Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Battle of the Captains

Throughout history there have been many famous captains, but not many whom I would actually trust to sail my ship.  For starters, consider Captain Crunch, a.k.a. Cap’n Crunch, the mascot of the popular cereal.  When someone takes a job as a cereal mascot, I have to be suspicious of his background.  The Cap’n seems like a decent man, but I question his qualifications for being an actual captain, other than the fact that he found a hat with a C on it at the Salvation Army.

Cap’n Crunch does look like a captain, but he’s a man with eyebrows independent from the rest of his body.  A man who helps people solve their problems by offering them a cereal which will put them into a sugar-induced coma.  A few years ago, his full name was revealed as Horatio Magellan Crunch.  Apparently his publicist was trying to give him some credibility by naming him after two famous sailors.  George Crunch just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Cap’n Crunch was the most popular children’s cereal until it was dethroned by Fruity Pebbles.  The once formidable captain was defeated by Pebbles and Bamm Bamm, children in diapers, so I will look elsewhere for my skipper.

How about The Skipper from Gilligan’s Island? He ran their ship aground and couldn’t help them get off the island in three years.  Moving on, then…

Avast me hearties, Captain Hook is the villainous pirate captain of the Jolly Roger.  I’m sorry, but his ship’s name is too close to the Jolly Rancher, a popular brand of candy.  I don’t want to be at sea and thinking about the watermelon hard candy that gives me canker sores.

Being a pirate captain might be cool if it wasn’t in Neverland, a fictional world of children.  Also, his archenemy is Peter Pan, a boy who refuses to grow up.  It’s kind of embarrassing when your nemesis hangs out with someone named Tinkerbell and could be portrayed by Sandy Duncan.

Peter Pan cut off Hook’s hand and fed it to a crocodile.  Understandably, Hook then developed a fear of crocodiles and other reptiles.  But is this type of person you want as captain of your ship?

Captain America is cool and has an impressive physique, but he has no superhuman powers.  How can you be a superhero without super powers? He is supposedly a perfect specimen of human conditioning, but he wears a spandex body suit, which is kind of like a full length Speedo. His weapon is a shield, which wouldn’t even protect me from my toddler.  I like Captain America because of what he represents, but he wouldn’t be my captain of choice.  Mostly because he doesn’t even have a ship.  Or his captain’s license, for that matter.

The winner is Captain Merrill Stubing of The Love Boat.  Never losing his electric smile, he got people where they needed to go and solved major problems in less than an hour.  He put up with Gopher, the Yeoman Purser, not to mention several guest appearances by Charo.  Besides, who else can wear knee-high white socks and look so suave and debonair? 


The Best Musicals You’ll Never See

I often wonder about the moment when someone is inspired with a concept for a Broadway musical.  It probably sounds so good in their head until they have to share it out loud and convince other people.  Okay, how ’bout this?  …An entire show where everyone is dressed up like lemurs!…  What do you mean you don’t “get it”?  They sing and dance!  C’mon, man!…You’d prefer CATS?!  Oh, that’s brilliant.

Somehow even the ridiculous ideas end up being successful shows.  Tough New York gangs spontaneously burst into song and dance numbers.  A creepy guy with a pie crust on his face stalks an opera singer. 

Thankfully, people keep coming up with ideas.  But there are some that will never make it to Broadway.   And many more that I can guarantee you will never see…

