation existence written. In a aggregation filled with brave logic, much back-patting veers Freakonomics, still briefly, absent from what Levitt actually has to say. Although maybe there’s a beatific scheme think for that too, and we’re meet not effort it yet. –John Moe

Friday, December 21, 2007

This is how it goes now

So the Mariners signed Carlos Silva, a mediocre pitcher, to a four year deal. Yeah, it was for way more money than he's likely worth but what jumps out more is that he'll be clogging up the rotation for four years of Jarrod Washburn style suckitudedness. Silva used to be with the Minnesota Twins. And I'm moving to Minnesota just in time for the start of baseball season.

Hmm. My fave rave team will always be the Mariners, stuck with Silva. But I'll be following the Twins, free of Silva. I guess I'm glad to have a Silva-less id even as I have an overly Silva-ful superego.

If There's a Moptop In Your Hedgerow...

A clip from the parallel universe Ed Sullivan show. Zeppelin and Beatles, fused.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

You Must Not Know About Kate (age 5)

A special message to fellas of the future:

Since some of you may eventually romance Kate, I think it would be best if you realized that she is quite fond of the Beyonce' song Irreplaceable and is learning more and more of the lyrics.

And keep talking that mess, thats fine
Could you walk and talk, at the same time?
And it's my name thats on that jag
So go move your bags, let me call you a cab

Standing in the front yard, telling me
How I'm such a fool, talking 'bout
How I'll never ever find a man like you
You got me twisted

You must not know 'bout me
You must not know 'bout me

Also, she's quite fond of Cheap Trick. And Spoon.

My point is this, fellas of the future: Kate may not be the tallest girl you ever date but she may be more than you can handle.

Monday, December 17, 2007


That's an acronym, meaning "Hey Look At Our House". We've set a target date of January 10th to get the Moe home on the market. All we need to do hit that target is one thing: develop super powers. Meanwhile, as HLAOH approaches, we've been doing the best we can.

Five years ago, we took our massive unfinished basement and finished it off, creating a master bedroom and a big playroom. The only room left unfinished was what was to be a bathroom but we didn't feel like sinking multiple thousand dollars into something we did not yet need. So when we met with our realtor some months ago I suggested simply buying an easel and putting the word BATHROOM on a piece of poster board on it and sticking that in there. That way, people could imagine the possibilities. No, I was told in a tone ordinarily reserved for dense toddlers, you need to build a real bathroom. People simply won't come look at a one-bath house.

Our other big issue has been painting various rooms. Our choices currently stand at three options:
1. Big time professional painting company charging a few grand.
2. Me painting, hampered by the fact that it's time consuming and I pretty much suck at it.
3. A massive handy home invasion where I buy hundreds of brushes and everyone I've ever met stops by and paints two square feet.

For HLAOH, I also need to make it so that the holidays involve no effort or stress and, additionally, that my children are not the least bit interested in touching or playing with anything paint-related and also that they never need anything from their parents. No sweat.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dear Seattle,

I'm writing you this letter to let you know that I'm leaving you. I've met someone else. Someone named Paul. St Paul. I'm going to be moving in with Paul this coming Spring. You've probably heard me say a lot about Paul on this blog. Maybe you've even had some inclination of my infatuation. Well, we're making it a permanent thing, Paul and I.

Look, we've had a great relationship, Seattle. I've kind of grown up with you, really. I was just a teenager hanging out with Federal Way when our eyes met. I used to take the bus just to meet with you for a few hours and feel cool. Later, after I was done with college and over my flings with New Jersey and Montana, we re-connected and I moved in. And we've had a great run. We went to the theater, we hung out at the radio station, you became friends with my wife and kids. I could have stayed with you forever. I probably almost did.

But then I met St Paul and I think Paul might treat me better. Paul wants to give me a bigger house and doesn't want all that much money for it. In fact, Paul doesn't want to charge me much for anything. Paul has these great schools for the kids. Paul can give me career opportunities that you, Seattle, quite frankly, have a much harder time giving me. But the biggest reason I'm moving in with Paul is for the adventure of it all. Granted, Paul's from Minnesota, a place not normally associated with the Born To Be Wild ethos, but when the offer came, I just didn't want to spend the rest of my life wondering what would have happened if I had taken it. I do love you, Seattle, I really do, but I needed a change. You only get one life and having been to REI I wanted to go the Mall of America, too.

I know you're not the type to come running after me asking me to stay, Seattle (that aloofness is actually part of the problem - sorry!) but I'm sure you'll point out that Paul has a bit of a heating problem and do I really want to live in an environment like that. Well, I spent a few days with Paul last week when the temperature was, like, 5 degrees and yeah, I still want to be with Paul and so does my family. Paul can make me hotdish on a cold night. Also, to my surprise, Paul makes some reeeeeally good coffee and beer so that's actually all covered.

And hey, Seattle, we can still hang out. I'm probably not moving out until March. We have to sell the house for one thing, which is a lot of work getting ready. Then there's the packing and all. Also, we have loads of family and friends that live with you and we'll come back to see them. Airfare is actually super cheap between here and there. And look, if after a couple of years we don't get along with Paul anymore, we could always come back. I know you'd have us even if you wouldn't exactly throw a parade (not your style, I respect that).

Okay, Seattle. I gotta go. But listen, I'll be writing a LOT more about this in months to come. And if you know anyone who wants to buy our house, maybe some software executive from the east coast who just fell in love with you, let me know.

Take care,

UPDATE: Well, no one said there wouldn't be tears.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Among the things that separate Barack Obama from you and me

Instead of thinking of the perfect zinger to shut someone up ten minutes later, he thinks it up on the spot. And it does zing:

I could be completely wrong, but it wouldn't surprise me if this ends up being remembered as a big moment in the '08 race.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tough News

Anita Rowland lost her long battle to cancer yesterday. She was one of the first real bloggers here in Seattle and was a longtime enthusiast for the power of the net and its ability to bring people together. She was one of the first people I interviewed on The Works (my old business-tech show on KUOW) and her kindness and energy were always apparent in her life on and off line. Here's Anita's site, which features a message from her husband. Rest in peace.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Kate (Age 5) Defines Gratitude

(this is a bit old, from her birthday in October)

JILL: Look Kate, this is from Stephanie.
KATE: Oh, let's see what it is!
(unwraps paper to reveal box)
JILL: Ooh, it looks like a shoe box.
KATE: Oh, I love it! Now I have something to put my SHOES in! A shoe box!
JILL: Well, actually Kate, there's probably another gift actually inside the box.
KATE: There is?! Wow!

She would have been happy with a box. You know, so her shoes weren't just loose in the house. Ah, if only such simple needs would endure.

