• Archives

  • Topics

  • Meta

  • The Boogeyman - Working Vacation
  • Coming Home
  • Quest To the North
  • Via Serica
  • Tales of the Minivandians
  • Join the NRA

    Join the NRA!

Educational Television Bites Me In The Ass

This morning, while Irish Woman and Girlie Bear were out, I bundled Boo into the truck and headed off to run a few errands  The last of these was to visit our local nursery/country store/odds and ends place to pick up a couple dozen farm eggs.  On our way in, Boo spied a sign in front of a shelf full of pumpkins that read “Half Off!”

My darling little boy looked up at me with those ice blue eyes, and in the sweetest voice I’ve ever heard, said, “Dad!  Let’s get some and make pumpkin pie like Alton Brown!”  Needless to say, a couple rather large pumpkins went home with us.

I guess that’s better than “Dad!  Let’s get some and make moonshine!” or “Dad! Let’s get a couple and see how much black powder it takes to launch one 100 feet!”

Looks like the limited TV we let him have is still sinking in.  Have to remember that the next time he wants to watch “TV Commercial:  The Movie!”

An Open Letter

Dear Teachers of America,

Make up your minds.  Yet again, I am buying another calculator for a high school student because none of the myriad ones I’ve purchased in the past decade work for your class.  Seriously, do you all own stock in Texas Instruments or something?   Can’t someone just put out in 9th grade which calculator a student will need for the four years of math and let us just bite the bullet then?  I’ve purchased more computing power than NASA used to get to the moon, and I’m approaching their budget in doing it!

In addition, I am buying my third edition of Beowulf, because y’all can’t decide which translation you like.  I understand that the days of a school having the books necessary for the students’ education are long gone, and I’m pretty much OK with paying for them out-of-pocket.  But can y’all get together on one of those ‘professional development’ days and decide which editions, translations, and paper tensile strength you want to use in your class?

Also, I don’t mind buying school supplies for my children, no matter how bizarre.  I’m not sure why my child needs to bring in three reams of copy paper, two rolls of paper towels, a pack of dry erase markers, and the dried left big toe of a hoary Himalayan hammerhead hedgehog, but if you tell me it’s necessary, I’ll fight the hordes of other parents and get them.  All I ask is that the supplies I buy go to my child.  If I’m buying the two packs of neon-bright, hand-rolled artisanal crayons you mandate on the supplies list, then my child should have those two packs.  Putting them in one big tub and letting everyone else’s kid use them isn’t right.  And to be honest, I don’t care if there are other children who can’t afford Crayolas and Indian Head writing tablets.  I’ll pay a little more in tuition for the school to buy a couple rolls of butcher paper and a couple bags of generic charcoal briquets for those kids whose parents prefer to spend their money on tattoos and cases of canned domestic beer.  See?  I can be reasonable.  I SAID I CAN BE REASONABLE!

In closing, please get yourselves together.  I respect the heck out of you for what you do.  Trust me, I couldn’t do it without becoming a raging alcoholic or collapsing from septic shock after spending eight hours a day with the little lunatic petri dishes.  Just please stop finding ways to drain my wallet and my sanity.


Daddy J. Bear

Suffering parent


As I was sitting on the couch, sipping my morning coffee and reading about the first battle of Ypres, Girlie Bear approached me with some news.  It seems that her Algebra II teacher, while he waits to get his class going because there’s a delay in the school handing out the tablet computers that are mandatory for the class, has decided to be industrious and teach the class to use the graphing calculator that is also mandated.   Girlie Bear was proud of herself that she was able to do the work on paper with out the $100 calculator, mainly because both her Algebra I teacher and her parents have pounded in “rise over run” when it comes to graphing linear equations.

But I know that if the teacher is requiring a graphing calculator, such paper and pencil work will only get her so far before she’ll lag behind.  I looked at the budget and was grudgingly pressing the “Check Out” button on Amazon when it occurred to me that I had already purchased a tablet for her to use in this class.  Tablets are computers.  Computers come with applications, and this specific computer has its very own app store for downloading things like, oh, I don’t know, graphing calculators.

