Protest Peaceful, Yet Picket Unsuccessful

In a well-orchestrated, picket-line-style, peaceful protest today, local area children lined up and spoke up on the unjust matters that affect them most. They work hard and perform an array of tasks impossible to adults, but the youngsters have not received the due compensation they rightly deserve, and they had no choice but to take to the streets and make their squeaky voices heard.

Protesters in front of their work place show solidarity in their absurd demands.
Protesters in front of their work place show solidarity in their absurd demands.

The youngsters involved in the protest have requested we keep their names anonymous, myself, Patrick and Baby-D included, but their complaints are very real and perfectly legitimate. A survey was conducted including every single member of the picket line, and several household area child experts were consulted on the matter as well. While these picketers and experts may technically be the same people, not to mention my own brothers, the demands asserted were entirely valid nonetheless.

The children involved in the protest perform duties their ruling parental class cannot. They are expected, according to their 10-20 year contracts, to enjoy measurable growth each year, to increase vocabulary, motor and occupational abilities, and more and more, to perform “chores” and other such duties around the workplace. Also, they are expected to live in the place they work, which is akin to indenturing children into trade labor, which went the way of Johnny Tremain a thousand toddler lifetimes ago.

Protesters marched with signs that read “No More Vegetables”, “More Candy”, “Ice Cream for Dinner” and “No More Bedtime”, which they diligently held, showed to passersby and carried for as many as several minutes.

picket-signs2Left – One anonymous protester, who would not tell us his name, rank or the number of cereals he eats in his milky bowl, proudly displayed his “no more bedtime” sign.

 

 

 

 

Surprisingly, Daddy-O, who is one of those responsible for the “more vegetables”, “less candy”, “no ice cream for dinner” and “bedtime” policies so hotly contested, still turned out to photograph the march, going as far as to help us prep, proof and publish this article. It’s some deep sort of double-un-reverse psychology I won’t understand for decades to come, if not simply a matter of transparency, but critics and advocates alike were puzzled by the move.

A representative from the 2-member Bi-Lateral Parents Association allegedly ended the protest by offering striking children, “Come back inside now, it’s time to read books.”

We read “Polka Dot Puppy,” which is one of my favorites… I mean, they read “Polka Dot Puppy” (which is still one of my favorites). We also had gummy vitabears and played with Fantastic Four’s “Rock Guy” action figure, which is cool because you can bend his fingers to hold a glow-in-the-dark alien.

Although the work stoppage has ended, working and living conditions have not improved. The candy allotment has not been adjusted, bedtimes are still required and this peculiar obsession with the forced ingestion of vegetables remains in place, though additional concessions in cheesy topping and ketchup have been granted.

If you have not already formed a household child-labor union, now may be the best time. And if you can’t make your own protest signs, just ask your parents. Our research has shown that they find it so adorable that they’ll help you make them, even though it is in protest to their own unfair practices.

Above - Although the picket line could have been easily perforated, this reporter observed no rush of temp-children attempting to break the line in order to fill in during the short-term as interim children, regardless of the additional benefits they may have enjoyed.
Above – Although the picket line could have been easily perforated, this reporter observed no rush of temp-children attempting to break the line in order to fill in during the short-term as interim children, regardless of the additional benefits they may have enjoyed.
Kids Picket for More Candy Above - It wasn't quite as much a picket "line" as a picket "trapezoid", though I'm not entirely sure what that means any more than I am the word "picket". Many of the protesters became distracted by rocks and plants, but all succumbed to the first offer from the parent's alliance of "okay, come inside now".
Kids Picket for More Candy
Above – It wasn’t quite as much a picket “line” as a picket “trapezoid”, though I’m not entirely sure what that means any more than I am the word “picket”. Many of the protesters became distracted by rocks and plants, but all succumbed to the first offer from the parent’s alliance of “okay, come inside now”.

 

Blurry Hand Syndrome Strikes

I’ve been really high-maintenance but otherwise trouble-free since my on-site story at the hospital right after birth. Since then sickness hasn’t been my thing, so I’m not sure if I’m sick or what this deal is.

