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Quote Monday has a good imagination

Ollie: “I know if there is a fire, we meet at the meeting place. But what do we do if there’s a war?”

::Ollie telling me a scary story::
Me: “You have a good imagination.”
Ollie: “No, I have a bad imagination! It always makes me think of this scary stuff!”

Evelyn: “What kind of apples are they?”
Sara: “Empire.”
Ollie: “Vampire??”

Unidentified Funny Objects 5 out today!

The Unidentified Funny Objects anthology is now out, including my story “The Lesser of Two Evils”!

I tell you, it never gets old holding a book in your hand with your words in it.

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The fifth annual volume of the Unidentified Funny Objects anthology series features eighteen lighthearted science fiction and fantasy tales from the masters of the genre. Read about planetary adoptions, secret agent princesses, alien cooking reality shows, rigged elections, magical insurance agents, and much more.

That’s right, one of the “masters of the genre”, right here:

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Available in paperback or for kindle.

Like Bacon, But Not

A while back, someone (several someones) alerted me to the fact that there was a “Bacon Critic” job up for grabs. Not one to pass up an opportunity like that, I went ahead an applied! Alas, I did not get the job. However, as part of the application, I did need to write “a short essay of fewer than 600 words recounting your favorite bacon-related memory”.

Favorite bacon-related memory…how can I pick just one? These are the tough questions that only a dedicated Bacon Critic can answer.

I now present to you, “Like Bacon, But Not”, my first (but probably not my last) bacon-flavored essay:


After college, my future wife and I spent a couple of weeks kicking around Italy. In general the food was the best I’ve ever had…with one significant exception.

We were staying at some out of the way hotel in the Italian lakes region. It was close by an Italian lake, but not THE Italian lakes, if you catch my drift. Very remote and un-touristy.

“No problem, we can do this,” we oh-so-naively thought. “The natives gotta eat, right? We’ll do as the Romans do.”

We asked at the front desk and they told us about the “restaurant on the island”, so we set off vaguely in that direction. We found a dock and stood there with no one else in sight until an old guy in a fishing boat pulled up. “Ferry?” he said. “Restaurant?” Despite the fact that those two words seemed to be the extent of his English, we did want to go to the restaurant, so we climbed on board.

About this time we realized that we were completely off the map, and getting further away. We tried asking about return trips and timetables, but this level of detail was completely beyond him. However, he did use hand gestures to insist, repeatedly, that we should take many pictures of each other in the boat. We did it too; no sense in pissing this guy off. Nobody knew where we were, we didn’t know if the restaurant was even real, and this guy didn’t have enough English to say, “I am not an ax murderer.” For all we knew, these pictures could be the only evidence they find when they inevitably dredged the lake for our bodies.

When we finally made it to the island, the menu was naturally in Italian. Eventually we managed to get a hold of the owner’s wife, who had taken some English in high school. She ran down the menu giving us our options: “fish from the lake”, “fish from the lake”, “fish from the lake”, and “like bacon, but not”.

Now, the way I figured it, you could literally not go wrong with “like bacon, but not”. I mean, best case it’s delicious bacon, and worst case it’s delicious ham.

When our food came out, I was presented with a plate of what appeared to be thinly sliced provolone cheese. “I don’t think this is what I ordered,” I whispered to Sara after the waiter had left. I slipped the menu back out and scanned to the item identified as “like bacon, but not”.

Lardo. Literally, a plate of lard.

Now, I didn’t exactly want to eat a plate of lard, but when in Rome, right? More specifically, we were trapped on an island in the middle of nowhere with a ferryman who may never show up again. This might be our last meal.

Gamely, I took some of the bread from the table and made a lard sandwich, spreading the lardo with a butter knife. I gagged with every bite, but I managed to choke down about half of the plate before finally throwing in the towel. I can only imagine that the wait staff was watching from a window, laughing at the dumb American who thinks that lard is something anybody ever consumed on purpose, much less ordered from a restaurant.

Adding insult to injury, it turns out lardo, being a delicacy, was expensive.

The moral of the story is, when it comes to bacon, settle for no substitute! If your bacon is even a little “not”, best to go with the fish from the lake.

Evelyn to appear on stage in Billy Elliot!

As some of you have noticed here or there, Evelyn is currently in the middle of rehearsals for her upcoming role in Billy Elliot!

For those of you not familiar with Billy Elliot:

Set in a northern mining town, against the background of the 1984/’85 miners’ strike, Billy Elliot is the inspirational story of a young boy’s struggle against the odds to make his dreams come true. The story follows Billy’s journey as he stumbles out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family and whole community and changes his life forever.

Featuring a timeless score by Elton John, sensational dance and a powerful story that has captivated audiences around the world, Billy Elliot the Musical is a funny, uplifting and spectacular theatrical experience that will stay with you forever.

This role is quite a bit different than anything she’s done before, and is by far the most physically demanding (dance, dance, dance!), but she is having the time of her life, and the show is going to be really, really good.

The show runs the last two weekends in October and the first weekend in November, and tickets are on sale now ($22 if you buy before October 1st).

Two things I do want to mention, for all of Evelyn’s loyal supporters:

  1. The show is aaaaall the way up at Northbrook Theatre, just to forewarn you, and
  2. Those of you with small kids, I just want to make sure you notice this warning:

Note: Billy Elliot contains material that may be unsuitable for younger or more sensitive audience members, but please note that we have made every effort to remove the most offensive language, as permitted.

The show is pretty foul-mouthed, so if that’s not something you want to subject your little ones to, feel free to sit this one out and catch the next one (or make it a date night!)

However, if you do decide to make the trek up north, this is one Ballet Girl that is excited to see you!

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Cousins!

For the last 9 years, our kids have been the only kids on either side of the family. It’s a weird thing for me, since I always had tons and tons of cousins of every age to run around with. I think about all the time I spent with my cousins when I was a kid, whether it was staying up late to play hide and seek at the family reunions, spending the night at their houses to watch movies and play videogames, making up games like “I’m Going Away on Monday, I Won’t Be Back ‘Till Sunday” or “Killer”, spending summers with them and going to the County Fair, or even just making leaf houses in Grandma’s front yard, it just feels like this big range of experiences that my kids are missing out on. I guess that’s just what happens when you’re the oldest in the family and you marry the oldest in her family.

Anyway, all of that has changed recently, with the sudden baby explosion!

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All of the kids are excited to have some legit cousins, though I think it’s going to be especially fun for Alex, since they are all roughly the same age. Although not apparently the same size…turns out 8 months is a lot of difference at that age!

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Of course, just in case he can’t maintain his natural size advantage, he has been practicing beating up on them anyway.

Alex’s taking it to the next level

It seems like in the past couple of weeks, a switch has flipped in Alex’s head, and suddenly he’s a human being. He just made a huge leap in sort of understanding.

Anyway, without further ado, I present to you videographic evidence:

Alex saying “mama”:

 

Alex doing “bye bye”:

 

Alex doing “so big”:

 

Alex signing “more”:

 

Other signs that he knows include “milk” and “all done”, and he understands “book” and “train”, but doesn’t do them himself.

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Training with his cousin

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Alex and his cousin Bernadette, getting in a little kung-fu training.

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