I Brake for Cat Abuse

Over the years, we’ve heard all the negative homeschool stereotypes. You know, like we’re just a bunch of anti-social gun nuts teaching our children that the Earth is 6,000 years old and the President is a Muslim communist.

Okay, so that may actually be true of a few homeschoolers I know, but it’s just not the case for the vast majority of us who are simply trying to give our kids a better education.

I’ve talked with my kids about stereotypes, and how unfair it is to label a person based on misplaced assumptions.

Apparently, I’ll need to have that talk with my daughter again.

After I stop laughing.

Yesterday, we were driving down a residential street when I spotted a group of three or four teenagers throwing rocks at a cat trying to escape up a wooden fence into the safety of someone’s backyard.

I brake for cat abuse, by the way.

Actually, I yanked the steering wheel hard to the left, did a 180 in the street, and roared our van back to the spot where the kids had been.

They scattered like cowardly rats before I could even roll down my window to chew them out.

Watching them flee, my feline-worshiping daughter piped up from the back seat: “That was really mean of them. They must go to public school.”

First published March 10, 2010

Love/Hate Christmas

I love setting up the Christmas tree, lights, and assorted decorations.

I hate taking them down just because they never seem to fit back in the boxes I took them out of!

I love looking out at the snow.

I hate driving in the snow.

I love giving fun toys and games to my kids.

I hate that nobody ever gives ME fun toys and games anymore.

I love listening to Christmas music.

I hate listening to Christmas music, ’round about midnight of December 25th.

I love the looks on my kids’ faces when they open their presents.

I hate having to figure out where to put all this new stuff they’re getting.

I love the cookies and treats.

I hate that my clothes won’t fit right for weeks after.

I love watching A Christmas Story, Home Alone, and Polar Express with my kids. And, after they go to bed, watching Christmas Vacation with my wife.

I hate that there are so many horrible Christmas movies out there, like Deck The Halls and Jingle All The Way.

I love egg nog ice cream.

I hate peppermint ice cream.

I love forgetting about the world’s troubles for just a few days.

I hate that the troubles seem to always return in a worse way.

What do you love/hate about Christmas?

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before

I think I’ve found the best joke book ever.

For a history buff like myself, The World’s Oldest Joke Book, by Dan Crompton, is an awesome collection of ancient jokes that are both funny and fascinating.

This is basically a translation of a Roman joke book from the 4th century AD, called Philogelos, which just happens to be the oldest surviving collection of jokes in the world. Written by a couple of Greek scholars, it must’ve been the ultimate bathroom reader of its day.

Our ancestors laughed at pretty much the same things we do today. Farts, sex, eunuchs. Well, maybe that last one has lost a bit of its edge over the years.

In particular, the peoples of the ancient world truly enjoyed their blonde jokes. Back then, they were simply called idiots.

An idiot goes to visit a really sick friend. When he arrives, the wife says, with tears in her eyes, “Sadly, he has already left us.”

“Oh well,” says the idiot. “When he comes back, tell him I dropped by.”

A few of the jokes haven’t stood the test of time, but most of them are as identifiable now as they were nearly 2000 years ago.

Hairdresser: “How shall I cut your hair, sir?”
Client: “In silence.”

This is certainly one of the most interesting and unusual joke books I’ve seen, and it’s a fun one to have around the house. A slight warning, though. This is not a kid-friendly book. You know how those Greeks and Romans were. While most of the jokes are just fine, there are a few that stray into the PG-13 and R neighborhood.

Otherwise, any student of humor or history would love to see this book stuffed into their stocking on Christmas morning. As I said before, it’s a fascinating glimpse into what made our ancient ancestors double over with laughter.

The publishers have graciously offered a free copy of The World’s Oldest Joke Book to one of my readers. If you’d like a copy, just leave a comment on this post, telling me what always makes you laugh.

I’ll pick a winner this weekend.

Sorry, US and Canada addresses only.

Steve the Superhero

Eric Herman has just released a brilliant new video for his song “Steve the Superhero” on YouTube. Hilarious animation… Your kids are going to love this one!

The Pacific Northwest performer is starting a big summer tour that will take him through Louisiana, Texas, Nevada, and California over the next month.

Check out his website for dates and places!