Friday, December 07, 2007


Posting has been light because travel has been heavy. I was in Des Moines, Iowa this week covering Huckabee who is suddenly the #1 GOP contender. I'm doing this series for our show called "I'm Also Running For President", which is supposed to spotlight candidates that are running even though they are unlikely to get elected or even discussed. And when I first started looking into doing a story on Huck, he fit that description. But by the time I had worked out getting to where he was, he had become Paul McCartney in A Hard Day's Night.

When I covered Dodd a few weeks back, they let me have 15 minutes of one-on-one time with him, which was easy to do because I was the only reporter at the events. But at the Huck events there was a throng. News cameras, print reporters, fresh out of journalism school web reporters with tiny cameras, people hitting their heads as they pushed through crowded hallways at the financial company Huck toured with all us media in tow. When people are hitting their heads - repeatedly!- in hallways, you know a guy's doing well.

I had no chance for a direct interview so I had to settle for lobbing questions wherever I could. I got in something about campaign finance, other reporters got things in on health care and torture. And, knowing Huckabee played bass, I asked him who he preferred: McCartney or Entwistle. He stopped shaking hands, looked right at me, and was at a loss for words. Finally, he said that he would go with McCartney narrowly just for the overall musicianship although he was a huge Entwistle fan. As executives lined up to meet him, Huckabee told me about this one time in LA when he got to play Entwistle's bass and how awesome that was. "Mitt Romney can't play bass," I pointed out. "Not as good as me," Huckabee boasted.

I was going to tell him that I was just recently at the Hard Rock in Vegas where Entwistle died of a cocaine-induced heart attack but I figured that might not lend much to the conversation.

Anyway, after that I was back in St Paul for a couple of days. Back in Seattle now.

Also: it was so god. damn. cold. over there. Like 5 degrees. It made you believe God did not exist. Then it made you resurrect God just so you could curse God.

Also: I'm on to you, children's museums.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Age-Old Question Answered

If chased by a mob of sword-wielding Samurai, would a champion race walker actually run or walk?

Japanese television runs an experiment. A frightfully cruel experiment.

via Boing Boing

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Meeting My Son at The Quad Before the Kegger

So Charlie is awfully fond of Christmas lights. All things Christmas, really, but especially the lights. He requested and was granted a string of lights for his room. But now the room looks like a college dorm room all of a sudden, a resemblance lost on him. And I'm all, "Where's your Bob Marley poster and cinder block bookcase?"
I'm all, "Where's your Sociology textbook and Boone's Farm wine bottle candle holder?"
I'm all, "Where's the girl from down the hall hanging out in your room while your roommate gives you dirty looks?"
I'm all, "Where's your Van Gogh poster and Domino's boxes?"
I'm all, "Where's the corkboard bulletin board thing your mom got you that you never use?"
I'm all, "Where's your laundry?"
Oh, there's your laundry.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Kevin Dubrow

He was the lead singer for Quiet Riot. He was found dead in his Las Vegas home yesterday. No cause of death has been revealed. He as 52.

I remember when I was in college and Andy Gibb died. Some of us were getting ready for spring break and loading up trucks to do a college play in Portland and Seattle. We were all making jokes about Andy Gibb because we were 18-22 year-old smart asses and the guy's music was no longer popular. We just ripped into him. His death was a joke. And finally, Dan Donohue just said, "For God's sake, the man just died. He had a family and friends. Maybe we should lay off." And we did.

There was a lot to laugh at with Quiet Riot. The pants, the hair, the bombast. But they were just guys doing a job, selling records, and having fun.

I had occasion to talk to Kevin Dubrow a couple of times in the past year. The first time was for a story on my kids and heavy metal. I had contacted him through a small record label he was working with and I was surprised when he e-mailed me back himself to set up the interview. In the story that listeners heard, he talked about Jimi Hendrix. But that was only the part we used on the air. He had a lot more to say about all kinds of subjects and we talked a long time. He was a normal guy, proud of his career but slyly self-deprecating, knowledgeable about music, polite, and completely coherent and sane. He was the reverse of the guy in the Quiet Riot videos. I talked to him again a few weeks ago for a story on rock concert encores. My angle for that story was that the encore was no longer useful and should be discontinued. But Dubrow wouldn't go on the record in support of that because he thought his fans would get the idea that he didn't appreciate their enthusiasm.

So maybe you'll be somewhere in the next couple of days and someone will make fun of Kevin Dubrow. But maybe you should lay off.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Recent Questions Posed by the Moe Children, Ranked in Ascending Order of Difficulty

1. Why does Jerry (from Tom & Jerry) eat cheese?
2. Cats and mice don't really hit each other with sledgehammers and blow each other up with dynamite so why do they do that on the cartoons?
3. Which is older, Tom & Jerry or Looney Tunes?
4. Which is older, space or time?
5. What did Santa give Shakespeare?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Now Here Comes WRITING and Apologies

Posting has been somewhat light lately. Sorry. Although, you know, hell, what are you going to do, demand your no money back?

I've been booked up with our Weekend America Vega$ show, for which I had two stories. One and two. And I've been working on another project that is so strange that I won't really ever bother explaining it to humans. But that wraps up this week.

Meanwhile, here's an article on Wizznutzz, the best website designed by earth people. Alls you need to know is this:
1. They follow the Washington Wizards, an NBA franchise.
2. The Wizards have a talented player named Gilbert Arenas, who sometimes blogs.
3. Gilbert Arenas is insane.
4. So are the authors at Wizznutzz.

You don't need to be a fan of sports to enjoy the article. You just have to be willing to become untethered to reality for a while and laugh a bunch.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Oh, Things Went Down

Make no mistake about that. When my son has a birthday party, things go down. Stuff occurs. There are EVENTS.

Oh yes.

Pokemon theme. Cake meticulously decorated to look like a Pokeball, although with no combat-prone monsters inside.

Nine guest boys. One birthday boy.

A scavenger hunt requiring Dad to climb on the roof to catch stomp rockets and a baking soda-vinegar volcano constructed by Mom. Also, Dad being hit by several whipped cream "pies" hucked by every boy in attendance, thus earning Dad certain enshrinement in the Dad Hall of Fame.

There was a balloon kicking dance party to the music of both Nirvana and whatever shameless goons were trucked in to do official Pokemon "music".

There were sugar highs of mythic proportions. There was noise. There was chaos. There were no tears or fights.

Things went down.

Damn right my boy is seven years old.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Interesting article in Time about Obama's support among disillusioned GOP members. Sure, it's a slice of life piece and it's a bit perilous to extrapolate out national trends from it (though that's never stopped Time or Newsweek before, of course) but you'd sure be hard pressed to find a Democrats for Giuliani or Republicans for Hillary Clinton group anywhere.