1776 1976 1776 B.C.
42nd Street Elm Street Back Alley
A Chorus Line A Chorus Zig Zag Whiny, Unemployed Dancers
Annie Rich Bald Guy Annie’s 2nd Cousin Twice Removed
Anything Goes Nothing Stays Nobody Really Gives A Rat’s Behind
Beauty And The Beast Babe And The Ugly Guy Princess And The Walking Fur Ball
Bye, Bye Birdie See Ya, Shuttlecock Don’t Let the Door Hit You On The Way Out, Birdie
Camelot King Arthur! Starring Dudley Moore Knights Of The Cheap Card Table
Carousel Tea Cup Ride Space Mountain
Cats Dogs Lemurs
Chicago Springfield Jailhouse Rock
Damn Yankees Damn Red Sox Damn Mighty Ducks
Fiddler On The Roof Bagpiper In The Basement Accordion Player In The Attic
Footloose Foot Cramp Athlete’s Foot
Grease Grease Stain Lard
Guys And Dolls Guys And Stuffed Animals Guys Who Play With Dolls
Hairspray Hair Gel Hairball
Hello Dolly! Goodbye Dolly! Dolly Who?
High School Musical Junior High School Musical Elementary School Band Practice
How To Succeed In Business w/o Really Trying How To Step On People On Your Way Up the Corporate Ladder How to Run Your Business Into The Ground
Into The Woods Into the Bushes Lyme Disease:  The Musical
Jekyll & Hyde Hyde & Jekyll Jekyll & The People in His Head
Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Joseph and the Leather Jacket   Joseph and the Plain White T-Shirt
Kiss Me, Kate Text Me, Kate Let’s Just Be Friends, Kate
Les Miserables Really Unhappy French People Kleenex Convention
Miss Saigon Miss Ho Chi Minh Miss Viet Cong
No, No Nanette Maybe, Nanette  What Part of No Don’t You Understand, Nanette?
Oklahoma! New Jersey! Albania!
Oliver Pickpocket That Kid With The Porridge
Once Upon A Mattress Once Upon a Futon Once Upon a Sleeper Sofa
Peter Pan Skippy Extra Crunchy Jif
Rent Rent Control Lease To Own
Shenandoah Hudson Euphrates
Singing In The Rain Singing in the Drizzle Singing in the Tsunami
South Pacific North Pacific South Arctic
The Music Man The Accountant The Taxidermist
The Phantom Of The Opera The Phantom of the Disco The Ghost of the Roller Rink
The Sound of Music The Sound of Woodpeckers The Sound of Snoring
The Wiz The Idiot Not the Sharpest Knife in the Drawer
The Wizard of Oz The Wizard of 7-Eleven Dude Behind the Curtain
West Side Story Upper East Side Story Northwest Passage Story

Stove Top Stuffing Causes Mr. Potato Head Breakdown

Mr. Potato Head Undergoing Treatment For Stress

AP – Idaho. An ugly scene unfolded yesterday as Mr. Potato Head broke down on the set of his new movie, Mashed.  “I don’t know what happened, ” an eyewitness reported. “One minute he was rehearsing his lines with Daniel Day Lewis; next thing you know, he was weeping like a baby in his trailer.”

“Spud’s had a rough year,” explained Lewis.  “He just turned 60.  The stress of being a has-been is getting to him.”

And a stressful year it has been.  Mr. Head recently got voted off Dancing with the Stars after an embarrassing attempt at, of all dances, The Mashed Potato. 

“I feel bad for the dumpy little guy,” said Dancing star, Maksim “Maks” Chmerkovsky. “He was trying to revive his career.  But he doesn’t have any legs.  And those spindly arms kept getting twisted around in a creepy way.”

DWTS host Tom Bergeron agreed. “Nice guy, but America just thought he was boring.”   

“Unlike me,” Maks added, flexing his pecs.

When pressed for more information, Daniel Day Lewis finally shed more light on yesterday’s breakdown. “It was my brogue.  It reminded him of Ireland and the potato famine.  He’s a little bitter about that.”

Last year Mr. Potato Head made headlines when he ruined Larry King’s final interview by confessing that he had been “living a lie.”   According to sources at the show, Mr. King wanted to leave on a positive note, and he was very disappointed by Mr. Head’s depressing story.

A Larry King staffer explained, “Mr. Head just kept droning on about how everybody thinks that millions left Ireland during the famine because they were missing potatoes, when in fact they came to America because they heard about a new side dish called “stuffing.” Stove Top was supposedly organizing an #unpotatofest, and that’s why the massive exodus occurred.”

This isn’t the first time Mr. Potato Head has called out Stove Top in his conspiracy theory.  In January, Oprah invited Mr. Head and a spokesperson from Stove Top to air their differences on her show with Dr. Phil’s help. 

Things got ugly from the beginning, when Mr. Head was asked to sit on Oprah’s couch. “A couch?  Is this some sort of joke?  I’m supposed to sit on there and look like some sort of couch potato or something?”

When Dr. Phil tried to address bitterness issues, Mr. Head got nasty.