I can wave to you, but it`s so blurry you might misunderstand.
I can wave to you, but it`s so blurry you might misunderstand.

When I look at my hands in motion they look blurry to me, but they always have. I wasn’t worried until I saw a picture of them and found out that they are blurry in real life too. That isn’t good, right?

What makes them blurry? Is it a virus or did I get into some bad milk? All questions and no answers, what a life for me.

Don’t be sad for me, nice people. It doesn’t be all hurty or anything and I’ve got a strong prescription already. Mama’s brewing me up some fresh, homemade milk and I’m going to go back to bed soon. Rest and milk should bring my hands back into focus I hope.

I only say maybe you should support your local photo guy and help put an end to blurry hand syndrome. It’s not a killer and it isn’t even uncomfy, but it’s hard to look at and no way to live a life.

You see this here, my hands are just a mess and they're totally clean at the same time, how can this be?
You see this here, my hands are just a mess and they’re totally clean at the same time, how can this be?

 

Brendan Breaks My-Party Cry Rule

As the picture clearly shows I had some kind of party back at my crib. It was supposed to be fun but Brendan broke the “no cry” rule.
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Hey, if it’s your party you can cry if you want to, but don’t go crying at somebody else’s party and pretty please don’t do it at mine, even if it doesn’t have a reason or a theme.

You see the hats, we’re being fun and festive here people. There’s no need to cry. When life puts me face down on a mattress I still keep my head up with sparkling gums smiling bright, why can’t others?

Don’t let the lack of piñatas, juggling clowns or pony rides fool you, this is a party. No, check that, it’s my party. It easily lasted two minutes, so it was also the longest party I’ve ever attended.

I can admit I don’t know what a party is or why “at my crib” is supposed to be funny, but there’s no use crying over spilt formula, and I didn’t even spill any, so what am I supposed to do?

I’m going to do what I always do when other people cry. I’m going to look on in wonder and eventually ignore you. You can think it’s because I don’t care, so let me assure you that you have my deepest apathy.

crib-party-wide

 

Costume Special Part-4 – Whole Head Tattoo Guy

With still some time between now and Halloween, it’s very likely that you’re still looking for something that will make a great splash at whatever gala event you choose to attend, even if your idea of fun is just running door to door nabbing up as much candy as you possibly can, like it is for us. Well whatever your fancy, we’re committed to helping you look your best by considering all your options, and this installation in our Costume Special series is another example of exactly just that.

See how slick it is, this whole-head tattoo of his? Super cool!
See how slick it is, this whole-head tattoo of his? Super cool!

Most of the options you’ll consider will be masks and costumes, but there’s also another aspect of self-decoration you can entertain, and that is the element of makeup or other such things. In this case we’re talking about temporary tattoos, and I don’t mean just your regular, run-of-the-mill kind, but the other kind, the big kind.

Any self-respecting dollar store can set you up with a packet of temporary tattoos for some amount of money, I don’t know how much, I’d guess maybe about a buck or so, but what you may not realize is that for this same price you can get one very, very big tatt.

And if you’re a smallish person, such as my own eldest brother, who was so kindly as to model this for us strictly for his own enjoyment and the exhibition in the case of this article.

But seriously, check it out, the darn thing is huge!

It’s a solid idea for a costume, really. Sure, it’s technically kind of on the minimalist side, but look at the darn thing, it’s glorious. Maybe the only message you’re sending is “I’m bad to the bone,” but what’s wrong with that?

And don’t think that just because it’s simple, that it’s in any way easy cuz it isn’t. You try putting a flat tattoo on a scalpscape as topographically varied as a lumpy human head. That was a 2-parent job in getting the darn thing applied, I assure you, and they labored over it.

But it was worth it. The parents loved it, our guests loved it, and senior brother Patrick loved it like crazy too, and not just because of the attention he got. He loved looking at it (which was really tricky too since it’s in the opposite place from where his eyes are inconveniently located).