There are a ton of conservatives and Republicans out there who feel the current state of the GOP is not the kind of party they accepted the Evite to. And if Obama can capture a significant chunk of those people and rally enough Democrats at the same time, he'll be doing well. Interestingly, Hillary's latest poll numbers do seem to have slipped, although if you're investing any prognostication in 11/07 poll numbers, well, you're kind of an idiot.

Okay. Sorry. I'll get back to the precocious kid statements and coffee shop frustrations soon.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Way Others See It - Special Shadowy Photo Edition

This from the flickr page of someone named "niiiiiiiiiiiki". Not sure I got the write number of "i"s but you get the idea.
you can learn a lot more from listening than you can from talking. find someone with whom you dont agree with in the slightest and ask them to explain themselves at length. then take a seat, shut your mouth, and dont argue back. its physically impossible to listen with your mouth open.

by john moe
radio hose and author of conservatize me

::this is the authors opinon, not necessarily that of starbucks or niiiiiikis::
Yes, I am a radio hose now. But some day I hope to be a radio spigot.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


I was in Moline, Illinois a few weeks back and found this outside the La Quinta Inn. The truck/RV took up six parking spots and a bit of a seventh. The Smart Car squeezed into the portion of the seventh that remained. Also, crucially: isn't the point of an RV that you DON'T have to stay in a motel?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

30 Second Tales of Terror

So we were trying to come up with Halloween ideas for Weekend America. I suggested horror stories that were 30 seconds or less. Because honestly, who has the time to listen to the...footsteps...getting...closer? My story, Zombie Cat, and others by writers like Neil Gaiman(!) can be found here.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

"I'm On To You,..."

I was at a Starbucks a few days ago and they were playing that kind of music they always play. This time it was Joss Stone. I'm sure she's a lovely person and of course many people like her music. But I said to myself, "I'm on to you, Joss Stone". I felt like she was putting one over on people and I wanted her to know that I was not fooled. What was her deceit? Being a young English woman trying to sing with more soul than her life experiences could have possibly afforded her? Maybe. But it was broader than that. I just felt like, "you're not pulling the wool over my eyes, Joss Stone. You can't hoodwink me, Joss Stone. I've done the MATH, Joss Stone."

Or more broadly, I'm on to you, Joss Stone.

Here's who/what else I'm on to:

I'm on to you, cable TV political coverage.
I'm on to you, October weather in Seattle.
I'm on to you, chicken sandwiches.
I'm on to you, Seattle Weekly.
I'm on to you, Curt Schilling.
I'm on to both of you, Maya Angelou and Dane Cook.

It got me thinking, who or what are YOU on to?

Please comment!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Way Others See It, Special "Missing the Point" Edition

Here's a guy named Joe responding to my Starbucks cup:

"You can learn a lot more from listening than you can from talking. Find someone you do not agree with in the slightest and ask the to explain themselves at length. Then take a seat, shut your mouth and don't argue back. It is physically impossible to listen with your mouth open" John Moe

Thank for the advise Starbucks cup, but I would prefer to not waste my time listening to hippies and those with bleeding hearts (you know who you are).

Glad to hear you liked the advise, Joe. Also, and I am not making this up, Joe posts each day's Garfield strip on his blog. Sometimes I just have to stop typing when I...

Well, where would you think it would happen?

Man arrested with grenade in Federal Way

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Okay. Last Time. I Swear.

Three Conversations in a Row with Charlie (still Age 6)

HIM: Dad, don't you think Max is too old of a name?
ME: What do you mean?
HIM: Like it's one of those names that's too short that they used to use. Like Bob or Ted. Max. It's just too short and old.
ME: I don't know, there's lots of people named Max.
HIM: Like Red Max, I guess, from Wacky Races. And Office Max. But maybe Max is used to attract girls and that's why it's still around.
ME: It's like a signal to girls to come around?
HIM: Yeah, I think so.


HIM: Can I get a python?
ME: No way.
ME: No. No pythons.
HIM: But they're harmless! I held one at school when the Reptile Man came and they're harmless. What's wrong with a harmless pet?!
ME: You already have a harmless pet. You have a hamster.
HIM: But I need a python. Just a baby size one.
ME: A python the size of a human baby?
HIM: No! A baby python.
ME: Well, why?
HIM: To scare off the girls! To make sure girls don't come into my room. All girls are scared of pythons!
ME: Kate, are you scared of pythons?
HIM: Well not Kate but fancy girls!
ME: I've lived with you your whole life, Charlie, and I've never seen a problem with fancy girls trying to get into your room.
HIM: Well it could happen. AND THAT'S WHY I NEED A PYTHON!

HIM: Dad, I could defeat the Powerpuff Girls. I hate them.
ME: You love the Powerpuff Girls! You just watched a video of them.
HIM: That was only to figure out how to destroy them. All I would need is a puppy to distract Bubbles. Then with Buttercup, I would just let the government shoot her.
ME: You really want to be on the side of the government in a battle against the Powerpuff Girls?
HIM: Well, I am pretty strong.
ME: I guess. But I think you need to rethink your allegiances.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Seeking Teletubbies Tot and Ambivalent Parent

The call for obsessive remodelers went well so I have another one. Looking for a family with a young child (6 months-2 years) who has some awareness/affection for the Teletubbies and a parent who isn't quite sure how they feel about that. Especially good if the kid recognizes entertainment icons in grocery store items. Seattle area. johnmoe (at sign)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Do We Owe Our Children Distinctive Names?

So I was trying to find my old colleague Dave Snyder on Facebook and I couldn't do it. Earlier, I had tried to find Michael Davidson, a guy featured in my book. Couldn't do that either. I'm sure they were out there somewhere, but did I really want to wade through dozens, maybe hundreds, of profiles to get to them? No way.

Out of curiosity, I searched on "Charlie Moe" and "Kate Moe" and found several of each but no more than a page or two. If my kids were older and had profiles, one could probably suss them out. But then, that's based on today's Facebook user base, a base that's growing rapidly. When my kids are old enough to engage in online social connectivity, search functions will be more dynamic on whatever Facebook heir is being used but will it keep pace with the incrementally more Charlie and Kate Moes online?

Then there's finding people on Google. Sometimes creepy, sure, not everyone wants to be found. But in general, it's good to be available. That's why phone books are published. You want security and selective anonymity but you want people- friends, employers, contacts- to be able to reach you. And beyond that, humans want to be unique and viewed as such. I want to be me more than I want to be part of a subset of name sharers.

So I wonder if new parents are in some way charged with providing a distinctive name for their baby. Is it irresponsible for the Thompsons to name their son Jacob given the world he's going to be living in? If there are no computers and they live in a small town, everyone in that town will know young Jacob Thompson. But we don't live in that world, we live in a world where I know that people in Kenya and the Ivory Coast are reading this blog.

