27.10.10

Bruce Campbell's After School Halloween Special BITES



































Guest star Bruce Campbell -- considered a god in East Rutherford, NJ -- has POSSESSED all after-school activities at Chez Da-da for the remainder of the week (Bruce and Da-da are part of the same hive-brain Rotarian community), as we ramp down to All Hallow's Rockin' Eve (I'll be the Dick Clarke zombie). Bruce starts with the only book he ever reads, *DICK AND JANE AND VAMPIRES*, followed by Bruce sitting in with the always inspiring gothchickenmetal band, KNORKATOR...


























...which rocks, yay, then we have tiger pumpkin carving...





















...and a rousing bowl of Bruce's patented, homemade soup...






















...yum. Be sure to tip Bruce on the way out, or...



Hear-Muffs. What? HEAR-MUFFS. WHAT?






























Dang. Da-da's ears are cold and he's got MONGOMANIA and he's... well, he's just FOXY. So, what does he do? HE CLAPS ON HIS HEAR-MUFFS AND GETS NAKED. It's gonna be a '70s winter. Mongo... activate the Congo3000.

[NOTE: if anyone has a rip of Mongo Santamaria's LP, "MONGOMANIA," would you please contact me? Please? Don't make me beg.]

26.10.10

HOMEBOUND: The Series




















Since it's Halloween week, let's talk about something reeaaally scary, while at the same time putting some silly illusions into the ground. Cover 'em deep; if they stir, hit 'em with a shovel. 

Ok, for those of you without kids, imagine yourself in the same few rooms, in the same house, locked away, for years and years, with little crazy people. (Sounds a little like a college dorm, but it's one level below that, w/o the sex and drugs.) Being locked away... what would that do to your mind? And what would you be like WHEN THEY FINALLY LET YOU OUT? I really wouldn't know. They haven't let me out, yet.

I've been pretty much stuck indoors -- unless I've been running errands or shuttling kids back and forth in the physical layer -- for something like 12 weeks, now. TWELVE WEEKS. 120 DAYS.

First, it was Venus-hot. Can't go out when it's 902 degrees. Then, school started. Yaay, right? Not. Welcome to The Center for Disease Control! One kid gets sick. Then another. Then the wife, then me, then another kid, then both kids, then all four of us, then the cat, THEN JUST ME. My cough and choke and sputter have become a sixth family member. I knew I was in trouble when we recently saw our pediatrician, and I heard him making the same noises. "Oh, I've had this same cough since August." ARRGG.

And now, it's raining.



















Wherewasi? Oh, yes. HOMEBOUND.

Just as everyone starts feeling better, some goombah gives my youngest, Heironymus, A FLU SHOT, which made him kinda green and swollen and tantrum-y, but at least now he's RIPPED.






Hm. That does explain the endless debris field. But if I became a criminal, or criminally insane, hee hee, they'd lock me up, right? But I'm already locked up with the insane. Would that give me license to BE insane? Or should I be good so the warden is occasionally nice to me? (More like sparsely.) At least if they locked me up with other crazy adults, I could play cards, have a decent conversation, get some sleep, blog, mock the staff...























...Mr. DeVito, please pass the thorazine.

I was actually thinking of volunteering for Antarctic duty when I get out.




















Mr. DeVito, please pass the penguin tacos.

25.10.10

Marriage-a-trois


The missus initially disagreed, but then conceded that the only way to properly raise multiple children, without going mad, is... to marry a third party. Come on, you know it makes sense. Yeah, yeah, I know, sanctity of marriage blah blah blah. Then again, if you have two or more semper tantrum banshees in the airlock, all bets are off. You'll thank me later.

Now, after the curse of this delightful little gem of an idea wears off, then comes the tricky part: who's gonna be Number Three? And more importantly, what's their polarity?

Well, A Man Called Da-da has Triumphed over that little obstacle: if it's a ROBOT, then everyone's happy! That's right, THIS MIGHT BE THE DROID YOU WERE LOOKING FOR. You were waiting for that, right? Yeah, I'm weak.

Some might question the C3PO addition, but I for one LOVE gay robots; like Rabbi Robots, they're just funnier than regular robots.


All for one and one extra one to clean up the barf! Get to it, professor.

21.10.10

Da-da 101: SLEEP and The Baby Pendula


Since Da-da's supposed to be a jaded combat Da-da veteran source of parenting wisdom here, he decided to showcase one of his Top Ten Most Helpful Baby-containment Secrets. Da-da probably had a couple thousand of these ideas/skills at one time, but being Mr. Mom has taken its toll. Frankly, at this point, Da-da can't remember a damn thing, let alone his own name, hence the fact that he continues to refer to himself as, "Da-da."

