Here’s Why Cars 3 is Going to be Epic

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Disney and Pixar just dropped the trailer for Cars 3 and it. Looks. Awesome!

Admittedly Cars was an honest effort. Even though we personally loved it, we know it’s not high up on people’s Pixar-meters. But it still stands high above non-Pixar animated fare.
Cars 2 was. Well. It just was, unfortunately. We’re going to be nice and leave it at that. If you haven’t seen it, let’s just say the summer Cars 2 was released was worse than the year Pixar didn’t give us a movie.
Then the internet broke into a fit of rage when Pixar announced they were releasing a third installment to the lackluster franchise.
THEN the internet broke into a morbid party when Pixar showed us that unforgettable teaser where Lightning McQueen bit it on the race track.
Darker!
Grittier!
Pixar-ier!
If anything, it was the greatest marketing campaign since Apple’s Macintosh announcementduring the 1984 Super Bowl.
CLICK HERE to see why I’m so excited about Cars 3!

When It’s Stupid to Play with Your Kids

Life is like a casino. You gamblers know what I mean. You win some, you lose some. But you lose A LOT! And you win just enough to keep going.

Life’s pattern:

Good day. Okay day. Bad day. Bad day. Good day. Bad day. Bad daybaddaybaddaybadday. Bad day.

At this point you want to take yourself out, but before you do make that jump…

MY GOD I FOUND A QUARTER! GOOD DAY!!! 

And then your cat dies. So, bad day again. Then you find out your upstairs neighbor is running a brothel. Another bad day. You’re wondering if it’s possible to knock yourself out with a bat. But wait…

TACO BELL’S COMING OUT WITH A NEW WAY TO EAT A TACO! So you decide to keep going until you try that taco.

All the while the goons upstairs are laughing at us like, “He bought it! He thought his life was actually going to turn around!”

We’re like those horses following carrots on a stick. We keep walking for just one more tiny little nip…

I took a walk with my family yesterday. My 3 year old daughter and I found a tree and we climbed it. (She climbed it, I hauled myself up then got stuck.) Well, it turns out climbing a tree was the dumbest thing I could have done. Midnight rolls around and I have to pee. I go to climb out of bed and I cursed loud enough for my wife to shoot up. She thought it was finally TIME. You know, THE heart attack or THE stroke we’re all just waiting for.

She wasn’t so fortunate.

“What’s wrong?” she asks.

“Mie buck huts.”

“What?”

“My bake horts.” (I can’t very well point to my back because, you know, your back gives and takes away movement.)

“What?” she asks again.

“Well now my freaking throat hurts because I’ve been straining to tell you that my back hurts!!!!”

I almost beg her to just stick a tube up my ding-a-ling so I don’t have to move. We have one of those Nosefrida’s for the baby, and I was wondering how to make that work…

Anyway. I settle for just the heating pad because when I go number one at home, I sit down so I don’t run the risk of making a mess. I never got the hang of Say It, Don’t Spray It.

ANYway. My wife gets the heating pad. She’s tying all these pulleys to me and hoisting me up and maneuvering me and rolls me on top of the heating pad. As soon as she gets back in bed I grab that controller and crank it all the way up like I’m Trump set loose in the room with the Red Button.

I woke up this morning feeling a thousand times worse. I almost called in sick for the year. Like, I felt like Han Solo frozen in carbonite. I couldn’t move a muscle.

So we get an IcyHot patch. My wife lifts my shirt to stick it on, and when she does, she screams.

Which, of course, makes me scream, because immediately I’m thinking I’ve been gashed or something and she’s staring at my intestines.

So we’re both screaming. And that makes the kids scream.

“What’s wrong! What’s wrong!” I scream.

“Your back! It has… It has… lines!”

An image of me turning into a zebra crosses my mind. Like, Pinocchio smoked and turned into a jack-ass. I thought I might turn into a zebra because I snuck a milkshake without sharing with anyone two nights ago (this falls under No. 3 in the 7 Deadliest Father Sins).