To help their child make his way in the contemporary and future world, should the Thompsons name their kid Blizzard Supertramp Chewbacca Thompson? Or maybe something a little better than that? But not just Jacob?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Parenting Tip #319

If you're in a situation where you need to identify a Pokemon, and you cannot do so because my god there are millions of them and you can't possibly remember any more than maybe three, just use the name of a popular prescription drug.

(it's bedtime)
KATE: I need to find out which POKEMON THIS IS! I'm going to go ask Charlie.
JILL: No, Kate, Charlie's almost asleep, don't go wake him up.
JILL: You need to get some sleep, Kate.
ME: (walking in) What's the problem?
ME: I can help you. Which one are you wondering about?
KATE: this one.
ME: Oh, that's Lipitor.
KATE: Lipitor! Okay! Thanks Dad!

Future emergency Pokemon names include Zoloft, Levitra, and Xanax.

Guitar Non-Gods

So this guy takes video clips of all-time guitar gods and overdubs them with his own terrible squawky noodling. But he does it METICULOUSLY. Santana is below, the rest can be found here.

I'm not sure if I love this so much because of my affection for musical idolatry or just because it's funny.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Charlie (Age 6) Makes a Brief Return Roger Clemens Style

(over breakfast)

HIM: I think we won't have flying cars until my kids are grown up.
ME: It's going to take a while, huh? I guess they're tricky.
HIM: Yeah. But in the future that's know the future that's coming up soon?
ME: Um...yeah?
HIM: The future we're about to have? We will have robots that are the size of this room.
ME: What do we need those for?
HIM: You know like helping people.
ME: Okay. Like reaching things that are high up?
HIM: Yeah. And we'll have pizza parlors in our own homes.
ME: Well, that doesn't sound too hard.
HIM: What do you mean?
ME: Well, just get a pizza oven. Some ingredients. Maybe a couple of tables.
HIM: I don't think we can have it yet. But soon.
ME: In the future of room sized helping robots?
HIM: Yeah.
ME: And eventually flying cars.
HIM: But not for a while.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Tradition Continues But Elsewhere

Charlie's conversations may have concluded but look for a promising career by up and coming conversationalist Finn, as described by his mom.

That mom, Tina, has also doomed my spare time to Facebook thanks to her comment posted on this post of mine and this profile of the founder in Fast Company.

Facebook is like MySpace except designed and operated by people who appear to have actually ever seen a computer. In social networking sites, Facebook is like a big mysterious condo building where you may be either working or living. MySpace is like the bad part of town and it's getting dark and your phone doesn't work. Or it's like the city shots in the movie Pootie Tang. Makes you feel like a baddy daddy lamatai tabby chai.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Half a year on

It just struck me as I was sitting here at the office that it was six months ago yesterday that I lost my brother to suicide. A bit of a milepost, that. I guess. I was thinking about him anyway, not realizing that it was half a year ago. So spring turned to summer and shorts and lemonade and today I wear a heavy coat and it's been six months.

Time blots a lot of things out. You want to remember a song, a phrase, a phone number, you want to keep it written in bold Sharpie in your brain. But you have to go to work. And then you read the paper. And then some other thing happens and it's gone. Things have to move on, the sun has to come up in the morning, you have to make breakfast for the kids. Routines get settled into. That's how it is with me, still, even as I carry this heavy load. The muscles get stronger to carry it but the damn thing is still pretty heavy.

When I announced Rick's death in this space, I did so not as a eulogy but as a plea. If you're suffering, get help. If you know someone who is suffering with depression or mental illness, help them. Reach out. Say something. Cast sunlight on an issue that's often tucked away in darkness. Say it out loud instead of thinking you should say something. That's what I want to reiterate today. If you read that original post, you may have put the seeking of help for yourself or someone else on your to-do list. If it slid off that list, please put it back on. It's important.

Get help.
Get help.
Get help.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Conversation with Charlie (Age 6) About Madonna and an Announcement Concerning Charlie (Age 6)

We're in the car on the way to school, listening as always to Movin' 92.5. La Isla Bonita comes on and with it the lyric "Last night I dreamt of San Pedro"

ME: What do you think that means, that last night she dreamt of some bagels?
HIM: No, she's saying that last night she dreamt of some mangoes.
ME: Ah.
HIM: Are you sure this is Movin' 92.5?
ME: Yeah.
HIM: Hm. Sounds like garbage.

And with that, I announce the retirement of the Conversation with Charlie (Age x) series on this blog. He's nearly seven years old now and reading on his own so I feel kind of weird about quoting him here. He's become not so much a precocious little boy as just this guy I know. He's still eccentric, of course, and in a really good way, but at the rate he's going he'll have a blog of his own soon anyhow. You won't want to read it, though. It will be just full of Garfield.

For posterity's sake, here, I think, is the first of these posts I ever put up:

Conversation At The Toy Store Between Myself And My Son Charlie (Almost Three)

CHARLIE: Dad, I want to tell you something. I had this farm toy when I was a baby. Mom bought it for me. Mom bought it when I was six babies.
ME: What? You were six babies?
CHARLIE: Yes. No. I was eight babies. I was eight babies, Dad.
ME: Really? I don't remember that.
CHARLIE: Dad, do I have pipes inside me?
ME: Uh...what?
CHARLIE: Pipes! Pipes! Do I have them in me?
ME: Well, sort of. I guess.
CHARLIE: Do I have batteries in me?
ME: No. You don't have any batteries in you.
CHARLIE: We need to get some batteries for me.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Seeking Obsessive Remodelers

I'm working on a story for Weekend America & Marketplace about people who are in a constant state of remodel, especially when it comes to the kitchen. The story explores the growth of Home Depot and professional level appliances in regular homes. Ideally, I'd like to find some local people/families who, either by their own hand or through contractors, are always remodeling, updating, and improving their homes. Because I don't think that we as a society were always like this. Drop me a line - johnmoe (at sign) - if you know anyone who fits the profile. Seattle area preferable.
I Wasn't Looking For Trouble, But Trouble Found Me

So okay, so the Focus is in the shop getting a new clutch. So I have to walk to work. Which means getting coffee at our old friend Indy Hipster Coffee Shop Near Where I Work. If you've been reading this blog, you know this rarely goes well. Still, I kept my mouth shut, kept my head down, ordered, grabbed an extra cup because they don't give out sleeves and the cup they gave me was scalding, and I was just about done. To their credit, they were playing Wilco's "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart", the song not the movie, on the stereo. This was one small point in their favor. No sooner was I aware of this, however, than the manager turned it off and replaced it with Jerry Garcia solo material.

