Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Take the first twin, and only speak English to it. Then only speak French to the other. Twin #1 will have access to American media, people, etc. Twin #2 will only have access to French language media, French Canadians, etc.

This experiment will allow researchers to see if language affects development or morality or perhaps even sassyness. It will also keep our twins from communicating with each other, thus eliminating their ability to plot against us. This is very important.

Drawback: Julie and I don't know how to speak French.

Friday, January 27, 2006


First off, I don’t make as much money as my wife. So there. It’s not even close. I make a fraction of what my wife does, and it makes perfect sense. She has an advanced degree from an Ivy League school. I flunked high school. She works in business. I’m in TV news. There is no money in TV news. Not in this market, anyway.

But I’m not complaining. I lived on my wages until I was about 30, and it sucked. For a period of time, I lived in a garage. Before that, I lived in a Subaru. So I’m more than happy that I eventually met and married someone who makes more money than a Burger King employee.

Quite frankly, I’ve never quite understood why men have problems if their wives make more money than they do. Why does that upset men? Are they mad that they have to live a higher standard of living? Is it the nicer vacations that have them down? Or do they just relish poverty?

It’s hard to say for sure, bit I imagine it has something to do with traditional gender roles. The whole “man as a provider” thing dies hard. I take pride in not being tied down by stuffy old traditions, but… well… perhaps I shouldn’t take too much pride.

Today my wife and I went to get a home loan. We brought a big envelope full of documents to prove that we have jobs and bank accounts and that we’re very nice people and that we’ll pay all that money back if you just give us 30 years. In that envelope was my first pay stub from my new job. It reflected my big new raise. There was even some overtime on it. It was perhaps the biggest paycheck I’ve ever taken home.

So the broker is looking at my wife’s pay stubs and a bank statement and he seems very happy. He runs a credit check and smiles even more. Then I offer him my pay stub.

“Oh I don’t think we’ll be needing that.”

“You sure?”

“Oh yeah, we can get you approved with your wife’s income alone.”

“Well, won’t my income really help push it over the edge?”

“No, it’s just one more thing we have to document. You’ll be fine with just your wife’s income.”

“You sure, because I’ve got the pay stub right here? I got a raise… it says it right here.”

“Really, it’ll be fine. I’ve already run the numbers and you’re pre-approved.”

“Well… ok. If you need my pay stub… you know… I’ve got it right here.”

I guess it should be reassuring. As far as the mortgage people are concerned, I can get canned tomorrow (and that happens all the time in TV news) and nobody would really care.

It was a tad emasculating, however. But there isn’t much to do about it now. I guess I’ll just stop thinking about it and finish my crème brulee. It really is quite delicious.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


I spoke the offending word on Monday and the reaction was swift and violent...

Me: The snow getting bad enough that they may close the 5.

Boss: No! Don't ever say that again!

Me: What snow?

Boss: No, "the."

Me: As in?

Boss: "The 5." Don't ever say "the 5." Interstate 5 is fine, I-5 is ok. But not "the 5."

Me: What's wrong with "the 5"?

Boss: It means you're from California, we can't have that.

Me: What's wrong with California? We're only 25 miles from the California border. Almost everyone I've met since I moved here is from California.

Boss: Yeah, but everyone here also hates Californians. If you say "the 5" you're a Californian. Last time someone said "the 5" on the air, we got all sorts of angry phone calls from viewers.

Me: Really?

Boss: Oh yeah.

I'm not quite sure why Californians put "the" in front of their freeway names, but it didn't strike me as weird when I moved to LA in 1996.

Perhaps it didn't sound strange to me because I had moved to California from Utah. In Utah, they'll put a "the" ahead of just about any noun you can imagine, as in "Doug is going to school down at the BYU," or "I've got a job down at the Zion's Bank."

Now in Utah they add a "down at" or (if you're quite old) "down to" ahead of the "the." But my point is that it wasn't much of a transition for me to hear and, yes, even say "the" before naming freeways in LA.

If I am to avoid the wrath of the good TV viewers of Oregon, I must stop he "the"-ing as soon as possible. It won't be easy. I still say "Hey, man" which, if I'm not mistaken, fell out of use about the time "Welcome Back Kotter" went of the air.

But try I will. But tonight, just for old times sake, I'll take the 5, to the Redwood Highway, to the 101 and check out the coastline.

There, that felt great.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


When I lived in LA, I'd hear that question a lot. It was usually directed towards some woman whose breasts were too good to be true. But now those questions are being directed at me and my wife, and it has nothing to do with our breasts.

"You're having twins? Are they natural?"

Natural twins. From what I can tell, all twins seem a bit unnatural to me. Sort of like this odd, multiplying parasite. You wake up one day and your wife is a baby vending machine, what can possibly be natural about that?

But what they really want to know is if we corked the bat, so to speak. It seems just about everyone is on fertility drugs these days, and some of these drugs can cause a woman's ovaries to fire like an automatic weapon.