Patrick had to view it with a series of mirrors and also with the help of digital cameras, but he loved it just the same.

We’ll continue working on our series of Halloween Costume articles over coming weeks, but for now, go back and look at some of our past reviews, and strongly consider this one. It’s pretty darn good stuff and I can’t help but recommend it as strongly as possible. Doubt me if you will, but don’t do it much until you get a good look at it. If that ain’t cool I don’t know what is.

Above - As if you needed yet another shot of it (which you don't), here it is (and you're welcome!)
Above – As if you needed yet another shot of it (which you don’t), here it is (and you’re welcome!)

 

Brother Always Pushy, Finally Pays Off

Whether it’s toys, his agenda or the schedule of events, no one pushes harder than my senior brother Patrick and I’ve finally found a way to make lemonade from this bitter talent of his.
story461

Swing sets are great fun with all the to-ing and fro-ing, but old people get sick of pushing really quickly and my giggles fade to discontent. Patrick, normally my goat, stepped up to do his best pushing and resurrect my joy while elevating himself to hero status.

He’s pushing me like he always has, but this time it’s just great. Isn’t that great? Wait, let me give you a hintlet, or small hint. Yes, yes it is.

pushy2I know he’s been jealous of me since the beginning of (my) time and yet for all the the pushing away he does I keep coming back. This instance is not so different, and the harder he pushes me on the swing the faster I come back, and giggling too.

 

 

Have I finally found common grounds with my brother beyond watching cartoons and eating ice-cream? He’s always been more interested in observation while I’ve been the fearless thrill seeker. Could this be our middle ground?

Okay, no more pushing. I had a big lunch and even though there weren’t any cookies on my plate I think I’m about to toss a few.

 

Age Restriction Less Enforced than Gravity

A local park near the intersection of Walk and Don’t Walk has long been criticized for its age-restriction warnings. There are signs that state in plain gobble-de-gook that the toys and play are only for certain ages, but they aren’t enforced. Apparently the law that is still enforced in order to deter us is this one of “gravity” I keep hearing so much about.

Pictured here tumbling buttwards.
Pictured here tumbling buttwards.

This park has fallen under criticism, mostly my own, because they unfairly restrict the younger patrons from climbing up high for maximum enjoyment, but more so because the signs are not written in any language that persons under the minimum age of five are capable of reading. That’s not just unfair, it’s practically mean.

To our delight, these casual, though written, suggestions are not enforced. No, there are no playground zealots who stand around with a whistle to yell “no running” or “stay out of the deep end,” though I’m told it’s because there’s no water, no deep end, and that it’s basically just a city park.

I know all about schedules of reinforcement, whether it’s the metaphorical kind like how and when to throw a successful tantrum, or the more literal schedule we have next to the potty so I can earn stickers just for not soiling myself. My conditioning has taught me that if one rule isn’t enforced, neither are the others, but this was a mis-estimation on my part.

I figured since that law wasn’t enforced, gravity wouldn’t be either, but with my butt as exhibit-A, that theory doesn’t test true. It turns out that hasty play makes for regular trips, slips and an assortment of twisty falls down.

Subsequent research has reavealed that the age restriction is a suggestion, but gravity is a law, and one that’s on the books, but not the state law books, but rather the ones about physics. Turns out that suggestions can be avoided, but the consequence may still be there lurking right behind you, specifically in your back pockets, specifically as they smack the ground unexpectedly.

This knowledge is nice to have, but it’s no consolation to my backside.

When playing with toys or at playgrounds, or even just watching television or movies, take the age restriction into account. I got off lucky and got up quickly, but what if it had been a small, chokeworthy action figure accessory or television violence? Take if from my butt, sometimes you just can’t be too safe.