I try to find love in my heart but they just keep bringing the hate. True, the Wilco song was all about addiction and alienating your family and friends, but you know what's worse than Jerry Garcia solo material? Nothing.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Things I Want to Give Up But Can't

1. Laptop use after 9pm.
2. Getting mad when people write about something that "peaked my interest" or, worse, "peeked my interest".
3. Listening to "Tired Eyes" by Neil Young relentlessly.


I have never before spoken directly to my congressman, Jim McDermott. Today I did. As part of my job. And the entirety of our conversation was about the Van Halen reunion tour.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Stories You Will Not Be Hearing On Weekend America

via BoingBoing

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Way Others See It #5

Says geminivt:
Dilbert is just great.

Also, "Fall's around the corner".

I honestly can't believe how widely that dang cup is being quoted.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I am become Wiki

Turns out I currently have a Wikipedia entry. I wonder if it will last. If it does, perhaps it paves the way to the ultimate success: fan fiction.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Thoughts Had While Reading Garfield With Charlie (Age 6)

1. This is my duty as a father, to encourage my son's interests even when there is nothing remotely funny or entertaining about Garfield.
2. Why does Garfield hate Mondays? He doesn't even have a job.
3. Jon can't hear Garfield's thoughts can he?
4. You know what's worse than Garfield? Nothing. Nothing is worse than Garfield.
5. How about his fixation at age 2 with "Barney Goes to the Pet Shop"? Cause that was pretty bad.
6. No, this is worse.
7. This is much worse.
8. Is the house that Jon and Garfield live in completely full of counters? Cause almost every strip they're in involves sitting at a counter of some sort. Are there counters on every single wall?
9. Why would any homeowner put up with even a single large mouse hole? What kind of squalor are you living in to allow a huge arched hole in your floorboard that extends up past the molding and into the wall?
10. Whither Lyman?

11. Charlie (Age 6) is reading on his own now. Why does he need me to...I shouldn't be...I mean what is the FREAKIN' POINT! my son love my son love my son.
12. Garfield's 29 years old now. Shouldn't there have been some sort of euthanasia procedure administered in the late 1990's?
13. Tonight, while the family sleeps, a run to the library and an appointment with the drop box.

14. I wonder how he'd like The Far Side?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Did You Know...

That in some places, the act of eating in a restaurant has gone completely bananabonkers? Like in Chicago, the place that gave us great hot dogs with pickled objects served in a paper sack full of fries. Also pizza.

In Chicago, there's a place called Moto and here's an account of eating there.

The menu includes:

Lobster with freshly squeezed orange soda
French onion soup with a hot frozen crouton and a nitrogen droplet.

And also this happens:

Monday, September 17, 2007

New Polling Thingie

Over there underneath Duck. It's not that I support Chris Dodd, I just support the idea of Chris Dodd still supporting Chris Dodd. Don't stop believin'. Hold on to that fee-yeeya-lee-yin'.
The Way Others See It #4

Jay doesn't have a life. He has a LIFE. His blog is called Jays LIFE. Like others, he's quoted my Starbucks cup and shared how I see it. Here's how he sees it:
On other good news; i got my camera back! it was in shop for a little while, yesterday i was able to pick it up
Man all this stress has me all worked up! my neck really hurts lately and i know what it is. Other news The gym ... i really like going and a lot of times it helps me just get tired and go home sleep. I feel like i am making progress but i wish there was a faster way it seems its really easy to gain weight and so hard to loose it. Well it is time to go now its 5:09 and i should stop ranting

Friday, September 14, 2007

Not a Bad Likeness

Article is here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I Am Very Old

Here's how I know that:

1. Finally cut the damn hair. The last straw wasn't even when the hair evolved from late-era Ron Wood to Hobo Sea Captain. It was when my lovingish wife used the phrase "mid-life crisis". Thanks. Honey.

2. Our local Fox affiliate has replaced 11pm reruns of The Simpsons with reruns of Family Guy, a show I find intermittently funny and sometimes very funny but so cruel and filled with dwarf jokes that I just can't relax into it. I imagine this is what it felt like to people older than me when The Simpson started running in place of M*A*S*H or something.

3. Conversation at Indy Hipster Coffee Shop Near Where I Work:
ME: How much is that Asiago bagel?
MANAGER: The gourmet ones are $2.15
ME: That one is 95 cents up the street at (local bagel shop) where you get them from.
MANAGER: Really? I'll have to go check that out. But I bet our cream cheese is cheaper. We're the best, that's why there's always a crowd here. That's why everyone wants to be like us.
ME: (silently surveying the crowd, which consists of me and a dude in leather pants, thinking about how I didn't go to Starbucks this morning cause the line was seven people deep) And you're humble too.
MANAGER: No, we're not humble, just the best. We're like the New York Yankees!
ME: That might not be the best way to market your shop in Seattle.
MANAGER: Well, it's true!
ME: (imagining a day when the store burns to the ground and no one is hurt and somehow no one loses their livelihood and in fact they're happier than ever and I walk by and dance a small jig upon the smoldering ashes)

4. In tomorrow's Seattle Times: something I propose to do about my descent into elderliness.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Way Others See It #3

She's a Scorpio and she doesn't live in St. Paul, she lives in SAINT PAUL. She is Holly.
I was talking to Chris on the way to work and when I told him I was in search of Starbuck's, his response was "so that's what you spend all your money on." Supportive huh.
My cup is #280, it's a Grande, and available in Starbuckses now. Though none that I've been to.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Suggested Terrible Pizza Toppings by Charlie (Age 6)

Dead mice
Bear blood
Pizza dough ("Wait, doesn't all pizza have dough?" "No, I mean raw blobs of dough on the pizza.")
A chair
Live mice

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Attention Fellow Office Renters At The Big Complex Where I Rent An Office

Sometimes your dogs come bounding up to me in the hallways. Or the elevators. They are never, ever, ever on leashes. But apparently that's okay because, as you inform me, "they're really friendly."

But you know what? They're pit bulls. And I don't know they're friendly. And from what I know of pit bulls, I think I have cause for wariness.

Here's another fun fact: put your freakin' dog on a freakin' leash. Also, keep 'em out of the ding dang coffee shops.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Way Others See It #2

Someone who is always at church, in some capacity, gave my cup some love. In the words of Mr. 247Think:

My father-in-law, Ronnie, pokes fun at me all the time saying that I'm drinking "fluff", which I promptly shoot back at his "motor oil" Folgers coffee. Some, like Ronnie, say there's no difference. But I strongly disagree!
How true that is.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Way Others See It #1

So my Starbucks cup is in circulation (#280, a grande) and I've seen it showing up on blogs of people I don't know. Kinda cool. So I thought I'd return the favor of people who've been quoting me. This from Rem4233's Weblog:

"All of us went on Tour of San Francisco — we went in a cable car (bus) — I missed my noon pills/food… I was shivering, etc., on the tour."