“You’re darn right I’m bitter.  You think I enjoy wearing this stupid disguise?  Everyone knows that behind my mustache and glasses, I’m just a boring, dumb potato.” 

It didn’t help when Mr. Stove Top Rep started listing the virtues of choosing stuffing over potatoes.  “Who wants to have to scrub potatoes and wait an hour for them to cook?  Stove Top stuffing is tastier and only takes two minutes to prepare in the microwave.  Plus, the canister is re-sealable, so you can take as little or as much as you need.”

“I eat it right out of the canister,” added Dr. Phil.

Apparently that was too much for Mr. Potato Head to endure.  He challenged Mr. Stove Top to a duel, who responded with, “See you later, Tater.”

“Why don’t you look me in the eye spot when you talk to me?” Mr. Head fumed, to which Mr. Stove Top replied, “Which one?”

To add to the humiliation, Oprah’s audience chanted, “Stove TOP!  Stove TOP!” after which TV host Rachel Ray came on the set to demonstrate Chicken with Stove Top Stuffing and Balsamic Cream Gravy.  

Yesterday’s breakdown on the movie set was clearly a long time in the making.  Mr. Potato Head has reportedly admitted himself into the Nightshade Vegetable Institute for evaluation. “I’m afraid he has a long road ahead of him,” claimed the admitting nurse. “We’re serving Stove Top for dinner tonight.”


Gene Kelly, You Have 3 Seconds to Get Out of That Puddle!

Spring finally opened its sleepy eyes, tossed off the covers of winter, and greeted the dawn with the vim and vigor of a child.  I, on the other hand, leisurely turned up the electric blanket, cranked up the heat, and buried myself under the afghan.  I then noted that the afghan, a frightening clash of avocado-green and rust-orange from the 1970s, could not compete with the explosion of gorgeous colors that spring would soon reveal.  It’s just that in New England, spring might as well start in May.  March 19th is frigid, and March 20th is usually…one degree warmer than frigid. 

Keep in mind that I am a woman and a beach-lover, so by default I need a sweater when the temperature dips below 80. Still, after the coldest winter on record, our family decided to take a walk and enjoy the balmy forty degree breezes.

When the snow melts, you basically get a springtime mess which poet e.e. cummings romantically refers to as “mud-lucious and puddle wonderful.” Given his blatant disregard for punctuation and the difficulties of removing mud stains, I’m guessing he didn’t have children. 

I have always loved Singing in the Rain, but with some reservation. On the one hand, I admire Gene Kelly’s youthful romp through the deep puddles.  But the mother inside of me wants to scream, “Don’t go in those puddles, you fool!  You’ll get soaked!”  No matter how loudly I protest, every time he just ignores me and splashes anyway.  Hmm, just like my children.

During our walk, we had to avoid not only knee-deep puddles, but also mud holes, scary dogs, whizzing traffic, and a plethora of other landmines for small children. My husband Dave has an ability to walk fearlessly without a worry in the world.  He was breathing in the fresh air, admiring the scenery, and commenting on the vernal beauty.  Meanwhile, I apparently worked for the secret service, watching for potential threats and completely tuning out most of my surroundings.  Consequently, we were able to have almost simultaneous conversations that were not even remotely related. 

Dave:  What a beautiful day.  Cara:  Nate, don’t put that in your mouth!

Dave:  Look!  A crocus!  Cara:  Watch out for the dog poop!

Dave:  That breeze feels so good. Cara:  Luke, Get off of there or you’ll crack your head open like a nut!

Dave:  Let’s go look at the boats. Cara:  Car coming! Get out of the street NOW!

When I finally heard myself, I realized how ridiculous I sounded. I wish I could just relax and not always hear the words of my former boss when I told him I was expecting our first child.  Congratulations, kid.  You will now worry every day for the rest of your life. 

Why is it that whenever we return from a walk with our children, I feel as though I just survived a WWII blitz?  I know I’m supposed to just relax and join Gene Kelly in that puddle of fun.  But I think instead  I’ll head back under my green and orange afghan where it’s safe and warm.


Read This Or Millions of Innocent Ants Will Die!

Did you hear that? That was me stepping on an ant.  Splat.  There goes another one!  Ping!  That was me scraping his carcass into the trashcan. 