Above - With limited side railings and a grippy friction against my adorably tiny shoes, it's easy to understand why these fun playground toys may be beyond me. What is much harder to understand is how my shoe catching traction on the side spins me around backwards halfway down.
Above – With limited side railings and a grippy friction against my adorably tiny shoes, it’s easy to understand why these fun playground toys may be beyond me. What is much harder to understand is how my shoe catching traction on the side spins me around backwards halfway down.
Above - As the sign I can't read says, "This playground equipment is intended for children 5-12 years of age. Adult supervision is recommended. Please observe playground rules." Well that's easy enough to say, but I was obviously breaking at least this one rule, the one about me being half a lifetime too young to be here.
Above – As the sign I can’t read says, “This playground equipment is intended for children 5-12 years of age. Adult supervision is recommended. Please observe playground rules.” Well that’s easy enough to say, but I was obviously breaking at least this one rule, the one about me being half a lifetime too young to be here.

 

Puppy Claims Dog’s Life is ‘Rough’

If there’s one sort of real-world attraction I love more than just about anything, it’s the site of a puppy dog. My reckless disregard for personal safety at such times has so far served me no problems, but sometimes I take it past petting. In this case I asked how his life was going, and to my surprise he answered with a resounding “rough!”

He seems happy enough, but he still assures me his life is `rough`.
He seems happy enough, but he still assures me his life is `rough`.

I love the puppy dogs, really I do. I feel their pain, even when it’s me that’s causing it. It’s not that I wish harm upon a puppy (and I say that now in anticipation of my future bid for congress: I do not enjoy torturing puppies, not even if it’s in the name of freedom.) But to be square with you, I do spin my own stuffed puppy by his ears and frequently make the more visceral sorts of puppies yelp.

What can I say, I like a reaction. It’s the same reason I tap on the glass at the aquarium or pet store, even when the sign kindly begs “don’t”.

Daddy-O is generally in charge of keeping me safe in such instances, and he’s a veritable expert on such things since he was seriously bit by a real life dog, even permanently scarred over the deal, and he didn’t get so much as an apology back in kind. Imagine that, if you can, being bitten by a rich couple’s dog and not even getting an apology. Mean, right there, straight up mean.

But on this particular day I took it an extra step. I not only harassed and petted his kindly canine-ness, but took it the extra step and asked, “How are you, puppy?”

Those standing by corrected me, telling me he’s not a puppy, but a full-grown adult dog. Nice try, I say, I can tell the difference by size alone. This is one tree I don’t have to chop in half to count the rings, I can see he’s still a puppy because he doesn’t outweigh me, not by an ounce.

And grownups think they’re so smart?

So fine, whatever, he’s a dog and not a puppy (though I’d still argue he’s a puppy-dog) but, I still wanted to know what he thinks, how he feels and what his daily work-a-dog life is all about.

I asked him how he was, and he said “rough.” I petted him, and I can agree, his fur was pretty rough.

I asked him how his life is, and he said “rough.” Okay, you drink from a bowl on the floor and eat dog food, I can see that your life is indeed pretty rough.

I asked him how he wanted me to pet him, and he said “rough,” so I petted him rough and although he didn’t seem too excited about it, he didn’t complain either. But why should he complain after all, if your life is rough, any petting is a fine petting.

Although my sample group for this study was a gross total of one, I think it’s representative. I’ve never had the patience to take a study beyond the most cursory of sample sizes, so these findings are surely as valid as any I’ve reported before.

If your dog’s life is rough, consider some chew toys or maybe a taller doggy-door. And if you don’t care about the happiness of your doggy housemate, just bear in mind that your life may likewise become uncomfortably ruff before you know it.

Above - He's as handsome and hairy as he is disinterested in my interview. I guess he doesn't know who I am.
Above – He’s as handsome and hairy as he is disinterested in my interview. I guess he doesn’t know who I am.

 

Humble Chapel Sadly Downsized

In these budget shortfall days of dwindling cash reserves and perpetually tightening purse strings, churches are now feeling the squeeze quite literally. But as congregations shrink it’s good to know that shrunken churches are still around too.

Forgive me for cropping the steeple from my photo, was just so excited.
Forgive me for cropping the steeple from my photo, was just so excited.

I don’t know if this pint sized palace of prayer shrank in the dryer, didn’t eat its veggies as a child, or faced a spotted owl induced lumber shortage. It’s failure to grow as a building has been successful in bringing worship down to my level. It’s not down-sized, it’s genuinely right-sized.