But as fate would have it, there were no drugs involved in the conception of these two kids. It was just dumb luck, coupled with the fact that I am an extremely potent man.

That's all.

P.S. I promise a non-baby-related post to this site by the end of the week.

Thursday, January 12, 2006


They used to show us those films when we were in the 9th grade. Two groovy kids like each other, and they start to get "involved." Before you know it, things get a bit "hot and heavy." Then, strange feelings, puking, and a trip to the doctor.

Then the doctor has a talk with the two young, attractive kids:

"I know you've told me otherwise, but I know the two of you have been having sexual relations. And I know this because Janet here is...

(cue music)


I didn't pay much attention to those films, but perhaps I should have. Because few years ago I turned 30 and met this really groovy girl and, after 5 years of marriage... well... things got out of hand. The relationship turned physical, what can I say? They warned us in Sunday School about this sort of thing, but the temptation was just too much.

Then, one morning, I start puking. I can't stop. Puke, puke, puke. So Julie takes me to the doctor...

"I know you've told me otherwise, but I know the two of you have been having sexual relations. And I know this because Julie here is...

(cue music)


(cue me puking again)

(Cue me passing out, waking up, and puking again)

But this time, the doctor didn't stop...

"But that's not all, there's something you should know!"

(cut to extreme close up of Julie, then me)

"Julie here is pregnant...

(cue even more music)


(more puking, more fainting, etc.)

So its twins. Due around the end of July or the beginning of August.

We think they'll be able to pay their own way by participating in all those scientific experiments they need twins for.

We're thinking of conducting our own: breast feed one, bottle feed another and see if the bottle fed one becomes a killer or anything like that.

We've still got some time to figure that one out, but feel free to post suggested experiments in the "comments" area.

Julie is fine and has no morning sickness, which is extremely rare for twins. But I'm still puking quite a bit.

But that's to be expected.

Sunday, January 08, 2006


It’s no big secret that Julie and I were never all that “at home” in Texarkana. Loyal readers (or should I say loyal reader: “hi Darrell”) may recall me telling a story about traveling 200 miles to buy root beer in Dallas and how the guy who put in our sprinklers found that fact a little odd.

While in Texarkana, the following exchange once took place, really.

Location: At the EZ Mart (Texarkana is the World Headquarters of EZ Mart, which is only in Texarkana)

Scenario: I’ve come to the counter with a Pepsi and a bag of Fritos.

Counter Person: “Do you want anything else?”

Me: “Oh… do you think I should get something else?

Counter Person: “Huh?”

Me: “Is this not enough stuff?”

Counter Person: “What?”

Me: “Nothing. Never mind.”

Counter Person: “You know, I get the idea that you’re on a completely different level than me.”

That pretty much summed up my experience in Texarkana. It was like being a visitor from another planet. Yes, we were aliens, and our space ship was a Subaru. To our knowledge, ours was the only Subaru in Texarkana. We had Yankee accents, preppy clothes, and a sneaking suspicion that George W Bush may not have been personally placed in the White House by the hand of God. In short, we didn’t fit in. So we tried to escape any way we could.

We watched satellite TV. We listened to podcasts. We watched movies in Dallas. In the end we didn’t even watch the local TV news… with me on it. We dreamed of leaving Texarkana for a place where weren’t so out of place.

Finally we escaped for real. We moved 2,000 miles to Oregon. It’s hard to imagine two places more different than Medford and Texarkana. One has one of the world’s most acclaimed Shakespeare festivals; the other still has a theater with a “negro entrance.” They both have populations around 60,000, so I guess they do have one thing in common.

Since our arrival in our new home, we’ve enjoyed the perks that come with the new location. Good movies are just a 10 minute drive away in Ashland. Hiking trails abound. Summer will bring a major music festival to the area. And, yes, good root beer can be found in just about any grocery store, and even a few convenience stores. Life is good here.

But there is just one, tiny little complaint. We’re not special anymore. We’re just one more young couple tooling around Oregon in a Subaru with NPR on the radio. I’ve actually had trouble finding our car among all the other green Subaru Outbacks.

We’ve been weird for so long, now we’re… typical. We’re not persecuted. We’re not “dangerous” outsiders trying to poison people’s minds with that “egg headed Ivy League thinking.” (For the record, I went to Cal State, Northridge which is, last I checked, not an Ivy League school. Julie, on the other hand, well…) We’re not even “city slickers.” We’re nothing.

So what to do? It’s hard to stake out turf in Oregon that someone else hasn’t occupied and made downright respectable. Remember, this is the land of both Hippies and Lumberjacks. But yesterday I was driving down the street and saw someone really sticking his middle finger out to “the man” and “this backwards culture.” Across the back of his pickup truck was draped a giant Confederate flag. Hmmmmmm.

(P.S. While in Vienna last month, I also spied a truck with numerous Confederate flag bumper stickers. I have no idea why.)

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