She grabs my phone and takes a picture. (How cool is it that our phones can work as mirrors?)

And she shows me this:

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Yes. Those are 2nd degree burn marks from the heating pad I had cranked up all night. (I knew I was dreaming about barbecue!

So what does this have to do with casinos and life and good days/bad days?

You can avoid a bad day if you don’t gamble on your body doing more than you’re capable. Let your kid climb the damn tree, don’t try it yourself.

 

 

 

What Star Wars Is Teaching Me

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I wasn’t introduced to the Star Wars universe until I was in middle school, when theaters everywhere re-released the digitally-enhanced original three as a prelude to the long-awaited prequels.

I liked the original Star Wars movie as much as any boy is expected to, but I never collected the bubble gum or action figures or anything like that. became a die-hard fan of Lucas’ intergalactic universe until Disney’s release of The Force Awakens, and my faith has been secured in the franchise after recently watching Rogue One on blur-ray.

But as I was watching it, I couldn’t help but shake my head and think about what a fortune was lost on behalf of 20th Century Fox, who had a pot of gold sitting in their lap that Disney took full advantage of.

Disney saw potential in what Fox clearly considered a lost cause. I applaud business people who take chances on what others don’t believe in. I’m glad Bob Iger saw redemption potential in a franchise that died a slow and painful death in the early part of this century.

Because someone still believed, the Force was awakened and is now stronger than it’s ever been.

If you have a person or a project or a dream you think is a lost cause, don’t give up on it. Don’t sell it short. Don’t walk away. Keep at it. Keep writing, keep chasing, keep pursuing, keep on loving that lost cause.

There just might be untapped potential.

 

Wanna Know What an Ear Infection Feels Like?

When I was young and healthy I sometimes thought, Gee, I’d love to be sick for a day so I can just lie down and watch movies all day.

And then I had kids.

Let me qualify this entire post by stating that my wife – and I would surmise most wives – get it the hardest when the plague hits home. Mothers get the bug and have to take care of the sick kids, the whiny husband (that’s me), do the laundry, the dishes, and no one’s there to tuck them in because they’ve already tucked everyone else in and kissed their foreheads (including the husband – again, me).

Our house has been a house of horrors the last couple of weeks.

The kids had midnight fevers so high that one started hallucinating, which I could only imagine was  a slithering pile of snakes, worms, and silverfish crawling toward him, because that’s how he was acting, and the other kid had seizures.

My wife got it bad – headaches, coughing, you name it. But she was up and out of bed each time she heard anyone wake up. She deserves a medal of honor.

And I barely escaped the flu but got an ear infection instead. And let me tell you, I think I’d rather have the flu than an ear infection. (Imagine someone taking fruit knives and slicing the inside of your ear canal. Then imagine them pouring salt in those slices. Then imagine they keep rubbing sandpaper all around your salted cuts. Then throw in a migraine.)

I thought ear infections were for kids. Apparently not. After two trips to the doctor, increased medication, it still hurts like a very bad mother.

So that’s why I’ve been absent from this blog.

BUT if you’re looking for some awesome things to read, I’d highly encourage you to start checking out this guy right here: EndeverPublishing.

Now, excuse me while I go die.

(On another note, I finally watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Rogue One. Both excellent films in every way for people who like steady, solid story lines.)

(Also, I was going to post a picture of the inside of my ear with yellow and green snotty wax dripping out of it, but I decided I didn’t want to lose any followers. So I’ll post this instead, because this is what I feel like:)

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Get well cards and flowers can be sent to my home in Kentucky. Also, I like sour worms, the candy. I always have to emphasize that I mean candy. Real worms terrify me.

My Adventures at Starbucks

I need to be grounded from Starbucks.

For the last decade and a half I’ve only ordered frappuccinos, which are basically just really fancy milkshakes. Be it summer or winter, I’d get a frappuccino because I really really hate hot beverages.

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A couple of weeks ago Starbucks ran this deal where if you buy one macchiato, you get a second one free. (If you don’t know, macchiatos are those fancy iced-coffee drinks that look like someone went way overboard with the cream.

