3.5 Feet of Bad Blood

January 9, 2013


While staying at a hotel last week on Thailand’s Phi Phi Island, I noticed a paper taped to the mirror, itemizing specific charges for damaging hotel property. Two charges caught my eye for their macabre specificity: 13 Bed 3.5 feet bloody 4550 (approx. US $150) 14 Bed 6 feet bloody 7800 (approx. US $257) I […]

Posted in: Columns

Gangnam Style for Peace

January 2, 2013


I approach this new year 2013 with great optimism as I have grounds to believe this might be the year mankind finally sets aside its differences and unites in a spirit of peace and harmony. In the 1989 film Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Rufus travels back in time to tell Bill and Ted they […]

Posted in: Columns

Vacationing with the Greatsbys

December 26, 2012


The Greatsbys spent Christmas in Phuket, Thailand. After dinner with friends, Mrs. Greatsby and the children retired and I spent a lovely Christmas Eve evening on our hotel balcony overlooking the dark ocean while enjoying the distant strains of house bands entertaining Christmas Eve galas all over the island. A little known fact about Asia: […]

Posted in: Family

But I am Just a Man

December 18, 2012


I am just a man. A normal, average man. Please, don’t treat me any differently. I put my pants on one leg at a time—just like you—except my pants cost 300 dollars and I’ll only wear them once. But I am just a man, the same as other men. I have regular guy stresses, like […]

Posted in: Columns

Nothing to Wear at the End of the World

December 11, 2012


Some people are predicting the end of the world is coming on December 21st based on an ancient Mayan prophecy. I’m conflicted because we’re leaving for vacation on the 18th and if the world is just going to end three days later, I’m not sure whether to bother getting someone to feed the cat. If […]

Posted in: Columns

An Interview with Optimist Prime–Part 3

December 4, 2012


My 11-year-old son Optimist Prime has enjoyed a recent run of success as both the QB of his football team and the star of a theatrical production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. We’re anxious to have him around more as these two commitments often totaled seven to eight practices/rehearsals a week, and […]

Posted in: Family

Greetings from a Mediocre Uncle

November 30, 2012


One of the benefits of living here in China so far away from my extended family in the United States is that I have an excuse for being a terrible uncle. Although I suspect my family is beginning to realize even if I lived next door to my nieces and nephews I’d still be a […]

Posted in: Family

Dear Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary

November 26, 2012


Dear Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, I’m still awaiting a reply to my letter questioning the religious implications of your dogmatically rigid alphabetizing system, but today I write on a separate matter. I know your team is working hard to organize the English language, and I don’t want you to take this as a personal criticism, but I’ve […]

Posted in: Columns

Will Trade Time with Kids for Comedy Material

November 20, 2012


My librarian wife went out of town for work last weekend, leaving me alone with the kids and providing more evidence of how libraries tear families part. I told the kids if I was going to spend twice as much time with them in their mother’s absence, they would have to work harder to provide […]

Posted in: Family

Just When You Thought It Was Safe for Your Husband to Have an Official Biographer

November 14, 2012


If you follow the news, or spy on the CIA, you’ve probably heard about CIA Director David Petraeus resigning after investigators discovered he was having an affair with his biographer. Take this as a warning, wives: you thought you only had to worry about your husband getting too close to his secretary; now you have […]

Posted in: Columns

If You Have Time to Secede from the Union, You Must Have Time to Help Out Around the House

November 12, 2012


When I look back on being a kid, if there’s one thing I remember, it’s being much younger. My kids have also helped me remember that an important part of growing up is learning how to avoid work. Every kid learns to pick up on the small signals that Mom and Dad are about to […]

Posted in: Columns

Don’t Tell Me How it Ends

November 7, 2012


So I’ve been pretty busy the last week and haven’t had time to follow the American election. I recorded CNN’s election night coverage but I won’t have time to watch it until next week, so nobody tell me who won. Also, don’t tell me who won the Republican primary; I want to be surprised. Also, […]

Posted in: Columns