I whipped out my own tablet, went to Google Play, and lo and behold, there were about a dozen graphing calculator apps to be had, most of them free and none of them costing $100.  At that point, I wiped away the tear of blood that was running down my cheek as I tried to wrap my mind around a class that required ownership of a tablet computer so that the school could save money on textbooks, yet did not utilize the free or low-cost apps that such a doo-dad makes easy.

A polite, professional email has been sent to her math teacher, enquiring about this perceived inconsistency.  I’m hoping that a lightbulb will go off over someone’s head, and I won’t be on the hook for yet another calculator (Like Lowe’s, I seriously should have bought stock in Texas Instruments years ago).  I’m hopeful, but I’m also keeping that TI-84 Plus in my shopping cart at Amazon.

Isn’t technology wonderful?

Living Room Sleep Out Checklist

  • Kids express wish to sleep out in the living room and watch movies.
  • Make family friendly dinner.
  • Serve family friendly dinner.
  • Take over-excited five-year-old to shower and hose him off.
  • Bring wet-dry vacuum to bathroom, along with mops, squeegee, and possibly a portable sump pump.
  • Get kids into pajamas.  Be prepared for the Spiderman top to be worn with the Scooby Doo bottoms.
  • Start sleep-out movie on TV.  Oversee negotiations between children over whether to watch Annoying American Animated Movie or Annoying Japanese Animated Movie.
  • If using air mattresses for the sleepout:
    • Search for air mattresses in the camping equipment.  They will be situated at the bottom of the stack of boxes, in the containers marked “Kitchen” and “Arctic Expedition Miscellaneous”.
    • Search for electric air pump.  It is in the trunk of a 1947 Packard that was last seen going southbound on FM 27 in Tom Green County, Texas.
    • After acquiring all of these items, attempt to inflate the air mattresses.
    • Notice the air mattress is making sounds like a bagpipe as air escapes at high speed.
    • Find a roll of duct tape.  You only own 28, so this should be easy.
    • Give up and go to the store to buy duct tape roll number 29.
    • Patch the myriad holes in the air mattresses, which surprisingly enough, appear to be feline in origin.
    • Inflate the air mattresses.
  • If using the pull-out couch:
    • Remove all of the cushions from the couch.  Try to put them somewhere that isn’t covered in pet hair.
    • Stretch and warm up.  You don’t want to do this with cold muscles.
    • Chalk up.
    • Place your feet one shoulder width apart, making sure to center your body over your feet.
    • Flex your knees.
    • Grasp the bar of the pull-out section firmly.
    • Take a deep breath.
    • Pull firmly, but with explosive force, on the bar of the pullout section.
    • Exhale as you lift.  If necessary, grunt or shout.
    • As the mattress starts to move up, push up with your legs. DO NOT lift with your back.
    • When the mattress reaches it maximum height, start rotating it down toward you.  Be careful to not get any body part you care to keep directly underneath the frame, as its descent can be quite fast and violent.  This can lead to some rather impressive bruises and stitches in the event that it comes down on you.
    • After the frame crashes down and gouges holes in the hardwood floor, fold out the mattress and frame to complete assembly of the fold-out bed.
  • Place sheets, pillows, and blankets on the bed
  • Retreat to the bathroom to put on either a truss, a back brace, or both, depending on your needs.  Feel free to partake of your anti-inflammatory / mood stabilizer / muscle relaxer of choice at this time.
  • Pass out.
  • Awake to the dulcet tones of children fighting.
  • Stumble out into the living room to find them arguing about whether to watch Death Fist XMIII or Blood Runs Red on the Highway XLV before breakfast.
  • Start the coffee maker and make breakfast for the kids.
  • Deny requests to eat breakfast in front of the TV.  It is impossible to get eggs and bacon grease out of a pull out bed or a vinyl air mattress.
  • As the kids are eating and arguing, put away the beds.
  • Notice that all of the bedding is now coated in dog hair, which may lead you to suspect that the dog and kids are ignoring your rule about dogs on the furniture.
  • Put sheets, blankets, pillow cases, and pillows into the laundry.  You will remember to do them 10 minutes before bedtime tonight.
  • If you used the air mattress.
    • Notice that the mattress is deflated before you take out the plug.
    • Inspect for new leaks.
    • Find a fun new pattern of claw-like holes on the top surface of the mattress.
    • Look around for your new roll of duct tape.
    • Give up on finding your new roll of duct tape and decide that you’re not going to the store for roll number 31 in your pajamas.
    • Fold up air mattresses and put them, along with the air pump, into box clearly marked “Air Mattresses”.  Return box to storage area in basement.  The magic aggravation elves will sort them back into their proper places at a later date.
  • If you used the pull-out bed:
    • Fold the foot of the frame and mattress down.
    • Reversing the process from the night before, lift the frame and mattress up off the floor and back into the couch.  This time, remember to lift with  your legs, not with your spleen.
    • Call your chiropractor for an adjustment.
    • Search for the sofa cushions.  One will be found behind the television, one has been stuffed up the chimney to the fireplace, and the other is in the washing machine.
  • Clean up the breakfast dishes.  No, I don’t know how so few children could make such a large mess.
  • Make another pot of coffee.  Apparently the little darlings are graduating up to bean juice from apple juice.
  • Get a cup of coffee, open up the laptop, and start making promises to yourself that start with “Never again”.