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I always thought they looked kind of good. But when I learned that that’s not cream at the bottom, but VANILLA, I told Sarabeth we HAVE to try them!

We bought one and got one for free, and now, a couple of weeks later, I’ve had about 9 of them. I’m friggin’ addicted to this crap now, even at $5 a pop! And now Sarabeth feels like she can go to Starbucks with me because suddenly I’m a grown-up drinking grown-up drinks instead of milkshake-wannabe’s. Except that when I order my macchiato I ask them to “double the vanilla,” because there’s no such thing as enough vanilla.

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Well, in the past couple of weeks, I’ve ticked off quite a few Starbucks employees. (Be warned: after my confession you’re going to see me as a total jackass, but promise me you won’t say you wouldn’t do the same thing if you were cursed with my ineptitude for remembering key details.)

You see, when I was hooked of frappuccinos, I only had to decide on a flavor. Like, double-chocolate chip (which drove Sarabeth nuts because I chewed each individual chocolate chip with my front teeth like a crazed chipmunk), vanilla (cream-based, of course), mocha (which is basically a coffee-flavored milkshake), or any flavor of the season.

But with macchiatos I have to choose a flavor, remember to ask for extra vanilla, AND choose hot or cold, and apparently the default is hot. There’s no such thing as a hot frappuccino, otherwise it would just be a …ccino, and that just sounds racist for some reason.

Almost every time I’ve ordered a macchiato I’ve forgotten to ask for an ICED macciato. When they hand me the hot beverage with the cardboard coaster snug up around it, I know they see the look in my eyes and they’re already taking it back before I say, “I’m sorry, I meant to ask for an ICED macciato.”

They’re forced to fake a smile and say, “Certainly,” because those awesome Starbucks employees are trained that customers should always get what they want even if they’re complete jackasses like me. And then I sit in the car awkwardly while the line of cars grows behind me and I pretend to be texting someone on my phone even though under my breath I’m cursing myself for being such a jackass.

Why not just take the hot macchiato? Well, that would be like eating cow turd when you really wanted chocolate syrup. Big difference.

So my immediate life goal is to always remember to ask for ICED macchiatos so I don’t continue being that guy I never want to come across. That, or I should just start ordering macciatos with no coffee. Because let’s face it, vanilla is good cold or hot.

We’ve Adopted James!

Last week we officially became the proud parents of our foster son James (it’s his middle name). We’ve had him in our home for two years. In those two years the courts stalled and paperwork was filled out and lost (by the state, not by us), and James was assigned more social workers than we could count. I think it reached close to eight or nine.

It’s been a wild two years.

My favorite part of our entire adoption day was when the judge asked Sarabeth and me if we understood fully that in the eyes of the state, the country, and everyone else in the world, James is considered fully and entirely our son just as though he had been born to us.

I love that.

But unfortunately we live in a society that, generally speaking, frowns upon adoption. Sure, for many people it sounds lovely and poetic, but if legs are given to the idea, then people freak out for varying reasons:

“He’s going to wonder who his parents are.”

“She’s going to be a trouble-maker.”

And my favorite one to hate: “He’s not the same skin color.”

For being a country that prides itself on being the melting pot of the world, we sure are averse to interracial marriage, breeding, and adoption. But that’s a topic for another time. (Let me just say that racism would be long dead if we weren’t so preoccupied with  keeping black black and white white. Just saying.)

But even though people applaud adoption on the outside, there is a ton of animosity stirring even within the best-intentioned people. There are those that claim adoption can be harmful for children because they’ll grow up with more questions than answers.

Well, that may be true, but I wasn’t adopted and I still have questions about my past, but I don’t let it rule my life. We all have questions about our upbringing and our lives. Questions are just a part of life. As parents we’ll teach our kids to ask questions about themselves and the world, but we’ll also encourage them not to be driven by them.