Spring has arrived, and not to be a curmudgeon or anything, but I hate ants with a passion.  I challenge you to name one good thing about them.  Buzz!  Thank you for playing, but you lose.

Consider some of the words that begin with “ant.” ANTagonize.   ANTisocial.  ANTichrist.  I refuse to even watch the movie Antz.  (Also because I am morally against misspelling words to be cute.)  How about music by Adam Ant?  Nope. The game Ants in the Pants?  Won’t touch it. Don’t want ’em in my house, let alone my pants.

This whole thing about how ants go “marching one by one, hoorah! hoorah!” is a bunch of malarkey.  I’m not sure what “malarkey” is technically, but it has something to do with ants.  Let’s go to, because they apparently have the answers to everything.

            Q:  What is malarkey?

            A:  Something to do with ants.  Duh.

The song tells us that the ants “all go marching down into the ground to get out of the rain.” To get out of the rain?  They live outside, for crying out loud.  In dirt.  They pounce on feces like it’s an Easter ham, and now you’re telling me they’re picky about their habitat?

Even if they did have to get out of the rain, they don’t go into the ground. I’d be doing a little jig if they did, but NO, they come into my house.  Into my butter dish.  And do you know what they do?  They start a marketing campaign to announce my lack of housekeeping skills.

First, they carry the crumbs throughout the house in a little parade, each crumb on its own obnoxious float. Then as I kill them off, the survivors carry their friends’ corpses to the parade, as though transporting Cleopatra on her litter.

I don’t really want a pet, but I might have to get one that eats ants. Back to

                       Q:  What is the animal that is famous for eating ants?

                        A:  Let me think a minute. Oh, I don’t know…ANTEATER?!!! 

Slight problem. I’m also afraid of anteaters and aardvarks, thanks to that cartoon The Ant and the Aardvark, a featured part of The Pink Panther show.  The cartoon was based on the repeated attempts of a blue aardvark to catch and eat a red ant named Charlie.  Naming the ant didn’t get me to sympathize with him.  But a creepy animal with a Hoover-like trunk with wind tunnel sucking ability freaked me out. 

And now my children collect ants for pets. As soon as the ants crawl under our door, the kids scoop them up in boxes and keep them for observation.  Then they start asking things that only young children are capable of imagining.

There is only one place that could answer their questions, and you know where that is.

            Q:  How do ants pee and poop?

            A:  I quit.

I am now setting these ants free when my kids aren’t looking.  Not for freedom, oh no.  I am hardly the Harriet Tubman of Antville.  So unless you can do something to stop me, millions of ants will be a part of my own parade this summer.  Splat!  Ping!

The Yellow Brick Road of Mini Golf

Miniature golf is a bizarre notion.  You take a sport, such as golf, and turn it into a scary obstacle course, much like trying to follow the Yellow Brick Road to get to Oz.  Only instead of lions and tigers and bears, oh my!, you face waterfalls, pirates, and other concepts that have absolutely nothing to do with golf but provide an evening of entertainment for the family.  When you finally confront the “wizard,” the 18th hole, and the curtain of reality is unveiled, you realize it wasn’t so scary after all, and now you get to go home and put some calamine lotion on those bug bites.

This summer we took our kids mini golfing for the first time.  I don’t think they appreciated the greatness of it like they should have.  Mini golf is not a game for wimps.  They supply you with pencils fit only for elves so you can’t break them in anger, and then they arm your toddlers with potential weapons like iron clubs.  The idea seems simple enough:  Hit the ball into the hole.  But then they torture you with cruel tricks, like sand traps and windmill blades.  If I wanted to be tortured, I would play a real game of golf.

In mini golf, you’re not even allowed to throw your club in disgust to alleviate your frustration.  It’s also illegal to use a golf cart to ride the two inches to the next hole. Like soldiers training in the swamp, you have to endure swarms of mosquitoes snacking on your skin. The lines are longer than those of the Great Depression, not to mention the capacity of your child’s bladder. At least they give you colorful balls to remind you that you’re having fun. 

Yet there is a certain satisfaction in knowing you have completed the course.  You leave feeling like you just completed boot camp at Fort Benning, like you can now somehow serve your country better.  So you celebrate by going out for ice cream.