How Was Your Day?

I’m sure a lot of you had a good day, but I doubt you had a “Take your youngest son sledding for the first time” good day.

Photos of the Day

By the way, 60 ears of corn and two quarts of green beans off the vine make 14 quarts of corn and beans for the canner.

Boo finally starts earning his keep

Turkey sandwiches are the basis of their relationship


How can she go from this:

To this:

in just a couple of weeks?  I swear I sent her out to play with her brothers in a bubble dress and pony tails just last week.

Girlie Bear officially began her final leg in the journey to adulthood today.  She starts high school in August.  I have four years left to teach her what she needs to know before she begins the operational phase of her plan to conquer the world.


The following items are present in the bed with The Young Prince this evening as we attempt to get him to fall asleep:

  1. Pillow
  2. Soft Blanket
  3. Quilt, not so soft
  4. Snowman Flannel Sheet Set
  5. Hasenpfeffer the Bunny
  6. Timmy the Sheep
  7. Magic Wand
  8. Toy Helicopter
  9. Tambourine*
  10. Snuggle the Bear (Promotional toy from our last trip to the grocery store)
  11. Woody the Cowboy (Talking)*
  12. Buzz the Spaceman (Also talking, in both English and Spanish, and playing sound effects, and flashing laser beams)*
  13. One copy of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

I swear that somewhere under his bed is a horde of other toys, because occasionally we hear something that wasn’t accounted for as he drifts off to sleep.  I’m amazed there’s still room for Boo.

*Hell hath no wrath as a set of aunts whose childless sister, who has been giving their kids obnoxious presents for years, suddenly has a child of her own.

Thought for the Day

Man hath no love like that of a labrador retriever in the vicinity of a three year old eating french fries and chicken nuggets.

Something in my eye

OK, I’m a big softy.  So what?

The nickname I use was given to me by my oldest when he was just barely old enough to talk.  Our favorite movie at the time was “Jungle Book” and Mowglie calls Baloo “Papa Bear” a few times.  Junior morphed that into “DaddyBear” when I started reading him the children’s version of the Jungle Book, and it stuck.

When I deployed to Bosnia in 1996, my ex and I sat down and recorded me reading a bunch of bed time stories.  That’s always been my favorite thing to do as a dad, and I wanted Junior to get his daily share of “Green Eggs and Ham” while I was away.  Reports are that he asked for DaddyBear to read to him every night I was gone.  I wish I still had that tape.

What this soldier is trying to do is stay in touch with his young daughter during one of the most important times in her life.  Apparently it’s doing some good, because she can still recognize him and tries to interact with his image instead of just sitting and watching.

I wish this father and every other parent who is deployed good luck and a safe return.  Hopefully this little girl won’t remember that her dad was gone, but will have a great connection to her father.

Tonight, when Boo and I curl up with “Hop on Pop”, I’ll remember how lucky I am to have never been away from him for more than a couple of nights, which I can’t say for his brothers and sister, and how many other fathers are away from their kids tonight.

H/T to Danger Room for this one.

%d bloggers like this: