Chuck & Beans

A few months ago, I posted about Dave Kellett’s sharp-witted webcomic Sheldon. Well, I’ve discovered another online comic strip that I’ve been itching to share.

The Shoebox division of Hallmark Cards has ramped up their web presence in the past couple of years and they’ve got some hilarious stuff on their Shoebox Blog. Brian’s weekly Chuck & Beans is terrific:

Shoebox Greetings' Chuck and Beans comic strip

And be sure to check out Dan’s Newsdroppings, also on the Shoebox Blog, for a stiff dose of daily news satire. Just don’t be drinking any milk when you click that link!

A Texan in the Making

Texas ProudAs you may recall back in November of last year, Liam was working on his Texas Pride.

I’m happy to report that yesterday he officially used the word y’all in a sentence. It went something like this; “Mom, are y’all both going in the store?” This of course made me beam with my own Texas Pride.

Now, if we could just get him to like hot sauce, his Texan transformation would be complete!

Terrorists, No More

In response to the recent shooting of Congresswoman Giffords in Tucson, Hillary Clinton empathized that America has loony, sometimes dangerous extremists just like nearly every other nation. While I don’t especially care for or agree with her uneven comparison of this lone gunman’s actions with that of militant groups like al-Qaeda, I did like Clinton use of the word “extremists” rather than “terrorists.”

I wonder if, by calling nutjobs (here or abroad) “terrorists,” we’re giving them a certain amount of power? Perhaps we’re tacitly admitting that they’ve accomplished their goal—they’ve instilled terror and disrupted our lives. Are we in some way giving these loonies exactly what they desperately crave?

Biff Tannen photoSo maybe former-President George W. Bush had it right when he called them “evil-doers.” Sure, at the time, I thought it sounded juvenile and had some odd evangelical connotations, but maybe I just failed to understand his rationale. Was Bush just trying to avoid giving terrorists the satisfaction of living up to their label?

Therefore, I’ve decided we should mandate that anytime they’re mentioned in the media—be it print or broadcast—terrorists must be referred to as “buttheads.”
Just imagine the headlines:

     “Buttheads Delay Flights in NYC”

     “Domestic Buttheads On The Rise”

     “Citizens Foil Libyan Butthead Plot”

What better way to trivialize and emasculate these buttheads?

Biff Tannen would approve.


Some time back I posted about a comic strip I had found online and thoroughly enjoy called Pearls Before Swine by Stephan Pastis. Recently I stumbled across another strip that I really like and would like to share.

The webcomic Sheldon by San Diegan Dave Kellett is just terrific! “Sheldon” is filled with pop-culture references and fun, random storylines surrounding an offbeat family consisting of a ten-year-old billionaire boy, his duck Arthur (who learned to talk when Sheldon downloaded some speech-recognition software into his head) and his coffee-loving grandfather who raises them both.

Kellett’s sarcastic sense of humor draws from some of the same pool of genius as does Pastis: Bloom County, The Far Side, and Calvin & Hobbes. I especially like how the Granddad deals with aging, technology, and society on the whole. Take a peek at a few favorites and then go subscribe so you can receive “Sheldon” in your email inbox daily:

Sheldon webcomic - 12/15/01
Sheldon webcomic - 09/27/10
Sheldon webcomic - 11/26/09
Sheldon webcomic - 02/04/10

The Crust of the Matter

Ever heard of Smucker’s Uncrustables for kids? These frozen peanut butter sandwiches (of dubious nutritional caliber) come in a variety of flavors, are made from whole wheat or white crustless bread, and are thawed out an hour or two before lunch or snacktime.