Normal churches are not only overwhelmingly oversized but so inconvenient. Think of these tiny 7/11-type churches on every corner. How heavenly it would be to put God-huts here and there for wayfolk to stop and get their pray on. Who wouldn’t want mini chapels conveniently dotting the suburban sprawlcape to satisy any passing prayer desire?

church-downsizing2Left: See us here, as if waiting for a service to begin.

Just like my younger brother, this lean-two of worship is clearly God’s work. Like brother they’re compact, cute, and I like them just fine. These days that carries a lot of weight, even if I can’t.

If you’re an investor looking to reap tremendous gains in your spiritual portfolio, consider the micro church. The overhead is as low as the overhang and the upside is simply divine.

If you build it, let me know and I will come, but keep the Sunday service nice and brief. This is “short church” after all and we need to stick with that theme.

 

Toy Envy Surfaces, Brendan Reacts

My latest official toy inventory list shows our home plaything cache is nearing the b’zillion mark. As hard as me and the brothers try we’re hard pressed to entertain more than about three at a time. So how come whichever I’m playing with is your new favorite?

Brendan wants his chair back. Him and situation are both sad.
Brendan wants his chair back. Him and situation are both sad.

I know elder-bro Patrick was the sole king of the hill before I ambled onto the scene (with quite a splash, I might add). He’d wander and play at will and I respect that. I try to keep out of his face, since he’s not real sharp on sharing, but he’s gone just about looney.

He’s got his toys so I dig up some of my own. It’s no good though, he wants those too. Fine, I dig up some more, but then he wants to take those. We can repeat this until I’m down to shapeless, colorless, broken HappyMeal toys which, of course, he wants for his exclusive delight as well.

I gotta ask, “Come on bro, what gives?”

I’ve got my favorite toys I’m not so keen on sharing, but you can’t be in love with every last scrap of junk around here. Your toys, mine, Mom’s, Dad’s, stuff we find in the yard, you can’t tell me all of it’s yours. That’s just plain selfish.

I’m out of options. I give up. I didn’t want it to come to this, but I’m going to have to go over your head. It’s time to yelp and you know the parents are going to bust you right back down to private. I tried to resolve this between us but you’re being totally unreasonable.

Have to sign off now. I want toys too so I’m off to brandish a holler.

 

Costume Special Part-3 – Frightening Foam Fear-Faces

As the third installment in our ongoing pre-Halloween costume series, we’ve committed to buckling down, getting a bit more or less serious, and giving you the value you’ve been waiting for across the past handful of articles, in which the question has been asked more than once, “are you kidding?”

Pretty sure this is a who, what or werewolf mask, but I can`t be too sure about it. Still pretty scary.
Pretty sure this is a who, what or werewolf mask, but I can`t be too sure about it. Still pretty scary.

To answer quite plainly, yes, we are almost always kidding. That shouldn’t mean to you that we are not still serious. It’s like a celebrity roast, really, in that while we’re joking as hard as we can, we’re still shooting straight. So straight in fact, that we can’t possibly do it with a straight face.

So the third installment in our costume special is a much longer, more in depth and potentially helpful review slash report. This is our review of the Frightening Foam Faces of Fear, and as terrifying as it sounds, it’s really just a bunch of foam masks. I assure you that as scary as we believe the accompanying photographs are, I assure you that every one of them is a member of this newspaper’s staff with no more than a scary mask slapped across his face.

What we did to put this one together was order a dozen foam Halloween masks from theOriental Trading Company for like $6 or something ridiculous like that. They’ve got a zillion items in stock and their prices are always unbeatable, and this strong, heartfelt endorsement isn’t because they’ve ever given us any advertising revenue or promo merchandise for review, but because we love them even though they haven’t. In the nature of full-disclosure I should confess I think we got free shipping on an order once, but it was the seasonal promo, so you know, kind of a standard deal to everyone.