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

There are downsides to having a media job...

But upsides too: today there was a voice mail on my phone from Mario Cuomo. He was responding to an email I sent him. Mario Cuomo. Time traveling high school political geek John Moe From The Past just about went insane.

Monday, August 27, 2007


Saturday, August 25, 2007

Au Contraire, Says Jill, To The Post Below.

More like Heat Miser

But she supports the whole hair growing thing.

Friday, August 17, 2007

If You Shut Me Down, If You Shut Me Down, I'll Never Start

I've been trying to grow out my hair a bit, a sort of early and more affordable mid-life crisis. But it's not going well. Jill looks at me with scorn, the hair can't be tamed, I wear a hat all the time. Today, however, was the worst. I looked in the mirror and thought: "I look like Ron Wood." That's just...that's never good.



Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Want A Little Xenophobia in Your Zeppelin Covers?

Sure you do! You do, right? Supporters of presidential "candidate" John Cox are here to provide it with a rewritten Immigrant Song that's more of a "We Hate Immigrants Song". Sounds like it was recorded at a College Republicans karaoke night.

John Bonham will rise from the dead to feast upon their brains.

UPDATE: Okay, what are the odds this song comes up twice in two days? Here's Ann Wilson from Heart, of all people, doing a non-xenophobic straight version that is nonetheless unnerving.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Harry Potter and the Big Funnel sales haven't quite measured up

Kottke points to this NYT rundown of Chinese Harry Potter knock-off plot summaries.

After six years at Hogwarts, Harry Potter becomes an intern sorcerer and is assigned to teach at the Honiton School. Harry has a painful time in his aunt’s house, as Dudley has met a belly-dancing girl. As Harry prepares to report to his job, Bat Bug warns him disaster awaits.

At the school, his students become wooden stools one after another. Harry doesn’t know whether an evil student is behind this, or if his old benefactor Hagrid is making a mistake, or if the shadow of Voldemort has returned. Did it have something to do with the big funnel?

Friday, August 10, 2007

Joy + Sorrow of Parenting

For some reason, it took until my son was 6 3/4 years old to introduce him to Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. That's just inexcusable. I'm sorry.

My hair is now long enough to thrash about and that came in handy when I played the song loudly in the living room. Charlie took to moshing instinctively and we had the most wonderful one song dance party ever.

After it was over, he said, "Who is the leader of that band?! I want to meet him and get his autograph!"


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A Riddle From Kate (Age 4)

What do you get when you have three Powerpuff Boys and three Powerpuff Girls?

(I give up, Kate, what do you get?)
(a full fifteen seconds pass)


Tuesday, August 07, 2007

So I Read the New Harry Potter Book

You know what it's about? Camping. Hundreds and hundreds of pages of camping. And the fight against evil and maturation and Nazi Germany and all that but really, mostly? Camping.

Monday, August 06, 2007

A Conversation With Charlie (Age 6) About Biological Science

HIM: Dad, what's bigger: a cell or an amoeba?
ME: Well, an amoeba is pretty much made of a cell.
HIM: So an amoeba is a cell with...decorations?
ME: ...
HIM: What?! What's so funny?!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Today at the Pensieve

For the last few weeks, I've been working out of KUOW since I'm hosting Weekend America (along with Bill Radke, this one goes out to the ladies AND the Rewind fans) and I need the studio accessibility. I work in the same room where I worked for five years. But I'm not working on the same stuff as anyone else here, I don't go to their meetings, I am with them but not of them. It's like something out of best selling children's literature.

But today was especially odd on The Beat. My good pal Jeannie Yandel interviewed my good pal Glenn Fleishman about technology hoo-ha. Glenn was a regular guest on my old KUOW show, The Works. Then Dave Beck interviewed one of my fave rave singers, Rocky Votolato. I swear this station used to be called Bedford Falls.
Seventiesize Me, or, I Am Destroying Everything With My Influence

So I wrote a book a while back where I tried to become a conservative by ingesting only conservative media and ideas and foods. This person named Katy Shaw altered what I did a little, replacing "conservative" with "seventies". She has a blog. As you endure Smokey and the Bandit, Katy Shaw, accept my apologies for any potential influence I wrought.
The Chicken Butt Is Out Of The Bag

Ever since Charlie (Age 6) could talk, he's been known to use the phrase "guess what?", sometimes in prelude to revealed information and occasionally as an introduction to just yelling something that he heard in a cartoon ("Turtle power!")

But Jill and I have always been tempted, ever so very tempted, to reply to his "guess what?" with "chicken butt!" the classic humorous rejoinder from our own childhoods. But we knew that once he heard that, nothing would ever be the same. It's a way of tricking people, it's got a funny animal in it, and it has the word "butt". It would be exquisite comedy perfection to Charlie and would dominate all discourse in our home. Nothing would ever be the same. It was electricity. It was the automobile. It was the telephone. It was chicken butt.

Well, a parent can only control their child's experience for so long. He went to this day camp last week and was exposed to "Guess what? What? Chicken butt!" by one of the other kids. And it is ON. And we were actually wrong to dread it. Fortunately, it lets Jill and Kate and I finally cut loose too. We can't get enough of it. And of course it has spurred other spin-offs. Among the latest rejoinders to the "guess what?" inquiry are:

Turkey Butt
Rhino Butt
Pikachu Butt
Human Butt
Bamboo Butt (that one was Kate's, leading to Charlie yelling "bamboo doesn't have a butt, Kate!")
Dog Butt
Ladybug Butt
Voldemort Butt

Friday, July 27, 2007

Seattle Times! Again!

I wrote this article that was on the front page of the Northwest Life section today. It's my new ideas for Seafair, Seattle interminable and nebulous summer fiesta. My favorite part: the awesometacular illustrations.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Acting Career Resumed!

Well, kind of. The Weekly asked me to read some actual incident reports from bus drivers. They're posted here. I'm joined by luminaries like Jonathan Raban and Tess Gallagher, both of whom sound like they're trapped at the bottom of a well. A well that's made of steel. Someone should go rescue them.

Monday, July 23, 2007

I Am Become Media

Yesterday marked my debut in The Seattle Times with an article about my search for the soul of Federal Way. It's a lot of the same smart-alecky jokes I've been making since I lived there but with hopefully some coherent writing. I especially love the stock photo they found of the "Federal Shopping Way" sign being taken apart. I have kind of a giddy thrill about being in The Seattle Times since it was the paper we used to get when I was a kid and so it really feels like I've accomplished something. I'm going to be writing for them some more.