I bring this up because earlier this week I read a brief post over at Bargain Briana about a kitchen tool that lets you make your own Uncrustables-style sealed pocket sandwiches. I read the article and promptly left a comment hoping to generate a little discussion on the broader topic of cutting crusts. Frankly, I’m kinda miffed that Briana apparently not only opted to toss out my comment, but didn’t even email me. Okay, fair enough—her blog, her prerogative. Perhaps she just didn’t want to get mired down in the dicey, controversial waters of crust-cutting. So, I thought I’d broach the topic here:

Let’s not mince words: I’m opposed to the idea of cutting crusts off of sandwiches for kids on a number of levels:

  1. Babies don’t come out of the chute with an inbred hatred of bread crusts; parents implant that notion. Why foster the idea that crusts are bad?
  2. Crust-cutting not only creates more work for harried parents, but unnecessary waste as well. Why instill the expectation that someone will always gladly take the time to needlessly trim off and discard an otherwise good portion of a sandwich?
  3. The crust is the most nutritious part of bread, containing 8 times more antioxidants and more dietary fiber, which helps prevent colon cancer! Why wouldn’t you want your kid(s) to have the full benefit of the foods you’ve chosen (and paid hard-earned money) for them to eat?
  4. And lastly, in support of my pro-crust position, I offer the following:

    If thou tastest a crust of bread, thou tastest all the stars [and] heavens.
    —English poet, Robert Browning (1812-1889)

  5. But maybe I’m missing something here. Is there a valid reason for crust-cutting that simply eludes me? Am I some kinda retrograde Luddite or just being downright negligent by not trimming the nefarious crusts off of Liam’s otherwise delicious sammiches?

    So, what do you think? Do you cut the crusts off of your kids’ bread?

Mr. Motormouth

We’ve mentioned a few times (most recently on our Labor Day trip to Round Rock) how thankful we are that Liam is such a great traveler and generally loves riding in the car. Even on long rides, he doesn’t usually sleep much, but instead just occupies himself with a book, his doodlepad, a toy or just looking out the window. But regardless of whatever else is going on, he’s always talking.

Don’t get me wrong, Dede & I love how communicative our son is and we’re often outright floored by the very mature way he converses with us. (Dede would probably say that he’s inherited his Dad’s propensity for “big words.”) But y’know, while Liam’s very articulate speech is usually fun & impressive, there is a downside:   he almost never stops yakking!

So, so many times, I’ve flashed back to the old Bugs Bunny cartoon where the loose-lipped rabbit is mistakenly kidnapped by gangsters and ends up driving them batty with his incessant chatter. Sure, we’ve doled out more than a few “hushes!” but more than once I’ve wanted oh so badly to be able to instead just say this (without the gun, of course):

(Naturally, Liam clams up tight when we really want him to say something clever or cute on cue. Oh yeah, then he’s a regular Michigan J. Frog.)

So, what about your kids—are they chatterboxes or as quiet as church mice?

Green Fleas

lamb by Sandra BoyntonLast night Liam was belting out “Mary Had a Little Lamb” all through his bath time. And his version had a lot more to it than I remember the song having. (In fact, according to Wikipedia, the song has 4 verses!) After his bath, we had a long discussion about Mary’s lamb and it turns out that she had 4 of them named Maryolia, Elmolia, Hugolia & Oscarolia.

Oscarolia has green “fleas” because he likes to drink pickle juice. 😉  There’s nothing like the mind of a 4 year old!

Thrifty Yet Nifty, Even After Fifty!

Green Eggs and HamIn yesterday’s New Year’s post I noted that 2010 is destined to be an eventful year, loaded with all sorts of special occasions.   One such milestone is the 50th anniversary of one our favorite books—”Green Eggs and Ham.”

After writing “The Cat in the Hat” in 1955 using only 223 words, Theodor (“Ted”) Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, bet his publisher Bennett Cerf $50 that he could write a book using only 50 words.   Seuss collected on the wager in 1960 with the publication of “Green Eggs and Ham” which did indeed use only 50 distinct words — of which, only one (“anywhere”) has more than a single syllable.   This simplistic yet infectious book has become the 4th best-selling children’s hardcover book of all time.

Liam has a number of Dr. Seuss books, but this one is definitely our favorite so far.   I especially enjoy acting out the exasperation felt by the story’s unnamed, flustered antagonist who is pestered relentlessly by the persistent Sam I Am!

Trivia: To memorialize Dr. Seuss upon his death in 1991, Reverend Jesse Jackson recited “Green Eggs and Ham” during a Saturday Night Live Weekend Update segment.