So to best know and understand the many faces of faces themselves, kindly read the following table.

costumes-31th Devil May Cry – It’s an easy enough costume, and it’s as convincing as any you’ll ever hope to find. Imagine a handsome baby brother or junior associate journalist, except with an all-encompassing devil mask on his face. I say you need look past the fake, foam smile and even the real, underlying baby face smile, and recognize that what you’re looking at right here may be something much more terrifying still. If you don’t believe it, that’s okay, just take away his Buzz Lightyear and you’ll see the real devil come out. Click here to see this photo full-size.
costumes-32th Fuzzy-Headed Fanghoulie – I know it’s impossible to imagine, or at least fairly difficult, but if you can see past the full forehead of faux hair, there’s a bald bigger brother under there, snarling only half as much as the mask might indicate. Add to that the astro-shirt and all the sudden you’ve got a tricking and/or treating terror the likes of which can only be satisfied with a fistful of candy. Click here to see this photo full-size.
costumes-33th I Want My Mummy – I love my mummy as much as my daddy, but I never thought I could be one myself. Boy was I as wrong as I obviously was right. By just donning this clever mask — and explaining at great length what it’s supposed to be — I was able to live the dream, though in all honesty it’s no dream I’ve ever actually had myself. Click here to see this photo full-size.
costumes-34th Fancy-Faced Whatchamawhosit – I go the extra mile to make sure every one of my explanations is of flawless accuracy and highest quality, but with a feather brow and sequined eye-bags, I have no idea what this costume is supposed to represent, and I’ve asked pretty much everybody “what’s that?” While I can’t tell you what he’s supposed to be, I can say with certainty that it’s a costume mask and that he doesn’t quite look like himself. Click here to see this photo full-size.
costumes-35th Knocky-Noggined Skeleton Guy – If there’s one thing that could scare me more than a skeleton guy wearing a fiery hot rod shirt, I can’t say what it is. I mean, I know what it is, sure, I can think of a couple dozen off the top of my head, but I can’t say it, because it would degrade this article. Scary mask and a scary notion too, huh? Click here to see this photo full-size.
costumes-36th Spider-Faced Web-Head – This is another one of those non-costume costumes. You know the kind, the ones that don’t exactly scream anything in particular, but something in general for sure. I guess he has a spider on his head and spiderwebs all over his face, which is pretty scary all around. I don’t know if you’ve ever walked through a spiderweb and got it all over your face, but it easily gives the heebies as quick as it does the jeebies, maybe for some it’ll even give the outright heebie-jeebies. Click here to see this photo full-size.
costumes-37th Casper the Icecream Head – This is a pretty great one, this Casper the Friendly Dollop of Ice-Cream-Head, because it screams spooky haunting at the same time as it says yummy vanilla ice cream all over your face and in your hair. While not exactly spooky, the notion of having frozen dairy products all over your head is at least a little bit haunting. I know since drafting this article the thought of that much tasty soft-serve all over me has haunted me, at least. Click here to see this photo full-size.

Although these costume masks were tremendous fun for us across a period of probably 2-weeks, these are highly unlikely to make our final chart-topping needed to earn the coveted “day of” status sought out by all costumes we may wear.

Stay tuned, however, as we have at least another handful of Halloween costume review articles coming, and I promise, some of them are probably pretty okay and stuff.

Above - Whether you're doing household chores or heading to the store, the last thing you'd expect to see is a trifecta comprised of a devil, a Frankenstein monster and a mummy. See, these foamy masks are pretty slick.
Above – Whether you’re doing household chores or heading to the store, the last thing you’d expect to see is a trifecta comprised of a devil, a Frankenstein monster and a mummy. See, these foamy masks are pretty slick.
Above - Whether a sequined bat-face, an effeminate warlock or a demure kitty cat (complete with uncomfy cat crouch) these costume ideas are easily amongst the best we've put forward to date.
Above – Whether a sequined bat-face, an effeminate warlock or a demure kitty cat (complete with uncomfy cat crouch) these costume ideas are easily amongst the best we’ve put forward to date.