Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Guide to Monetizing Super Powers

Men of all ages rejoice. Superhero movie season is upon us!

Superheros are great. They have tremendous power. Really cool costumes. And never have to worry about getting mugged if they feel like walking a few blocks off the beaten path to a nearby White Castle.

Yet, I often spend a great deal of time wondering how these tremendous super humans do something that takes up the better half of a dad’s life – make that money and support those kids.

Here’s a critical analysis of how I would monetize a superhero existence. “With great power comes great responsibility.” Yeah, like how to make a boatload of money without being a huge jerk.

The Hulk: The most obvious way would be as a literal weapon of mass destruction. But, how do you ensure the Hulk's rage is directed at this country's enemies? Would the recent NSA revelation be enough to send the green rage monster to Washington? (Did I just move up on NSA's list for writing that?) Since the Hulk's rage is difficult to focus on specific targets, I'd say he's doomed to live a penniless existence. His only hope is he can make enough money as Dr. Banner to support a family.

Batman: You're Bruce Wayne, nuff said.

Superman: I briefly kicked around the idea of staying incognito and playing in the MLB or NFL. They may notice something is up when every at bat results in a baseball-sized satellite. At the very least, they'll test extensively for PEDs. So sports star is out.

Perhaps you could get work as the world's most expensive security guard. No more fooling with Air Force One. "Superman dropped him off," says the dejected secret service detail head. Ah, but maybe the taxpayers wouldn't see the need to pay for the World's Best Security Guard. Or, since you are Superman, maybe your altruistic motives prevent you from taking payment for doing your civic duty.

Maybe you'd end up just like Clark Kent -- working diligently at a daily newspaper office. This may explain why Lois didn't wait for Superman in "Superman Returns."

Iron Man: You’re Tony Stark. Shut up.

Thor: With his ability to conjure lightning bolts, I’d say lightning rod salesman is a no-brainer. Senior citizen balks at the pitch? You never know when or where lightning will….STRIKE!

If that fails, how about the world’s best pawn broker. If he has access to his father’s treasure room, he’d really only need to sell maybe two things to make $1 trillion. I’d sell a set of overly ornate intergalactic dueling pistols. Maybe one to Tony Stark and one to Bruce Wayne. (Yeah, I just mixed Marvel and DC. Deal with it.)

Wolverine: Here's a real potential for making money. Aside from the on-demand adamantium claws, you're a normal looking dude, albeit one that recovers from massive trauma in 0.4 seconds. The obvious route to endless riches is prize fighter. Find a partner in crime to bet on your behalf, toss in a loss every few years and you've got a foolproof path to Manny Pacquiao riches. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Father's Day that wasn't

I would like a do-over... Some might think I am being selfish, but it was Father's Day. The day started off like any other awesome day. I was showered with presents from my children. I got a tie that anyone would be proud to wear in public, a Manchester United Jersey, some fantastic Chocolate covered walnuts, and these two books (which seem worthy of a review at a later date).

These are pretty high quality gifts. I mean one would think it was my birthday or something.

I was about to take my youngest on a walk that morning. This is kind of becoming a morning ritual where we walk for about a quarter mile and then I carry him back a quarter mile. It's fun and I enjoy it thoroughly. Well before set out for our jaunt, we all decided to try the chocolate walnuts...

The boy didn't like them. He spit most of it out after a bite or two and wasn't having it. Then he started coughing, and having trouble breathing, and vomiting, and pretty much freaking out all together.

A side note that this happened last weekend after eating a bite LUNA bar. We went to Urgent Care and then were directed to the ER.

At 20 months old he's the size
of a small European country
Well, this weekend was no different. After a briefing from our neighbor, an RN, we headed off to the ER... again. They did a similar procedure this week and took some x-rays. After seeing a small area of concern, they then sent us to Cardinal Glennon (another Hospital with an other ER) to go see a Pediatric ENT. We got all registered again to make a long story short, everyone int he hospital listened to my little guy's breathing  and they all said he sounded great. Nevertheless we were concerned parents and weren't sure what was going on.

After some discussions with the doctor on staff, he decided that we should go all Innerspace on him and check out his lungs with a little camera. They knocked him out and then went on in to find nothing wrong with him. Phew... kind of.

We were really hoping we could find something to nail down as the source of these issues. However, after doing some investigative research on out own, we found out there were walnuts in that LUNA bar he ate last week. So, we are going with a nut free diet. I feel this will not hurt his chances at a scholarship in a sport.

So, what did you do with your Father's Day?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Date Night Double Dipping

The missus and I have been pretty busy lately. Two full-time jobs, four kids, and lord only knows how many practices and games and oil changes and dentists appointments and everything else we've got to account for. Suffice it to say, but it's been a LONG time since we've gone on a vacation with the family and a very LONG time since just the wife and I have gotten to do anything with just us.

Last weekend, we double-dipped. On both outstanding needs.

First up, we took the whole family "on a vacation" which masqueraded as a soccer tournament for our oldest. His team was good enough to win that weekend and ended up placing second overall.

Unfortunately when it came time to double dip in some hanging out time with just us, our room had been taken over.
I don't even know where to start with this. Or step, for that matter.
Necessity is the mother of invention, and the mother of all those kids had a great idea. Rather than stay in the room and wake the kids up, or head out and risk something going wrong, we just kicked in the bathroom, hotel par-tay style. An extra chair, an iPad with Trivial Pursuit loaded on it, and a hotel ice bucket full of beverages were all we needed to have a great time.

This is not quite 40.
In the end, great weekend, great sporting event, great vacation, AND great date night.

Monday, June 3, 2013

A Man's Fishing Trip ... Sort Of

Hot sauce, pork rinds, hot sauce mixed with pork rinds – it started off as a manly camping trip. 

Then the rains came. The same storm that produced three tornadoes in the St. Louis area hit Rend Lake about three hours later.

Here was the scene: eight men were huddled around a campfire trading jokes, farts and fart jokes. Every 10 minutes or so, someone would pull out their phone and check the weather map, which was followed by 5 minutes of intense meteorological debate.

The phrase “pop-up shower” was tossed around. Another similarly unqualified mind discussed the trending jet stream and how this storm was sure to blow northeast of us. But for one, riding it out in the tents was deemed the manly thing to do. The lone ranger was right.

Around 1 a.m. it started. We scurried to our shelters of nylon, tent poles and metal stakes. After about 5 minutes of sheltering in tent, we started to get wet. Grabbing my sleeping bag and pillow, the first step outside was into a shallow creek. Water Runoff 101: don’t pitch a tent on the bottom of a hillside.

That morning, all eight of us awoke in a cabin that was built for three adults and two children – maximum. Ron Swanson would have been disappointed.

The gravity of the storm began to set in as we examined the damage rendered to one of our vehicles. Though I won’t mention names, it was a rough weekend for BEMM in terms of personal property damage. He suffered another blow when a campfire ember made a nickel-sized hole in his fleece.

Tree: 1    Acadia: 0

If a tree falls in the woods, is there an Acadia around to cushion said fall? 

As the rain continued to pour, we decided to head down the road for a bit of breakfast. It was here we invested 75 cents for a prize from the Good Stuff Mix. Upon further examination, we realized we’d been had. Despite overpaying a quarter for our Domo, we came to love him…for the time being.

As you can see, nowhere on the 75-cent prize card is Domo a viable option.
Yet, for only 50 cents, you're guaranteed one of eight Domos.
Not being able to fish, as originally intended, we decided to head to the shooting range and relieve some of our frustration in the manliest way possible. It was here that Domo got his.

After an hour of paper target practice, we hung Domo from a tree limb about 25 yards out. Using a scoped .22, we took potshots at a quarter-sized piece of Chinese plastic. After about 10 rounds, Domo flew from the limb and was never seen again. (We think he met his fate in a watery grave as the range was littered with massive pools of water.)

The last picture of Domo before he was blown to bits.

About 400 rounds later, we headed back to the campsite to clean up the damage. To our surprise, all of the tents were still on the hillside. I’m not sure if it was the metal stakes or the 50 gallons of water in the bottom of each that held them in place.

Joe later won the "cleanest camper" award, as proclaimed by BEMM. He took two showers during the weekend, which was two more than anyone else.

We made one last go at fishing. After a few (small) victories, we made for the cabin and ate another 10+ pounds of red meat.

It was about now that loading up on burgers and brats looked liked a terrific decision.

Before shoving off the next morning, we made a breakfast that would have made Ron Swanson proud. After cooking 3 pounds of bacon, we fried eggs in the resulting two-inch deep vat of bacon grease. Wrapped in a tortilla shell, the bacon, egg and bacon-grease burritos were culinary nirvana.

Words cannot describe how delicious eggs deep-fried in bacon grease are.

Even though the actual fishing portion of the fishing trip was short-lived, it was a good weekend. I highly recommend a testosterone fueled fishing trip every so often. Between the boasts, farts and jokes, we got to catch up on life. For eight guys who used to see each other every day, it was a welcome reprieve from the daily grind.