Da-da was reminded of this sad fact when he recently went to Ace Hardware to get a new log carrier (for, you know, logs). He took the thing out of the box and suddenly recalled all the awe and mystery of being the parent of an infant who desperately needed to GO TO SLEEP. Like, right now. And O God, the screaming, the crying, the green projectile vomit, the shouting priests... Da-da feels dead-tired just thinking about it.

After this washed over Da-da, he thought, "Hey! Da-da's memory is coming back!" (Like Antarctica SLOOOWLY melting.) And then: "No. Da-da can't tell them THAT [the thing he remembered]. Someone might be stupid with it."

Ok, Da-da WILL tell you the secret, but don't be stupid with it. And if you're going to do this, READ EVERYTHING FIRST. THEN READ IT AGAIN. Da-da won't be responsible for you being stupid.

THE most important thing about being a parent of an infant is getting that kid to SLEEP. Kids grow when they sleep, and growth obviates lots of obstacles... and invokes others. Indeed, things like feeding and safety and avoiding zombies are also important, but we want you SANE and reasonably un-zombie-like, and to be a SANE un-zombie-like parent, you need sleep -- and you're not gonna get sleep if your child isn't getting any sleep.

Out of desperation, Da-da invented this thing, which he calls, "The Baby Pendula." Works better than anything else he tried, including those $400 auto-swing things. Why? Because the baby is STARING at you the whole time, wondering what the hell you're doing. Then... by the time the baby's figured it out... BAM: Snooze City.

Before we begin, Da-da will tell you again: don't be stupid with The Baby Pendula. But, if you're going to construct this thing (it's incredibly easy), READ EVERYTHING HERE FIRST. THEN READ IT AGAIN. Da-da will not be responsible for you being stupid. Ok, here we go.


Get a sturdy log carrier from the hardware store. Get one that's nylon (or leather) and strong. Make sure it doesn't have any defects. You'll also need an UBER-soft baby blankie -- but not too plush, as you don't want to asphyxiate your child.


Place the folded blankie over the edges. NOTE: don't pull up the folded ends of the log carrier and tuck the blankie in. I know it seems like you want the baby tucked in there like a log, but doing this might tempt you to swing a little harder, which is something you don't want to do. Here's one Da-da prepared earlier.


Lay the Baby Pendula on the floor, or bed, or somesuch safe soft low surface, and lay the swaddled baby on it -- LONGWAYS, MAURICE -- and MAKE SURE THE BABY HAS BEEN BURRITOED, swaddled, made nicely immobile. You want the baby unable to escape. (Don't laugh maniacally at your parental power and control, because it won't last, and it'll also wake up the baby.) You can indeed use the Baby Pendula with an older unswaddled baby, but be careful that they don't escape or wriggle out. If they're too big, then this won't work (as you'll see), so don't try.

You want the baby centered on the blankie. You might need to scootch the baby a little this way or that to achieve balanced baby equilibrium. While you do this, the baby's gonna be watching you, thinking, "WHAT is this crazy unshaven bastard doing?" Remember: baby's are SMART. Like ma-ma, they're much smarter than you think. Much smarter than YOU (which isn't hard to do if you're Da-da).

Note: NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON A BABY. That's just what they want you to do.

Anyway, gently tuck the centered, swaddled, drowsy, well-fed, and burped baby between the two sides of the log carrier, and pick up the handles to form a soft baby taco, thus:

Do this over carpet or pillows/blankets/cushions, not over a hardwood floor.

Stand with your feet fairly far apart and swing the baby veeery gently, back and forth, head-first, with both hands in the handles, handles together. You can swing on one side or between your legs, whatever's most comfortable.

NOTE 1: Don't do this over a hardwood floor like Da-da is doing. Do it over carpet or some blankets/pillows, etc. Plan for the baby suddenly escaping/falling out.

Swing like this [see below video], while making that womb-whooshing, "SH-WSH-WSH-WSH-WSH-WSH..." sound. This GENTLE rocking motion and noise will simulate the baby rocking GENTLY inside the womb as ma-ma was walking around thinking how wonderful her life was going to be, pre-birth. Again, be sure to rock the baby over something soft in the off-chance that your child is like a baby Jackie Chan. And again, BE CAREFUL. Da-da would have made and marketed this thing himself, but you just know some drunken, speed-freak bonehead is gonna swing his kid into a vending machine at a bus station and then sue, SUE LIKE THE WIND. No, thanks.

NOTE 2: if the baby's agitated and thrashing around, don't use this thing.

You want a subservient/drowsy/well-fed/swaddled baby as your subject, not a pissed-off radioactive one with laser vision. Also, if the baby isn't asleep after say 30 minutes, you might want to wait a little while before trying again. Jeez, holding the baby swaddled and rocking back and forth, badly singing old Beatles tunes isn't a bad route. Just remember to be BORING. Babies stay awake for DAYS if you're interesting.  