I don’t think any other sport could have the success of turning into a fun family game.

Mini football?  Throw a small Nerf football through windmill blades and tunnels to get through the goalposts.  At least here’s a sport where pirates would make sense; they could be swashbuckling the players as they’re trying to score.  (Not really; I’ve just always wanted to use the word “swashbuckling” in a sentence.)

Mini hockey?  Combine an evening of family ice skating with shooting colorful little pucks through a challenging maze and into a miniature Stanley cup.  The ice rink could be built in layers with bridges, slopes, and dangerous turns.  On the plus side, the cold temperatures of the rink would eliminate those pesky mosquitoes.

Mini baseball? It doesn’t matter what you play, because instead of ballpark franks, they could serve those mini cocktail wieners.  

No, only mini golf can bond a family together with the satisfaction of overcoming obstacles (for the price of a small car).

Our first time of mini golf will always be remembered for the poignant lesson demonstrated by our three year old Nate. Instead of hitting the ball, he kept picking up the ball and dropping it directly into the hole.  He couldn’t understand why all of these other idiots couldn’t figure this out.  Here they were whacking the ball all over the place with a stick and getting frustrated, when all along the answer was so simple.  Quit wasting time with obstacles, just follow the Yellow Brick Road and put the ball right in the hole.  A life lesson for all.

Scotch Tape and Schnitzel with Noodles

For those of you who thought you were linking to an actual recipe for Schnitzel with Noodles, I apologize.  You can probably just toss some schnitzel together with some noodles, and you’ll be all set. To make it healthier, you can use Low Fat schnitzel. ( I don’t really know what schnitzel is, but it is fun to say, and I encourage you to say it as many times as possible during this holiday season.)  Disclaimer: Please do NOT be confused by the title and actually add Scotch tape to your schnitzel (there, I said it again).

 I was actually referring to a line from the song “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music:

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels;

Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles.

If any of you have never seen this movie, I have made up for it by watching it for you a million times.  If you want I could just come to your house and act out every role from the entire movie, including the yodeling and Austrian accents. 

For some reason, “My Favorite Things” counts as a Christmas song.  While this brings new meaning to the word “sketchy,” I am a fan of the song.  First of all, name one other song where you get to say both “schnitzel” and “strudels” in the same verse.  I also appreciate that this song is essentially a list of someone’s favorite things, as women love making lists.  The list is wonderfully descriptive, although I don’t agree with most of the choices:

Raindrops on roses (If it’s raining, I’m not at the beach.)

Whiskers on kittens (I’m allergic…to whiskers, not kittens.)

Bright copper kettles (I use the microwave.)

Warm woolen mittens (Too itchy.  I prefer a cotton/polyester blend.)

Brown paper packages tied up with strings.  Aha.  I agree that it is exciting to receive a brown paper package.  But tied up with strings?   My mind flashes back to my childhood, where Christmas morning was filled with cries for help trying to open gifts tied with ribbon that even a beaver couldn’t gnaw through.  Sure, strings and ribbons look pretty, but it is almost cruel to give someone a gift they can only open with a blowtorch.

This year I received a brown paper package that was covered in enough packing tape to repair a jet engine.  In these sort of situations, there’s not much you can do to get the present open, short of backing over the present with your truck.  Or, if you have a toddler, let him open it.  Toddlers can even open child-proof bottles. 

When wrapping gifts, the value of Scotch tape is underestimated.  Not only is the smell divine (right up there with schnitzel, I’m guessing), but it opens very easily.  Any time I can open a gift without a tool box, I’m grateful.  Yes, Scotch tape makes me proud of my Scottish heritage.  (Also, schnitzel is Austrian, and I’m German. Whoa…)

I admit that sometimes I’m too lazy to cut more of the wrapping paper to the size of the gift, so I wrap it around several times with enough paper to make shelter for a small village.  But the beauty of this move is that you are forced to use up an entire roll of my beloved Scotch tape.

So, as Christmas approaches and you are wrapping your gifts, please prevent cruelty to humans and forget the superfluous strings, ribbons, and superglue-like packing tape.  Use a ridiculous amount of Scotch tape, and let the pleasant aroma mingle with that of your gingerbread and Christmas cookies.  And, of course, the Schnitzel with Noodles (see recipe above).