Torch-wielding Federal Waynians should be arriving at my door by the end of the day.

Also, I hosted this past weekend's Weekend America and did a fun story about how Hillary Clinton can be more likeable and then I use that advice on my own life by trying to get KUOW folks to like me. To no avail.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dear Indy Hipster Coffee Shop Near Where I Work,

I think our relationship is broken. It just isn't a two-way street like it's supposed to be. It's not about OUR needs. It's become only about you. Well, you and my money, that is.

Look, I know you have a lot on your mind lately, what with the play you're directing at the tiny theater, the band you may or may not be in, and your busy scowling schedule, but maybe when I come by you could sometimes look at me with a hint of welcome. Like I'm not a burden. Maybe you could treat me like the one who brings the money, and really the activity, into this relationship. Because that's what I am.

In fact, there are some things you do that just seem hostile. Like $2.25 for a bagel. A bagel. A. Bagel. And this whole drip coffee coming up on two bucks thing. That's just passive aggressive.

I think you have a lot of anger, Indy Hipster Coffee Shop Near Where I Work. It takes the form of self-consciously rejecting the dominant Starbucks paradigm but I think it's much more personal than that. As you point your finger at Starbucks, please note all those other fingers on your hand pointing back at you.

I went to see Starbucks this morning. It was nice to me. Asked how I was doing. Got a little pushy about its taste for Paul McCartney but that's no biggie. It had cleaned up around the place. Swept. Maybe got some cleaning solutions out. Looked like it had been working out. Had the New York Times available instead of shabbily stacked back issues of The Stranger. This is what I want, Indy Hipster Coffee Shop Near Where I Work.

Look, we'll still see each other around. I'm in the neighborhood. You're definitely in the neighborhood. And I'd love to stay in touch and meet up some time. Just not for coffee.

Your friend,

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I Keep Forgetting To Tell You Guys

I write for MSN sometimes. Music articles mostly. The latest one is about what I call Bands of the Living Dead, who keep putting out records long after you thought they broke up.

On 7/22, the Seattle Times will publish my investigation of whether Federal Way has soul.
A Joke From Charlie (Age 6)

Why did the amoeba drift around?
Because nothing had been invented yet! It's the beginning of life!

A Joke From Kate (Age 4), Who Is Trying To Keep Up

Knock knock
(who's there?)
(Pom who?)
Pom! I'm an amoeba! I'm drifting around! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Sometimes You Just Do Something That Takes A Lot Out Of You

I've been in St Paul this week (yes, everyone's nice, no, I have no plans to move here unless the Vikings are serious about that punting job) and I've been hosting Weekend America.

I've been really interested in the way people live with music lately. It's what I really want to be writing about. And on this week's show, I did a little exploration of the shuffle setting on the computer and how it relates to myself, my wife, my kids, and also how it relates to my late brother and late father. Thanks to some outstanding editing and sound mixing, I think it turned out really well. I think it's beautiful, actually. I'm very proud of it even though it's very hard to listen for me personally.

Anyway, here it is. Audio is either up there now or will be soon depending on when you listen. Don't be deterred by The Wiggles. There's more to it than that.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Update on Friendliness of St Paul Baristas

BARISTA: "Hey Dave, how was that run you did? Did you go the same way."
(PRESUMABLY) DAVE: "No, we went a different way this time but hoo boy I got tired."

In St Paul again. Thunder and lightning. Wind. Evenings not so devastatingly hot as I had feared.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A Conversation With Charlie (Age 6) About Six

We're in the car listening, as always, to Movin' 92.5 and the song "Let's Talk About Sex" by Salt-n-Pepa comes on.
HIM: Turn it up! I love this song!
JILL: (worried look)
ME: (singing along) Let's talk about six, baby, let's talk about you and me.
HIM: What are they saying?
JILL: They're talking about six. All the good things and the bad things that can be.
ME: Having to go to school all day but also learning to swim.
JILL: (singing) Let's talk ABOUT six, let's talk about six!
ME: So no wonder you like this song.
HIM: Yeah!

And THAT is some serious bad-ass parenting, y'all!
My Wife...

thinks Modest Mouse sounds like The Cure. "It's total new wave", she says. But she's wrong and crazy, isn't she?

I thought so.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


It's been a while since I posted a new one of these but I wanted to make sure I delivered quality.


"Can you pretend you're Grandma just once and give us whatever we want?"



"Make sure you stop a car with a roof rack."


The shadowy men of Herman (which one is Herman, by the way?) are back with their odd Grandma fixations. This time they're lurking in the bushes. And it's the use of first person plural that's troubling. How many are there? And what's involved with the chair? What do they want the elderly hitchhiker to give them that Grandma normally provides? Solace? Are they still so inconsolable after the death of Grandma (presumably decades ago) that they now live in the shrubs near her house, hoarding her old furniture? It's literally a cry for help.

Dolly and Jeffy have had enough of living in their house. The dotted line paths wherever they travel, the dog named Barfy, the inhuman hauntings of Not Me and Dead Grandpa In Heaven. Screw it. They're taking off. Too young to drive, they've demanded Mommy perform a carjacking. And they're taking the damn fridge. There's still some perfectly good pasketti in there.


Friday, June 29, 2007

Charlie (Age 6) and Ken Griffey, Jr. at the Same Time

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Get That Camera Out Of My Face!

Turns out I'm now notable. No sightings yet. You'll have to try harder, ye photographic hounds.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


I took some liberties here, using Saturday's Herman and today's Family Circus. All in the name of cognitive illumination, though.


"No fair, Jeffy! You can't call dibs on Grandma!"


"I'd like to introduce you to my second wife, but I'm still stuck with the first one."


Who are these shadowy men in #1 haggling over reservations made for the enormous and apparently oblivious grandmother? The guy speaking seems to currently be in possession of 8-Foot Grandma (yes, use it as the name for your new rock band) and he's scolding the other guy. Is it his brother? Cousin? And why are they so competitive to obtain 8-Foot Grandma? Band name can be abbreviated to 8FG.

Down below, we have a choice. If we are to buy into the characters of Family Circus, Jeffy has apparently announced, smugly, that Grandma is his second wife, much to the consternation of Dolly who just can't keep up in this dysfunctional game that's being played. She's still stuck with her first wife. Is it Mommy? We don't know. We don't want to. The other option is to toss out all we know about the family, in which case we just have a boy who enjoys sitting with an eyeball-less elderly woman while an angry girl protests her own futile efforts at multiple marriage.

Tough call. Most disturbing, of course, is the continued teeniness of Jeffy. Or is #2's eyeball-less woman just another example of an 8FG?

Thursday, June 21, 2007



"That blur you saw go by before was me running."



"When I said you could have your friends over for lunch, I meant humans."


