Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Floogals: Finally, a kids’ show you won’t mind watching regularly

When you’re waist-high in the #ToddlerLife, watching terrible TV is as much a part of daily life as early wake-up calls, saving the dog from savage gymnastics routines and those magical moments of joy that make it all worthwhile.
Just take a quick swing through children’s channels and look at the sea of slop, starting with the overly simplistic and stereotypical world of SuperWings, the physics-defying and earworm-inducing Bubble Guppies (how does a lake exist in an underwater world?), the logic-defying Paw Patrol (what town would trust teenager and six dogs to run everything?), and, of course, everyone’s favorite punching bag, Caillou
But if you look hard enough, you’ll also find a few true gems, like the Floogals. The Sprout original show hits the sweet spot of mixing in enough touches to draw kids of a wide age range while throwing in sneaky critical thinking lessons and a few lines to give adults a smile. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

How to win at any buffet

Ready to go home a winner?

It couldn't have been any clearer.
As diners settled in to plates packed with deliciousness, the rookie mistake rose above the clatter of silverware and soft conversation.
Sausages instead of THIS?
That, my friend, is
a classic rookie move.
Across the room, a stunned father tried to set his pre-teen son on the proper path, and it took all I had not to give the man a standing ovation: "What are you doing getting so many sausages? There's prime rib!"
See, that guy gets it. When on the battlefield of a buffet, there is but one goal: victory.
Simply put, you want to leave having eaten food worth more than the entry price, while also making your belly salute what went down.
As a veteran of buffets large and small, I'm here to help you strive for greatness. And almost anyone can reach the promised land.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

What if sappy organic food marketing stories were on other products?

Regardless of where you stand on the benefits of organic food, one thing's clear: The notes from the product's founder or executive found on so many products are mind-numbingly sappy.

So sappy that most of these short stories could seamlessly sub in for almost any episode of Shimmer and Shine. (But not Caillou. That show advocated putting carrots on pizza in one episode. I wish I were kidding.)

Want a taste? (Of the sap, not the pizza carrots. No one wants those.) Just from two products around the house:

Monday, June 6, 2016

Coming soon: ALL NEW very special episodes of Shimmer and Shine, Nina's World and -- just end it all now

As idllyic as keeping TV away from your small kid seems, let's get real here. Life happens.  Sometimes you need a break from the wee one to pay bills, make food or just space out for a few minutes and maybe reset your toddler's brain that has been set on "psycho" for a couple of hours.
The number of entries on Google for
"Did Caillou die in the last episode?"
alone is staggering -- and understandable.

I'm no veteran of modern children's TV, and obviously, I'm not expecting to be enthralled by any of it, and understand some of it's going to be mildly annoying and will require my advanced level "Dad hearing." ("Why, no, I had no idea he's been saying nothing but "meeemeeemeeemee" for 20 minutes.")

But I've seen enough to know that Caillou is the equivalent of a TV ebola virus and easily the worst thing to come out of Canada since Bieber. (Although an occasional Canadian "oat" instead of "out" comes out fairly regularly from Ryder, a main character in Paw Patrol.)


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Baby Across America Tour: We're HOW far away?

Fourth and final in a multi-part series of taking a 7-month-old baby and two dogs halfway across America in a minivan. Read earlier parts here.

Daddy’s Log: Day 10, Sioux Falls, S.D.
Miles: 1,896, Engine hours: 33.2. Clear, 93 degrees (that’s more like it)

How we managed to see all the different relatives and friends, fit in some golf and a cookout in five days is still a blur, but it was time to turn back. Parts of the boy’s first teeth had finally pushed through, the grandparents, aunts and various cousins had essentially absconded with our tour’s rock star for the length of the stay, and it was wonderful.
Though my wife and I were both tired, we were both also finally healthy except for some minor congestion.
Having been through the nightmare heading northwest, and knowing we were going to stop to visit a friend in Columbia for a couple of hours, we hoped to leave again around 11 a.m.
So, of course, it was high noon by the time we returned to the life of long-haul dog and baby trucking, only this time in a scorching, extremely humid day -- a bit jarring after five or six days of weather more like early fall in the Upper Midwest.

Baby Across America Tour: Nightmare Road

Third in a multi-part series of taking a 7-month-old baby and two dogs halfway across America in a minivan. Read earlier parts here.

Daddy’s Log: Day 4, St. Louis metro 

Go big or go home

Finally, I made the call with a threatening sky looming in the west: Back that van up! Annnd we juuuust barely made it. After driving about 2 miles, the unseasonably chilly July day set up another delay: The tires needed more air.
With rain falling again, I ditched the idea of having anything on my feet at all. The good folks of St. Louis County can just be happy I was trying to get moving, because a whole lot more may have come off had I not been trying to make up lost time.
Except for steady rain, the first hour passed with little trouble. As we headed into rural Missouri on I-70, the rain became much heavier, and the outside temperature gauge read 62. In Missouri. In July.