NOTE 3: The BabyPendula does NOT work with older children, like young 900 lb. Bronko here. It's only for babies. Once they become as big as a B-movie frozen turkey, you're just asking for some long-term back injury. And the National Guard.

NOTE 4: Some babies don't like this thing. They don't like unicorns, either. Da-da has no idea why. You'll KNOW if your baby doesn't like it. Babies are good at letting you know. No, really.

NOTE 5: DON'T MAKE THIS THING AND BE STUPID WITH IT! Now that you know about the Baby Pendula... and since Common Sense isn't Common, anymore... Da-da will now state AGAIN that you take all responsibility if you decide to make one of these. Swing your child as if /she were made of the finest, thinnest crystal CONTAINING STRANGELET-NITROGLYCERINE that, at the tiniest BUMP, will explode and rip open the space-time continnuum so badly that giant spiders and huge screaming mother-in-law EYES will stream out of the rift and consume every living thing on the earth until it's a barren fog-enshrouded parking lot full of attorneys. Brrr. Yeah. So there. Be careful, you apes. Watch the video and BE GENTLE, Dracula.

video

19.10.10

Bright Tykes, Big City


I kept my young charges, Bronko and Nagurski, out of school today to size them up at the first annual Youth Work Force Draft, held at Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA. Expected to become an annual event, the forum is the brainchild of Dr. Sheldon Tyrel (brother of The Rand's principal), a professor emeritus from The University of Morvalia who’s now a human resources consultant. His goal: to match elementary and junior high school students with corporations eager to install them into cubicles as soon as possible.

Representatives from the federal government, VC firms and several big-name tech companies were in attendance, hoping to quietly cash in on the next wave of intellectual capital. Outside, school buses were parked four-deep.


“This conference is all about harnessing the moneymaking potential of youthful energy and creativity right now, while we can still use it,” said Dr. Tyrel before a group of soon-to-be-auctioned fifth-graders from Ayn Rand Elementary School (aka, "The Rand"). “Events such as these will help bring new life to corporations in dire need of young blood -- and help adults in those corporations get back to a 40-hour work week.”

The conference keynote was delivered by former Vice President Dick Cheney.


“They say the children are our future,” said Mr. Cheney, patting the head of one local youngster who got too close. “See young Timmy, here?” he gestured to the 8-year-old (who muttered, "Billy"). “When his stock options mature after he turns 18, he’ll be worth a bundle – and his parents can borrow against that. Even before that, he’ll be earning a good wage, scaled to his age group. And since Jimmy already has a taxpayer ID… I mean, a Social Security number, he can start contributing to society immediately.”

In conclusion, Mr. Cheney was bullish on the future. “With this conference, Dr. Tyrel has successfully married the concepts of work and play, as well as solved the Social Security budget problem. These children can look forward to not only learning and growing and playing, but also pulling their own weight for a change. Hook up to the plow, kids.”

The speech was punctuated by a half-hour standing ovation from the assembled parents and teachers.

Dr. Tyrel was pleased by the speech. “Dick's right. These children will be the world’s first trillionaires. And, as money is the most important thing in our society, this conference was specifically designed to give children the head start they so desperately need to stay competitive in this rapidly changing workplace environment.”

After the speeches, it came time for the main event: the draft itself. It took just 5 hours and 47 minutes to draft approximately 800 honor students from 58 S.F. Bay Area schools. First on the block were students from the “gifted” programs, who mounted the dais with sure grins and outstanding grades.

The first youth selected was Garrett Honux, a genius-level 6-year-old. The 4-foot-3, 68-pound honor student from Precambrian Park Elementary was snapped up by recent IPO Calix Networks for a 10-year, million-dollar contract. As a reward for being first pick, he was given a condo in Aspen and an OC-192 fiber line to his family’s home in Campbell.

“Calix had the most attractive compensation package,” said Garrett. “And their stock option plan was pretty competitive, if it pans out. But I really did it for the connectivity -- AND I get to hang out with CARL!” he grinned, toting a giant promisory note signing bonus for a half-million dollars, and a lifesized cardboard cut-out of Calix CEO, Carl Russo.

But such deals were unusual. Most kids with lesser qualifications and test scores went for much less. In the rounds to come, a fifth-grader from Monta Rinconada Middle School took away a $15,000 signing bonus and a company car from a company to be named later (represented by Kleiner-Perkins), and a fourth-grader from a private school went for an undisclosed amount.

“Young Susie there was a real catch,” noted a human resources manager from Oracle. “She usually does her homework – and even smiles on occasion. But don’t worry: we’ll wipe that smile off her face.”