I don't think I have any jokes today. I'm genuinely frightened for what's happening in #2. Of course Jeffy is crying. Of course he is. And he has my vote.



Wednesday, June 20, 2007

KEXP & The Current

I got some response to this post a while back about the comparative playlists of the two stations. But rather than rely on my cryptic "song I've never heard that I like" descriptions, you can look at the playlists of the respective stations KEXP and The Current for yourself. Curiously, both played The Kinks this morning. Some prefer one, some prefer the other, but neither is owned by Clear Channel or has a Wacky Morning Zoo Crew and are thus virtuous.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I think we have a good one here.


"Am I doing anything cute, Grandma?"


"Who's having the raw herring?"


Now in #1, we have our old friend Pathos the Waiter. Grandma has showed up at his place of employment with a pet seal. Any reasonable server in this situation would just tell Grandma that no pets are allowed even if they are capable of quietly sitting in a chair. Quietly escort her out. Really, to do anything short of that is grounds for dismissal. Instead, Pathos desperately tries to endear himself to what we have to assume is an emotional tyrant of a grandparent who has recently gone crazy enough to bring a seal to lunch. He wants her approval even if it is in the form of infantilization. And no, you're not doing anything cute. Unless you consider losing your dignity to be cute then your goddamn adorable.

Over in #2, we have Jeffy with his idea of what the elderly eat. They're old, they're peculiar, I bet they eat raw herring, he figures. Either that or Grandma is so desperately unwelcome on these near constant visits that Mommy and Daddy feed her only raw herring. Jeffy, fat and happy on lunchables and chocolate Quik, knows this and, joining in the derision, mocks her. It's all that he knows. I mean, look at the poor woman's face. How did it come to this?, she's thinking. Not even Dead Grandpa in Heaven can help her now.

And my goodness, Jeffy is small.

"Moe" is to Fruit Flies as "Voldemort" is to the Wizarding Community

You can call me He Who Must Not Be Named if you want, fruit flies. Doesn't change who I am.

We had a really bad fruit fly problem in our kitchen. They were everywhere, even when we eliminated all fruit from the kitchen. I went online for a possible remedy. I found two and tried one:

Fill a small bowl with water.
Drop in a bit of detergent.
Place a bit of fruit in (I used a pear slice) so that it's partially sticking out of the water.
Cover the whole thing with tight plastic wrap.
Poke a few holes in the plastic wrap.

The flies are attracted by the smell of the fruit. They linger on the bowl and eventually find the holes and climb in. Once inside, they can't find the holes to get out and eventually fall into the detergenty water.

I did this last night. By this morning there were dozens of the bastards dead in there, plus one resilient baby fruit fly who survived but has a lightning scar on his head. Weird.

The other plan, which I haven't tried yet:
Put all your skanky fruit in the oven, like a pile of it, leave the door open, but obviously don't turn it on.
Go to bed.
Get up.
Slam oven door closed.
Bake, baby, bake.

That might be tonight.
My Job This Week

I'm hosting Weekend America this week and doing a story on this video:

Mike Gravel, who's running for President, has put out this video where he simply stares into the camera for an uncomfortably long time and then walks away, throws a large rock in a lake, and keeps on walking. No campaign promises, no speechifying, no talking at all, really. Just staring, walking, throwing, walking.

I'm hoping to interview Gravel himself, especially since I talked to him a few months ago. I want to know why this video was made, what its purpose is, and why it makes me feel like Mike Gravel is stealing my soul. See if you can watch the whole thing and tell me what happens to your soul by the end.

Friday, June 15, 2007


As always, please vote for which one is better. You can define better as "funnier", "more disturbing", "more relevant to the human condition", or anything else.

"But we can keep Grandma, right?"


"I told her I wanted a 'trial separation' so she tried to separate my shoulder!"


At first I thought, how can you not vote for the sad old man in the hospital bed? He just wants to keep his grandma or his wife or whoever it is he calls Grandma.

And who is that other guy?

But Family Circus Art / Herman Caption (FCA/HC) is intriguing too. Mommy is pulling expired food from the fridge, even seems kind of pissed off about it, and Dolly chooses just that moment to tell the family of an attempted maiming. Who was this person Dolly was trying to escape from? And will restraining orders be required?

Still, I'm a sucker for pathos so I gotta go with Herman Art / Family Circus Caption (HA/FCC).


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

New Music Wednesdays

Hooray hooray hooray for The National and their new album Boxer. Singer Matt Berninger has that kind of low throttle Stephen Merritt baritone thing going on but The National is way more band-y than Magnetic Fields. Plus, the band has two(!) sets of brothers in it. The first track, "Fake Empire", is giving Modest Mouse's Dashboard a run for its money in the competition for this year's Summer Song. "Stay out super late tonight, picking apples, making pie," go the lyrics, "put a little something in our lemonade and take it with us." Heck yes. Of course we will. It is summer.

"I was a drawing a dog, but his neck got too long, so I made him a giraffe."


"We managed to put the fire out. Just do the front lawn."


I'm leaning toward #1 here, personally because of the pathos of older, sadder, lonelier people calling up firefighters to discuss failed art projects. Then again, Jeffy's cheerful obliviousness to losing his home in a fire is darkly fascinating. Yes, smoke filled the playroom but I continued to draw. Who set the fire? Has anyone seen Not Me lately?

I've noticed that vote totals for these things have dropped with each passing day. But I'm going to stick with it for a while longer. There's an axiom in public radio that just when a producer gets sick of a segment is when the public starts to like it. Not sick of this yet. Still weirdly interesting to me and hell, it is still just a blog. Some non-Family Herman content coming soon.

Also, please note: you can vote as often as you like. I may change that but at the moment, if you're a Herman Art fan, you can crush the Family Circus forces by just voting thousands of times.

Monday, June 11, 2007


I'm hosting a lot the next few weeks so there probably won't be so many Monday updates. But onward we go and today we drift far from our humor moorings.

"The hardest thing to get in my house is permission."


"Oh, it's you! I thought it was a burglar."


I have to admit, I've been kind of rooting for Herman Art / Family Circus Caption for a while. I think FC Art has a bit of an ongoing advantage because it is inherently funny to see these insipid children saying things that denote the struggles of middle age. Meanwhile, characters from Herman Art saying these childlike things is just sad. I think today's Herman Art with FC Caption is okay, the woman delivering a riposte to the clobbered and cuckolded husband although I think the Herman Art with original caption might be more disturbingly fascinating. But today I have to go with FC Art. Billy is completely non-plussed at the idea of a home invasion. He thought his friend was a burglar but he wasn't prepared to do anything to save his home, possessions, or family. He was just sitting there. Then again, would you save Dolly?