To people who say that foster kids are trouble makers, I’m sorry but you need to jump off a cliff or chew on some dynamite sticks. We’ve all known terrible trouble-makers in our lives, and chances are, they weren’t adopted or in foster care. Some people are just wired that way, or they weren’t raised strict enough. But our two kids (from the foster care system) are the best behaved kids you’ll ever meet.

And of course they can be trouble-makers! They’re kids! As parents, we choose what they can and cannot get away with. My rule as a parent is simple: Do anything you want; just don’t hurt anyone else. My only exception to that is I won’t let them touch the stove.

Even governments and world leaders are against adoption. Just look at Russia closing the doors. China’s requirements are pretty hefty. The individual American states themselves jump through every imaginable hoop to reunify children with their parents before allowing a good family to adopt them, even (or I should say especially) when that puts the child at great danger to his/her life.

But this is supposed to be a happy post. In the darkness, light prevails every now and then. The state of Kentucky allowed my wife and me to become the official parents of James. I don’t call that good because we got what we wanted. I call that good because this little boy was given a home where he will be loved and cared for forever, no matter what. And even better, he’s not in the hands of an alcoholic, or a drug user, and he won’t be abused or neglected, and Sarabeth and I will move any mountain we can to make sure they are provided with every opportunity possible for them to be anything they want to be, whether that’s a trash picker, an opera singer, or a CEO.

Welcome home, buddy. Our home isn’t perfect, but you’ll always belong and we’ll keep you as safe as possible.

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The Oscars Formula Cracked!

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Want good odds on winning your Oscar bets next year and going forward? Then read on:

Every year it’s the same thing. I tell my wife, “Hey, the Oscars are on.”

“Want to watch?”

“Sure.”

“What time does it start?” she asks.

“Seven.”

I have to pull up the channel guide online to find what channel ABC is on.

At 7:07 I say, “Damn. It doesn’t actually start at 7. They’re showing off their ugly dresses for the next hour.”

So for the next 90 minutes we point and laugh at everyone who looks like they’re dress up to be in Suzanne Collins’ fictitious Capitol.

If we make it through the opening number (Chris Rock sucked, Kimmel was okay; please bring back Billy or Neil!) I then end up just following the show on Twitter and Facebook seeing what everyone else says about it. (If you want to follow a hilarious and agreeable commentator, check out @JonAcuff.)

Then I look through all the past winners and losers. And last night I came to a rather mathematical solution on how the Oscars work. Granted, it’s not foolproof, but I think it’s just enough to help us all predict the winners from here on out.

Fact: No super hero movie is ever to be nominated for Best Picture. And I think most people agree that this unspoken rule cheated The Dark Knight out of a possible win.

Secondly, no matter what other category the films nominated for Best Picture are, there is a hierarchy that can almost always guarantee a correct prediction.

If a war movie is nominated, it can most assuredly take the Oscar home over its contenders. Unless any of its competitors is a movie about the arts or deals with racism. (In 2008 The Hurt Locker won because its competitors did not deal with racism or was not about the arts.)

So: If a war movie is pitted against a movie about art, the art movie will win. If an art movie is pitted against a film about racism, the racism movie will win. Don’t believe me? I’ll show you:

89th: Hacksaw Ridge < La La Land < Moonlight

88th: Bridge of Spies < Spotlight (there were no movies nominated about race this year)

87th: American Sniper < Birdman (again, no movies nominated about race)

86th: 12 Years a Slave (There were no films about art or war nominated this year)

Now this theory is not at all airtight. Argo won over Lincoln and Django Unchained, and the year before that The Artist beat The Help (which also beat War Horse), so there are exceptions. Or it could be argued that this is a relatively new pattern the Academy is setting, though no one can forget (or forgive) Shakespeare in Love robbing Saving Private Ryan in 1998 (again: war > art).

So what do you think of my theory? Have there been other patterns in the past? Perhaps each decade or generation follows a list of new rules? Are all best picture winners just based off of the social temperature of the time? Do movies that really deserve best picture wins get overlooked every year? What constitutes a movie being worthy of the honor? And why can’t they bring back Billy Crystal or Neil Patrick Harris to host the awards indefinitely?

Share your thoughts below!