One CEO of a major tech company, who wished to remain anonymous, held out for junior-high kids. “Nothing changes like a junior high school student,” he said. “These kids are volatile. DYNAMIC. That’s what we want.”

He also noted that his company had ceased college recruiting altogether. “College kids are all over the hill, in my opinion; they can’t keep up; expectations are too high. Some high-priced university has already pumped their heads full of bad ideas about how they’ll be making the big bucks after graduation. Most companies these days would rather pay a 9-year-old in stock options and Cheerios than pay any of those old, game-addicted twentysomethings $80K.”

He then touted his own firm’s fringe benefits. “At our company, these kids get all the coffee and candy they want. This bennie works well with our new 95-hour work week.”

Desmond Caulfield, chairman and CEO of Descend, noted that employers shouldn’t expect full performance out of 100 percent of the students they draft. “It’s like buying an old box of Topps baseball cards. There are usually some duds in there, but also potentially a few gem rookie cards. You live for those.”

One pharmaceutical giant went the mass-buying route: it took Mrs. MacPherson’s entire sixth-grade class from Warren G. Harding Elementary School in Alta Brava.

“They all cried a little, at first,” said HR manager Lea Bishoff. “That is, until we showed them our stock option plan. That’s when they got with the program. They’ll all retire at 25.”

“Young children can benefit corporations immensely,” noted a senior analyst at Grope Research in later break-out groups, where parents were able to ask questions. “Smaller children don’t necessarily mean smaller returns. On the contrary, they use smaller cubes, eat less, and they’re much easier to intimidate and control—once you’ve disarmed them.”

“Most of the larger corporations have been working toward a more Dickensian work force model, anyway,” said Arlan Schmenge, CEO of SoftPeople. “Opening it up for the kids makes this model more complete.”

In the end, it was Dick Cheney who summed up the future most succinctly: “We need events like this to bring the little bastards’ high expectations down to earth, where they belong.”

18.10.10

Get Da-da! (Hurry, While Supplies Last)


Now that his two boys are in school -- and since Da-da's Freudian dream of driving the Oscar Mayer WienerMobile across France was nixed by a cruel and myopic corporate mandate [sniff] -- it's time for Da-da to look for a job. Not this trivial rearing of crazed pre-adolescent wildebeests, or driving 10-ton weiners through foreign lands kinda gig. No, Da-da needs something uniquely challenging to gleam his many humblemeter facets. So, let's review Da-da's unique photo-essay qualifications. Ready?


To begin with, Da-da's an incredible chef and international meal planner of mystery.


Voila! His ability to conjure nutritious and INTRIGUING meals...


...is equaled only by his internecine mastery of CHEESE.


He's also a former Sansabelt KnitFellow ninja assassin...


...a robotic spiritual therapist...


...and a big cat wrangler.


And besides his amazingly curative mental and physical prowess (often continued on 2nd page following)...


...Da-da is The Grand Poobah of Toxic Spill Clean-up...


...a wizard of sibling rivalry/conflict resolution...


...fearless author of parodic monstrosity...


...and friend to monsters.


Da-da stands for tireless INNOVATION...


...and fun!


He can woo you with his FABULOUS cinnamon toast...


...and terrify you with a very very strong and sinister cup of Da-da coffee.


Da-da is MANLY and prolific (but hopefully has more sense than the above pic demonstrates)...


...and is occasionally a really big woman (in a manly way).


Aaaand, while he occasionally makes the odd mistake, above all...


...Da-da's always got your back. So, if you could use someone with Da-da's AWESOME skillset, please write to dada-AT- amancalleddada-DOT-com today. [NOTE: Spammers will be made to serve drinks in Dick Cheney's Winnebago.]

15.10.10

Vintage BabyGoalieTrainer MEANS RESULTS


















What with my two boys, Vlad and Whomper, starting soccer (and red-carding after only 30 seconds, yay), I figured this vintage baby goalie trainer was just the thing for young miscreants who can't stop using their hands to drive feckless opponents into the ground.




















Guard those corners, baby.

Ok, I gotta brag: both my young charges were heavily recruited by our local coach. Here they are IN ACTION:






















They're standing on each other's shoulders inside that bunny suit, the girl team's mascot. BUT THAT TAKES REAL SKILL. They've got those girls' backs. And those little misses are KILLERS. Cute. Bloodthirsty. I mean... LOOK AT THE BONES.

14.10.10

It's the Hat




Da-da spoke with his good friend and mad scientist, Doc Brown, and he suggested that the whole UFO thing is really a matter of perspective. We'd all be seeing UFOs in our skies, Doc maintained, if we were simply wearing the right headgear. This led Da-da to a quick search for an appropriate hat... but most appear to be feline.



This is not to say that cats aren't seeing UFOs, but Da-da's research does begin to explain why space aliens are keeping their distance.


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